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'Where did our language come from?' asks Liz Loutfi in the Bewick Educational Association morning lecture on Tuesday, November 15.
The fact is that the English language is an amalgam of several different languages that have all successively impacted on our ancestors.
From the so-called “Celtic” beginnings, still evident in Gaelic and Welsh, the two major developments have resulted from the Anglo-Saxon and Norman French invasions.
Subsequently, new vocabulary has come from the British Empire, particularly from the Raj in India.
The result has been that English has evolved more than, and faster than, any other European language.
So-called “early English”, ie Anglo-Saxon, might just be understood by modern Frisians, but not the modern English population.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s “middle English” is slightly better, but still requires translation for a modern audience, and even the glorious “modern English” of the King James Bible and William Shakespeare presents problems to modern schoolchildren.
In this lecture Ms Loutfi will examine not just how current English has developed over time, buy also how our grammar and pronunciation has changed, and what impact this has had on our history and the history of the world.
The lecture will take place from 10am to noon, at the William Elder Building, Castlegate, Berwick, and costs £6, including refreshments.