Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

Geographical spread of the English speaking world. Variations of accent and dialects in English. Professional spread of the English language. English poetry: Shakespeare, Byron, J.Donne, Wordsworth, Milton, Eliot, R.Burns, Browning. History: Old English and Middle English periods...



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  1.  Geographical spread of the English speaking world . ………..2
  2.  Variations of accent and dialects in English…………………...4
  3.  Professional spread of the English language .   .         .... 6
  4.  English poetry: Shakespeare, Byron, J.Donne,

Wordsworth, Milton, Eliot, R.Burns, Browning. .    . ….11

  1.  History: Old English and Middle English periods   .    . ….14
  2.  W.Shakespeare in English literature ………………………..20
  3.  King Jame's translation of the Holy Bebie   …………...25
  4.  Modern English period ……………………………26
  5.  The English theatre. «The School for scandal» by R.B.Sheridan  …………………………...27

10. English classics.

  1.  Jane Austen «Horthanger Abbey» …………………31
  2.  Charles Dickens «The Tale of Two Cities»……………..33

  1.  Mark Twain «Ton Sawyen» …………………………35
  2.  Oscar Wilde «The Importance of Being Earnest»…………...37
  3.  Comic classic: Jerome K.Jerome «Three Men in a Boat».   . 43
  4.  English of the 20th century ………………..45


Over 360 million people speak English as their mother tongue. Although English is numerically second to Mandarin Chinese, which can claim some 600 million native speakers, no one would seriously propose learning Chinese as a practical world language. In fact the Chinese themselves are now busy implementing plans to learn English on a large scale. Not only would Chinese be too difficult, but its 600 million speakers are confined to one relatively small area, whereas English speakers, thanks to the British Empire, are to be found on every continent and in every corner of the globe.

To a European, the English speaking world probably means little beyond the United States of America and England, but when a European says "England" he most likely means the United Kingdom, which, of course, is composed of four different English speaking countries: Wales, Scotland, Ulster (also known as Northern Ireland) and England. With a bit more thought a European will remember to include Eire, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, perhaps. But these are only 10 of the 45 countries, which consider English their first or official or natural native language. In addition there are 19 other countries for which English is the practical or educated first language - countries like Guyana, India and the Sudan.

Most of the important African states are English speaking by tradition and by choice – using English to unify the country and serve as the principal means of communication between diverse tribes. Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania – just a few of the black African countries which depend on English for their law courts and parliaments and day-to-day business dealings. In Asia, the English language serves the same purpose for the entire Indian sub-continent as well as for the smaller outposts of the Empire – now the Commonwealth – such as Fiji, Tonga, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Ceylon – or rather Sri Lanka, as it is now called. The Caribbean Sea is sprinkled with islands in the sun – Bermuda, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, Dominica, the Bahamas – where English is spoken by everyone, black, white or brown.


English contains many variations of accent and even dialect but unlike Italian or German, the dialects are rarely different enough to make comprehension impossible. True, a London Cockney would have a very difficult time in a conversation with a steel worker in Glasgow, and a Carolina cotton picker might find it difficult to understand and to be understood by a sheep farmer from Australia, but a businessman from, say, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA would have few problems dealing with a businessman from Dublin, Ireland, or Sydney, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, Liverpool in England, Johannesburg, South Africa or Kingston, Jamaica. A reasonably educated Standard English allows comprehension and communication all over the English speaking world. Can you guess where these native English speakers come from?

1. Big breakfasts have always been something the English speaking world has had in common - what is known on the Continent as "an English breakfast". This is also true where I come from. We have bacon and eggs as well as toasts and marmalade and tea or coffee, and often breakfast cereals like porridge and Cornflakes.                                                          

(English speaking South Africa)

2. On the Continent people are usually more formal — shaking hands a lot and calling each other Doctor, Engineer, Professor and all that. The English speaking world tends to be more informal. We don't shake hands so much we don't use academic titles - they're considered pretentious - and we prefer first names – not only for friends and colleagues, but often even the boss is Mike or John and not Mr. so-and-so.

(Republic of Ireland)

3. Where I come from, everybody understands and speaks English, but the older people also speak patois. I never learned patois - I grew up only speaking English.

(West Indian from Dominica)

4. Ever since Lord Sandwich put meat between two pieces of bread so that he could eat while playing cards, the sandwich has been the basic lunch for most English speaking countries. At least it's certainly true where I come from.

(East Coast of the USA)

  1.  Political and social stability is something you find in nearly all the English speaking countries. We all share a strong tradition of democratic government and a respect for the law. You don't find dictators, revolutionaries or many extremists of any kind, as a rule. Perhaps that's why there are no English words for "fascism", "coup d'etet", "Putsch" or "junta". These are foreign concepts, so we have to use the foreign words.                                            (Australia)                                        


But the geographical spread of the English speaking world cannot entirely account for English being the “lingua franca” of the modern world. The industrial and technological achievements, mainly of Britain and the United States, has made English the international language of many different fields, like:

International air traffic control:

Lufthansa pilot: Bahrain Tower… this is Jufthansa 146 cleared to descend to 1.500 feet.

Bahrain tower: This is Bahrain Tower. Roger

Lufthansa pilot: Turning into final approach, runaway three zero.

Bahrain tower: Wind three two zero degrees. One five knots. You are cleared to land - runaway three zero.

Sea navigation (Morse code between ships)

The complex jargon of computers and space technology:

Armstrong: Houston, this is Tranquillity, we're standing by for a go for cabins depress, over.

Mission Control: Tranquillity, base, this is Houston you are go for cabin depressurization.

Armstrong: O.K., the hatch is coming open... O.K. Houston, I'm on the porch.

Mission Control: Roger, Neil, O.K. Neil, we can see you coming down the ladder now.

Armstrong: I'm at the foot of the ladder. I'm going to step off the L.M. now... (Lunar Module) that's one small step for man... And international business conferences:

Chairman (American): I call on the delegate from Switzerland.

Swiss delegate: I propose that item 11 and 12 on the agenda are postponed until the afternoon session of the conference.

Chairman: Is the proposal seconded?

Italian delegate: I second the proposal.

Chairman: The delegate from Italy has seconded the proposal.

Spanish delegate. Mr. Chairman, I ask to speak.

Chairman: Yes Mr. Garcia... order please, the delegate from Spain has the floor.

Spanish delegate. If the agenda is changed, will there be time for the delegate from France to address the meeting?

Chairman: Monsieur Beraud's address on cash flow has been re-scheduled to the Thursday morning session.

Spanish delegate: Then I agree with Herr Meyer’s proposal.

Chairman: Any objections? Then we shall now adjourn for lunch.

*        *       *

Through the American Negroes, English became the language of jazz.

English continues as the language of pop music throughout the world – not only from British and American pop stars, but as the chosen language of the Swedish group ABBA and the Spanish group Baccarat, and no doubt many others in other countries.

The British enthusiasm for competitive sport has given the world soccer football, rugby football, golf, tennis, cricket, squash, boxing, competitive swimming, rowing, modern horse racing and even ping pong. To this list, the Americans have added volley ball, basketball and baseball. It is hardly surprising that English is the international language for sport, and words like “corner”, “penalty”, “goal”, “K.O.” and “smash” are familiar in every language.

Advertising is another field which is largely dominated by the English language.

Advertising is another field, which is largely dominated by the English language.

Interviewer: In its modern form, advertising was an American invention, and the creative approach to advertising in most developed industrial countries shows the American influence in style and the use of language. Tom Boyd was on the creative side of advertising for many years with large international agencies like B.B.D.O., where he was Creative Manager. Tom, what about the use of English in advertising?

Tom Boyd: The language of advertising is simple and direct, yet it should be colourful and memorable. Advertisers like to use a lot of idioms that are familiar to the majority of the consumers in the chosen target market, plus the use of strongly emotive words. I remember when I began in advertising, I described a certain cake

as «yellow»...   my boss quickly told me that the colour yellow does not exist in advertising. The word, he said, is «golden».

Interviewer: During your years in advertising, you wrote a number of press ads, and TV and cinema commercials for products as different as Shell petrol and Unilever detergents.

As an American, did you have to adjust -your approach and use of language for the United Kingdom market?

Tom Boyd: Absolutely. In the English speaking world, the language may be more or less the same, but the usage varies from country to country. When the American agencies first came to Britain they made the great mistake of trying to use the same copy and commercials that they had used successfully in the U.S.A. well, it simply didn't work. The life style in the U.K. is different and the idiom is different. Of course the British understood the advertisements - or, as the Americans say, advertisements, but they simply didn't respond to them. In gone cases they were offended by them, or simply laughed at them. The U.S. agencies soon realized their mistake and changed the approach to fit the British market. Unfortunately, some European companies are still making that mistake. I noticed not long ago a large Italian company advertising in the English press «The Times», I think it was. The ad, or «advert» as it's sometimes called, had obviously been written by an American copywriter in New York and no one had bothered to change it. Everything was wrong for the English - - the style was too brash for the British taste, the vocabulary was wrong... even the spelling was wrong for England. Any company, which spends money promoting their products in the English speaking world, ought to be sensitive to their differences, or they may be wasting their money and actually damaging their products.

Interviewer. Can you give us an example of the language of advertising?

Tom Boyd. Yes, I've picked a Jingle I wrote... a Jingle being a little song for advertising purposes. This one is for a chocolate bar - what the American call a «candy bar». Market research told us that people like crunch... that is, something that makes a noise when you bite into it... people look for crunchiness in a good chocolate bar.,, nougat or nuts, for example, make it crunchy... so that's why we named the bar KING CRUNCH. Here's the Jingle as it was recorded for radio and television:

Have you met my friend King Crunch

the nuttiest crispiest bar of the bunch

rich milk chocolate end a whole lot of crew

a king that you can get those pearly teeth into

mm... King Crunch, the royal munch

that puts you in the pink when you're blue

so have a little fling with my friend the king

the chocolate with the crunchiest chew chew chew   King Crunch

You notice how many words imply crunchiness... «crisp», «chew», "munch», «Get your teeth into» - all to fit the marketing brief. Let's listen to a few lines at a time: Have you met... «nuttiest», «crispiest»... both superlatives, of course - the most usual form of adjective in advertising; «of the bunch»... bunch means a group of things, more commonly associated with "a bunch of flowers», «a bunch of bananas» and «a bunch of grapes», but here it means a bunch of chocolate bars. «Rich milk chocolate...» - «pearly teeth»... a fairly common and flattering idiom, meaning teeth like pearls. «Mr...King Crunch...» - «the royal munch»... munch means a chew with great activity, and if that's what the consumer likes, we tell him that's what he'll get. Now we come to some literally colourful idioms... «puts you- in the pink when you're blue». In English, pink is the colour associated with good health and blue is the colour of depression and sadness... so the line is saying that by eating a King Crunch you'll feel is a spell of indulgence on impulse, according to the dictionary, Could be a love affair. The manufacturer certainly hopes so. «The chocolate with»..   - «King Crunch»

Interviewer: It sounds delicious. Where can I buy a King Crunch?

Tom Boyd: I'm afraid you can't. When it cane to the point of production there were problems with marketing and distribution and the bar never got produced... or, as they say in advertising, «never got off the ground». You'd better have a Mars Bar instead.



English is also the language of education. Throughout the third world most secondary education and virtually all university lectures are in English. Even in Europe in countries as small as Sweden and as large as Russia, scientists and scholars of all kinds write their most important research and theses in English to guarantee the largest possible audience. And since the formation of NATO forces, English has also become the language of the western military establishment - the soldiers of all NATO countries being trained and taught in English. In addition, the English language can claim the most extensive and richest poetical literature of  any language in the world:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed,

And every fair from fair sometimes declines,

By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed,

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,

Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest,

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

(William Shakespeare. Sonnet)

The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,

Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,     

But all, except their sun, is set.

(Lord Byron. The Isles of Greece)

No man is an Island, entire of itself,

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am

involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to

know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

(John Donne. Devotions)

  I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills-

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

(William Wordsworth. Daffodils)

When I consider how my light is spent

E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,

And that one Talent, which is death to hide,

Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning chide;

'Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?

I fondly ask; But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, 'God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best

Bear his mild yoke; they serve him “best, his State

Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed

And post o'er Land and Ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait.”

(John Milton. On his blindness)

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky,

Like a patient etherized upon a table,

Let us go through certain half deserted streets,

The muttering retreats of one night cheap hotels.

(T.S.Eliot. Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock)

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;

My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;

Chasing the wild deer and following the roe,

My heart is in the Highlands, wherever I go.

(Robert Burns. My Heart's in the Highlands)

Oh, to be in England

    Now that April's there,

And whoever wakes in England

    Sees, some morning, unaware,

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf

   Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,

While tine chaffinch sings on the orchard bough

   In England – now!

(Robert Browning. Home-thoughts, from abroad)


English as a separate identifiable language is over 1.200 years old. It all began with the invasion of the island of Britain by three Germanic tribes from northern Europe – the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, in the year 499 A.D. – Anno Domini. Although the Island has been inhabited since pre-historic times – indeed Stonehenge was built by ancient Britons some 3.500 years ago – the beginning of English dates from this invasion, when the pagan adventurers from Denmark and the lowlands of the Continent drove the native Celts and Romans out of what is now England, into the mountains and protective regions of Wales, and Scotland. From the tribe of Angles comes the name Englalond, Land of the Angles, and the name of the language – but it was primarily the dialect of the West Saxons which became the standard Speech, and developed into Old English. The first written records in English date from 700 A.D. and about this time Britain was invaded yet again by Scandinavian adventures – the Vikings.

After some 200 years of fighting with the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings came to an agreement with the Saxon King, Alfred the Great, to divide the island – the Saxons in the west – the Scandinavians, who were Norse speaking, in the east. England was therefore bi-lingual until the two groups, through intermarriage, became one people. The linguistic blend of Saxon and Norse was also a marriage. In the verb “to be”, for example, the third person singular “he is” is pure Saxon, but the plural “they are” is pure Norse. The word “wife” is Saxon, but the word “husband” came from the Norse – “arm” from the Saxon, but “leg” from the Norse. “Duru” was the Saxon word for “door”, but “vindu” was the Norse word which gave us “window” – so from this marriage, one language which we call Old English.

It was a very complicated language compared to modern English: it was highly inflected – that is, it had many different endings for all words as in Latin or modern German and Russian. It also gave grammatical gender to nouns – masculine, feminine and neuter – like modern German – and not only did it have singular and plural, but a third form called the dual form to indicate precisely two – no more and no less. For example, in addition to the pronoun “I” and “We” in the first person, Old English had “wit” which means “the two of us…, both of us…, you and me”, but not “them”.

Many words in Old English are still close enough to modern English for us to understand them. See if you can guess what these Old English words mean: thencan, cild, wifman, muth, nosu, god niht.

Perhaps you could hear that “thencan” is the verb “to think”, “cild” in modern English is “child”, “wifman” became “woman”, “muth” – “mouth”, “nosu” – “nose”, “god niht” – “good night”.

But most of Old English is unintelligible today without studying it as a separate language. From the 10th century we have a manuscript of what is probably the first considerable poem written in any modern language. It is the epic poem “Beowulf”, which is over 3.000 lines long. Here are a few lines from it, read in authentic Old English for you to hear what it sounded like:

Beowulf mathelode, bearn Ecghheowes: No sorga

snotor guma, selre bith aeghwaem thaet he his

freond wrece, thonne he fela murne. Ure

aeghwylc sceal ende gebidan. Worolde lifes:

wyrce se mote domes aer deather; thaet

birth driht guman unlif gendum aefter selest.

And this what these lines mean in modern English:

Beowulf, the son of Ecgtheow, answered:

“Do not grieve, wise Hrothgar! Better each

man should avenge his friend than deeply

mourn. The days on earth for every one of us are

numbered; he who may should win renown before

his death; that is a warrior’s best memorial when he has

departed from this world.”

The next invasion of Britain – and incidentally the last foreign invasion of the island in English history – was in the year 1066. The invading forces were again Scandinavians, but with a difference – these Norsemen, called Normans – came from the north coast of France and were French speaking. Their leader William, known as the Conqueror, had a claim on the throne of England, and his forces were victorious. William established himself as king and set about building London’s two greatest tourists’ attractions: the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Norman French became the language of the court, the aristocracy of England, and the country once again became bi-lingual. We often say “history repeats itself” and this is just what happened to the language: in the course of 300 years, Old English absorbed Norman French and emerged as one language, much as happened with Saxon and Norse before.

Norman French enriched the language and gave English its unique blend of Germanic and Latinate structures and vocabulary. This is why today we san say “the world’s population” or “the population of the world” and why only English has different words to distinguish the names of animals from their flesh which we eat: from the cow we get beef; from the calf we get veal, from

the sheep, mutton, from the pig, pork and from the deer, venison. The names of the animals are Saxon, and the words for the meat are from French. This is not only interesting as a point of language, but as a point of sociology, because it reflects that the animals were raised by farmers who spoke Old English, but eaten by the aristocrats who spoke French.

Because England was bi-lingual, many phrases appeared in the language which contained one word of Saxon origin coupled with a word of the same meaning, coming from French – such as “law and order”. This way everybody knew the meaning, whether they only understood the old English word “law” or they only understood the French “ordre” – order. Many of these set phrases, dating from the Middle Ages, are just as common today in Modern English. How many politicians in Britain and in the USA call for more “law and order” at election time! In the US Senate, as in the British Parliament, there is a “ways and means” committee to find the methods of achieving a goal. The word “ways” from the Saxon – the word “means” from the French – the phrase “ways and means” still common after some seven or eight hundred years in the language. This merge of Saxon and Norman French we call Middle English. The first great English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote in Middle English in the 14th century – about the same time as Dante Alighieri and Boccaccio.

His best known work, “The Canterbury Tales”, was written in 1386 and its vocabulary reflects the blend of a two language sources. Here is a bit from the prologue of “The Canterbury Tales”, read as it was written and pronounced as we assume Middle English sounded:

A good wyf was ther of bisyde Bathe.

But she was som-del deef, and that was scathe.

Of clooth-making she hadde swiche an haunt,

She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.

In al the parisshe wyf ne was ther noon

That to th’ooffring before hir sholde geon;

And if ther dide, certeyn, so wroth was she,

That she was out of elle charitee.

Could you understand any words or phrases? Probably not.

Here’s the same passage in Modern English:

A worthy woman from beside Bath city

Was with us, somewhat deaf, which was a pity.

In making cloth she showed so great a bent

She bettered those of Ypres and of Ghent.

In all the perish not a dame dared stir

Towards the altar steps in front of her.

And if indeed they did, so wrath was she

As to be quite put out of charity.

In the following century, the printing press arrived in England and libraries were founded at Oxford, Cambridge and in London. The first printer, William Caxton, began to stabilize the written language and its spelling, when he set up his printing press in the precinct of Westminster Abbey. Even by the 15th century, Old English seemed a foreign language to him and he commented on how rapidly the language was changing even in his lifetime. Here is what he wrote in 1490:

“my lorde abbot of Westminster ded do shew me

late certain evydenses wryton in olde englysshe

for to reduce it in-to our englysshe now usid.

And certainly it was wreten in suche wyse that

it was more lyke to dutche than englysshe;

I coude not reduce ne brynge it to be understonden.

And certainly our language now used varyeth

ferre from that whiche was usid and spoke when

I was borne.”

                                                    (Modern English)

My Lord Abbot of Westminster has recently shown me

     certain passages written in Old English to translate into

     the English now used. Certainly it was written in such

    a way that it was more like Dutch than English; I

    could not translate it nor even understand it. And

    certainly our language is now very different from that

    which was used and spoken when I was born.

The Renaissance in 1500 brought the rediscovery of the classics, and English was greatly enriched by a profusion of words directly taken from Latin and Ancient Greek. It has been said that the greater part of the classical dictionaries was poured into the English language at this time – from Latin, words like “accommodate”, “capable”, “persecute”, “investigate” – and from Greek, words like “apology”, “climax”, “physical”, “emphasis” and so on. The flood of words from Latin and Greek did not end with the Renaissance and whenever we have needed a new word or name, we have tended to look to the classics to provide it – from Greek: “aerodrome”, “telegraph” and “telephone”; from Latin: “escalator”, “penicillin” and the prefix “mini-“ for cars and skirts, for example.


But back to the 16th century now, for what could be one of the greatest influences on the English language – the birth of William Shakespeare in 1564 – appropriately enough on the 23rd of April, the day dedicated to St. GeorgePatron Saint of England. Curiously enough, Shakespeare also died on the 23rd of April, 52 years later. It will forever be a mystery how this man, of modest education and with no intellectual pretensions or literary ambitions beyond providing good entertainment for the common Londoner of the day, became the greatest poet of the English language and the world’s most produced playwright. It has been said that in the nearly 400 years since his death there has never been a day when one or more of Shakespeare’s plays have not been played somewhere in the world.

But even more important, perhaps, was his contribution to the language. However poorly educated a native English speaker may be, he cannot help using the words and phrases created by Shakespeare – they are too much a part of English. When a Tennessee housewife speaks nostalgically about her “salad days”, when she was young and beautiful, she probably has no idea that she is quoting from Shakespeare’s “Anthony and Cleopatra”. Everyday phrases like “blood-stained” and “fancy-free” were creations of Shakespeare along with such invaluable words as “lonely”, “countless”, and “dwindle” – meaning to decline, to lose importance, to become smaller. Shakespeare gave the language, through its inventive genius, so many words, phrases and memorable sayings which simply didn’t exist before.

Few people of any education in the English speaking world would not know the line “The quality of mercy is not strained”. Here is the portion from “The Merchant of Venice” putting the famous phrase into context:

The quality of mercy is not strained

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

      ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown:

His scepter shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway,

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is attribute to God himself,

And early power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice.

And scarcely anyone educated in any language anywhere in the world can fail to know “To be or not to be – that is the question” from “Hamlet”. Perhaps the line “All the world’s a stage” is not so well known in other languages, but the speech it comes from demonstrates Shakespeare’s masterly use of Elizabethan English, his vivid poetic images, and his ability to speak in universal truths that make the text as accurately observed today as nearly 400 years ago. Furthermore, foreign students, with a little help of glossary for a few difficult words, should be able to understand most of the text. Certainly 95 % of the words in this passage are still in common use in modern English.

Now, from the play “As you like it”, written in 1599 – “The Seven Ages of Man”:

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in his nurse’s arms.

And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel,

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth.

And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part.

The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon.

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose well saved a word too wide

For his shrunk shank; And his big manly voice,

Turning again towards childish treble,

Pipes and whistles in its sound.

Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

The question “What’s in a name?” is another those Shakespearean question that is known to nearly every native English speaker the world over. All millions would also know what follows it “… a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Listen to these immortal lines spoken softly on that famous balcony in Verona:

ROMEO: See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!

                 O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

                 That I might touch that cheek!

JULIET: Ah me!

ROMEO: She speaks:

                 O, speak again, bright angel! For thou art

                 As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,

                 As is a winged messenger of heaven

                 Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes

                 Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him

                 When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds

                 And sails upon the bosom of the air.

JULIET: O, Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?

               Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

               Or, thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

               Or I no longer be a Capulet.

ROMEO: Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

JULIET: ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy –

                Thou art thyself though, not a Montague,

                What’s Montague? It is not hand, nor foot,

                Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part

                Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!

                What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,

                By any other name would smell as sweet;

                So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,

                Retain that dear perfection which he owes

                Without that title – Romeo, doff thy name;

                And for that name, which is no part of thee,

                Take all myself.

ROMEO: I take thee at thy word:

                Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;

                Henceforth I never will be Romeo.


A second great influence on the English language occurred in 1611, five years before Shakespeare died. This was the publication of the King James’s translation of the Holy Bible. If Shakespeare gave the language its greatest poetry, the Bible gave it much of its greatest prose. This version of the Bible was not written by one man but by a team or committee of some 47 scholars. We know very little about them except that they were certainly men of literary genius, and we have their finished work as a proof. Here’s how they began:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was    

Upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved

Upon the face of the waters.

And God said, let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God

Divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he

Called Night. And there was evening and there was

Morning, one day.

                                                (Genesis I)

It is impossible to estimate the importance or effect of the King James Bible on the English language. Listen to the simplicity but the power of the prose in these lines from St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians:

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I become a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity; these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


What we call “Modern English” comes from the period immediately following the publication of the Bible and Shakespeare’s death. We generally consider 1640 to be the beginning of modern English, and the language has changed remarkably little ever since. De the 17th century the language has discarded its grammatical complexities: no more declensions and a minimum use of the subjunctive.

Grammatical gender had disappeared and English become the only European language to employ natural gender – that is, using feminine, masculine pronouns for things masculine, and the neuter “it” for everything else. How much simplier than in, say, German – where a table is “he”, a postage stamp is “she” and a girl is “it”. Then too, English gave up its second person singular – what on the Continent is known as “ the familiar form” expressed by tu in Italian, Spanish and French and du in German. In English this was “thou” and its use became restricted to poetry, church and a few provincial dialects, Instead, English, as you well known, now simply uses the plural form “you” for everyone and for all. In place of the grammatical complexities of Old English, the language became more exact in other ways.

Modern English has a fixed system of word order more exact than exists in any other language – and a highly sophisticated use of the tenses which causes so much difficulty for a foreign student.



The late 17th century saw a magnificent revival of the English theatre after the gloomy days of the Puritans who had closed them and opposed any form of entertainment. This period, which we call “The Restoration”, gave the English speaking theatre some of its most amusing and stylish comedies, which reflected the new permissiveness of the age. This was perhaps best described by Sir John Vanbrugh who, along with William Congreve, was one of the Finest Restoration comedy writers. He wrote: ”No man worth having is true to this wife or can be true to this wife, or ever was, or ever will be so”, and marital infidelity was the theme of many of wittiest plays of the age. It was also Vanbrugh who gave the language the still common phrase “much of a muchness” to describe two things with little difference between them:

Do you prefer the comedies of Vanbrugh or Congreve?

Oh, they’re much of muchness.


***                            ***                                 ***

The 18th century was an age of manners, style and elegance, not only in clothes and the way fashionable Londoners lived, but in the way they spoke English. Richard Brinsley Sheridan born 25 years after Vanbrugh’s death, also wrote comedies about the infidelities and intrigues of London society much in the same vein as Congreve and Vanbrugh before him, but the dialogue was now more arch, more stylized… and the humour perhaps more malicious, which no doubt reflected the style of speech and wit of the time. Many of his plays, like those of Congreve and Vanbrugh are as funny today as they were 200 years ago. Here is a short scene from one of his most famous comedies “The school for scandal”, first produced at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, in 1775, when the United States of America was still and English colony.

Sir Peter Teazle, an elderly bachelor, has recently married a young girl from the country and introduced her into fashionable circles in London society. She has adapted herself to rather quicker and with a great deal more extravagance than Sir Peter had intended.

Sir Peter: Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I’ll not bear it.

Lady Teazle: Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not as you please; but I ought to have my own way in everything.

What’s more, I will too. What! Though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.

Sir Peter: very well, ma’am, very well – so a husband is to have no influence, no authority?

Lady Teazle: Authority! No, to be sure – if you wanted authority over me, and not married me: I am sure you were old enough.

 Sir Peter: Old enough! – aye, there it is! Very well, Lady Teazle, though my wife may be made unhappy by your temper, I’ll not be ruined by your extravagance!

Lady Teazle: My extravagance! I’m sure I’m not more extravagant then a woman of fashion should be.

Sir Peter: No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more sums on such unmeaning luxury. Zounds! To spend as much to furnish your dressing room with flowers in winter as would suffice to turn the Pantheon into a greenhouse, and give a fete champetre at Christmas.

Lady Teazle: Lord, sir Peter, am I to blame, because flowers are dear in cold weather? You should find fault with the climate, and not with me. For my

part, I should think you would like to have your wife thought a woman of taste.

Sir Peter: Zounds! Madam, you had no taste when you married me.

Lady Teazle: That’s very true, indeed, Sir Peter, and having married you, I am sure I should never pretend to having taste again.

Sir Peter: If you had been born to this I shouldn’t wonder at your talking thus; but you forget what your situation was when I married you.

Lady Teazle: No, no, I don’t. It was a very disagreeable one or I should never have married you.

Sir Peter: Ye, yes, madam, you were in a somewhat humbler style – the daughter of a plain country squire. Recollect, Lady Teazle, when I saw you first.

Lady Teazle: Oh, yes. I remember it very well, and a curious life I led! My daily occupation to inspect the dairy, superintend the poultry, make extracts from the family recipe book, and comb my Aunt Deborah’s lap-dog.

Sir Peter: Ye, yes, madam. It was so indeed.

Lady Teazle:  And then, you know, my evening amusements. To draw patterns for furrles, which I had not the materials to make up, to play cards with the curate, to read a sermon to my aunt, or to strum my father to sleep on a spinet after a fox chase.

Sir Peter: I am glad you have so good memory. Yes, madam, those were the recreations I took you from; but now you must have your coach and three powered footmen before your chair. And in summer, a pair of white horses to draw you to Kensington Gardens. No recollection, I suppose when you were content to ride behind the butler on a coach horse?

Lady Teazle: No – I swear I never did that; I deny the butler and the coach horse.

Sir Peter : This, madam, was your situation; and what have I done for you? I have made you a woman of fashion, of fortune, of rank – in short, I Have made you my wife.

Lady Teazle: Well then – and there is but one thing more you can make me to add to the obligation.

Sir Peter : And what, pray, may that be, madam?

Lady Teazle: Your widow!   



Elegant speech and elegant writing were not confined to the theatre. Perhaps Jane Austen's prose best typifies the sensitive but stylish use of English in the Georgian period. Now, from «Northanger Abbey», written in 1798:

Catherine went home very happy. The morning had answered all her hopes, and the evening of the following day was now the object of expectation - the future good.

What gown and what head-dress she should wear on the occasion became her chief concern. She cannot be justified in it. Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim. Catherine knew all this very well; her great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas before, and yet she lay awake ten minutes on Wednesday night debating between her spotted and her embroiled muslin gown; and nothing but the shortness of the time prevented her buying a new one for the evening. This would have been an error in judgement, great though not uncommon, from which one of the other sex rather than her own, a brother rather than a great aunt, might have warned her; for man only can be aware of the insensibility of man towards a new gown. It would be mortifying to the feeling of many ladies could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire; how little it is biased by the texture of their muslin, and how unsusceptible of peculiar tenderness towards the pattern and quality. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone. No man will admire her the more, no woman will

like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of shabbiness or impropriety will be the most endearing to the latter. But not one of these grave reflections troubled the tranquillity of Catherine.


The Victorian period gave the English language some of its greatest romantic poetry and novels. Charles Dickens, like Shakespeare before him, only intended to write in order to make a good living and please the most number of readers, but the product far exceeded the purpose and many would consider Dickens the foremost novelist of the language. He was not only a great storyteller, but a genius of description, and hie use of English could vary, according to his intent, between powerful literary images and light comic observation... mixing wildly funny passages with sober social realism. Here is the unforgettable beginning of «The Tale of Two Cities»:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was

the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of 'despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were a king with a large jaw, and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw, and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loves and fishes, that things in general were settled forever. It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy five.

And listen now to the highly amusing description of Mr. and Mrs. Veneering character from «Our Mutual Friend»:

Mr and Mrs Veneering were brand new people in a brand new house in a brand new quarter of London. Everything about the Veneering was spic-and-span and new. All their furniture was new, all their friends were new, all their servants were new, their plate was new, their carriage was new, their harness was new, their horses were new, their pictures were new, they themselves were new, they were as newly married as was lawfully compatible with their having a brand new baby, and, if they had set up a great-grandfather, he would have come home in matting from the Pantechnicon, without a scratch upon him, French polished to the crown of his head.

For, in the Veneering establishment, from the hall chairs with the new coat-of-arms to the grand pianoforte with the new action, and upstairs again to the new fire-escape, all things were in a state of high varnish and polish. And what was observable in the furniture was observable in the Veneering -the surface smelt a little too much of the workshop, and was a trifle sticky.


This was also the period of America's greatest novelists -Hawthorne, Melville and Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. In this scene from his famous novel «Tom Sawyer», Tom's Aunt Polly has just given him, as a punishment, the task of painting, or rather whitewashing, the garden fence on a day when all the other children in the village of St.Petersburg, Missouri, are free and at play.

Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long handled brush. He surveyed the fence and the gladness went out of nature, and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. He began to think about the fun he had planned for this day and his sorrows multiplied... thirty yards of broad fence four-foot high! Sighing, he dipped his brush in the paint and passed it along the topmost plank.

(Tom sings)

Thirty yards of broad fence four foot high, Life is just a hollow and a sorrowful sigh, Four foot of broad fence thirty yards long, Life, for me, will always be an off-key song. Just then Jim, the Negro boy who worked for Aunt Polly, came skipping out with a bucket to fetch water from the town pump.

«Say Jim,» said Tom, «I'll fetch the water for you if you'll whitewash some of this fence.»

Jim shook his head and said «Can't, Master Tom, I got to go and got this water.» «Jim, I'll give you a marble if you'll do it.»

Tom considered - was about to consent - but he altered his mind.

«Ho not I reckon that wouldn't do. Aunt Polly's very particular about this fence - right here on the street, you know. I reckon there isn't one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand that can do it the way it's got to be done.» «Oh come on, let me try, only just a little. I'll be just as careful as you will. Say r I'll give you my apple - all of it.» Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart, and while Ben sweated in the sun, the retired artist sat in the shade close by enjoying his apple and planning the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material: boys happened along every little while – they came to jeer, but remained to whitewash and Tom collected payment from each. (The village boys sing «a round" as they paint)

       Thirty yards of broad fence four foot high, Painting is a pleasure, makes the time fly by, Pour foot of broad fence thirty yards to go, Life can all be leisure if you make it so.

If he hadn't run out of whitewash, Tom would have bank-ruped every boy in the village.

Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it - namely that in order to make a man or boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain, and that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do and that play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. This would help him understand why constructing artificial flowers is work, while climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement.



Certainly one of the greatest comedies of the English language was written by an Irishman, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde. But like his countryman George Bernard Shaw, he drew his inspiration not from Ireland but from English society. From «The Importance of Being Earnest» here is the famous tea party scene between two young ladies, Cecily and Gwendolen, who discover they are engaged to be married to the same young man. (Garden of the Manor House - July) (Enter Merriman, the butler)

Merriman: A Miss Fairfax has just called to see Mr Worthing. On very important business, Miss Fairfax states.

Cecily: Isn't Mr Worthing in his library?

Merriman: Mr Worthing went over in the direction of the Rectory some time ago.

Cecily: Pray ask the lady to come out here: Mr.Worthing is sure to be back soon. And you can bring tea.

Merriman: yes, Niss. (goes out)

Cecily: Miss Fairfax! I suppose one of the many good elderly women who are associated with Uncle Jack in some of his philanthropic work in London. I don't quite like women who are interested in philanthropic work. I think it is so forward of them.

(Enter Merriman)

Merriman: Miss Fairfax.

(Enter Gwendolen. Exit Merriman)

Cecilys: Pray let me introduce myself to you My name is Cecily Cardew.

Gwendolen: Cecily Cardew? What a very sweet name! Something tells me that we are going to be great friends. I like you already more than I can say. My first impression of people is never wrong.

Cecily: How nice of you to like me so much after we have known each other such a comparatively short time. Pray sit down.

Gwendolen: I may call you Cecily may I not? Cecil's With pleasure!

Gwendolen: And you will always call me Gwendolen, won't you? Cecil's If you wish.

Gwendolen: Then that is all quite settled, is it not? Cecil's I hope so. Gwendolen! Perhaps this might be a favourable opportunity for my mentioning who I am. My father is Lord Bracknell. You have never heard of papa, I suppose? Cecil's I don't think so.

Gwendolen: Outside the family circle papa, I am glad to say is entirely unknown. I think that is quite as it should be. The home seems to me to be the proper sphere for the man. And certainly once a man begins to neglect his domestic duties he becomes painfully effeminate, does he not? And I don't like that. It makes men so very attractive. Cecily, mamma, whose views on education are remarkably strict, has brought me up to be extremely shortsighted, it is part of her system, so do you mind my looking at you through my glasses?

Cecily: Oh! not at all, Gwendolen. I am very fond of being looked at.

Gwendolen: (after examining Cecily carefully through a lorgnette) you are here on a short visit, I suppose.

Cecily: Oh no! I live here.

Gwendolen: Really? Your mother, no doubt, or some female relative of advanced years resides here also?

Cecily: Oh no! I have no mother, nor, in fact, any relations.

Gwendolen: Indeed?

Cecily: My dear guardian, with the assistance of Miss Prism, has the arduous task of looking after me.

Gwendolen: Your guardian?

Cecily: Yes, I am Mr Worthing' s ward.

Gwendolen: Oh! It is strange he never mentioned to me that he had a ward. How secretive of him! He grows more interesting hourly. I am not sure, however, that the news inspires me with feelings of unmixed delight. I am very fond of you, Cecily; I have liked you ever since I met you! But I am bound to state that now I know that you are Mr Worthing's ward, I cannot help expressing a wish you were - well, just a little older than you seem to be - and not quite so very alluring in appearance. In fact, if I may speak candidly.

Cecily: Pray do! I think whenever one has anything unpleasant to say one should always be quite candid.

Gwendolen: Well, to speak with perfect candour, Cecily, I wish that you were fully forty-two, and more than usually plain for your age. Ernest has a strong upright nature. He is the very soul of truth and honour. Disloyalty would be as impossible to him as deception. But even men of the noblest possible

moral character are extremely susceptible to the influence of the physical charms of others. Modern, no less than Ancient History, supplies us with many most painful examples of what I refer to. If it were not so, indeed, History would be quite unreadable.

Cecily: I beg your pardon, Gwendolen, did you say Ernest?

Gwendolen: Yes.

Cecily: Oh, but it is not Mr Ernest Worthing who is my guardian. It is his brother - his elder brother.

Gwendolen: Ernest never mentioned to me that he had a brother.

Cecily: I am sorry to say they have not been on good terms for a long time.

Gwendolen: Ah! That accounts for it. And now that I think of it I have never heard any man mention his brother. The subject seems distasteful to most men. Cecily, you have lifted a load from my mind. I was growing almost anxious. It would have been terrible if any cloud had come across a friendship like ours, would it not? Of course you are quite, quite sure that it is not Mr Ernest Worthing who is your guardian?

Cecily: Quite sure. In fact, I am going to be his.

Gwendolen: I beg your pardon?

Cecily: Dearest Gwendolen, there is no reason why I should sake a secret of it to you. Our little country newspaper is sure to chronicle the fact next week. Mr Ernest Worthing and I are engaged to be married.

Gwendolen: My darling Cecily, I think there must be some slight error. Mr Ernest Worthing is engaged to me. The announcement will appear in the «Morning Post» on Saturday at the latest.

Cecily: I am afraid you must be under some misconception. Ernest proposed to me exactly ten minutes ago. (shows diary) It's here in my diary.

Gwendolen: (examines diary through her lorgnette carefully) It is very curious, for he asked me to be his wife yesterday afternoon at 5.30, If you would care to verify the incident, pray do so. (produces diary of her own) I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. I am sorry, dear Cecily, if this is any disappointment to you, but I am afraid I have the prior claim.

Cecily: It would distress me more than I can tell you, dear

Gwendolen: if it caused you any mental or physical anguish, but I feel bound to point out that since Ernest proposed to you he clearly has changed his mind.

Gwendolen: If he poor fellow has been entrapped into any foolish promise I shall consider it my duty to rescue him at once, and with a firm hand.

Cecily: Whatever unfortunate entanglement my dear boy may have got into, I will never reproach him with it after we are married.

Gwendolen: Do you allude to me, Miss Cardew, as an entanglement? You are presumptuous. On an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one's mind. It becomes a pleasure.

Cecily: Do you suggest, Miss Fairfax, that I entrapped Ernest into an engagement? How dare you? This is no time for wearing the shallow mask of manners. When I see a spade I call it a spade.

Gwendolen: I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.

(Enter Merriman, carrying tea on a tray)

Merriman: Shall I lay the tray here as usual, Miss?

Cecily: Yes, as usual.

Gwendolen: Are there many interesting walks in the vicinity, Miss Cardew?

Cecily: Oh, yes! a great many. Prom the top of one of the hills quite close one can see five countries.

Gwendolen: Five countries! I don't think I should like that; I hate crowds.

Cecily: I suppose that is why you live in town. May I offer you some tea, Miss Fairfax?

Gwendolen: Thank you. Detestable girl! But I require tea!

Cecily: Sugar?

Gwendolen: No, thank you. Sugar is not fashionable any more. (Cecily looks angrily at her, takes up the tongs and puts four lumps of sugar into the cup)

Cecily: Cake or bread and butter?

Gwendolen: Bread and butter, please. Cake is rarely seen in the best houses nowadays.

Cecily: (cuts a very large slice of cake and puts it on the tray)

Hand that to Miss Fairfax.

(Merriman  does  so.   Gwendolen  drinks  the  tea  and  makes  a grimace, puts down cup at once, reaches out her hand to the bread and butter, looks at it, and finds it is cake)

Gwendolen: You filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked most distinctly for bread and butter,   you have given me cake. I am known for the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary sweetness of my nature, but I warm you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far.

Cecily:   To   save  my  poor,   innocent,   trusting  boy   from  the machination of any other girl! There are no lengths to which I would not go.

Gwendolen: From the moment I saw you I distrusted you. I felt that you were false and deceitful. I am never deceived in such matters. My first impressions of people are invariably right.

Cecily: It seems to me, Miss Fairfax that I am trespassing on your valuable time. No doubt you have many other calls of a similar character to make in the neighborhood.



Just before the turn of the century, Jerome K. Jerome had his most successful novel published, and it has become a comic classic, still avidly read today all over the world, and in many other languages. Here is a passage from «Three Men in a Boat», in its original language:

I knew a young man once, he was a most conscientious fellow and, when he took to fly-fishing, he determined never to exaggerate his hauls by more than twenty-five per cent.

«When I have caught forty fish,» said he, «then I will tell people that I have caught fifty, and so on. But I will not lie any more than that, because it is sinful to lie.»

But the twenty-five per cent plan did not work well at all. He never was able to use it. The greatest number of fifth, he ever caught in one day was three, and you can't add twenty-five per cent to three - at least, not in fish. So he increased his percentage to thirty-three and a third, but that, again, was awkward, when he had only caught one or two.

So eventually he made one final arrangement with himself, which he has religiously held to ever since, and that was to count each fish that he caught as ten, and to assume ten to begin with. For example, if he did not catch any fish at all, then he said he caught ten fish - you could never catch less- than ten fish by his system; that was the foundation of it. Then, if by any chance he really did catch one fish, he called it twenty, while two fish would count thirty, forty, and so on.

It is a simple and easily worked plan, and there has been some talk lately of its being made use of by the angling fraternity in general. Indeed, the Committee of the Themes Anglers' Association did recommend its adoption about two years ago, but some of the older members opposed it. They said they would consider the idea if the numbers were doubled, and each fish counted as twenty.


What is English in the 20th century? Like all English institutions, the language is constantly changing, but it never really changes. The words dearest to our heart, like mother, father, and brother, sister, and son, daughter and wife are all Saxon and go back to the very beginnings of the language. And yet we are inventing or taking in new words every minute, when the occasion needs additional vocabulary. Unlike most Continental languages, an academy or an authority that tries to keep the language pure has never controlled English. The strength of English is that it is not, nor has ever been pure. We have accepted some 32,000 foreign words into English, which we call «loan words», and nobody objects -words like vendetta and caricature from Italian, words like cargo and mosquito from Spanish, kindergarten and kitsch from German, rendezvous, chef and cuisine from French, bungalow and jungle from Hindu, typhoon from Chinese, and even from Japanese, the word tycoon meaning someone with an industrial empire - Axel Springer and Gianni Agnelli are good European examples of tycoons.

Technology breeds new words like rabbits breed rabbits... the space age gave us «count down», «blast off» and «splash down». New cults and fashions also produce new vocabularies. The nipples gave us «tune in, turn on and drop out». American slang like O.K. and V.I.P. - very important person - is common all over the world. It was the British journalists who first named the Boeing 747 «the Jumbo Jet» and now it's practically universal. With the help of television films and books, new words in English travel almost instantly all over the globe, whether they originate in Britain, the U.S.A. or other parts of the English Speaking World.

But with all the innovation, with all the slang, dialects, accents and abuses, English remains English the world over. It allows a Japanese to

speak to an Italian, an Arab to do business with a Scandinavian, a Spanish boy to chat up an Australian girl; a Nigerian to talk politics with an Indian, a German to sell Volkswagens to Americans or buy rubber from Malaysians. The language is the English speaking world's greatest mass product -1,200 years in development, and today its most prestigious export.



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