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laidbacklady


Member

Posted Tue Aug 17th, 2010 9:55am Post subject: Planet Word

As someone who finds language and etymology fascinating I'm really looking forward to this series. I shall be particularly interested in what Stephen says about American English - at least, I'm hoping he's going to comment on this.

I recently returned to England after living for several years in the Caribbean. Although the island had been alternately British and French during its colonial history and the official language was English, I was disappointed to see how very Americanised it was becoming. Considering the shameful way that Britian treated the sugar producing Commonwealth countries when we joined the EEC, they don't owe us any loyalty but it was still sad to see how firmly this little country is now oriented towards America.

I was a long way from friends and family and my sense of isolation was increased by the use of American, rather than English spelling. I assume that American spelling is an attempt to simplify the language. It may well do this, but in the process an enormous amount has been lost. 'English' English is a rich and beautiful language in which the different cultures that have contributed to it can be clearly seen. It is also possible, with much of our language, for anyone with a smattering of Latin or Greek to make a good guess at the meaning of an unfamiliar word.

The Americans have chosen to remove all traces of linguistic heritage, getting rid of diphthongs, replacing 'c' with 'k' and replacing 're' at the end of a word with 'er' in a way that makes me feel that they are deliberately stamping out any evidence of etymology. This feels almost sacrilegious - and certainly makes life harder for the cultured reader. For example the English 'paediatrics' is obviously to do with children. The American 'pediatrics' could just as easily be to do with feet! What is going on here and why do they feel it necessary to do this?

America is a different country, widely separated from England and it is natural for its language to evolve separately. I don't have a problem with that. But that language is NOT English and I get very cross when Americans insist that it is!

America is not a cultural desert; it has produced some wonderful artists, writers and musicians. I don't understand, therefore, why they have chosen to descrate our language in the way that they have, and hope Stephen will be including some commentary on this.


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pebbles


Member

Posted Wed Aug 18th, 2010 9:22am Post subject: Planet Word

Oh, I think these changes suit the differences between American and European culture rather well, as far as I (being German) can grasp them anyway

I'm looking forward to this programme (with two "m"s and an "e" if you like ) too. At least I'm curious about what he'll have to say about whether language shapes one's way of thinking, or how deep these differences go if it does.


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Brian Barker


Member

Posted Sun Sep 18th, 2011 5:57am Post subject: Planet Word

I hope that the BBC will mention the success of Esperanto in his new BBC TV programme "Planet Word" when it airs on 25th September. Many ignorant people describe Esperanto as "failed" - other ignorant people say that if human beings were meant to fly, God would have given them wings.

Esperanto is neither artificial nor a failure however. As the British Government now employs Esperanto translators it has ceased to be a hobby. More recently this international language was used to address the United Nations in Bonn.

During a short period of 124 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 22nd most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice of Google, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook.

The new online course http://www.lernu.net has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per day. That can't be bad


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RuthyTu


Member

Posted Sat Sep 24th, 2011 3:34pm Post subject: Planet Word

The grammatical error at the end of the trailer for "Planet Word" is a big turn-off for much of the potential audience.

And no, I don't mean pedants.


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ESgt


Member

Posted Fri Oct 7th, 2011 2:53pm Post subject: Planet Word

laidbacklady said:
As someone who finds language and etymology fascinating I'm really looking forward to this series.

Suggestion:
Could the BBC please publish the language tree, as vaguely glimpsed in the first Planet Word episode, as a wall poster. Like the one of the Tree of Life which they made and distributed in conjunction with the OU to commemorate the two-hundredth Darwin anniversary. [Spell checked externally].

ESgt

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merryway


Member

Posted Fri Oct 7th, 2011 6:30pm Post subject: Planet Word

Who else is insanely in love with this documentary so far? The subject is fascinating and Stephen is lovely as ever. I'm really looking forward to another episodes.
And watching Stephen getting worked up about football was just naughtily delightful. x-P


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Patrick.R


Member

Posted Mon Nov 7th, 2011 4:34am Post subject: Planet Word

I've viewed four episodes and have been absolutely enthralled with what I've seen and heard! Language study has been a bit of a hobby for me over the past few years. Stephen's study and numerous discussions of language all over the world let the viewer know just how diverse, fascinating and ever changing human language is. I hope that it is released on DVD!


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caera


Member

Posted Mon Dec 12th, 2011 12:05pm Post subject: Planet Word

Language is a way to express your feeling and thought. Grammar of any language is important because any change in grammar affects the sentences of that language.

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charlottesmith


Member

Posted Thu Dec 29th, 2011 11:46pm Post subject: Planet Word

For anyone who's not seen Fry's Planet Word it is a fascinating exploration of language in all its forms: from cutting edge linguistic research to the glories of world literature.

http://www.bbcactivevideoforlearning.com/1/SeriesD.....esID=24080


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