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Posted: 07 October 2013 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Welcome to this forum, EvanOwen. What you say is true --- anyone whose native language is not English, tends, when speaking English, to translate phrases and and even whole sentences, word-for-word from his/her native language into English. It requires a very high degree of fluency in the second language to avoid doing this, and succeed in sounding like a native speaker.  ---- and, as Syntinen Laulu points out, the thing can work both ways.

(Off the track: I love to hear English spoken by a Welshman (like Richard Burton). The most beautiful English diction I’ve ever heard was from a fellow-student who’d been born and spent his early years in Wales, and then moved to Inverness, where he grew up).

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Posted: 07 October 2013 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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“But if I had to put money on another language influencing the Middle English use of learn, it would be Old Norse. The Old Norse verb kenna means both to come to know, perceive and to teach. ”

The Germanic peoples, or Anglo-Saxons, were trading and settling in England from about the fifth century, and were co-existing with the Romano-Celts from that period. Is it not likely they would have introduced their word ‘lernen’ to learn, along with a multitude of other Germanic words, into the then developing English language? Their word for ‘to teach’ is ‘lehren’, very similar to their word for ‘to learn’.

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Posted: 07 October 2013 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’ve been guilty more than once of using German as a model for understanding such things as cases or declensions not to mention verb conjugations. However, when you go back 1500 years thereabouts, the pan-Germanic languages were much more closely combined. It doesn’t make much sense to use modern German to argue for things that kind of “must” have taken place in England back then.

Having said that, it is absolutely true that modern German bears a closer resemblance to Old Germanic than does modern English. But it is not true that the Germanic invaders of England introduced words into the then developing English language. Old Germanic was the developing English language and it was influenced by the Celts and Latins in England. One need only look at words like lettuce or crock (I believe) and many others to perceive the murky depths of influence from outside to the Germanic inside. As Dave has pointed out in other threads, prior to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 (remember William “Bastard” the Conqueror) the Germanic Anglo-Saxon language was declining as an inflected language. After 1066, there was a rapid influx of Frenchisms, you might say.

Frankly, I’d argue for a more modern Yiddish influence on American English, perhaps, along the same lines you have given, Arga.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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The Germanic peoples, or Anglo-Saxons, were trading and settling in England from about the fifth century, and were co-existing with the Romano-Celts from that period. Is it not likely they would have introduced their word ‘lernen’ to learn, along with a multitude of other Germanic words, into the then developing English language? Their word for ‘to teach’ is ‘lehren’, very similar to their word for ‘to learn’.

As Iron Pyrite says, the Anglo-Saxons brought the nascent English, or Englisc, language with them when they crossed the channel. It’s not a case of them contributing to a language that was already being spoken in the British Isles.

In the case of the Old English verb leornian, we have no examples of it being used to mean to teach. While there are holes in our knowledge of Old English, this doesn’t appear to be one of them. Leornian is common in the extant corpus, and we have a lot of writing about learning and education. (Most of what we have was written down by monks, and they’re big on learning.) So if the verb was used to mean to teach, we should have examples of it.

As for Welsh influence generally, there is a shocking lack of Celtic influence on Old English. Outside of place names and geographic terms, there just aren’t may words of Celtic origin in English. The Norse influence is much stronger. Why this should be is a mystery. One would think that the Celtic influence should be large, but it just isn’t. Some may be due to the bias of nineteenth-century Germanic philologists who may have ignored Celtic influences, but that can’t account for all of it. So I’m sympathetic for attempts to look for Welsh influences, but such attempts need to be evidence based.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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In their introduction to one of the songs on the only album of theirs I have the head of the McPeake Family of Belfast says, “This tune was learned to me by the old man what teached me many years ago.” I took learn to refer to the specific teaching of the tune and teach to refer to teaching the general art of pipe playing.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Iron Pyrite “ But it is not true that the Germanic invaders of England introduced words into the then developing English language. Old Germanic was the developing English language and it was influenced “

Dave Wilton “As Iron Pyrite says, the Anglo-Saxons brought the nascent English, or Englisc, language with them when they crossed the channel. It’s not a case of them contributing to a language that was already being spoken in the British Isles”

I have to say I am somewhat confused by what has been said concerning early English language development. The comments above seem to be at odds, but in any case I would like to know, prior to any Germanic tribes entering the British Isles, how any form of Anglo-Saxon or Germanic language appears in the first place. Before they arrived, various Celtic languages or dialects were being spoken along with whatever form of language the Romans left behind after over 400 years presence in the country.
Then there were the influences from The Vikings and the Danes, and we can recognise, even today, the presence of their languages in modern English. But the Germanic influence was the beginning of the English language as we know it, starting with Old English and developing with time through Middle English to Modern English.

SOURCE: A History of the English Language: Albert Baugh 1957.
English essentially began with the Germanic language of the Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain constituted part of the wider Germanic invasions of the Roman Empire. The Anglo-Saxons, after the departure of the Roman Legions, overwhelmed Roman Britain and drove the Romanized Celts into the remote west. Thus the Anglo-Saxon Germanic tongue became the foundation for the English language. The Anglo-Saxon language is generally referred to as Old English and was widely spoken once the Romanized Britons had been defeated and driven into the west during the 6th century. The first English literature comes from this period. The most important work from this time is the epic poem, Beowulf, based on a Germanic legend that goes back several centuries and was transmitted orally long before it was written down. Writings of the preacher Wulfstan also survive.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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The Germanic peoples, or Anglo-Saxons, were trading and settling in England from about the fifth century, and were co-existing with the Romano-Celts from that period. Is it not likely they would have introduced their word ‘lernen’ to learn, along with a multitude of other Germanic words, into the then developing English language? Their word for ‘to teach’ is ‘lehren’, very similar to their word for ‘to learn’.

I don’t have a lot of time right now but clearly by your own words you are saying HERE that the invading Germans introduced words into the English language that was already in place on the British Isles before their invasion.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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We all agree that “English essentially began with the Germanic language of the Anglo-Saxons” and since that is the case, the question is how did a Germanic language with well established separate words for teach and learn develop into a language where learn can be used for both? You’re suggesting the Germanic influence?

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Posted: 09 October 2013 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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It is my understanding, and there are certainly people here who could correct me or fine-tune my statement, that the language, a collection of dialects now known as Early West Saxon, Anglian, Mercian, etc., was known as Englisc or Inglisc in the German lowlands even before it was brought to Britain.

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Posted: 09 October 2013 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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I don’t know that to be true, but it could well be the case. It wouldn’t surprise me.

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Posted: 10 October 2013 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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“I don’t have a lot of time right now but clearly by your own words you are saying HERE that the invading Germans introduced words into the English language that was already in place on the British Isles before their invasion.”

No. I didn’t use the word INVADING. I said the Germanic peoples were trading and settling in Britain and co-existing with the Romano Celts. It was in this process that the Anglo- Saxon or Germanic languages, from about the fifth century, were introduced, resulting in the foundation of the English language.

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Posted: 10 October 2013 08:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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"It is my understanding, and there are certainly people here who could correct me or fine-tune my statement, that the language, a collection of dialects now known as Early West Saxon, Anglian, Mercian, etc., was known as Englisc or Inglisc in the German lowlands even before it was brought to Britain.”

Yes. German spoken today in Schleswig-Holstein/North Frisian is as close as it comes to English. In fact, even non-German speakers can understand a little of what’s being said when people from this area are in conversation, providing they speak slowly. I witnessed it myself when over there.

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Posted: 11 October 2013 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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“It is my understanding, and there are certainly people here who could correct me or fine-tune my statement, that the language, a collection of dialects now known as Early West Saxon, Anglian, Mercian, etc., was known as Englisc or Inglisc in the German lowlands even before it was brought to Britain.”

Yes. German spoken today in Schleswig-Holstein/North Frisian is as close as it comes to English. In fact, even non-German speakers can understand a little of what’s being said when people from this area are in conversation, providing they speak slowly. I witnessed it myself when over there.

Yes, but Faldage’s point was not that these Lower German dialects are close to English - everybody’s agreed on that - but that this language was already known as ‘Englisc’ there before the Migration-Period settlement in Britain of speakers of it.

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Posted: 11 October 2013 02:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Arga - 10 October 2013 08:32 PM

“I don’t have a lot of time right now but clearly by your own words you are saying HERE that the invading Germans introduced words into the English language that was already in place on the British Isles before their invasion.”

No. I didn’t use the word INVADING. I said the Germanic peoples were trading and settling in Britain and co-existing with the Romano Celts. It was in this process that the Anglo- Saxon or Germanic languages, from about the fifth century, were introduced, resulting in the foundation of the English language.

Yes, thanks for pointing that out. It’s my own preconception that the Angles and Saxons were invaders. This from Wikipedia “The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain” agrees that it was not necessarily an invasion:

There is ongoing debate, scholarly and otherwise, as to how and why the Anglo-Saxon settlements were successful and as to the full nature of the relationships between the Anglo-Saxons and Romano-Britons, including to what extent the incomers displaced or supplanted the existing inhabitants. The mostly non-Romanised Britons living in the west and north of Britain were largely unaffected by the Anglo-Saxon settlement.

(bold added)

The last sentence suggests or intimates that the Britons in the west and north may have had some kind of understanding, agreement, truce, or whatever that they would be left alone. One wonders how well the Romano-Celts (or Romano-Britons) got along with the people to the north and west, or if there was just a power vacuum after the Romans withdrew military support.

[ Edited: 11 October 2013 02:15 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 11 October 2013 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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It has been my understanding that the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes were invited in by the Britons to help in defense against the Scots and/or Picts after the Romans had decamped.  As usual, I am open to correction.

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