Top 10 Amazing Ways WORLD WAR I Changed the ENGLISH Language

{“en”:”Language is always evolving, changing as our civilization changes. As populations move, local dialects mix, vocabularies blend, die off, or go viral and infect the mainstream. Before the Internet brought everyone online the biggest events to bring large numbers of different dialects styles to together was war. One hundred years ago the First World War ( July 28, 1914 u2013 November 11, 1918 ) was a truly global conflict, bringing together different nations, different classes of people, speaking different languages and even different dialects of English. From this mixing pot, and the horrors of war, mainstream English changed.

10. Serbia is served European tensions were at an all-time high in the years leading up to World War I. The leading Empires of the day looked to control what they had while searching for ways to expand at the expense of the others. Tiny in relation to the ancient Empires of Turkey, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, Serbia was an upstart nation that had recently won its independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1914 the fire that would ignite Europe sparked when the terrorist group the Black Hand assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The assassination caused the Austro-Hungarian Empire to declare war on Serbia, which set in motion a set of alliances that, in 1914, saw most of Europe declaring war on each other. At the time Serbia was so new that English media hadnu2019t even settled on how to spell its name, with most calling it u201cServia.u201d This annoyed the tiny nation to no end, causing the Serbian Legation in London to file an official protest and plea to change the standard spelling of Servia to Serbia.

The Serbs found Servia u201chighly offensive to our people mainly because it suggests a false derivation u2026 meaning u2018to serveu2019. It is a source of hidden pain to Serbians to see [media] persist in using the corrupt forms.u201d 9. Ways to express medical problems Thousands of men spent long hours, days, weeks stuck in muddy, flooded trenches that were breeding grounds for disease and sickness. Outside of the trench was even worse, as men were ripped apart by bullets and shrapnel. This incredible amount of misery created a number words that we still use to this day. u201cCooties,u201d u201clousyu201d and u201ccrummyu201d came from the nicknames soldiers gave the ever present lice that infested their damp uniforms. Someone barely alive either mentally or physically was called a u201cBasket Caseu201d, while to u201cget in a flapu201d refers to being worried or excited and spawned the term u201cunflappableu201d or u201cmarked by assurance and self-controlu201d.

8. Words borrowed from India When the British Empire called up its vast Imperial resources it brought in the veteran and very professional Indian Army that had been fighting for decades for the British Empire. The British and Indian Army were very well integrated and Indian words had been making their way into the British Army for years, but with WW1 the Indians mixed with other soldiers from many other countries. Many loanwords spread throughout the multinational Allied front but probably the most famous is u201ccushyu201d from the Urdu word khush, or u201cpleasure.u201d Soon everyone was using cushy to describe plum assignments, trenches that werenu2019t under a foot of water, or front lines that were rarely active. All were all cush, or cushy. Another Indian word that entered the mainstream was u201cBlightyu201d from the Urdu word u201cvilayatiu201d, meaning u201cforeignu201d or u201cBritish.u201d During the War, it evolved into a nickname for the motherland, or Great Britain. Homesick soldiers would talk about returning to Blighty or what they would do when then finally made it home, to Blighty. 7. Words borrowed from the French While the British called up all the resources of the Empire, the war was fought on French soil and so was fiercely defended by the brave men of the French Army.

As the Allied nations fought side by side with French units or went on leave in French towns, they picked up some French words and phrases like u201ctoot sweetu201d from the French u201ctout de suiteu201d or to do something immediately. Other words like u201cskiveu201d or someone who is lazy and avoids work (probably from esquiver u2018to escape, avoidu2019) also entered the English language. 6. Words for Islam, Muslim At the start of the 20th century, the Islamic Ottoman Empire was waning and out of the minds of most of the Western world. Large populations of Muslims existed throughout the world, just like today, but they were minorities in larger empires. There was also no large-scale Muslim immigration to the new world or to Europe. As such, Islam was an exotic and abstract concept. This changed with WW1. Suddenly the Islamic Ottoman Empire was allied with the Germans while vast Muslim armies fought for both the British and French.

Thrust into the news, Western media didnu2019t know how to describe the Islamic people, variously calling them by a variety of spellings like u201cMoslemu201d or u201cMussulman.u201d Others media described them as the u201cpeople of Mohammedu201d with terms like u201cMohammedansu201d or u201cMahometans.u201d This caused great offense to Muslims, as it implied that they worshiped Mohammed instead of Allah. 5. English gets wasted The brave souls fighting in Europe had a mix of boredom, money in the pocket, youth, and the ever present possibility of a future horrible and violent death at the front.

Any soldier will tell you that this is the perfect recipe for blowing off a little (or a lot of) steam. Behind the front lines, entertainment centers sprouted up catering to the millions of soldiers that needed a little R&R. France even set up its own system of brothels to cater to the needs of Allied soldiers, the infamous Military Campaign Brothels. Out of this party atmosphere, soldiers developed their own slang for their brethren who had a little too much and were wasted out of their mind. u201cWash outu201d came to describe an aspiring officer who failed in their effort to get a commission. It quickly spread to represent any type of failure including the more modern use of u201cthat party was a washout.u201d To drink too much, or u201cto bingeu201d was before the war a local term just used in Lancashire. In the Army, the term quickly spread and has firmly embedded itself in even our modern culture. 4. The evolving meaning of gay Generations of children used to use the word gay with its supposed double meaning either homosexual or happy. Something like u201cyouu2019re gay the happy way!u201d Only for decades, it hasnu2019t meant happy.

Of course 100 years ago during World War 1 was a different time. At that time, gay did indeed mean happy, which of course created some interesting headlines when viewed through modern eyes. Take for example the December 24, 1914 headline in the Seattle Star talking about Berlin during its first Christmas at War, u201cBerlin Cafes Jammed; Gay.u201d While Berlin was merry in its first wartime Christmas, its ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire was having a tougher time as told by this Tacoma Times December 1, 1914 headline, u201cGay Vienna Goes Hungry.u201d Back in America, this May 8, 1915 New-York Tribune told people u201cOfficers Gay In Clubhouse.u201d Away from the war was this May 19, 1916 headline from the Chicago Tribune, u201cBoys have gay spending orgy on teacheru2019s $80u201d ($80 in 1916 = $1,7in 2017). Another eyebrow raiser is this from the Seattle Star, from January 14, 1915, u201cGay Old Daddy ducks out with young sonu2019s wife.u201d 3. Language of technology The First World War caused many revolutions but also revolutionized war itself. For the first time, nations were able to industrialize military death. New technologies sprung from more and more efficient ways to kill each other.

Some of the everyday words that we use come from this conflict. u201cBlimpu201d comes from the militaryu2019s intense desire to make military jargon through abbreviations or shortening words. In this case u201cBritish Class B airshipu201d plus u201climpu201d, aka an airship without a frame, became BLIMP. The French efforts to hide their movements from the ever watchful Germans necessitated a new word. The French came up with u201cCamouflageu201d from the Parisian slang u201cto disguiseu201d and the French camouflet, or u201cpuff of smoke.u201d Extended trench warfare was a new concept that led to the stalemate of WW1. To break the enemyu2019s lines a new machine was needed. Its British champion, and future Prime Minister, Winston Churchill used the term landship or u201ccaterpillar machine-gun destroyeru201d but in all government communication, the code word u201ctanku201d as in u201cwater tanku201d was used.

The nickname stuck and now we refer to the concept of a tracked, armored vehicle as a tank. While we talked about Allied borrowed words, some words also came from the enemy. The German phrase u201cGott strafe England!u201d (u201cGod punish England!u201d) was widely used in German propaganda. Allied propagandists quickly adopted the term and it evolved to mean being attacked from a machine gun or airplane, u201cto strafe.u201d 2. Shells of death One of the greatest weapons of WW1 was the artillery shell. It could vaporize whole squadrons of exposed men and cover areas with a deadly metal shrapnel shower. It could also be used as a tool to destroy fortifications, trenchworks, or even cut up the barbed wire entanglements.

All sides used a variety of artillery shells for different purposes and so soldiers quickly gave nicknames to each. These words eventually entered mainstream English which is why we now still use u201cpipsqueaku201d, u201cplonkeru201d, u201cfizz-bang,u201d or u201cwhizz-bangu201d u2013 words that originally described the sounds artillery shells made. On the flip side, shells that didnu2019t explode were u201cdudsu201d which eventually entered English as a mainstream way to say failure. 1. Pilots With a rickety plane, on December 17, 1903 the Wright Brothers made history with the first powered, controlled and sustained heavier than air flight. Just over 10 years later WW1 broke out and from the start, aviation played a key part. Generals clamored for their birdu2019s eye shots of the front lines. On August 15th, 1914 the first aerial dogfight took place between Serbian pilot Miodrag Tomic and an Austro-Hungarian plane. Soon the skies became one more battleground of the war. Since it was such a new technology the worldu2019s media and the English language itself had not worked out what to call these men and women who braved the skies.

At first, they used Latin based creations like u201caviatoru201d or u201caviatrixu201d for women. Then they tried to get more literal, using terms like u201cAirmanu201d or u201cBirdman.u201d They tried more scientific terms like u201caeronautu201d or u201caerialistu201d before settling on what we use today, u201cpilotu201d or the less common u201caviator.u201d. “}

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Learn English in London

Top 10 Fun Facts About the English Language

With so many languages bouncing around the globe, you would be forgiven for thinking English is just one of many. The following 10 entries look at how a once small language spoken by an island people is now used as a global lingua franca. If Latin had the Roman Empire, then English has the world. 10. English is the Most Commonly Used Language in the Sciences SCOPUS, the world’s largest database for peer-reviewed journals, contains 21, 000 articles from 239 countries. A 2012 study found that 80 percent were written entirely in English. That’s not all. For an article to gain entry to SCOPUS, a journal must include an English abstract – even if it is written in another language. This trend in the sciences shows no sign of stopping and in some cases, has even increased. Most scientists know that research written in a foreign language will likely reach a limited audience. If research is to have a global impact, then it needs to be published in English.

This means researchers need to have a level of proficiency which allows them to attend conferences, read research papers and hold discussions, all in English. A monolingual English approach to science has its drawbacks. A BBC article concerning the stories of the indigenous tribes of Indonesia noted that as indigenous languages decline, it becomes increasingly difficult for scientists to access knowledge that could potentially be lost forever. 9. English in the Publishing World According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), an organization which provides statistics concerning global book publishing, 21.84% of all books published in the world are written in English.

This figure is dwarfed compared to the number of periodicals released in English, which makes up a staggering 62.55% of all periodicals published. This seems impressive considering that English only takes second place for largest literate population in the world. The title is actually held by Mandarin Chinese, which boasts a literate population of 794,947,565 people, or 14.68% of the world. In comparison, English only has 572,977,034, representing a mere 10.58% of the world’s literate population. It seems strange then, that only 4.85% of the world’s information resources are produced in Mandarin. In comparison, English sits comfortably producing 44.29% of global information. The nearest contender is German at 7.60%. The perception of English as a universal language alongside special programs which encourage English proficiency are most likely the reason English stays up on top.

8. English on the Internet Is English’s dominance on the web coming to an end? It is safe to say that English was probably the first language used online. By the mid-1990s, 80% of the internet’s content was written in English. This is no longer the case, where competition with Chinese, French, German and Spanish has caused English’s presence on the net to shrink to around 30%. Chinese in particular, has expanded to fill this gap, growing by 1277.4% between 2000 and 2010. To keep this in perspective, out of around the 6,000 languages in use, the top ten most commonly used languages on the internet (English, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, German, French, and Malaysian) make up 82% of all content.

English remains dominant with around 800 million users surfing the net, but Chinese stays close with 649 million and Spanish follows with 222 million users. Does it matter which language you speak online? It does when it comes to language inequality. There are huge information vacuums where other languages are left in the dark in favour of more popular ones. For example, Google searches in English return between four to five time more results than in Arabic. Not all languages are considered equal. 7. English is Not the Official Language of the United States Officially speaking, the United States federal government has no official language. A common misconception even President Donald Trump once declared “This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.” While it is true that English has kept a dominant position, America has enjoyed a long tradition of language diversity. In 1664, eighteen different languages were recorded on Manhattan Island. Historically, language laws were dismissed as a danger to the individual liberties of US citizens.

An English-speaking population was judged less important to American identity than the principles of liberty on which America was founded upon. English was neither a unifying force nor a cause for separation, it was simply a tool. When attempts were made to force English on the population, they served only to damage constitutional rights and cause conflict between ethnic groups. 6. The Official Language of the Aviation Industry In 1962, the International Civil Organization (ICAO) established that it was essential for air traffic control to provide their services in English.

The Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Proficiency Requirements states that the English language must be available, on request from any air station, at all stations on the ground serving designated airports and routes used by international air services. One the reasons for the push towards English was the claim that a lack of language proficiency by non-native English speaking pilots contributed to a number of fatal accidents. For example, the 1977 Tenerife runway collision, the Avianca crash near JFK and the 1995 American Airlines crash in Colombia were all alleged to be the result of communication errors.

5. The Official Working Language of ASEAN English is now used to break down barriers between nations for the sake of international diplomacy. It is not uncommon for delegates to use English to discuss politics without the need for interpreters. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on the 8th of August, 1976 and involves ten member states. ASEAN looks to encourage regional peace and stability throughout Southeast Asia. In 2009, Article 34 was added to the ASEAN Charter, which states ‘The working language of ASEAN shall be English.’ This allows ASEAN to effectively cut costs unlike organisations such as the EU which uses a translation service to promote equality among member countries.

Unfortunately, not all change is good news. Local languages are being replaced in schools with curriculums choosing not to teach other ASEAN state languages in favor of English. This is a common complaint concerning English’s global spread, as we’ll see below. 4. The Death of Other Languages It has been predicted that by 2100, 90% of the world’s languages will officially be lost to us. English gets a lot of the blame as a global language that pushes minority languages into extinction. For the young people of the world, English is being chosen over local languages that cannot provide the same benefits for mass communication. Ethnologue, a US organization, has put together a global database of languages with 473 considered endangered. Whether it is a lack of interest or just progress, as more and more people abandon other languages in favor of English, the future will be much less linguistically diverse. 3. English in Politics You switch on the television and a news station is reporting more political unrest in some far-off land.

Ever wondered why the protestors write their signs in English? They may be half way across the world, but they how to get their message out to a wider audience. Whereas local and national media services struggle to reach figures in the millions, global media networks can hit much greater numbers. The BBC Global News service has reported an audience of a quarter of a billion. More often than not, these outlets provide their information in English, protestors know this and use English in the hope that their voices will be heard. 2. Japan Considers English an Official Language Japan has had a difficult relationship with the English language over the years. Several prominent figures in Japan’s history have suggested English should become the official language of the country. The first was Mori Arinori in 1872, the first Japanese ambassador for the USA, who wanted to switch to English for the sake of international trade. In 1946, the author Shiga Naoya suggested adopting French instead, which inspired Kindaichi Haruhiko to write the best seller “Nihongo” in defense of the Japanese language.

This didn’t stop socio-linguist Takao Suzuki from suggesting Englic in 1975, a version of English which ignores British and American culture. None of these proposals were successful, but they do show the wide-spread appeal of English as an international language. 1. More Non-Native Speakers than Native Speakers It may come as a surprise that there are now far more non-native speakers of English than there are native speakers. With 750 million using English as a foreign language compared to 375 million native speakers, non-native speakers are more likely to hold a conversation in English than any other language. These numbers are growing, asking serious questions about the future of the English language in an increasingly globalized world. Does English belong to native speakers? Vast bodies of research are devoted to answering just this question. Some argue that the term “non-native English speaker” is out dated, suggesting that in some sense non-native speakers are inferior to natives. They contend that English is now a language used for both international and intercultural communication and therefore belongs to no one.

There’s now even calls for non-native versions of English like Singlish (Singapore-English) and Chinglish (Chinese English) to be considered valid forms of the language in the same way as American or British English. That could mean textbooks and school classrooms teaching forms of English most natives have never heard of before. It seems the future of English could take us in a very different direction..

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