How much is your language influenced by English?

Sanja   Monday, October 18, 2004, 15:49 GMT
Here in Bosnia things are a little bit complicated....LOL :) You can hear both Serbian and Croatian versions. Before the war it was more common to use Serbian versions of the words, except that we use "-je/-ije" instead of Serbian "-e". But now you can hear all the versions here, because there are a lot of Croatians, Serbians and of course Muslims in Bosnia, so everyone speaks "their own language", while it is of course the same language.
But it's true that in Croatia they started replacing foreign words with their own words, that has gone so far that it is becoming pretty ridiculous. I have heard some very funny examples, for instance "arhiva" means "archive" in Serbo-Croat, but Croatians started using the word "pismohrana" (I've heard it a few times). I can't even remember all those examples right now. My sister had to choose between English and Croatian version on her mobile and she chose English, because Croatian had too many changed words....LOL. But most people don't use those words in ordinary speech, you usually hear them on TV or see them in newspapers. I guess all these South Slavic languages are still in the process of changing, especially Croatian, but I still use the standard Serbo-Craot language as it used to be, I just call it Bosnian now.
Sanja   Monday, October 18, 2004, 15:54 GMT
Oh, I just remembered the funniest example of replacing foreign words in Croatian. Not so long ago I heard the word "brzoglas" instead of "telefon" (telephone). I'm always against changing the words, but I think that we shouldn't use too many foreign words if we DO have a suitable word in our own language. I just don't like those attempts of changing the words that people have been using for ages, even if they have a foreign background.
NZer   Monday, October 18, 2004, 21:16 GMT

The guy who complained about something shown in another language was probably just our equivalent of a redneck. In NZ we have a lot of film festivals and at any time you can usually go to a cinema and find at least one foreign film. They usually have subtitles (or possibly always, I don't ever recall seeing a movie dubbed into English).

Are you sure the complainant wasn't feeling insecure about the new Maori language channel. There are a few people who think it is a waste of government funding and will be quite against it, they should be ignored though I think!

One last point: as an island in the middle of nowhere, many people who have never left the country (or only been to australia) probably assume the whole world speaks English anyway!
mathijs standaert   Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 16:27 GMT
English is a not a very strong, steady language.It has changed dramatically in time.A lot of soundshifts and french influence didn't do the language any good ( That's my opinion ). Not that I don't like your language...but I would like to know how your language could have looked like without all those influences. A strong , proud language?
Easterner   Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 19:07 GMT
In my very personal opinion (not meant to be scientific or anything like that), the change that affected the Germanic character of English the least favourably was the influx of French words under the Plantagenet kings of England (Henry II, the first Edwards, up to Richard II), when French (not Norman, but that of Ile-de France) was the court language. As I imagine, many courtiers and lesser noblemen may have started using French because it may have been the way of becoming "upwardly mobile" (of course taking account of the circumstances of contemporary feudalism). Another bad thing was that its spelling after the Norman Conquest was established by Norman scribes rather than native ones (though Middle English spelling was mostly phonemic, with much more consistent rules than today). The Latin influence was only strengthened in the later centuries, so English became a mix of Germanic and Latin elements, more than any other non-Romance language in Europe. I guess if it weren't for this strong Latin influence, English today would sound a lot like Dutch today (or perhaps a little like Danish, with slightly softer consonants, peculiar to Anglo-Saxon speech).

As for sound shifts, they are completely normal. The problem is that modern English spelling fails completely to take account of the consequences of the Great Vowel Shift, which took place between the 15th and 18th century in the south of England. By the way, I wonder which dialect is closest to the way English may have sounded before the GVS...
Damian   Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 20:01 GMT
<<I wonder which dialect is closest to the way English may have sounded before the GVS>>

The huge change in pronunciation of mediaeval English began right at the end of the Middle English period, as you say, Easterner. The eary 14th century great writer Geoffrey Chaucer was probably aware of its commencement but too late to affect his writing. A century later William Caxton, a writer who set up the first printing presses, was much easier to understand in later years because of the GVS as it progressed.

I have no idea really which dialect would be closest. Probably those of southern England, which was a completely a rural and agrarian society at that time in hirtory, and that was the case right up until the Industrial Revolution in the 18th/19th century.
Damian   Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 20:03 GMT
hirtory..well you know what I meant ;-)