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World History Lecture Seven

116 bytes added, 19:25, March 9, 2009
/* The History of the English Language */ correcting re guns and adding reference for pre-evolutionary theory genocide
One can spend hours enjoyably learning about the history of human thought simply by looking at when words were first created for important concepts. For example, by looking up the word "tyranny" in the dictionary we see that it was developed in the 14th century (1300s), which was about the time that feudalism was being replaced by nation-states in England and France. One can piece together much of English history simply by reading a dictionary!
The date of origin of a word can even resolve historical debates. Some (including your instructor) feel that "genocide", which is the mass killing by government of a particularly ethnic group, arose only after the development of the evolutionary theory of "survival of the fittest," and gun control by centralized governments to remove the ability of citizens to defend themselves.<ref>Note that gun control would have been impossible under feudalism, because there was no centralized government workers on guns did not exist during the manors had their own weapons.relevant time-period</ref> Because the "survival of the fittest" theory was not taught until the late 1800s, genocide did not occur prior to the 20th century. Others, particularly promoters of the evolutionary theoryhistorians, claim that genocide occurred earlier also, for example, the destruction of Carthage in the Third Punic War<ref>Adam Jones [ Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction] p. 5</ref>. But look in the dictionary at the date of origin of the word "genocide": 1944. If it had occurred in prior centuries, then a word would have developed to describe it.
The number "six", for example, is listed as having an origin of "bef. 12c," which means before A.D. 1100. That places the date of first use of simple numbers as before Middle English. It is not surprising that numbers would originate earlier than most (but not all) other words, as numbers were essential in keeping track of people and things.