Archive for 2011

What is the position of the English language among other languages?

If one compares a number of languages, it probably soon appears that some of them have some sort of relationship to one another, while others may seem quite isolated. If we are able to trace a group of these apparently related forms in several languages to a common ancestor by means of older writings, it may sometimes become almost certain that these forms must be branches, as it were, from a common root.

By going further back, we may sometimes be able to compare a number of early forms each of which is the ancestor of later developments in the different languages, so as to establish a strong probability that they in their turn must all be descended from a common prehistoric original.

This supposed original will be much older than the earliest written languages, so that it can never be verified with absolute certainty, but must remain only a strongly supported hypothesis. But if other qualities in the languages we are comparing corroborate the relationship and common ancestry which we have arrived at by the above method, we may find ourselves well on the way to being able to contrast genealogy of our languages - in other words to classify them into families.

For example, if we take the words 'is' in some of the better known European and Asiatic languages, we may reconstruct with fair probability the ancestral prehistoric word from which all must be descended: and this relationship will be found to be confirmed by other evidence. Latin EST, Greek ESTI, Sanskrit ASTI, Russian ЕСТЬ, German 1ST, Italian E, etc.

Now by studying the earliest forms and the later history of each of these languages, we can be pretty sure that the ancestral form from which all descend was ESTI.

We know for instance that in Sanskrit an original e-sound became a-, and that the Italian pronunciation reduced the earlier Latin EST to a form indicated by the modern spelling e.

English is but one of 132 languages comprising the Indo-European linguistic family. But other linguistic families (of which there are 17 to 26 depending on the system of classification) have many more members. For example, the North-American Indian group embraces 351 separate languages.

The vast Indo-European family of languages, to which most of the languages spoken in Europe belong, consists of several branches, of which the Germanic languages are one. Nowadays Germanic languages are spoken in many countries: German (in Germany, Austria and partly in Switzerland), Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic and English (spoken, besides Great Britain, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and partly elsewhere). In India English is considered a second official language. English belongs to the West-Germanic group of Indo-European family of languages, together with German and Dutch.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 by Data Cube
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St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th. It is an Irish holiday honouring Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. According to the customs of the times, this was not the saint's birthday, but the day of his death. This day is also celebrated outside the country in the places with a large number of people of Irish decent. People honour Saint Patrick by attending special religious services, enjoying family gatherings, and wearing shamrocks.

St Patrick's Day church services are followed by parades and parties, Irish music, songs, and dances. Many people wear green clothes. It is a time for shamrocks, Irish flags, clay pipes and top hats. St Patrick's Day and its symbols are the story of the Irish and the land. The day has come to be a day for the Irish people throughout the world to gather and celebrate.

St Patrick is a patron saint of Ireland. Strangely enough, the patron saint of Ireland was not Irish himself. Historical sources report that he was born around 389 AD in either Scotland or in Roman Britain. Patrick's father was an official who worked for the Roman government. The family name was Succat, meaning clever in war. As a member of the upper classes of Roman-British society, the boy was trained in the teachings of Christianity, which had become well-established as the religion of the empire.
Patrick was brought up like any other child of his class until at 16 he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ire-land. During his captivity, Patrick dedicated himself to religion. During the long, lonely hours in the fields and hills of Ireland he found comfort in praying.

Six years passed slowly by. Then in a dream, Patrick was told of a ship that would take him to safety to France. The trip was successful. He escaped to France. From that time Patrick devoted his life to God.

He returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary in 432. He began his work in northern and western Ireland, where no one had ever preached Christianity. He was a tireless and fearless missionary. Moving from place to place, he preached to all who would listen to, urging them to accept the Christian God. Before long he was famous throughout Ireland. His nickname was Old Shaved Head.

Patrick is said to have founded more than 300 churches and baptized more than 120,000 people. He also introduced the Roman alphabet and Latin literature into Ireland. He died about 461

Thursday, March 17, 2011 by Data Cube
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