History of the English Language (Seth Lerer)
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There are many books and many websites describing the journey of the English language from its ancient origins to today’s dynamic and powerful communication tool (you can find some of them on my Sources and Links page). Some follow it in minute and excruciating technical detail, some are brief one-page summaries, and you may be wondering: do we really need another?
Well, perhaps not, but I wanted to create one anyway for my own enjoyment and edification. And this one is neither too long and intimidating nor is it too skimpy and “lite”, but, as Goldilocks might have said, just right. Not too much in the way of “fricatives” and “palatizations” and “labialized velars” (this does not pretend to be a work of serious philology), but plenty of rollicking historical detail, action and intrigue.
Whatever your thoughts on the matter, English, with all its vagaries and annoying inconsistencies, remains the single most important and influential language in today’s world. Throughout history, it has repeatedly found itself in the right place at the right time: English-speaking Britain was the leading colonial nation in the 17th and 18th Century, as well as the leader of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 18th Century; in the late 19th and 20th Century, English-speaking America was the leading economic power, and was also at the forefront of the electronic and digital revolution of the late 20th Century.
But, it has also proved itself the most flexible and resilient of languages, remarkable for its ability to adopt and absorb vocabulary from other cultures. It has survived incursions by invading armies, outfaced potential extinction on more than one occasion, and navigated the changing cultural zeitgeist, growing ever stronger in the process. Its continued vitality is evidenced by the number and diversity of its worldwide variations today.
The main part of this website, the History, can be read as a kind of story, in chapters, following the development of the English language from its Indo-European origins, through Old English and Middle English to Early Modern English and Late Modern English, before a brief look at English Today. But there is also section on Language Issues (including How New Words are Created, Language and Geography and English as a Global Language), a Timeline of important dates in the development of English, a Glossary of some of the technical and historical terms used, and a list of Sources and Links.
I would like to acknowledge at this point my debt to the various websites, books and television series which I have raided, adapted and combined unapologetically, many of which are listed in the Sources and Links page. This is a personal project not a scholarly work, and I have not provided unimpeachable references to original sources for every point I make, although I have given specific references and credits for all images used. Please feel free to contact me if you have any issues about the content or attributions (or lack thereof) or to point out any absolute howlers I may have made.
Incidentally, in case you were wondering, the spelling throughout this website is largely the Canadian English of my adopted country Canada (which itself is a hybrid of British and American spelling), although the words introduced – most of which arrived before Canada was Canada – are generally in British English. Contemporary English spelling is a whole new subject requiring a whole new website, but for starters you can look at another website of mine on Canadian, British and American Spelling.
What is Everything Else?
Everything Else is a product category on Amazon that is meant to be a catch-all for items that don’t fit into any other categories. Over time, as the Amazon catalog has grown and more specific product categories have been added, Everything Else has become less useful and more of a junkyard for cast off and forgotten listings.
Until recently, however.
Why are items listed in Everything Else when they shouldn’t be?
The answer to this is fairly simple. Some sellers are using Everything Else as an opportunity to get around Amazon’s gated category requirements. For example, DVDs with an MSRP of over $25 are now gated Selling certain products and bran… More and require permission to list. So we’ve seen some sellers create new listings in Everything Else to get around these requirements. We’ve noticed similar “workarounds” for other gated or restricted Selling certain product categorie… More categories as well.
Amazon doesn’t like this. It just makes the catalog more of a mess than it already is and ends up creating a worse customer experience.
History of the English Language (Seth Lerer)
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