alternate englands - belated questions

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Wed Feb 16 19:55:34 EST 2005


Paul said...
>
> It happened in some of the Anywheres Christopher visited when he was
> little, but one of the things that makes the Related Worlds related is
> that they have the same languages, so presumably (in the absence of
> the evidence to the contrary) Millie and her compatriots really do
> speak English.

Which leaves me screaming "how?  HOW?"  To get the English language that we 
know today, you have to have the Romans spreading Latin all over the shop 
(and then it transmuting into Norman French); you have to have the Angles, 
Saxons and Jutes all settling in England; you have to have the Normans then 
arriving - and that's just the basic mix.  Then you need several centuries 
of people living and working and fighting and invading places and generally 
using the language and making it do what they need it to.  And probably the 
development of the printing press and the subsequent surge in literacy, to 
help standardise spelling and grammar.  (And I've probably forgotten several 
other factors.)

With all the Related Worlds splitting off at different times and developing 
along different lines, I really can't see, now that I think about it, that 
they could be likely to have developed the same languages.  Even just within 
this world, you have native speakers of English who have difficulty 
understanding one another, for goodness' sake!  (Put a Glaswegian and a 
Corkman together, and I'll bet they'll each find the other's speech 
impenetrable.)

Dorian. 



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