THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH IN TEN MINUTES.

An amusing series of short videos from The Open University; here‘s the first. (Whatever did happen to the Jutes, anyway?) Via Dave Wilton.
Addendum. All ten episodes conveniently linked here.

Comments

  1. des von bladet says:

    Jutland?

  2. Burlapland?

  3. Bathrobe says:

    The Jutes were apparently from Jutland. I’ve read somewhere an explanation that the departure of the Jutes left a dialect gap, resulting in an abrupt transition between two dialects where they used to live (North German and Danish?).

  4. Some people say the Jutes are related to the Jotuns of Jotunheim, giants who invented a brand of Norwegian house paint. The name of the Norwegian mountains called Jotenheim is a 19C invention that became very confusing for me and other people who have a bad memory, because itq nothing at all with the Jutes to do has.

  5. Norwegian mountains called Jotunheimen. Not that it’s very interesting unless you like that sort of thing (outstanding natural beauty etc.).

  6. Trond Engen says:

    I havent’t played the videos yet, but the question is where the Jutes went, when the Angles got Anglia and the Saxons all sorts of Sex, isn’t it? If memory serves me, the Jutes settled in Kent and Isle of Wight.
    I’ve read somewhere an explanation that the departure of the Jutes left a dialect gap [...]
    That might have been me, in which case it’s mere speculation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it from an actual historical linguist.

  7. Thanks to my wife, I have come to appreciate natural beauty. I was always a city boy who kept my head in a book; now I notice trees, mountains, things like that.

  8. Neither did I very much. I think it’s also acquired with age, but being married to someone like that is a huge advantage.

  9. I have come to appreciate natural beauty. I was always a city boy who kept my head in a book; now I notice trees, mountains, things like that.
    I too came late to reality, but not in the form of natural beauty. With me it’s more a matter of noticing any kind of difference between instances of a kind: that sparrows behave differently from snipes, that a poplar is not a birch tree, that some people have blue eyes and others brown etc.
    The visible is not my best subject. That there is something called natural beauty is a real beaut of an idea. I’ll think about it.

  10. Ineluctible modality of the visible, and all that.

  11. The Jutes are also supposed to have settled in what became Hampshire, opposite the IoW, where they were later overwhelmed, supposedly, by the expanding West Saxons (who started off, some suggest, in a territory no bigger than those of the Middle, East and South Saxons – perhaps Berkshire – but who had room to grow as they pushed against the Britons of Dumnonia. Which is why Middlesex, Essex and Sussex stayed only the size of modern single counties, but Wessex, having expanded its initial territory, covers several modern counties.

  12. the departure of the Jutes left a dialect gap
    Maybe once upon a time there was not such a sharp line between those who spoke as if holding a hot potato in the mouth and those who did not?

  13. Trond Engen says:

    Jotun is known for house paint here, but internationally they’re big in marine and industrial coatings, having developed products for the Antarctic whaling business based in Tønsberg and Sandefjord. Commercial large-scale whaling was terminated half a century ago, but Jotun’s still based in Sandefjord.
    When my wife had a project for them a few years ago, she had me looking at the various versions of the Jotun logo used at different markets. I think there were three different logos with Arabic letters — one for countries transcribing a French pronunciation and two for those transcribing English, one for Egypt and another one for the Gulf. There was also a Thai logo. I made a mental note that if I ever start a blog, I’ll write about that.
    Reminded of it now I went looking, but sadly, they seem to have narrowed in on their graphic program, because now I can only find the logo in Latin letters. There’s a corporate policy prescribing fonts for those languages and several others, but no available logos.

  14. That’s too bad. I’ll boycott Jotun paints until they bring their Arabic logos back.

  15. …or until I need paint. Whichever in the sooner.

  16. Trond Engen says:

    I wonder who’s stealing my mental notes. They’re never there when I need them.

  17. When I was in college, my roommate and I once went to the front office of the “house” where we lived, to ask the secretary to please reserve a small dining room for a meeting of the Space Table. Reaching for a pen and a piece of paper, she said “Let me make a mental note of that.”

  18. I’d actually never heard of Jotun until moving to the UAE, but they’re ubiquitous here. However, even their Jotun Middle East website now makes no mention of anything other than a Roman logo
    http://www.jotun.com/me
    though it does tell you which Arabic font to use (Damascus …)

  19. Trond Engen says:

    There was a time when I used to take week-long tenting hikes on skis e.g. in Jotunheimen, but my wife keeps handing me examples of graphic design.

  20. dearieme says:

    The Jutes failed adequately to bribe The Venerable Bede and so were written out of history.
    History isn’t written by the victors, it’s written by the historians.

  21. @dearieme: So what you’re saying is, historians are the victors?

  22. What dearieme says is appropriately uxorious. Victors have more brawn than brains, and win only once. Historians always have the last word, so they win each time. It’s like married life – where one in fact should speak of herstorians, as the feminists recommend.

  23. Well, Gildas didn’t really win.

  24. Bathrobe says:

    “For the Old English dialect of Kent (deriving from early Jute settlers) there are some religious texts along with documents such as charters and wills.” From here.

  25. Bathrobe: the very last item pictured at that site is a copy of what is called Sermo lupi ad Anglos by one Bishop Wulfstan. I wondered why this title is rendered there only as “Sermon to the English”, when it seems to mean “Sermon of the Wolf to the English”. Trying to discover who this wolf is, I found the simple answer that Wulfstan called himself “wolf”. Wulf, wolf – get it ?!

  26. Bishops in those days were really rad.

  27. I’m wondering if Wulfstan called himself “Wulf” simply because that was his name – which wouldn’t be particularly rad. That “wulf” (old-timey form) means “wolf” (new-timey form) – if it does – would just be a boring fact. Does anyone know what the old-timey name Wulfstan “means” – its structure, significance etc ?

  28. Have personal names always and everywhere – as a matter of historical record – expressed some sort of belongingness to a family, tribe, region, or some sort of spiritual connection such as Running Bull, Biting Louse etc ? Was there ever a society in which people called each other Person1, Person2 and so on ? Just a free-floating-intellectual speculation …

  29. what the old-timey name Wulfstan “means”
    Apparently wolf stone
    Person1, Person2 and so on
    It seems that the person we are discussing is called Wulfstan II, and that he had a nephew called Wulfstan II.

  30. Thanx, empty. With two Wulfstan II people living at the same time, we’ve gotten to the point of my little speculation faster than I had anticipated. It was essentially a ruse on my part to gesture at “matters of historical record”, and to suggest that calling someone Running Bull is something more significant or profound than calling him Henry.
    Although parents often give their children names with some local significance (“That was grandpa’s name”), the generalized social function of personal names is to make it easier to identify, for others, the potential recipients of orders, requests and so on when those persons are absent (“Tell Donna I love her”), or need to be singled out in a present crowd (“Hey Ratface” is simpler than “You there with the scuffed shoes and the safety-pin through your ear”).
    Whether the names are John and Henry, or Person1 and Person2, is in that sense irrelevant. It may be that those Wulfstans were more concerned with their role in local matters than with identifiabilty in a “larger” historical context, i.e. where there are more people notionally surrounding those at whom the historian wants to point a finger.

  31. chris y says:

    Whatever did happen to the Jutes, anyway?
    According to some traditions, the Jutes gave rise to the Kentish Men, whereas the Saxon descendents were Men of Kent. The distinction is an important one.

  32. David Marjanović says:

    I’ve read there was a tribe in the northwestern Amazon basin or so that was so small that, till a few years ago or so, people didn’t have names – they called each other by kinship terms.
    Gives a whole new meaning to cultural relativism!

  33. But retains the original meaning of inc*stuous, probably.

  34. The Saxons went off to settle Essex, Sussex, and Wessex (thus leaking into Thomas Hardy novels), but apparently never thought of heading north Hence there is no Nussex, either in England or in New Jersey, where I first encountered the other three and wondered why the fourth was lacking. In any case, they are not to be confused with the Nor[th]-folk or the S[o]u[th]-folk.

  35. And zero names for snow.

  36. Does NJ have a Wessex? Massachusetts has a Middlesex.
    That there is something called natural beauty is not only a real beaut of an idea; it’s a legal fact. The North Coast and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths are examples of AONBs.

  37. there is no Nussex
    Germany has the Nussecke, the favorite snack of Guildo Horn, along with raspberry ice cream. Both feature in the song with which he represented his country in the 1998 Eurovision Song Context. The refrain is “Peep! Peep! Peep! Peep! / ‘chhab’ dich lieb, / Guildo hat euch lieb”. He’s a music therapist.

  38. I realize this isn’t quite the same as “Person1″, “Person2″, etc., but some West African cultures have traditionally given children first names based on the day of the week on which they were born. (Subsequent names could reflect birth order and so on, though.) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akan_names.

  39. Thanks, Ran, that’s an interesting phenomenon. Actually it is just the kind of thing I meant – a policy to pull names out of a hat, instead of choosing them to reflect parentage or to put the recipients under a beneficent influence (“Jesus”).

  40. “Cuffy” as a slave name in America was one of those West African day names.
    In some Romance languages children can be named by birth order. I know someone named Primo, and Sextus, Septimus and so on were common in ancient Rome.
    I was told by a Latvian that in Latvia there was no choice about children’s names. You were always named after the saint on whose day you were born.

  41. Evelyn Waugh’s seventh child is Septimus. Primo Levi is ok, but being a “Secondo” would be a an irritation for the rest of one’s life. Latin Primus isn’t much better, no one wants to be named after a camping stove.

  42. I was told by a Latvian that in Latvia there was no choice about children’s names. You were always named after the saint on whose day you were born.
    But each day has a number of saints, giving you a range to choose from. The locus classicus of this problem is Akaky Akakievich:

    Perhaps it may strike the reader as a rather strange and farfetched name, but I can assure him that it was not farfetched at all, that the circumstances were such that it was quite out of the question to give him any other name. Akaky Akakievitch was born toward nightfall, if my memory does not deceive me, on the twenty-third of March. His mother, the wife of a government clerk, a very good woman, made arrangements in due course to christen the child. She was still lying in bed, facing the door, while on her right hand stood the godfather, an excellent man called Ivan Ivanovitch Yeroshkin, one of the head clerks in the Senate, and the godmother, the wife of a police official, and a woman of rare qualities, Arina Semyonovna Byelobryushkov. Three names were offered to the happy mother for selection — Moky, Sossy, or the name of the martyr Hozdazat. “No,” thought the poor lady, “they are all such names!” To satisfy her, they opened the calendar at another place: three more names appeared — Triphily, Dula, and Varakhasy. “This is a judgment,” said the old woman. “What names! I truly never heard the like. I might have put up with Varadat or Varukh, but not Triphily and Varakhasy!” They turned to another page and found Pavsikakhy and Vakhtisy. “Well, it’s plain enough that this is fate. So we’d better call him after his father. He was an Akaky, so let’s call his son Akaky as well.” And that was how he became Akaky Akakievich.

  43. David Marjanović says:

    “Cuffy” as a slave name in America was one of those West African day names.

    Kofi Annan.
    Tuesday, IIRC.

    and Sextus, Septimus and so on were common in ancient Rome.

    The Romans numbered their children like how the Americans number their streets.

    I was told by a Latvian that in Latvia there was no choice about children’s names. You were always named after the saint on whose day you were born.

    That once was a common practice over here, but in Protestant Latvia? Did you mean Lithuania?

  44. David Marjanović says:

    (Indeed, in classical times, numerals seem to have been the only given names that Roman women were able to have at all. In other words, some were Tertia, and the others went by their family names or cognomina.)

  45. David L says:

    Decimus Burton was a somewhat famous designers of gardens, eg Kew. I suppose once you get to your tenth child thinking up interesting names for them becomes tedious. I don’t know the names of the nine children who preceded Decimus.

  46. Chinese names are apparently at the whim either of the father or of some male ancestor (since clans can have naming customs). Jennifer 8 Lee of the NYT is a contemporary example; the “8″ was based on some kind of numerological belief rather than birth order or anything, IIRC. Lee needed to use her middle name because there were too many Jennifer Lees, and I think that she chose the numeral rather than “eight” in order to be even more memorable.
    The names of one person I knew in Taiwan were two words from a patriotic slogan — the first child got the first two words, the second the second the second two, up to four. (There were options for expanding the slogan had their been a fifth).
    In clan systems, sometimes each generation of a clan would share one word in their names, taken from a famous text or a devotional poem. If the text were, e.g., “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God….” some generations would get blessed, pure, heart, or God in their names, and others would get are, the, in, for, they, or shall in their names. Fortunately Chinese has fewer of those annoying particles, but people still would end up with a function word like “it” in their names.

  47. I hadn’t realised I had Burton #10 to thank for so much: apart from two greenhouses at Kew and the layout of the gardens, there’s the Giraffe House at London Zoo – a much more successful structure than the zoo’s more famous ex-Penguin Pool. Schinkel’s a better architect, but if anyone deserves Si monumentum requiris circumspice it’s Burton at Kew. No pictures I know of have ever done it justice; I particularly love the allée that runs from the Palm House towards Syon House, ending at the River Thames: it has so many peculiar trees. Nowadays it’s hard to believe you’re still in London.

  48. David Marjanović says:

    some kind of numerological belief

    8 brings good luck and wealth. People have paid fortunes* for car numberplates and phone numbers with lots of 8s.
    * …instead of, you know, gaining fortunes…

  49. Bathrobe says:

    Mongolian names are often based on the days of the week, in Tibetan, of course.
    Nyam or Nima is Sunday. Davaa is Monday. Myagmar is Tuesday. Lkhagva is Wednesday. Purev is Thursday. Baasan is Friday. Byamba (or Bimba) is Saturday. All commonly used in Mongolian names.

  50. Tuesday is occasionally a woman’s name in English, whereas Friday is a man’s name.

  51. Which would you say are the woodier days of the week?

  52. Bathrobe says:

    @ AJP
    You’re so stuck in the seventeenth century! You’ve forgotten the modern ‘Girl Friday’.

  53. Bathrobe says:

    In Japanese and Korean, there is only one woody day of the week, Thursday (木曜日). Based on the Chinese naming of the planets after the ‘five elements’: Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, Earth. (Naming after the five elements is an innovation in Chinese. There are old names that predate these and have no relation to the five elements).

  54. People have paid fortunes for car numberplates and phone numbers with lots of 8s.
    Upon renewing my vehicle license many years ago I chanced to receive a plate marked LEO 008. According to The Book of Lists, Leo VIII was the only pope to die while fornicating.

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