The Inconsistency of the English Language

Chapter 3 of The Information by James Gleick talks about certain differences in the English language. One that I find the most interesting is about the original two workbooks that were created for the English language.

The first influencer of this Robert Cawdrey, who created A Table Alphabeticall, which introduced us to creating our alphabet. This table helps to show the start of our language, and what we should value to add to it. Since this table was one of the first to be introduced in a different language then what others new, it became difficult for others to adapt or adjust to and had a negative effect in certain areas and tribes.

The next important book that was created for language was the Oxford English Dictionary. This information outlet was made by John Simpson and became an adaptation of table alphabeticall. The main reason I am giving all of this information, is because this is still our main standard for the English language, at least one hundred years after it was created.

A main point mentioned in this chapter is about how unneccessary letters, due to the Latin adaptation, have disappeared since the dictionary was created. For example when talking about the word figurate, you can see that this word has now been adapted into the verb figurative. Since the definition (page 60, for reference) is “to shadowe, or represent, or to counterfaire” we can also see that the definitions given for certain words are simple and understandable for multiple reading levels.

I think the main takeaway I got from this chapter was that we always have to start somewhere with language, no matter which language it is. Since it is a main form of communication it is important to put emphasis on being able to adapt to change in order for you to survive. Also I should mention that the reason I decided to post on this chapter is because of my fascination with the English language. In my opinion, every language is unique to its own culture or way, but I also think that English is the most complex to understand and explain.

Being that I want to be an English teacher after college, I think it is important to know and talk about the origin of the language and why we should care about all of the parts of the English language. The English language in itself has two distinct differences from other languages; no geographic location, and more than 40 phonemes in the lexicon. I think these points are important to know as an English major, and since it is my first language. I also have gained a lot of knowledge about the English language from my cultural anthropology class. This class helps me to realize that our language is complicated to anyone who does not readily know about it, and can overall cause a lot of confusion for others.

Overall I appreciate that this entire chapter talked about different aspects about the development of the English language, and how we identify and use it today. I think this chapter should be mentioned and used more often for more English speakers to understand all the fun and different parts of the language.

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