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The Story of English!

The Story of English
Background

1. I am reading this book by Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil. Just completed reading preface today.

2. It was in my cellar with couple of old journals. On August 20th, 2009 I entrusted fifty books to my sibling along with many journals in Bhopal as I was planning to move to Pune for a job in an IT firm.

3. Later, I burnt away all the journals except some which were eaten away by termite. Collection of the books was meagre. It was not reflective of what I actually read during four years of college as I was a member of British Library in Bhopal. I was lazy to visit library regularly. I preferred reading articles on websites in a nearby internet cafe. It was inception for Jimmy Wales’ Wikipedia: always in dire need for funds these days. I found it to be a wonderful source of information. I kept reading criticism which refused to regard it as an authentic source of information in debates. I began frequenting discussion forums like The Couch and Mad Philosophers on internet. They were a help in those days.

4. I don’t remember where I found this book. I either bought it second-hand or from a book fair as I used to visit them sometimes. Now as I rarely read any books I think it would be a good idea to read it. There’s a Whatsapp group which was created with an intention to discuss some ideas and new books but all we do over there is to share some jokes and news.

5. The rate at which this language evolved and grew in vocabulary is in itself a miracle. We engineering students; well most of us, had no idea that this language which created nightmares for us had a very humble database at the times of Shakespeare. Preface emphasizes this fact.

6. If you need any first-hand observations which compare it with any other languages of national importance: take Hindi. Constant abuse and misuse of language is one of the facts highlighted in day-to-day life. Hindi dictionaries were rarely bought and sold in the decades I grew up in this country. There’s almost no effort to preserve the language and improve it as literati did it especially during Indian struggle for independence against British. You find misspellings and inaccurate grammar in Hindi newspapers with most powerful circulation. You find the same in campaign slogans for religious, political and educational movements. No wonder this lack of discipline is merely a reflection of attitude of Hindi belt. Bengali and Tamil speaking regions have treated their language with much greater discipline and care.

Author: dancinglightofgrace

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