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11 JULY 2014

The Adventure of English: the evolution of the English language

"The Adventure of English is a British television series (ITV) on the history of the English presented by Melvyn Bragg as well as a companion book, also written by Bragg. The series ran in 2003.

The series and the book are cast as an adventure story, or the biography of English as if it were a living being, covering the history of the language from its modest beginnings around 500 AD as a minor Germanic dialect to its rise as a truly established global language.

In the television series, Bragg explains the origins and spelling of many words based on the times in which they were introduced into the growing language that would eventually become modern English."

[Complete eight part series available on YouTube distributed by Maxwell's collection Pty Limited, Australia]

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TAGS

2002 • A Dictionary of the English Language • American English • American Spelling Book • Anglo-SaxonArabicaristocracyAustraliaAustralian Aborigineauthoritative historyBible • Blue Backed Speller • British televisionCaribbean • Catherine of Aragon • Celtic language • Celts • Church of England • cockney rhyming slang • colonisationcommon languagecommunication • Convicts land • dialectdictionaryDutch • educated people • English languageEsperantoFrenchFrench languageFrisian • Frisian language • Gaelic • Germanic rootsgrammarGreek • Gullah language • Hebrew • Henry V of England • Henry VIII of England • historical eventshistoryhistory of ideas • History of the English language • history of useimmigrationIndiaindustrial revolutioninvasionIsaac NewtonITVJamaicanJane Austen • John Cheke • John WycliffeJonathan Swift • Joseph McCoy • Katherine Duncan-Jones • King James I • languagelanguage developmentLatin wordlinguisticsmedieval churchMelvyn Braggmini-series • modern English • Netherlands • Noah Webster • North America • Old English • peasant • Philip Sidne • pidgin • pronunciation • Queen Elizabeth I • Robert Burns • Rural Rides • Samuel JohnsonSanskritScotland • Scottish language • scripture • spelling • Squanto • television series • The Adventure of English (2002) • theologian • Thomas Sheridan • United Statesuse of wordsvikingvocabulary • Websters Dictionary • West Africa • William Cobbett • William Jones • William Shakespeare • William the Conqueror • William Tyndale • William Wordsworth • words

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 MAY 2009

Speculation about New Zealand's economic value and advantage in 1866

"THE FUTURE OF COLONIES.

(From the Melbourne Argus.)
Will Victoria be the foremost of Australian colonies in the future? Hitherto we have not permitted ourselves to doubt it ; but then it is only quite lately that events in New Zealand have been calling attention to the extraordinary resources and prospects of that country. Long secluded, petty, and almost unnoticed, the settlements in those islands have suddenly sprung into a prominence and importance which recall the progress of our own early days. Communities are quickly built up in these regions of the far south, which were a hemisphere of mystery to the old world a few short years ago. The turn of New Zealand is fast coming ; within four or five years she has doubled her inhabitants. Population is multiplying, not only on the auriferous hillsides and terraces of Otago and Westland, but in the province of Auckland, furthest removed from the goldfields. Her bound into importance has been so sudden that those great islands have not been oven named yet. Countries as largo as England and Scotland are only distinguished as the North and South Islands – the native appellations, unlike native ones in general, being in this instance too clumsy and long–winded for every day use ; while as for the common term New Zealand, it cannot, of course, serve for the future, and, as inappropriate and absurd, its withdrawal was long since determined on. If their present extraordinary advance be sustained, those islands will be soon well on the path to that magnificent destiny which, from their geographical position and great natural opportunities, was predicted for them by the thoughtful in England long before the first of our settlements was formed on their shores. Perhaps it is in climate that New Zealand has the most striking advantage over the Australian continent. Being very mountainous, surrounded by the ocean, and far from any other land, there are no desert winds, and the moisture is perennial, and at all seasons reliable. The country is about the size of Great Britain, but the shape being much more elongated, there are greater varieties of temperature ; for while the sugar cane, it is suspected, would grow in the peninsula of the extreme north, antarctic breezes give to the south the winter of Britain. As a whole, however, the climate has been compared, not unjustly, to that of Great Britain in its vicissitudes at all seasons, and its influence on the soil and the human constitution. There is no country, therefore, better adapted for the transplantation of the Anglo–Saxon and Celtic races, with a successful perpetuation of the original type. It is entirely because of the difference of climate between New Zealand and the archipelagos of the Pacific that the Maoris are so much more energetic, industrious, and masculine, than their soft kinsmen of the Sandwich and Society Islands. And the earth, like the air, seems fashioned for the development of a great nation. Noble harbors indent the coasts ; great and deep rivers, hundreds of yards wide, hundreds of miles long, traverse the plains ; the mountains are as high as those of Switzerland, the forests as majestic as in the tropics. And over so many degrees of latitude almost all useful plants, except those exclusively of the torrid zone, can find congenial growth–all cereals, from the hardy oat and rye which need the cold, to rice and maize which love the sun–all fruits and vegetables and their products, except, perhaps wine, for which the restlessness of the atmosphere may not be well suited–all minerals, from gold, the most artificially valuable, to iron and coal, the most useful, are found. Then the constant verdure affords unlimited scope for grazing, and the adjacent seas yield abundance of fish. Just now the South Island has the largest population because of the gold–fields, has in more permanent advantages the North is vastly superior. It has not its neighbor's severe winters, the mountain masses do not engross so much of its surface, the extent of fertile land is far greater, and the navigable rivers have longer courses. The North Island must be the principal seat of agriculture and of internal and external trade.

The two islands are rising into importance so fast, and their chief seats of population are so very distant from each other, that their formation into two colonies cannot be long postponed. The late removal of the capital to the town of Wellington on the dividing strait, as a central situation, was almost superfluous in the present aspect of affairs. It is not a central seat of Government that the islands are now asking for, but distinct Governments, as they have distinct interests. The South has only a couple of native tribes, and no Maori wars, and grumbles at being taxed for the expense ; while the North has no gold–fields or digging populations. Already, therefore, the chief communities in both quarters are agitating for separation. Our New Zealand correspondent mentions in his last letter that Auckland is to make common cause in the General Assembly, which has just met, with Otago and Canterbury on this subject, and these three provinces have twice and a–half as many in habitants as the other six.

As for the grand old native war race, it is fast passing away without fulfilling the dream of Sydney Smith, of amalgamating with its supplanters. Diffenbach estimated the Maoris at 115,000 in the beginning of the present century. In 1861, an estimate based on a recent census returned them as 55,336. Now, says our correspondent, nobody believes that they exceed 40,000 souls. That which was probably their last war with us is virtually at an end. Most of our regular forces leaving, no longer necessary in New Zealand. Subdued and hopeless, a fatal despair has seized upon the proud Maori that dull depression, that tedium vite which smites with the hand of death. Among the tribes which have submitted the mortality is described as astonishing. Without the presence of epidemic or other active cause, two hundred individuals of some small hapus near Raglan died off within two months. The Maori is departing over the rock of the Reinga – the gateway of the land of spirits. Centuries hence, when millions of civilised, and therefore superior, men occupy the plains and mountains, the valor and the fate of the ancient owners of the land will be the theme of many a tradition, of many a poetic fancy. Time will lend its embellishment, and history will not forget the gallant aborigines of New Zealand."
(The Brisbane Courier, Tuesday 14 August 1866)

[A rather enlightening article from 1866. The article was retrieved through using the Australian Newspapers beta which was developed by the National Library of Australia as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program.

The photo shows a National Provincial Council mining licence from 1884 (source).]

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TAGS

1866 • agricultureAnglo-SaxonAotearoa New ZealandAucklandAustralia • Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program • Canterbury • Celtic • colonydatabaseEnglandgeographyGreat BritainIndigenouslandLand WarslibraryMaoriMelbourne • Melbourne Argus • National Library of Australia • NLA • Otago • Sandwich Islands • ScotlandsearchsettlementSociety IslandsSouth IslandSwitzerland • Sydney Smith • tradeVictoria (Australia) • Westland

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JANUARY 2004

Pioneer 10: betraying assumed and privileged cultural codes

"We have sent several inscribed messages into space. The two Voyager probes each carry a long–playing record of 'The Sounds of Earth' and both Pioneer craft, the first manmade objects to leave our Solar System, bear plaques charting their route, along with a picture of naked humans waving a greeting. A similar alien salutation could be waiting on Earth for us, says Rose"
(Mark Peplow, Nature News)

Rose C. & Wright G. Nature, 431. 47 – 49(2004).

[On the 3rd of March 1972 NASA launched the Pioneer 10 interstellar probe (spacecraft) into deep space. Attached to it was a plaque designed to communicate something of what it meant to be from Earth. It attempted to present a generalised view of humanity stripped of all cultural and social difference (a normative view). Despite this noble aim the plaque couldn't help but betray its assumed (and privileged) cultural codes. Its focus on Terrestrial life was unmistakably: Human; ethnically Anglo–Saxon (logically North American); heterosexual and 1960s – 70s.]

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