Lowlands-L Anniversary Celebration

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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...


From Germanic settlers’ hybrid to unbeatable
international communication giant— the
evolution of English is little short of miraculous.

Language information: English is currently the most important language in the world.
     The origin of English is highly complex. It began as a mixture of Anglish, Old Saxon, Old Jutish, Old Frisian and possibly other Old Germanic varieties imported from the Continental Lowlands, as well as numerous Medieval Latin loans. The resulting Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) language came to supplant most Celtic language varieties of Britain. Viking and Norman invasions resulted in layers of Scandinavian and Norman French influences. English morphology underwent radical simplification, and this caused the syntax to lose much of its earlier flexibility.
     Dialectical diversity is considerable, the most densely occurring diversity being in the British Isles and Ireland, followed closely by the North American East Coast, especially New England and Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Having changed little since the fourteenth century, today’s English orthography is one of the most historical systems and takes much time and effort to master.
Two common myths about English:
1.	“English is a Romance language (like 
Wrong! English is a Germanic language. Its 
abundance of Latin and French loanwords is 
due to medieval learning and the Norman 
2.	“English developed from German.”
Wrong! It developed from Old Saxon, Frisian,
Anglic, Jutish and Low Frankish. These are 
Germanic sister languages of German, not
    As a result of colonialism, English spread to many parts of the world and there came to be adopted as a secondary or even primary language. This has resulted in the creation of numerous additional English varieties and English-based contact languages.
     As a language featured prominently in education and communication worldwide and serving as a lingua franca in many former colonies, English has influenced numerous other languages more or less strongly. In India and in the Philippines, for example, people commonly switch back and forth between indigenous languages and English, oftentimes even in mid-sentence.

Genealogy: Indo-European > Germanic > Western > Anglo-Scots > English

Historical Lowlands language contacts: Dutch, Flemish, Low Saxon, Scots

      Click to open the translations:* [England General] [Estuary] [Hampshire]
           [South Yorkshire & Derbyshire]
[Northumbria] [Scotland] [Ocker]
           [Cape Barren] [Eastern USA] [Western USA] [New England] [Pittsburgh]
           [Eastern Canada]
[Western Canada] [Tennessee] [West Virginia]
           [African American] [Basic English] [Middle English 1] [Middle English 2]
           [Middle English 3] [Old English] Click here for different versions. >
      * Some translations come with more specific descriptions. Click on “Language information.”

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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