On the Origin of English

Lexicon Valley
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

So here is the basic story. The idea is that germanic goes back to some original language. We call it proto germanic. We can't know what it speakers would've called it. There was this original language that became german and english and swedish et cetera and that would have been spoken probably in that little neck of denmark or maybe a little southwards of that in. Let's say about five hundred bc. So that's where proto germanic would have started in the meantime there's a thesis that that language was profoundly impacted by invading or at least imposing people from the near east people from way down where there is today lebanon and syria and israel specifically it would be the phoenicians. The phoenicians were one of many people in that region and they would have spoken a semitic language. I e a language related to what we know today as hebrew and arabic and if we wanna go. Further afield aramaic and cross the red sea. And it's i'm hurric- in ethiopia. But they spoke of semitic language and we know what they spoke because they wrote it down because they actually were the first people who grabbed the alphabet when it was very quietly and scrap invented probably by mercenary soldiers in egypt. The finishes took it and made into something that they use. Basically to write down business related things they want writing epochs. They weren't writing the grapes of wrath. But they were writing and so the phoenicians are the ones who end up spreading the alphabet throughout the world. In any case more to the point the phoenicians were big travelers. they did not like to stay home. The phoenicians started ruling the roost. They were probably in about eleven hundred bc and they didn't just stay there they sailed. They traded they got themselves around what was then considered by people like them the world throughout the mediterranean they keep on going westward and of course once you get out to where there's no more land while you might start going up into like spain and they kind of around the coast they traded. They brought things back. They were great intermediaries now in the middle east. They had their cities like like tire and blows or carthage. That you hear so much about on the north coast of africa that is phoenician or punic territory but they sailed and you know there is evidence that they sailed not only to roughly spain and portugal. Which is what we have absolutely concrete evidence for them doing but as evidence that they kept going and they went all the way up to northern europe and past. What's now germany. And they actually would have gone all the way to that part of denmark. One little piece of evidence is that they got people. Amber got some amber in greece. If you've got some amber and what is today lebanon. While the amber as often as not from up in that baltic northern european region they had a lot of amber amber is pretty. I think amber is preserving bits of dinosaur tales and insects and things like that but also just gorgeous you kind of want to bite it. Big amber trade. Well they always seem to have it. We'll have they get it. Well it would seem that. They had some sort of connection to northern europe. That in itself doesn't mean that they sailed all the way up there and got it because there were ways of trading amber just a cross the european continent but the fact that they had so much amber is one of a great many things. It's like the spokes in a wheel. An argument is about various things that all seem to point in the same direction. What about that amber. But more to the point it's about the language what is wrong with manic. Why is it so odd. Well what is this case that these people came from the near east and sailed all the way up around your understand. What the thesis is. The idea is that speakers of phoenician settled in somewhere in this part of denmark and there was long-term settlement where speakers of this phoenician and speakers of this thing we called proto germanic mixed to the point that many people were basically speaking proto germanic in phoenician to an extent this is what we linguists call language contact theory. The idea being that proto germanic ended up being really stamped by this other way of being a language because there would have been these settlements where venetians ruled the roost and their language seemed to be the cool one and it was the one that people switch to so the proto germanic ended up being profoundly affected it kind of wanted to be cool and became more like venetian. What's the evidence that that happened given that. There is no archaeological evidence. Partly because what would have been the shore back then has since become underwater. So we can't really dig up wear. The settlements probably would have been well. One of the things is words. So as i said so many words in germanic languages don't trace back. They just pop up all of a sudden it's about one in three and that's a conservative estimate. Now some of the experts. Just don't give a damn about that. And they have other things to do. They have bigger fish to fry in that as perfectly understandable. Sometimes you just don't give a damn you know what i don't care about. For example i do not care about outer space. I remember when there was the apollo landing and everybody was so excited and they actually rolled in a little black and white. Tv into my classroom. We were supposed to watch. I didn't care. I'm more interested in what's going on here astrophysics. I respect it. But i do not care about saturn

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