Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Speketh Englysch Thou Scurvy Dogs!

All those Conservative activists who demand "English Only" laws should have to translate this;

"By comyxtioun and mellynge firste wiþ Danes and afterward wiþ Normans, in meny thynges þe contray longage is apayred, and som vseþ straunge wlafferynge, chiterynge, harrynge, and garrynge grisbayting.
As hyt ys yknowe hou meny maner people buþ in þis ylond, þer buþ also of so meny people longages and tonges."

From "Polychronicon"; a study of the English language written by Ranulf Higden (1280- 1363) a Benedictine monk in St. Werbourgh (Chester) (Lancaster).
Originally written in Latin and titled;
"Polychronicon (sive Historia Polycratica) ab initio mundi usque ad mortem regis Edwardi III in septem libros dispositum"
Higden worked on the "Polychronicon" up to 1342 - 44 when it was continued by another monk (John of Malvern, Worcester) until 1357. It was translated into Middle English by John Trevisa in 1385 and printed and published by William Caxton in 1482.

John of Trevisa (1342 – 1402) was a translator, educated at Oxford (where religious reformer Wycliff worked and taught), Vicar of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, Chaplain to the 4th Lord Berkeley (Maurice de Berkeley 1330-1368) and Canon of Westbury on Trym. Trevisa would later work with Wycliff on his English translation of the Bible, also published by Caxton. Ironically John of Trevisa, who worked for years to codify the English language was not actually English at all but was in fact Cornish as was another early authority of English, John of Cornwall.

The translation of the above passage into Modern English is;
"By mixing and mingling, first with Danes and afterwards with Normans, in many cases the country's language is impaired, and some use strange stammering, chattering, snarling, and grating gnashing of teeth.
As it is known how many manner of people of people are in this island, there are also as many languages and tongues."

So there.

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