Cuz, you see, the irony does not escape me that I actually earned a degree in English from Rutgers University without ever having been required to take a class in the history of the English language, linguistics, or even English grammar. As a result, I had to grind my way through Shakespeare (my concentration) and Chaucer more heavily dependent on footnotes than I ever should have been.
Anyway, for years I felt a little illegitimate when declaring that I have a degree in English, and this was heightened when my family and I started hosting Japanese exchange students some years ago. There I was, a native speaker of my language, with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and yet I wasn’t much use when these students started asking me for help with their English as a Second Language homework.
A couple of years ago, however, I started taking classes in the Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages program, and the first class, which very nearly killed me, was linguistics. Friedrich Nietzsche was right when he said that that which does not kill us makes us stronger, and ever since I’ve felt that my English degree cred was finally more legitimate.
Still, I never knew, though I always wondered about, the history of the Old English term ye, and I found this clip highly entertaining. I loved the subtle, humorous placement of “porn” and the bit about the French using way more letters in their language than they need to really cracked me up, as my wife and I have a running joke that reading French is easy, because all you need to do is not pronounce the last 2-3 letters of every word.
Enjoy, and have a great weekend, everyone!