English culture, myths and assignments

J van de Wetering, s1026220

Origin of language

The origin of language, to give an answer to such a question we first need to understand what language is. One simple definition of language is that language consist out of sounds and signs in which an organism communicates with another. In my personal opinion, the simplest definition is the only correct one. It rather arrogant to state that language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication (Wikipedia-Language, 2014).  Leaving the human part of the sentence would be better; some organisms have very complex systems of communicating as well. For this very reason the origin of language is hard to find, even the origin of language in the human species is a topic of discussion for several centuries (Wikipedia-Origin, 2014).

"I cannot doubt that language owes its origin to the imitation and modification, aided by signs and gestures, of various natural sounds, the voices of other animals, and man’s own instinctive cries." (Darwin, 1871)

Therefore, this page will focus on the origin of the English language.  English is primarily a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects, brought to Britain by Germanic invaders and/or settlers from the places which are now called North West Germany and the Netherlands. It uses a vocabulary unlike other European languages of the same era. A large portion of the modern English vocabulary came from the Anglo-Norman languages (Wikipedia-English, 2014).

The modern English underwent extensive sound changes during the 1400s. The first dictionary of the English language was the first full feature English dictionary and was published in 1755 (Wikipedia-Dictionary, 2014).

Thought language

First, there are two kinds of people, visual and word thinkers, 30% of the population thinks solely visual whereas 25% thinks exclusively in words and 45% uses both. You do think in language and this language consists of pictures, words and sounds.

Speaking your native language goes faster than thinking; certainly in some cases where some just blabber stuff out without thinking about it. When it comes to a foreign language, you will think faster than you can speak. This is even truer for someone who is trying to master the foreign language.

Dreams

 

In dreams you talk, you see pictures and you hear sounds. You can thus conclude that we also dream languages. Dreaming a foreign language can help you gain your competence in that language. Even deaf people dream about signs, which are also part of a language. When blind people dream, they can hear sounds, thus also dream and use language.

 

References

Wikipedia-Dictionary. (2014, July 14). Dictionary of the English language. Opgeroepen op July 18, 2014, van Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictionary_of_the_English_Language

 

Wikipedia-English. (2014, July 16). History of the English language. Opgeroepen op July 18, 2014, van Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_English_language

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