Lingo: A Language Spotters Guide to Europe by Gaston Dorren

By Gaston Dorren

Welcome to Europe as you've got by no means identified it earlier than, obvious throughout the peculiarities of its languages and dialects. Combining linguistics and cultural heritage, Gaston Dorren takes us on an fascinating travel of the continent, from Proto-Indo-European (the universal ancestor of such a lot ecu languages) to the increase and upward push of English, through the complexities of Welsh plurals and Czech pronunciation. alongside the best way we examine why Esperanto won't ever trap on, how the language of William the Conqueror lives on within the Channel Islands and why Finnish is the simplest ecu language.

Surprising, witty and entire of notable evidence, this booklet will switch how you take into consideration the languages round you. Polyglot Gaston Dorren may even convince you that English is like Chinese.

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Extra info for Lingo: A Language Spotters Guide to Europe

Sample text

Indeed, something of a mother fixation. You would expect such a seemingly sophisticated language to have long since matured. After all, it’s more than a thousand years old, it has cohabited with others, travelled the world. But no – watch French closely and you’ll see that it is still clutching at the skirt of its mother: Latin. It was Julius Caesar who planted the first seeds of French. In the first century BC he and his legions took over Gaul, as France was then known. He came, spoke and conquered, and when the Romans departed five centuries later, the people they left behind spoke Latin.

All of Norway – many times larger than Denmark proper – suddenly gained independence, albeit initially under the rule of the Swedish king. Danish, having been the official language for centuries, had exerted a strong influence on Norwegian, particularly the kind spoken by the urban elite. Norwegian nationalists now had two objectives: out with the Swedish king, and out with the Danish language. It took a while, but eventually they managed both. The Danish language was also losing ground further afield.

The decline began in 1814 when Denmark, a loser in the Napoleonic Wars, was forced to cede part of its territory. All of Norway – many times larger than Denmark proper – suddenly gained independence, albeit initially under the rule of the Swedish king. Danish, having been the official language for centuries, had exerted a strong influence on Norwegian, particularly the kind spoken by the urban elite. Norwegian nationalists now had two objectives: out with the Swedish king, and out with the Danish language.

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