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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
27 OCTOBER 2012

Erving Goffman: backstage and frontstage behaviour

"Throughout our society there tends to be one informal or backstage language of behaviour, and another language of behaviour for occasions when a performance is being presented. The backstage language consists of reciprocal first–naming, co–operative decision–making, profanity, open sexual remarks, elaborate griping, smoking, rough informal dress, ' sloppy' sitting and standing posture, use of dialect or sub–standard speech, mumbling and shouting, playful aggressivity and 'kidding,' inconsiderateness for the other in minor but potentially symbolic acts, minor physical self–involvements such as humming, whistling, chewing, nibbling, belching, and flatulence. The frontstage behaviour language can be taken as the absence (and in some sense the opposite) of this. In general, then, backstage conduct is one which allows minor acts which might easily be taken as symbolic of intimacy and disrespect for others present and for the region, while front region conduct is one which disallows such potentially offensive behaviour." [1]

(Erving Goffman, 1959, p.78)

[1] It may be noted that backstage behaviour has what psychologists might call a 'regressive' character. The question, of course, is whether a backstage gives individuals an opportunity to regress or whether regression, in the clinical sense, is backstage conduct invoked on inappropriate occasions for motives that are not socially approved.

Goffman, E. (1959). "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life", University of Edinburgh Social Sciences Research Centre.

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TAGS

1959 • appropriated metaphor • backstage • backstage behaviour • backstage conduct • backstage language • belching • chewing • co-operative decision-making • cooperative decision-making • cultural beliefs • cultural normscultural valuesdecision makingdialectdisrespectdisrespect for others • dramatism • dramaturgical analysis • dramaturgical sociology • dramaturgy • dramaturgy (sociology) • elaborate griping • Erving Goffmaneveryday lifeflatulence • front region conduct • frontstage behaviour language • human interactionshummingidentity performance • inconsiderateness • informal behaviour • informal language • Kenneth Burke • kidding • language of behaviour • microsociological accounts • minor acts • minor physical self-involvements • mumbling • nibbling • offensive behaviour • open sexual remarks • playful aggressivity • profanity • reciprocal first-naming • regression • regressive character • rough informal dress • shouting • sloppiness • sloppy sitting • smokingsocial behavioursocial interaction • social occasion • sociological perspective • standing posture • study of social interaction • sub-standard speech • symbolic acts • symbolic behavioursymbolic interactionism • symbolic of intimacy • theatrical metaphor • theatrical performance • whistling

CONTRIBUTOR

Barbara Adkins
20 JANUARY 2009

Does the world need Esperanto?

"[Esperanto] was very much the child of its times, like Theosophy, perhaps, or even Communism, which explains both its rapid spread in the early part of the 20th century as well, I think, as its eventual failure, if that's the right word, to live up to the hopes of the hopeful [Dr Ludwik Zamenhof], the founder of the movement.
...
It's also unsurprising that after the nightmare of the first world war, so many people around the world were inclined, in an era of modernism, to imagine peace in universalist terms.

A century later, we live in a rather different world, one where diversity (in dialects, ethnicities, customs, beliefs) is widely celebrated as a very fine thing, while anything that smacks of a grand narrative (a universal truth, a universal movement, anything hegemonic) is regarded with suspicion, although not universally, naturally."
(Robert Dessaix, 21 January 2006, ABC Australia)

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TAGS

20th centurybeliefscommunismcultural diversitycustomsdialectdifferenceEsperantoethnicitygrand narrativeshegemonylanguagelingua franca • Ludwik Zamenhof • modernism • singularity • Theosophy • universals

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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