There Are No Words To Describe It

When I claimed that there is no English language, John, our jovial trivial videographer asked, “How do they know English has no original words?”

I responded that, “I know, because I’ve historically researched it for years, especially when I was tracing my ‘Scottish’ roots.  The results of that search are at It’s In The Jeans, if you’re interested.

Let’s start 2000 years ago, when what would later become England, was sparsely settled, and the language was the various dialects of Celtic tribes, like the Iceni, whose Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) was so badly treated by the invading Romans.

The Romans added many words to the mix, including much Latin, but only the officers were “Romans.”  The spear-carriers and their polyglot languages came from all around the Mediterranean.  Traders from far and wide visited the shores also.  Christ’s uncle, Joseph 0f Arimathea, supposedly traded along the western coast, bringing Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Around 900 AD, the Germanic Jutes, Angles, and Saxons arrived, making themselves and their languages at home.  The Jutes somehow just disappeared, but the Angles and Saxons became “Anglo-Saxon.”   The ‘Angle land’ kingdoms became the ‘England’ of today.  Their language mixed with the Romano-Celtic, with additions from Scottish Picts, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Welsh, becoming Old English, a term only applied today.

A hundred years later, William the Conqueror, invaded the island.  He was the king of the French province of Breton, bringing the term ‘Britain’ to the language.  Many new words and terms were added.  Although consumption was in French, production was still in ‘English.’  Veau, boeuf, porc, and poulet were eaten by French nobles as veal, beef, pork, and poultry, while peasants still raised ‘English’ calves, cows, pigs, and chickens.

Norse Vikings, whose language also carried much Germanic influence, began raiding, and settling, adding some of their words to the olio.  The rise of the British Empire brought back words from all over the globe, Asia (Hong Kong), and hundreds from India.

The Kings and Queens of Europe were all inter-related, bringing in words from Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Russia.  The British Royal Family were German Battenbergs until WW I forced them to become English Mountbattens.

As new words were added, old terms fell out of use.  Some old English words are still in dictionaries as archaic.  Shewed and shewn became showed and shown, and thee, thou, thy and thine became you, your and yours.

It’s like trying to nail fog to a tree. There never was (and still isn’t) a time when there was a true English language.  It all came from somewhere else.  It is the tongue of immigrants, traders and conquerors – and a most excellent tool for communication.

Word is, that there will be another, fascinating post here in two days.  I will use these immigrant words to describe how elated I am that you visit.  😀

16 thoughts on “There Are No Words To Describe It

  1. Newbloggycat says:

    Ahh now I know….🧐😅

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rivergirl says:

    Then River bought a feline changing Mountbatten to Mountcatten. And so it goes.
    Interesting stuff language.
    😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    Given the polyglot structure of English it is surprising that there is such a thing as grammar. Unlike most of my classmates I became interested in grammar in high school and it has stuck with me all these years. Is grammar dying? The objective form of who, i.e. whom, appears to be dead on this side of the pond.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So many English expressions even from my parents’ generation are gone too. For example, they used to say “where’s your better half” all the time, but I never hear that expression in Virginia anymore.

    Like

  5. Bill says:

    I liked this. I must have wondered in the back of my mind. I recently FB posted a meme joke about English being a language of theft. Thanks. English has no roots of its own. 🙂

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      Not in the way that most understand it. More like a trailing vine. The Spanish can read of the exploits of el Cid in the original. Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’, written about the same time, requires a translator. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bill says:

        I live in Texas. A few years ago I took Spanish lessons and learned more of the Tex-Mex derivative lingo. If no satisfactory word was available in Spanish, they would change an English word to make it sound Spanish (rolling an “r” and adding an “a” or an “o.” It is interesting stuff. 🙂

        Like

      • Archon's Den says:

        Miss Johnson was a young Yankee schoolmarm who wound up in south Texas teaching, among other things, English as a Second Language to classrooms full of immigrant kids.
        To aid in communication, she learned as much of the Spanish as she could. One day she made a mistake in Spanish construction, and chastised herself by saying, “I am muy estupido.”
        She was heartened when it appeared one of her students rose to defend her. Paco said, “No, no Mizz Johnson! You are lady teacher. You are Muy estupida. 😯

        Liked by 1 person

  6. […] I claimed in my There Are No Words To Describe It post, there is no real English language.  Almost all words beginning with X came here from […]

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  7. Hello from the UK

    English is the language of the angels, it always has been. It’s just that all the bits were carved up and others took bits of it as suited them.

    As we traded we took the bits back, those we like the sound of. Thus we like playing with words, making puns, which we find funny, even if perhaps others don’t.

    I have done my own post on the Kings and queens of England playing with the names and having fun. If you are interested here is a link.

    https://alphaandomegacloud.wordpress.com/2022/03/19/k-is-for-kings/

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

    Like

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