Sunday, 15 November 2015

orthograph or parts of speech

The fantastic Æon magazine has a very fine retrospective essay on the singular strangeness of the English language that hits all the big, perplexing points for this, the only language that subjects its young and impressionable speakers to the rigours of spelling-bees (French students have dictation contests, which seems a more practical skill to develop).
This language (from an anglo-centric point of view) is the outlier in terms of using gendered nouns, declension, fails on intelligibility and has a very motley grammatical structure. Though others have been exposed to the say waves of conquest, English seemed one of the few clever and stubborn enough to survive in one form or another by adopting and incorporating the form and style of its invaders—the Romans, the Norse and the Normans. Whether these unsystematic traits make the language difficult or at a point unpenetrable is hard to say—it’s hard to argue, no matter one’s take on it, of English’s dominance and attempts to supplant those quirks with constructed, universal languages have not been met with overwhelming success.