A look at the family tree of Indo-European languages and the relationship of English to those related languages. The closest relatives of English are highlighted, including the Germanic languages, Latin and Greek. We explore the background of English from the first Indo-Europeans to the first Anglo-Saxons in Britain.
Tagged with “history” (103)
The story of the discovery of the ancient language which gave rise to most of the languages of Europe, including English.
In this introductory episode, we look at the emergence of English as a global language and the evolution of the language from its Germanic origins.
Figuratively holding up one museum item after another, Kurin spun tales from them.
(The Smithsonian has 137 million objects; he displayed just thirty or so.)
The Burgess Shale shows fossilized soft-tissue creatures ("very early North Americans") from 500 million years ago.
The Smithsonian’s Giant Magellan Telescope being built in Chile will, when it is completed in 2020, look farther into the universe, and thus farther into the past than any previous telescope—-12.8 billion years.
Kurin showed two versions of a portrait of Pocahontas, one later than the other.
"You’re always interrogating the objects," he noted.
In the early image Pocahontas looks dark and Indian; in the later one she looks white and English.
George Washington’s uniform is elegant and impressive.
He designed it himself to give exactly that impression, so the British would know they were fighting equals.
Benjamin Franklin’s walking stick was given to him by the French, who adored his fur cap because it seemed to embody how Americans lived close to nature.
The gold top of the stick depicted his fur cap as a "cap of liberty."
Kurin observed, "There you have the spirit of America coded in an object."
In 1831 the first locomotive in America, the "John Bull," was assembled from parts sent from England and took up service from New York to Philadelphia at 15 miles per hour.
In 1981, the Smithsonian fired up the John Bull and ran it again along old Georgetown rails.
It is viewed by 5 million visitors a year at the American History Museum on the Mall.
The Morse-Vail Telegraph from 1844 originally printed the Morse code messages on paper, but that was abandoned when operators realized they could decode the dots and dashes by ear.
In the 1840s Secretary of the Smithsonian Joseph Henry collected weather data by telegraph from 600 "citizen scientists" to create: 1) the first weather maps, 2) the first storm warning system, 3) the first use of crowd-sourcing.
The National Weather Service resulted.
Abraham Lincoln was 6 foot 4 inches.
His stylish top hat made him a target on battlefields.
It had a black band as a permanent sign of mourning for his son Willie, dead at 11.
He wore the hat to Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865.
When you hold the hat, Kurin said, "you feel the man."
In 1886 the Smithsonian’s taxidermist William Temple Hornaday brought one of the few remaining American bison back from Montana to a lawn by the Mall and began a breeding program that eventually grew into The National Zoo.
His book, The Extermination of the American Bison, is "considered today the first important book of the American conservation movement."
Dorothy’s magic slippers in The Wizard of Oz are silver in the book but were ruby in the movie (and at the museum) to show off the brand-new Technicolor.
The Smithsonian chronicles the advance of technology and also employs it.
The next Smithsonian building to open in Washington, near the White House, will feature digital-projection walls, so that every few minutes it is a museum of something else.
A few hours north of San Francisco is the town of Boonville, nestled in the quaint Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Like Silicon Valley, this place is known for its innovations in communication – but in a completely different way.
Boonville has its own homegrown language called Boontling and only a handful of people still speak it. Among them is Wes Smoot, 81, the unofficial king of Boonville.
Smoot and his cohorts meet at the Redwood Drive-In on the central drag practically every day at 4 p.m. Smoot says it’s one of the last places that feels like the town he grew up in. Outside, Smoot says, wine and tourism have turned the friendly, close-knit community into a place full of strangers.
For Smoot, Boontling is a connection to the past. It’s said to have emerged in the late 1800s and every word has a meaning related to a person or event in Boonville. For example, to work hard is ottin’, after a man named Otto who was the hardest worker in town.
But more often than not, Boontling is used to describe salacious words unfit for print. Former Chico State University professor Charles C. Adams published a dictionary of them in his book “Boontling: An American Lingo.”Today, Boonville residents refer to Adams’ publication as “the big book.”
The little book is a pamphlet Smoot prints and distributes around town with a more child-friendly glossary. It has the definitions and origins of words like zeese (coffee) and blue-tail (rattlesnake).
“In order to speak the language and understand the people you gotta know something about the history of the valley,” Smoot says.
That history has cycled from an isolated farming town, to a logging boomtown, to a winemaker’s paradise. But when Smoot returned after several years away from Boonville as a young man serving in the Korean War, and then traveling around the state for Caltrans, he already felt like his childhood home had changed.
Boontling has been documenting those changes word-by-word. Though there’s no recorded history of where the language itself came from.
Smoot’s favorite version of Boontling’s origin is about a young San Francisco woman who became pregnant out of wedlock and was sent up north by her high society parents to have the baby.
“There’s a number of stories, it’s very interesting,” says Robert Nimmons, a volunteer for the Anderson Valley Historical Society. “We’ve heard several stories that the adults developed it so they could talk but the kids didn’t know what they were saying.”
Regardless, there are just a few fluent Boontling speakers left. And even though Smoot and his pals are sure Boonville’s homegrown language will eventually die off, they’re still contributing to the lexicon.
“Another fella and I came up with a new word now, when the salmon go up the stream and spawn,” Smoot says. “Well when you get our age we’re downstreamers, we’re getting to go back down stream. We’re downstreamers now.”
The Non-Breaking Space Show is a podcast by Christopher Schmitt, Dave McFarland, Chris Enns interviewing the best and brightest of the web.
Our talk with Jeremy runs the gamut of the web – progressive enhancement, depending on a database, sirens, the death of web services, the telegraph, transcriptions, CERN and preparing for a great talk.
‘Oma and Bella’: Two Holocaust Survivors that Preserve Memories in their Berlin Kitchen | Public Radio International
‘Oma and Bella’ is a documentary about two Jewish women in their 80s living in Berlin. Reporter Julia Simon talks to the filmmaker, who is the grand daughter of one of the women.
The Julius Cards are our origin story. Jews are like Wolverine. We have been experimented on. We have egregious gaps in our history. We all secretly have bone claws.
Huffduffed from http://chloeweil.com/blog/our-ragged-history
Has the gilt rubbed off the golden age of science writing? And why has an award-winning writer turned his focus from scientific biography to political history? Graham Farmelo, who won the Costa biography award with his life of the quantum genius Paul Dirac, joins us to discuss his book about the "hidden" history of Winston Churchill and the nuclear bomb. He explains why Churchill’s role in the history of atomic weapons should not be underestimated, introduces us to some of the eccentrics who briefed him, and tells how the term "atomic bomb" was invented by a novelist years before they even existed.
We also hear from Uta Frith, one of the panel judging the Royal Society’s Winton prize for science writing, about the books on this year’s longlist. And Guardian science writer Ian Sample – a former Winton shortlistee – explains why the last thing he wants to do when he’s relaxing is read a book about science.
Biographers of Gandhi or Catherine the Great could rely on paper archives, but those days are fading fast. WNYC’s Ilya Marritz reports that that old ways of digging up the past are changing as people rely more and more on electronic communication.
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