Blog: September 2016
What kind of words do you use
The great thing about the English language is that it has two sets or roots – Latin and Anglo-Saxon. Of course it has a good many other influences too, like Greek, Celtic and Hindi but it is one of the few European languages which is lucky enough to have two roots. The only other one I can think of is Romanian which has Latin and Slav origins. Other languages tend to be based on one root – German is Saxon, Russian and Polish are Slav, French, Italian and Spanish are Latin.
The other amazing thing about English is that there are more people in the world who speak it as a second language than there are those for whom it is their first language. This means of course that apart from, for example, English English and Scottish English, American English, and Australian English, there are those other more strangeEnglishes like Malaysian English or Indian English.
So what does this mean for writers using English. As a child of first generation immigrants from Russia, I grew up in London with the sound of strange accents and the unexpected use of the wrong tenses. But then I also heard an array of London accents, received English and cockney, and some strange sounds and vocabulary from the Norfolk governess who was supposed to make sure I didn’t grow up with a Russian accent. That’s why when I say “poetry”, most people think I’ve said “poultry.” And why I have to think hard before I use “howsomever” instead of “however.”