I’ve been working on this mini series of episodes about minority languages and the threats they face and how they survive. Last episode, Welsh speakers took the drastic step of migrating to Argentina. But in researching it all, I keep referring back to a pair of Allusionists from a while ago: The Key. Part one, Rosetta, was about how a language survives in a physical form when its humans die, featuring the smash hit archaeological object the Rosetta Stone, and its namesake the Rosetta Disk, the linguistic key to the future. Part two is about how to decipher a dead language and why it might have died.Read More
Most of the questions I get asked about the English language can be boiled down to this: why is English such an idiosyncratic mess? And why has nobody tried to sort it out?
Well, some people did kind of try. For hundreds of years, English had been a swirling concoction full of Latin, German and French thanks to all the invasions of Britain, plus words English had nicked from other languages, all refusing to behave regularly or obey rules consistently, and riddled with silent Gs.
300 or so years ago, some decided they had HAD ENOUGH.