The Times (U.K.) reports on an unusual new museum:
The English language might be abused and misused, as well as celebrated, but it is the means by which two billion people communicate as a first or second language. Now its story is to be told in the world’s first museum dedicated to a language.
The English Project — which is due to open in 2012, as part of the Olympics cultural programme, with support from the British Library and the BBC among others — will aim to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the richness of the English language.
It will trace its development from the mixed tongue of three tribes — the Jutes, Saxons and Angles who crossed the North Sea to make their homes in Britannia in the 5th century — to the global lingua franca of today.
The museum will be built in Winchester — the city of King Alfred, who promoted Old English as a language of learning, literature and law. The city was also a unifying factor for the disparate English, or Anglo-Saxons, at a time when they were threatened by the Viking onslaught.
A campaign is planning to raise up to £25 million from public bodies, individual donors, trusts and foundations. The museum will be announced on March 5 by, among others, David Crystal, an expert on the history of the English language, who will analyse the state of English today.
I’m not sure what it has to do with the Olympics, but Crystal is indeed an expert; who knows, maybe it will be worthwhile. Here‘s the Winchester city website, and here‘s the university’s announcement. Thanks for another interesting link, Paul!