Meeting - February 2014

Friday, 28 February 2014 - 7:30pm
English, Whose English?
David Howe

A history of the English Language


Our February meeting fell on the February 28th, the last day of the month and we were pleased to welcome Mr David Howe to deliver one of his numerous talks, this one being entitled “ENGLISH, WHO’S ENGLISH”. David is well known to many of the history Society members because he has delivered a number of talks on a variety subjects over recent years to other Wythall societies and these have always proved to be interesting and informative; this talk was no exception.
His initial introduction drew our attention to the fact that we have many words which are the same but have entirely different meanings for example COACH, meaning a wheeled wagon but also used denote someone who gives instruction e.g. a tennis coach. To explain this situation he then took us quickly through the early history of Britain and the many foreign invaders who had left their mark and indeed their language on this country. He stated that King Alfred was the one who first undertook the task of uniting the country with a common language.
We eventually reached 1066 and the Norman Conquest which led to the incorporation of many Norman French words which exist to the current day, even now the Queen’s Assent is given in Norman French!
There was much of interest and many amusing anecdotes in David’s presentation and we all felt we had learned much about the history of what we now refer to as “The English Language” and indeed in the continually expanding Oxford English dictionary.

Brian Sadler