Talk:English language

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English is not the "language" of the United States, but rather the most commonly used language in the U.S. ColinR 20:09, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

English is not both a Romance and Germanic language. It is a Germanic language, specifically a West Germanic language. However, English can correctly be called the "least Germanic" of Germanic languages, due to its heavy borrowing from French after the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Don't want to niggle about this -- since I'm a linguist by training, I know what you are saying, but I want to put this in plain language that non-linguists can understand. Yes, English in orgin is a West Germanic language, but some of its parts are grafts, as it were-- our pronoun system comes from Danish, and many of our syntactical habits (use of auxilliary verbs, for instance) come from French. In terms of the lexicon, Saxon-era words are a small minority (though predominant in the 1st decile of most commonly-used words), French the big contributor, followed by Latin, Greek, and other modern languages. So I want to give a sense that English is really a language with a mixed heritage, getting more mixed all the time, which is its strength! But I don't want to write something that sounds too technical. Hmm -- maybe I can adapt what I just said above . . . .
Boethius 18:07, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
I don't know what you mean about auxiliary verbs - I can't think of any uses that don't have a German equivalent. OTOH, French uses declension to express future tense and subjunctive mood, amongst others, so seems to have less use for auxiliary verbs than we do. Are there examples of specific auxiliary verb usage traceable to the Norman influence? MisMud 23:43, 12 May 2007 (EDT)
I'm no professional, just a student of linguistics and a lover of languages, but I move that now that this Boethuis character is gone we change this article a bit. Anyone to second? His ramblings about the history of the English language were well-worded, but it's obvious to me that as a linguist-in-training, he had very little actual language experience. Alrighty! First off, there is no evidence that our pronoun system came from Danish. North Germanic languages Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Icelandic/Faroese evolved from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) by way of proto-Germanic in one way: all 1st person pronouns ("I") start with j- (jeg, jeg, jag, ég respectively) and East/West Germanic languages English/German/Dutch evolved in another: our 1st person pronouns have i-forms (I, ich, ik respectively). I don't know how I would argue that our pronouns descended from Danish. Jeg/du/han/hun/vi/I/de vs. I/you/he/she/we/you/they. The relationship is obvious, but to say one descended from another is far-fetched.
Second is auxiliary verbs--NOT "from French". An even more closely related language, German, has just as rich a system of auxiliary verbs as French. Like I said, I'm no professional (and I evidently need to read up on this more), but I would venture this educated guess: aux. verbs in English came from those in Germanic which came from those in PIE and aux. verbs in French came from those in (vulgar?) Latin which came from those in PIE. I don't think I have any more about this.
Lastly (I think) is our lexicon. By "Saxon-era" I'll assume Boethuis is referring to Old English. It's true. Most English words come to us from French, Latin, Germanic and then Greek. However, most or almost all of the words we use in everyday situations come from Old English. This is because they're generally shorter (come/go vs. arrive/leave). Words we use in our various areas of expertise are probably going to have come from Latin and Greek. I'm not arguing this point, just expanding the point.
The English language is as much of a melting pot as the English-speaking world itself!--JParker 08:50, 18 February 2009 (EST)

As most people in the world use British English spelling (Canada - double standard; Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia), why does this encyclopedia not go with the majority?

Most people in the world are heathens as well, but this encyclopedia is to be as a city upon a hill. This is, however, not the right place for this discussion, so hurry along.
--Brtkrbzhnv 18:03, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

What is the point?

What is the point in having an encyclopedia that anybody can edit if changes are changed immediately and not allowed to be seen and discussed? I was told the changes I made were contrary to Rule 5 and they were removed. Presumably because they thought it was just opinion, but this whole thing is opinion.

If you are not open to truth no one will trust you. Be open, honest, and allow things to challenge what you think. It is the only way you can grow.

Seek the truth.

Gus Deadman

worldwide popularity of English?

I've heard time and again English is the most spoken language in the world, most popular second language, etc., and is the international language of business and transportation.... shouldn't info on this be in the article? Pandeism 17:39, 2 August 2007 (EDT)

Most spoken language in the world? I doubt that. China alone has one sixth of the world's population and although there are many regional dialects such as Cantonese, most of the people speak the national language of Mandarin as well, and of course there are definitely many foreigners across the world who would take the time to learn it. Therefore there must be a billion or more Mandarin speakers in the world, and I don't think that more than 1 in 6 people in the world is fluent in English. English has to be the biggest language in the world though if you think in terms other than fluency. How many people in the world would recognize and understand "hello" as compared to a greeting in Mandarin? A lot more, I would think- anyways, just some thoughts. Someone else could look up actual facts. :) Rockthecasbah 01:58, 25 April 2008 (EDT)

The number of people who speak English as a first or second language is about 1,800 million. Philip J. Rayment 02:06, 25 April 2008 (EDT)