Monday, May 29, 2006

Understanding Modern Terrorism and History
Another Installment of my Theory on Linguistics and Conflict

     Earlier I said how the spread of protestantism nearly perfectly matches the extent of Indoeuropean->Germanic lands.  I have been lazy and not even bothered to show how the Orthodox Church matches Indoeuropean->Slavic regions (UPDATE 20060618: Ack! The Schism of 1054 was between Latin and Greek speaking peoples, not Latin and Slavic).  I offer another snippet of evidence about religion, religion being spread by language, before proceeding to talk about the position of English.

     W.K. Jordan's Edward VI: The Young King The Protectorship of the Duke of Somerset is 500 pages, Volume I of II about the first half of a reign of Henry VIII's heir who was a kid for the years(1547-1553) he was in power.  Henry VIII and the English Church (mostly) supported his divorce, and the result a complete divorce of the Church of England and Rome.  Henry VIII had gone further than that, in his thinking.  It is apparent he saw a Protestant future for England.   Most all of Edward's VI's tutors were Protestants, meaning it would have been almost impossible for Edward VI to grow up Catholic.  In reality, because of Edward VI's short reign, it was more important that the adults picked by Henry VIII, to rule while Edward VI was young, was dominated by Protestants. 

     This following quote shows clearly that the affinity of the English and German languages made all this possible.  In 1548, the first full year of the reign of the young King...

Intimately connected with this assault [on Catholic traditions like the mass], too, was the almost feverish translation into English and the publication of the principal works of all the leading continental reformers: Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon, Bullinger and Osiander -- to name only the most influential.  By the close of the year the whole corpus of reformed thought was fully available to English [language] readers, not to mention such more popular and polemical works[.]

     The last matter for this post, however is the role of the English language in history.  Barring an exploration of the reasons why Germanic and Latin(Romance) languages have come to dominate the globe at this time, it becomes almost intuitively obvious that English, being a mix, a reunion, of these two branches, gives it a unique position.  It has the greatest access to both worlds. 

     In the long run, though, the Chinese language has one advantage, in that the script has not changed in nearly 2,000 years.  Barring Mao's meddling (and that impact I am in no position to ponder) once a person can read, they can read material close to 2,000 years old.  English, though, has mysterious spellings only 600 years ago (Chancery English).  850 years ago and it is a mystery.  Luckily for English speakers, translations are possible, and the wisdom of the ancient texts is often about interhuman relations in a particular, pre-industrial, pre-electronic, pre-computer context.

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