The cradle of English

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Eloy1988, Dec 4, 2006.

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  1. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    Can anyone tell me what zone of England English was born in?
    I would also like to know what region is considered to be the zone in which the "purest" English is spoken.
    Thanks to everybody.
     
  2. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    What exactly, do you mean? Do you consider Old English? Do you start with the Anglo-Saxxon language? (ca. 450)? Or do you want to know about the roots of "modern" English? (I do not understand the term "purest English" - that is why I ask such little stupid questions.)

    Best regards
    Bernd

    PS: About Old English, you can find some information in the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English_language
     
  3. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    I'm talking of modern English, of course.
    As for the other question, every single language has a place where the language is supposed to be spoken best. (I'm not saying that I agree with this statement, but it's common knowledge, and it almost always coincides with the place where the language was born.)
     
  4. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Thank you. This was not clear to me. I wanted to write about the history, but this does not make sense in this case.

    To the other question, the native speakers may answer.

    I can give you only a short statement. Laguage is not static. And there is no "best" as far as I think. There is "appropriate" or "wrong". There may be different kinds of accent and other aspects like dialects.

    Best regards
    Bernd
     
  5. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    Arizona
    American English
    This statement is absolutely ridiculous. It is not "common knowledge" that every language has "best" form -- not English, and especially not your native language.
     
  6. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Please allow me to dissect and reply to this string of....I'm having trouble finding a polite term... Shall we call them misperceptions, just to avoid such infelicitious words as hogwash?

    "Modern English, of course." Of course we need a definition of Modern English. At what date did English become Modern

    "...every single language has a place where the language is supposed to be spoken best." Yes, there are lots of ignorant people running around who believe such a totally absurd thing.
    They should be forced to learn to think. What on earth does
    "Best" mean? To whom? Why? Who judges, by what measure, what makes any language variant "better" than another? The inherent stupidity of thinking about languages and regional forms and dialects in terms of "best" is so obvious that this question should be preserved, encased in a large block of clear crystal, as a monument to intellectual vacuity.

    Moving right along...

    "...it's common knowledge, and it almost always coincides with the place where the language was born." Common knowledge?
    Sure, as common as can be. This is not knowledge, but irrational, uneducated prejudice.

    Languages evolve. Duh! The implication of this supposed "common knowledge" is that older is better. That's foolish.
    By that measure, Canadian French is much "better" than European French, as it has evolved less, and thus is closer to the original, whatever that was. In the Iberian peninsula, we would have to say that Asturo-leonés and Portuguese are "better", as they are closer to vulgar Latin.

    The entire premise for these questions is contorted and illogical.
     
  7. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I know of several cultures where such prejudice exists - recently there was a similar discussion in the German forum. As usual, though, really rational arguments base such claims on, were missing. How would you decide which is finer or purer? How would you decide that the changes that took place over centuries are in any way of higher quality in one region than in another region?
     
  8. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    I don't want to be rude, but this discussion is not about whether one thinks that the statement is true or false. I'm just asking if anybody knows where modern English was born, that is the English spoken from Shakespeare onwards. Moreover, I want to know what is the region that is considered to be the cradle of English, and so the variety on which the current English language is based. This is something OBJECTIVE, guys. English wasn't born in the US nor in Australia.
    Thanks for your understanding.
    If you want to discuss the statement, you are free to start a new thread.
    Thank you.
     
  9. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    There is no region of England which could claim that title to my knowledge, and even if such a region did exist why would the English spoken in the US or any other English speaking country be based on it? There are no normative bodies for the English language :)

    Of course it is. Not subjective at all!

    Good, now by a similar process of deduction we should be able to answer the question!

    What's the point in trying to formulate an answer to a question which makes no sense, and consequently has no meaningful answer? Why should I scrub my armpits with the white cliffs of cheese every 5th day of febuary? HMM?

    No, Thank you! :)
     
  10. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    Arizona
    American English
    In order to tell you where "English" started, I would have to agree with your statement that there is a "cradle" of English and that such a geographic location would correspond with a "best" form of English. Since your question is illogical and subjective, I cannot provide you with a logical and objective answer.

    edit: my post says the same thing as Benjy's, but more dully. :D
     
  11. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    uel, it is tru dat der is nou normatif for inglix, sou, luk, meibi, dis is de best inglish?
    it be tru dat inglish mast bi da interneixonal lenguich, evry singel zing is balid!!!
     
  12. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    If, leaving out the nonsensical notions of "best", your only interest is about the geography in which English arose, then the question is a research topic, and, as such, is not appropriate to this forum.

    There is a message on the forum menu page that is titled

    Cultural Discussions Guidelines - READ BEFORE POSTING!


    Here is a pertinent excerpt:

    Any search engine should give you thousands of references that describe the history of the language, including the geographical references you are seeking.
     
  13. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Impressive. You do love your "common knowledge".

    Here are more examples of that most instructive branch of linguistic science:


    The best quesadas pasiegas are made in La Montaña.

    The best Maine lobsters are caught off the coast of Maine.

    The best Brazialian vatapá comes from Brazil.

    Now, doesn't it feel good to be so usefully enlightened?

    click
     
  14. invictaspirit Senior Member

    Kent, SE England
    English English
    Within the United Kindom the 'best' English (in as much as there is still a prestige variant) is not confined to a zone, but a type of person. RP or 'BBC English' is still regarded as the most prestigious way of speaking English and is spoken by (generally) the very well-educated, important, or aristocratic.

    As RP is itself a fake accent (supposedly dreamed up and formulated in the 1800s) it has no geographic base. Every single square cm of the UK has a regional accent that differs from RP.

    As for which zone English was born in...where does one start? Kent? (Kent was the first Saxon kingdom and therefore the first region where Old English/Saxon became the lingua franca.)

    By Shakespeare's time, everyone was speaking something not too distant from Modern English. I doubt one can identify a region where modern English began. The whole point of the modernisation was the slow filtering of the language across the country until it more or less organically became the language we speak today.
     
  15. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    Well, at last someone who sheds some light on the issue. Thank you so much, Invictaspirit, you are really invincible. ;)
    Could you also tell me whether the Oxford accent, which is where one of the most prestigious universities is, is rhotic? I heard it is.
    Thank you afresh.
     
  16. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    source
     
  17. John-Paul Senior Member

    Voorhees, NJ USA
    The Netherlands
    I think you can speak of the literal cradle of Christianity, not of the cradle of the English language unless you believe languages were created by intelligent design. The English language is a bastard language. There were the Angeln and the Saxons who moved to the island from Germany, the Kelts already lived there and the Frisian were all over at the time. (My grandmother spoke Frisian which is very similar to English.) Then the roman expansian came which added a whole bunch of new words. Oddly, out of this strange mixture which gave us Beowulf, modern English appeared. In the second half of the 15th century this new thing exploded and brought us Shakespeare, Hakluyt and Ben Johnson. The rest as they say is history.
     
  18. konungursvia Banned

    Toronto
    Canada (English)
    Asking where a language is born is like askiing where a family originated. Sometimes there is an answer, but if you look deeper, it is not meaningful. Anyhow, you are looking for the answer "Oxford." But like almost everyone else who has answered the thread, I disagree with the premise that there is an answer. History is written by victors, and the places perceived as the most "correct" in speech are usually simply the ones who conquered their neighouring regions through military might, and then imposed their own tongue. So, I think, if you were a person with a good understanding of philology, you wouldn't ask the question at all.
     
  19. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    I think English lacks an authority on the language unlike many other languages
    When a foreigner is learning English, he doesn't know what dictionary to buy, what is correct and what is not.
    As a student of Philology, I can tell even native speakers don't even know how to punctuate or whether a construction is correct or not. It also happens with vocabulary. A word enters the dictionary even though it is irrational. This doesn't happen with Spanish. Every single Spanish-speaking country (the US and the Philippines are of course included) has an academy. They contribute to the work that the RAE, the central Spanish Academy does. This is not something "NGOic", it's something official. The academy issues official dictionaries of lexicon, ortography, grammar and so on so forth, so, if anybody has any doubt, he just knows where to go.
    That's what we call a normativized language. Draw your own conclusions, but thanks to this body, all Spanish-speaking people can understand each other and there is only one correct spelling, which is the basis of a united language. I don't know if anyone wants a fragmented and split English, maybe there are some hiden interests.
     
  20. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    That is almost as funny as the notion of a "best" form of a language.

    Dictionaries record terms in use, once these have become well established. Dictionaries are not arbiters of what does and does not exist in a language.


    Sorrowful English, without any association of academies of the language, suffers from the general ability of hundreds of millions of native speakers in different parts of the world to easily understand one another in both written and spoken forms of their common language. Spelling variations, while relatively few in number, do exist. They seem to cause no particular difficulties.
     
  21. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Ah! The reason for this thread was to bash the "come-as-you-are" - no Academy English language (at least that's how you seem to perceive it ;) !

    Why is it bad that "English lacks an authority on the language" (which I take it to mean a body of people deciding what is right and what is wrong)? Even from the perpective of a non-English speaker learning the language?

    I've managed to study English even though there isn't one and I didn't find it all that hard really. True, I prefer to write (and pronounce really) colour i.e. but I don't think that the fact that my boyfriend writes (and pronounces) color hinders our mutual comprehension nor do the endless debates about how to pronounce "sword".

    Can you give us an example of an irrational word?

    Greek has no Academy either (I am trying to insert a CD note here :p ) and we manage to do just fine for the last thousands of years. There are arguments (often heated but then we ARE Greeks) but the language plows forward with and despite them.

    I must say that the conspiracy theory was very amusing. Do you really believe that the differences between regional types of English are so big and so sinister?
     
  22. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    Arizona
    American English
    You're assuming that when a foreigner is learning Spanish, he knows what dictionary to buy, what is correct and what is not. That is not the case with either language.

    You should look at these previous threads:
    ¿Para qué sirve una frase gramaticalmente correcta?
    Speaking like a native, or speaking correctly?
    Should we accept in English any kind of talk or stick to rules to speak correctly?
     
  23. konungursvia Banned

    Toronto
    Canada (English)
    I understand the point about the "academies" but these are rather political, and generally not effective. Ronsard and Du Bellay tried to standardize a new form of French with their "Défense et illustration" but failed. The Académie Française tried to impose all sorts of substitutes for English load words such as "Disc compact" for CD (now pronounced cédé in French), but failed. The Quebec Office de la langue française also tried a huge long list of such substitutes, but failed. The AF also tried to introduce modern spelling into French in the early nineties, but the entire French-speaking world has all but ignored the new spellings.

    Since the Collins Dictionary did for the first time create the sense that some spellings in English were correct and others not, you are right that there must exist some authority. For English, it is the Oxford English Dictionary in the UK and elsewhere, but for many Americans, the Webster's Dictionary is the main authority. These days, all good dictionaries also recognize alternate and regional spellings. English is very democratic, and doesn't need and official academy. They don't work, so we don't want to pay for them.
     
  24. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    Of course it is. In Spanish, what is correct shouldn't be transgressed. It is a matter of speaking well, for Spanish-speaking people, speaking well has always been regarded as prestigious, so everybody obeys the RAE.
    I'm afraid the RAE hasn't failed, but on the contrary, it has had a roaring success.
     
  25. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I admire the RAE and its dictionary. I keep my three volumes of the Diccionario de Autoridades by my desk, and consult the current on-line edition constantly. But to say "...so everybody obeys the RAE." is worse than absurd. I would venture to guess that the majority of Spanish speakers worldwide have never seen, much less consulted, it.

    The RAE as an institution is prescriptivist in terms of language, while the dictionary can't seem to decide if it is descriptivist or prescriptivist.

    Deciding which dictionary to buy should be a function of the use to which one expects to put a dictionary. In English, we have many varieties, for many purposes.

    These links may help:

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=14801


    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=136975

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=48858


    The uniform obediance of rules in Spanish is a myth. So many people break so many rules so much of the time that the RAE and its correspondent academies felt the need to publish the

    DICCIONARIO PANHISPÁNICO DE DUDAS:
     
  26. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Elroy1988 what exactly are you saying here? And what is your point?
     
  27. invictaspirit Senior Member

    Kent, SE England
    English English
    This tired old argument is just as silly as the just as commonly-heard assertion that Spanish and Italian are limited, boring, over-technical, dry languages with few really interesting turns of phrase and a poverty of nuance.

    I believe neither.

    English is the true European language, the perfect bastard-language that is the bridge over which Germanic and Latin influences criss-cross. I don't much mind that it has no Academy. And I disagree profoundly with you that Spanish speakers inhabit a realm of perfect adherence to and agreement on language rules. It seems to me, having lived in Madrid and travelled very widely in Latin America, that Spanish is just as varied in use, and is sometimes spoken just as badly, as is any other world language.

    Do you assume other posters are unaware of how people speak in Vallecas, Huelva, Buenos Aires, Arica and Oaxaca?

    It also seems to me that Spanish in everyday use is just as democratic, functional and practical as English. I have heard and read Spanish which would make hair curl at RAE. :)
     
  28. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Hauts-de-Seine, France
    English (Ireland)
    So can all English-speaking people.

    While spelling might differ a little i.e. labour/labor, they're still the same words and hardly incomprehensible to another English speaker.

    Anyway to answer your first question, I guess Modern English was born in London seeing as that was the dialect on which the language was standardized.
     
  29. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    "Common knowledge" frequently turns out - upon inspection - to be misinformed romour.

    It used to be said that the 'best' English was spoken in Dublin - but that migth have been a result of no-one wanting to plump for any region of England, Scotland or Wales.
    One thing is for certain, no part of Dublin had any part in the early childhood of English - not as a cradle, a pushchair nor as a nursing chair.
    We have, over the years, done such things to the language as to possibly qualify as its playground in adolescence - James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, Roddy Doyle and many others.
     
  30. invictaspirit Senior Member

    Kent, SE England
    English English
    Beautiful analogy!
     
  31. LouisaB Senior Member

    English, UK
    Hi, Eloy,

    I'm afraid there's no easy answer to this question (as you'll possibly have gathered!) but it seems quite a natural one for a non-native speaker to ask. Resorting to anecdotal evidence for a moment, I have a friend who did Oriental Studies at University, and was devastated to discover the Chinese he had so painstakingly learned over three years was considered in Hong Kong to be of a very base and even 'peasant' nature, not fit to be used in business. He should (apparently) have studied Mandarin instead... On the other side of the coin, we have reports from SOE during the war, that British agents learned such perfectly textbook French they were instantly identifiable when trying to operate in regions with a dominant local dialect.

    England is no different, in that it has a number of regional dialects, where vocabulary as well as accent can differ significantly. However, there is no real perception of what is 'purest' or 'best' - except, as you've heard, the value attributed to so-called RP. I am not an expert in philology, so my answer is of limited value, but I did at least study Old English (Anglo-Saxon), Middle English, and Modern English at Oxford, so I can at least have a feeble stab at it.

    'Modern English' officially begins with Chaucer (!!! Honest!) By this time, the language has indeed become the 'bastard' it is today, being liberally peppered with borrowings from the languages of the many people who conquered us in the past - especially Norse from the Vikings, Latin (and interestingly Greek) from the Romans, and most importantly French from the Normans. For this reason, in England the 'purest' English is far from being the easiest for most people to understand, and is probably the furthest away from RP. The modern languages closest to Old English are indeed the Gaelic of both Scotland and Ireland, and traces of it can also be found in most regions from the Midlands on upwards to the far North. There are far more 'Anglo Saxon' words in current use north of Leicester than there are in the south, but many of these are no longer understood in London.

    Ironically, the supposedly 'best' English (and I'm sure I don't need to point out I'm only referring to a common perception here, as I would no more make such judgements on a language than anyone else in this forum) is actually the least pure. This is probably natural, considering that our 'foreign borrowings' always (by definition) were used more by the 'top people', who were the invaders. One example of this: in England, we have two words for 'sheep' - the Anglo Saxon 'sheep', which is only ever used of the animal you see in a field, and the French 'mouton', here written as 'mutton', and only ever used to describe the animal you see on a plate. The reason for the distinction is that a nobleman would only ever notice a sheep when he/she was eating it, whereas the peasant would have to look after the animal itself.

    Thus words of French, Latin and Greek origin are considered (as a massive generalisation) higher register than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. When we say 'Anglo Saxon words' here, we normally mean 'four-letter words' of the kind you can imagine.... Thus, the highest register English is heavily influenced by these other languages, which is reflected in its pronunciation as well as its vocabulary. For instance, it's considered 'higher register' to use the soft French 'g' and long 'a' when appropriate, so that the Queen would say 'garage' with a soft second 'g' and a long second 'a', whereas in Yorkshire (where my family come from) we'd say something that sounded more like 'garridge'.

    The 'Oxford accent' is, I suspect, a myth. The local accent is no more rhotic than any other I know, and would not be considered especially 'good' English. I think what is really meant by this is the accent associated with those who have been to Oxford (or Cambridge) universities, traditionally a bastion of the upper-middle class and a natural destination for those who have been to the more exclusive public schools. Thankfully this is no longer so (or I would not have been there!) but the stereotype persists, that highest register English is most associated with this area.

    Apologies for such a long ramble. In the end, I can't really answer your question at all, except to say that:
    1) I can't think of a dictionary that would be unreliable in teaching you good, easily understood English
    2) No region is really considered to speak better English than another, but if you want to speak in a way that the most snobby among us would recognise as being 'higher' in some sense, then follow the BBC - on radio, not television. The accent of West London (but NOT East London) is perhaps the closest to this in terms of region.
    3) If in doubt, go for the 'least pure' - ie the English that owes most to French or Latin. American English, however (probably simply because of its association with popular cinema) has not the same kudos.

    I'm sorry, I know there are a lot of generalisations in here, but it is a very general question. At least I've had a go!

    Louisa
     
  32. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    Arizona
    American English
    I think you were responding to me here, so I'll reply as someone who learned Spanish as a teenager. Which is the correct word for a swimming pool: alberca or piscina? Which one does everyone always use?

    Your elitist attitude grows tiresome.
     
  33. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    Probably the whole of Southern England, particularly the London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle.
     
  34. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
     
  35. ernest_

    ernest_ Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Catalan, Spain
    Sorry mate, but I think you've lost the plot here.

    The RAE has as much authority over the Spanish language as the Queen of England has over the English language. That is to say, none at all. I tell you, according to the RAE the correct spelling of 'whisky' is 'güisqui'. Do you know anybody that uses this spelling? I don't. People laugh at it.
     
  36. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    You can learn what some people sometimes call "the Queen's English" and you can take that attitude to Australia or America and see how far it gets you. If you intend to learn one corner of a language and dare to call that modicum the "best," be prepared to get a harsh reception anywhere they don't speak that form of English. It's rather offensive. Imagine if I learned Portuguese and went to Spain to say that they all spoke the modern derivation of Latin completely wrong. How might people react?
     
  37. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Every single language? All 6,000+ of them? Where could I find a list of every language and the region in which it is allegedly spoken best?

    I'll have you know that no version of spoken Arabic - and there are hundreds - is considered better than any other. We have a standard version of the language that is the same across the entire Arab-speaking world, and the dialects are all viewed as tantamount to each other. While standard Arabic is arguably more prestigious than colloquial Arabic (it is reserved for very formal contexts), it does not correspond to a particular region - so at least one of the top ten most spoken languages in the world definitively disproves your claim that every single language is spoken in a particular region (its cradle?) that boasts a superior variety of that language.
    I would ask everyone who believed - or had even ever heard of - this crazy claim to raise his hand.

    Where was German born?
    The above statements are fundamentally contradictory. In the first, you sarcastically imply that there are obviously rules and standards to follow when writing and speaking English, and in the second, you paint English as an anarchic language in which "everything goes" and even native speakers are at a loss as to how to use this language correctly.

    If English had no rules, I would not be able to legitimately make the following corrections to your text:
    How come the vast majority of English speakers can understand each other despite the absence of a prescriptive Academy of the English Language?
    How come many dialects of Arabic are not mutually intelligible even though the spelling is standardized?
    If English is "fragmented" because of dialectal differences, then so is Spanish.
    The differences in English were not deliberately put in place by some underground cabal of pseudo-linguists attempting to wreak havoc in the English-speaking world by destroying unity and impeding understanding. Rather, they reflect the natural development and evolution of language, a phenomenon you seem to underestimate or dismiss and one I would have personally assumed was familiar to most educated people - not least to students of philology.

    Your conspiracy theory is so absurd I have a hard time believing that you were being serious.

    You seem to be under the grossly false impression that the absense of a body like the RAE necessarily means that there is no correct way to speak a language. If you truly believe this, why do you bother with English grammar books (which you must have used judging from your English)?

    The RAE, like any other academy of a language, tries to prescribe rules for language use, but reality shows that in practice people continue to use their native languages in exactly the same way that they would have used them without such an academy. They may consult the academy if they have to submit a formal paper and need to adhere to these rules to appease a rabid prescriptivist - but other than that such academies hardly dictate real usage.

    The standard Arabic language has remained relatively unchanged over the years, but that has not prevented various dialects from deviating from it, developing, and indeed flourishing. Language is constantly changing and no prescriptive academy is going to thwart that process. On the contrary, these academies repeatedly find themselves having to modify their own rules to reflect usage, defeating the purpose of having the academies in the first place.
    "Shouldn't" is right. "Shouldn't" according to a unrealistic body of prescriptivists.
    Oh, and speakers of other languages are content with lousy, inarticulate speech?
    What has it succeeded in doing? What advantage does the Spanish language have as opposed to other languages with no such academy?

    Are you aware that composition and speech courses are extremely common in the United States?
    Are you aware that in American schools "spelling" is a school subject?

    I hope my comments open your eyes to the reality that Spanish behaves just like any other language - and the RAE has done little to change that. It would be sad if you continued your pursuit of philology with such a distorted image of reality.
     
  38. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    If the British agents had all be native speakers of French, they would have had the same difficulty.

    Compare the situation in England. Could a Scouse go unremarked in Newcastle? A Cockney in Cardiff?
     
  39. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    So what you're saying is that the Scouse and the Cockney are running secret agent missions to promote their hidden interests to keep English having distinct dialects?? PM me if you want to hear my theory about how the RAE is really a secret paramilitary organization dedicated to the eventual promulgation of their own existence as a paramilitary organization. As yet, they have clearly failed...but any day now...
     
  40. Flérida Member

    Spanish - Spain
    XDDD I'm afraid you should go out and talk to people (outside university is better if you can do so).

    I'm Spanish and if you just watch Spanish TV once a week you can see how people speaks Spanish and their "genuine" interest in speaking well... any resemblance to RAE is coincidental XD
     
  41. LouisaB Senior Member

    English, UK
    Absolutely not, Brioche - that's exactly my point :) .There are regional differences in English, as well as with many other languages, so it's quite natural for a non-native to want to know the kind of English they're learning, and whether it's going to be acceptable everywhere. If they learnt English from a Cockney in order to take up a job in Cardiff, they would indeed be highly noticeable! But since Cardiff is in Wales, perhaps the Scouse in Newcastle is the better example..

    (Actually, I'm a little suspicious of the SOE and 'perfect textbook' English story. If they were anything like me, I suspect some of the agents spoke with such atrociously British accents they'd have stood out anywhere...:D)

    But eloy's conspiracy theory is obviously something I can't take seriously. Perhaps (as s/he's not a native speaker) that's not exactly what he meant by 'hidden interests'? It's true enough to say that many regions of England are parochially proud of their own brand of the language, and would fiercely resist any attempt to standardise it. I would resist it myself! It's also true that over time the positions have become to some extent polarised in politics - the far Right being associated with RP and 'Oxbridge English' as representing the privileged classes, and the far Left being associated with regional dialect, possibly because of the birth of the Labour Movement in the mining industries of Wales and Yorkshire, and also because the Left is seen as representing the right of individuals outside the centre of power in Westminster to have a 'voice'. It may be this is all eloy means - and as a non-native speaker, we're bound by the rules of the forum to give him the benefit of the doubt before we attack.

    However, if s/he does mean to say there's a conspiracy to keep English disparate, then I'm bound to agree with Hockey13 and everyone else. The nicest thing I can say about that theory is that it's rubbish.
     
  42. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    Well, I'm going to answer some questions.
    Both "alberca" and "piscina" are correct for two reasons. The first one is because "alberca" is now a word only used in Mexico but understood in Spain because it IS a Spanish word which was brought to the New World. The second one is very simple: it is in the RAE dictionary.
    Well, I don't know, Ernest, if you write it wrong, but if the RAE says it is "güisqui" I'll write "güisqui" and not let's say "whyski" because some people think it's cooler and more fashionable. I'm sure that you, as a native of Catalan, are aware of the amazingly crazy puritanism that some freaks try to impose over Catalan, so I'd like to know whether you write nyu instead of ñu. I'm sure you do, don't you?
    Well, in Spanish, although there is a region where people are thought to speak best, with a wider range of vocabulary, I mean, there is no distinction as the absurd Londonian one. I find it amazing that there are different accents within 6 kilometers. I think it's time for you guys to set up an Academy. Moreover, don't be hypocritical. Whether in some languages you are supposed to speak best according to your place of origin, in English, it hinges on your social class (cf. Pygmalion, Martin Eden, and so AND so forth). Amazingly democratic. No matter whether you are from the Australian outback. If you are a millionaire, you'll try to mimic RP. This doesn't happen in such an accentuate way in Spanish. The purity in Spanish is not based on the accent but on the person's vocabulary and grammar. So it's not important if you have "seseo" as long as you don't say "anglicismos" or make any other mistakes. I think this is far more democratic.
     
  43. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    Eh?

    Because that will solve all our "problems" overnight. If we had an academy dictionary to tell me that not using a back a when I pronouce the word grass or bath was wrong and not just a regional thing then I would change right away, along with the rest of the West Midlands. Everyone would stop using words that were not included in the dictionary and would treat its contents as sacrosanct.

    EH? No one has ever told me that because of my background or place of birth that I was or wasn't allowed to say anything. I was born in Truro, therefore by your logic any accent other than a Cornish one would be frowned upon by my peers. My dad was an orphan from wolverhampton so I guess I should have an accent which relects my working class roots or something.

    You make it sound as though the whole anglophone world is homogenous and trapped in some archaic class system, that sharp stratification exists between all layers of society and that mobilty within them is impossible.

    How so? In what way is a prescriptivist body deciding what's right or wrong people power? Don't you think that a wider vocab is due in large part to education and thus reserved to those who have access to it? How is that democratic? Doesn't word power also vary according to intelligence? Democracy?

    That's so lazy as to not even merit a proper rebuttal.
     
  44. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    So nice to see that some of the most recent questions have been deemed worthy of a reply. What about the thread topic questions? They have been declared to be nonsense, based on false premises, illogical, and ridiculous. That led to a diversion into the theoretical merits of an academy for the regulation of language. That, in turn, has provoked some spoutings about what is more democratic. At this rate, we will soon follow the wandering theme into dietary habits as a function of spelling conventions.

    These were the topics that were presented by the thread starter, who, as one may detect below, has chosen to abandon them in favor of things scarcely related:

    We still await a definition of "purest". Purity of logic would be refreshing, as a companion piece to purity of emotional attachment to erroneous suppostions.

    RP didn't come into existence until centuries after English evolved into "Modern English". Therefore, any attempt to link RP to an earlier, "purer" form of the language is suspect, at best.
     
  45. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    May I ask why? It's their language you know. If tomorrow people, in any part where they speak English as a native language, decide en mass to always pronounce "a" as in "space" why would that be wrong?

    You sure about it? Bill Gates talks with the RP pronunciation for instance?

    Are you sure you know what democracy is all about? We have regional dialects and/or pronunciations around here too. I never considered the fact that I can tell if someone is from Macedonia, or Crete or the Ionian islands i.e. undemocratic nor did I feel somehow bad or anything that when visiting there people could tell I am not a local.
     
  46. Eloy1988

    Eloy1988 Senior Member

    Barcelona, España.
    España/español
    Have you read what I said, Ireney?
    I precisely stated that in Spanish we don't discriminate against anybody for their accent!!!
    By the way, in Macedonia they speak Macedonian, Greek is spoken in the Greek region of Macedonia.

    Having a wider range of vocabulary is not only due to education, Benjy. Some Spanish regions have a sort of pure vocabulary that is not learnt at school and which is unknown by other educated speakers of other regions. That's what I'm referring to when I am talking about the purity of the language of some regions.
     
  47. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    Is, then, the Greek region of Macedonia an exclave and not actually in Macedonia? Otherwise there are some "they" in Macedonia who do not speak Macedonian.
     
  48. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    By the way, the RAE doesn't have, as far as I know, a textbook that teaches one how to read English, even pure English, while ignoring context. Not only was it clear from the context of Ireney's post which part of Greece she was speaking of, but in English, pure or colloquial, Macedonia is not the name of the country you seem to be confusing with a similarly but distinctly named region of a country. It is "Republic of Macedonia".

    Is ignorance of context a castizo trait sanctioned by the RAE?
    I don't think so.

    So tell us, please, what does "pure" mean in terms of language? So far you have offered only this:

    Have you just pointed to "regionalism"? Just for your information, regionalisms are not synonymous with linguistic purity in English.
     
  49. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    This is pretty much what I was searching for almost at the beginning of this thread. When somebody is claiming that this or that version of a language is more correct or pure than another one, I always ask for logical criteria by simply asking: "Why?"

    A good try might be - which version/accent/dialect/sociolect is generally understood, but it usually turns out that people can speak different dialects and they still understand each other perfectly. Even minor regional differences in vocabulary and grammar are not always important. (Employees of different companies in the same city also often have different meanings to the same words.)

    So the question is still unanswered.

    But one big difference between English and languages like Italian, Castellano/Spanish and High German, is that it has gone through a natural development in a pretty large geographical area. The other three have a history of being spread by means of authority - governments introducing it a the official language, the church spreading the WORD, printed in the regional language of the area where the Bible was translated and printed, etc. Thus these languages were spread into areas that already had highly developed cultures and their own regional languages.

    That, of course makes it easier for Spanish-, Italian-, and German-speaking people to believe they could put their finger on one version of the language and say, this is it! Usually they put their finger on a modern day version of the language which differs just as much from the "original" version from "Dante ..." or the Gutenberg Bible as all the other modern day dialects, that may or may not be generally understood in a society.
     
  50. John-Paul Senior Member

    Voorhees, NJ USA
    The Netherlands
    I think purity discussions are scary because it implicates that one party is more pure than other parties, just like the pure-bloods and the mudbloods in Harry Potter. What is the point of creating a standard for something we all use and abuse other than create differences between people?
     
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