Saturday, March 10, 2007

What American accent do you have?

This is mainly for Americans, but other English-speakers might also find this amusing. I scored a Midland accent, which means that I basically have no accent. Maybe that's why no English person I met could figure out where I was from?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Friday, March 09, 2007

English May Be Much More Ancient Than Traditionally Thought

In an interesting new study, geneticists and historians suggest that the English language may have predated the Roman language in Britain.
Many [geneticists] are struck by the overall genetic similarities, leading some to claim that both Britain and Ireland have been inhabited for thousands of years by a single people that have remained in the majority, with only minor additions from later invaders like Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. . .

Stephen Oppenheimer, a medical geneticist at the University of Oxford, says the historians’ account is wrong in almost every detail. In Dr. Oppenheimer’s reconstruction of events, the principal ancestors of today’s British and Irish populations arrived from Spain about 16,000 years ago, speaking a language related to Basque. . .

Much later, some 6,000 years ago, agriculture finally reached the British Isles from its birthplace in the Near East. Agriculture may have been introduced by people speaking Celtic, in Dr. Oppenheimer’s view. Although the Celtic immigrants may have been few in number, they spread their farming techniques and their language throughout Ireland and the western coast of Britain. Later immigrants arrived from northern Europe had more influence on the eastern and southern coasts. They too spread their language, a branch of German, but these invaders’ numbers were also small compared with the local population. . .

Bryan Sykes, another Oxford geneticist, said he agreed with Dr. Oppenheimer that the ancestors of “by far the majority of people” were present in the British Isles before the Roman conquest of A.D. 43. “The Saxons, Vikings and Normans had a minor effect, and much less than some of the medieval historical texts would indicate,” he said. . . Geneticists have recently plunged into the field, arguing that linguists have been too pessimistic and that advanced statistical methods developed for dating genes can also be applied to languages.

Dr. Oppenheimer has relied on work by Peter Forster, a geneticist at Anglia Ruskin University, to argue that Celtic is a much more ancient language than supposed, and that Celtic speakers could have brought knowledge of agriculture to Ireland, where it first appeared. He also adopts Dr. Forster’s argument, based on a statistical analysis of vocabulary, that English is an ancient, fourth branch of the Germanic language tree, and was spoken in England before the Roman invasion.

English is usually assumed to have developed in England, from the language of the Angles and Saxons, about 1,500 years ago. But Dr. Forster argues that the Angles and the Saxons were both really Viking peoples who began raiding Britain ahead of the accepted historical schedule. They did not bring their language to England because English, in his view, was already spoken there, probably introduced before the arrival of the Romans by tribes such as the Belgae, whom Caesar describes as being present on both sides of the Channel.

The Belgae perhaps introduced some socially transforming technique, such as iron-working, which led to their language replacing that of the indigenous inhabitants, but Dr. Forster said he had not yet identified any specific innovation from the archaeological record.

Germanic is usually assumed to have split into three branches: West Germanic, which includes German and Dutch; East Germanic, the language of the Goths and Vandals; and North Germanic, consisting of the Scandinavian languages. Dr. Forster’s analysis shows English is not an offshoot of West Germanic, as usually assumed, but is a branch independent of the other three, which also implies a greater antiquity. Germanic split into its four branches some 2,000 to 6,000 years ago, Dr. Forster estimates.

Historians have usually assumed that Celtic was spoken throughout Britain when the Romans arrived. But Dr. Oppenheimer argues that the absence of Celtic place names in England — words for places are particularly durable — makes this unlikely.

A tip of the hat to Adam Lawson for noticing this one.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

University of Arizona Favors Spanish

At a public university in the United States, a guest speaker was invited to come speak. This is normal. What should be abnormal is that this man, one Mauricio Farah, a national inspector with Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, wanted to give the speech in Spanish. Without a translator. The topic? Illegal immigration into the United States. Fortunately, Americans are starting to speak up when things like this occur. Mr. Farah was shouted down by Americans who were offended that a Mexican should be able to give a speech in Spanish at a public university about illegal immigration. When the Univeristy of Arizona invited him back, he agreed to use a translator so that Americans could hear what he was saying too.

The full story can be found here.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thomas Jefferson's Koran and Muslim Barbary Pirates

Keith Ellison, a Muslim, was sworn in to the United States Congress with a Koran. There is much being made of the fact that it was Thomas Jefferson's Koran, suggesting that he was sympathetic to the Islamic faith.

I suggest the opposite to be true. President Jefferson was a learned man and as such recognized the value of research when confronting a new problem. One such problem he faced during his time in office was how to wage a successful military campaign against the Islamic pirates operating out of the North African Barbary states. Reading the Koran would be instructive in the cultural perspective from which these pirates would be fighting.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


As Christmas draws nigh, remember to be nice to people and spread cheer. Help someone out if you can. Christmas has become a traditional English holiday, but I fear we are in danger of losing it to commercialism and political correctness.

Americans would do well to remember when confronted with anti-Christmas types that Christmas is a Federal holiday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How Do You Like Recently Minted U.S. Coins?

Something that has been bothering me for some time now are the new coins issued by the United States mint. They are flat, have little in the way of relief, and wear out faster than coins issued 40 years ago. It is an embarrassment that a country as powerful as the United States should try to pass these things off as money. I may write a longer article on this later. Just some food for thought.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Anti-English Attitudes in England -- Girl Arrested For Wanting to be in English-Speaking Group

Multiculturalism is destroying us. A 14-year-old English girl was recently arrested in England for not wanting to be in a non-English-speaking study group at her high school.

Her science class had been split up into discussion groups. She was placed with several "Asian" students (The English refer to middle-eastern Muslims as Asians). They could speak to each other, in their language, but did not appear to speak English. In fact, the news reports aren't even sure what language they were speaking -- it appeared to be Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. Since it was a discussion group, the English girl asked to be moved to another group.

Her teacher's response to her reasonable request was to put her in the isolation unit. The police officer stationed at the school (I guess that's like a resource officer) finally arrested her -- a week later. The actual charge was that she was suspected of committing something called a section 5 racial public order offence.

The school is Harrop Fold High School, in Worsley, England. The headteacher is Dr. Antony Edkins, and he supports the arrest. He assures the public that he is committed to fostering caring and tolerant attitudes at the school.

I guess white people and English speakers are the only ones who can be intolerant. All this girl wanted to do was speak English in her own country -- to speak English in a discussion group. And she was arrested on suspicion of racism. What if an Urdu speaker had asked to be moved to a group of Urdu speakers? Or what if a Muslim wanted to be placed in a group with other Muslims? I doubt those people would have been arrested... but I could be wrong.

I fear it's only a matter of time before this sort of thing spreads to the United States. The Democrats could take control of the House this fall, and they love to write laws discriminating against whites, Christians, and English speakers.

Another question I have is if these were Muslim students, why didn't the papers say so? Do they, perhaps, think that the average English citizen would take umbrage at the idea of Muslims getting such deferential treatment when compared to Anglo-Saxon Christians?

Another question. What is the point of having a queen if she doesn't work to protect her people from oppression in their own land?

Here are some news stories:
*School girl in race row arrest
*Girl arrested in racism inquiry
*Schoolgirl arrested for refusing to study with non-English pupils