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Re: Gender in language (was Re: way-OT: regularity of german v. english [was: <snip>])

On Fri, 24 Oct 2003 04:49:14 -0500
Ron Johnson <ron.l.johnson@cox.net> wrote:

> On Thu, 2003-10-23 at 19:58, Cam Ellison wrote:
> > * Erik Steffl (steffl@bigfoot.com) wrote:
> > > Ron Johnson wrote:
> > > ...
> > 
> > > 
> > > > - Why English doesn't have gender, since it's predecessor,
> > > > German,
> > > >   does have gender?
> > > 
> > >    looks like a lot of unneccessary stuff was removed from english
> > >    
> > > language (last century or two?), as far as I can tell it's because
> > > it's used as a non-native language for pragmatic purposes (i.e. as
> > > long as the message gets accross it's all good:-)
> > > 
> > Strictly speaking, English did not descend from German, but they
> > have a common ancestry in a version that was spoken during the time
> > the Romans were in power.  Angles, Jutes, and Saxons invaded England
> > over a period of time and pushed the Celtic peoples into Wales and
> > Scotland, and Anglo-Saxon (which was a synthetic language like
> > Latin) became dominant.  Then William the Conqueror arrived in 1066
> > (and all that) and the language of the upper class was then Norman
> > French.
> Hmmm.
> http://www.utexas.edu/depts/classics/documents/PIE.html
> http://www.m-w.com/about/look.htm
> "The earliest period begins with the migration of certain Germanic
> tribes from the continent to Britain in the fifth century A. D"
These were the original Celtic tribes.
First in were the Gaels (Irish) through Skandinavia, then the Icenii
Brythonics (which is where 'Briton' and then 'Britain' came from) and
some lesser tribes, such as the Manx.
But none of these spoke German, either high, middle or low. Germany as a
territory was defined later. The term 'Germanic' is a term applied later
to describe the general area of issue, but it is only approximate,
Czechoslovakian would be just as appropriate.
A tribal people that could be more accurately described as 'germanic'
would be the saxons, and there is still a province of Germany called
Saxony. All the provinces of the european countries were once individual
kingdoms and/or baronys/dukedoms.
The highland Scots came over from Ireland, and still speak a form of
Gaelic, the highlands being in the Southwest corner of Scotland. The
Scottish lowlanders were a mix of Brythonic and Pictish, and this is why
the highlanders and the lowlanders never got on, because they were
separate tribes for one reason.
Although very little is left to point to the nature of the Picts, it is
strongly suspected that they were also Celts. The word 'Pict' comes from
the Roman latin meaning 'pictured' which is where we get the word from,
as they tatooed their faces. Most of our modern knowledge of the Celts
comes from the Roman campaigners' reports, in particular Julius Caesar
who fought a protracted campaign against the Celts in Britain, as the
Celts had an oral history not written.
It is also a pet theory of mine that the Basques have a Celtic heritage.
I tried to keep it short.


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