A Biography of the English Language by C. M. Millward

By C. M. Millward

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Additional resources for A Biography of the English Language

Sample text

To distinguish it from the later Classical Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas is called Vedic Sanskrit. C. and continuing almost to the present day. In addition to the monumental epic poems Ramayana and Mahabharata, it includes philosophical, political, and religious treatises; drama; lyric poetry; tales and proverbs. The popular dialects corresponding to literary Sanskrit were the Prakrits, which themselves developed important written traditions. As the sacred language of Buddhism, the Middle Indie Pali has had enormous influence beyond the confines of India.

The river Thames is pronounced [temz] in Britain, but [Gemz] in Connecticut because the influence of the spelling proved stronger than earlier oral tradition. Conventional spellings for vocal gestures involving noises outside the English phonemic system may also lead to a literal pronunciation. Examples include the vocal gesture for disapproval or commiseration, an alveolar click. Because this sound is written tsk-tsk, it is occasionally pronounced [tisk tisk]. Even more familiar are the pronunciations [bar:] for , a spelling originally intended to represent a voiced bilabial trill, and [i:k] for eek, a spelling intended to represent a high-pitched scream.

They are in Gaulish, the Continental group of Celtic, but the inscriptions are too scanty to provide much detailed information about the nature of Gaulish, which has been extinct for perhaps the past fifteen hundred years. Insular Celtic is that group of languages centered in the British Isles. It is in turn divided into Goidelic (or q-Celtic) and Britannic (or p-Celtic). ) The Goidelic branch includes Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Manx. D. Old Irish inscriptions in the unique Ogham alphabet. Irish has a rich literature in the Latin alphabet from the tenth to the sixteenth centuries.

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