Many of the words in English are derived from Latin and Greek morphemes. In many cases words taken from Latin or Greek retain the inflectional characteristics and gender from their original languages. Thus, the masculine singular form of “alumni” is “alumnus,” while the feminine singular form is “alumna.” This example also shows that despite the retention of these Latinate forms, particularly in “learned” language, they are often discarded in casual speech, and “alumni” has come to be a singular noun as well as a plural one.

Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a thousand pounds a word!

Looking-Glass Insects

One-quarter of the world’s languages are spoken only in Africa. No other continent approaches this human diversity.

Guns, Germs, And Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Separation of Church and Language

We all know about Henry VIII separating from the Catholic Church because he wanted to divorce and kill wives.   Well, philosophers have found a different theory for the birth of the Church of England, based on language.

The German and English languages come from the same language source.  There were at one point two parts of the greater group of Germanic languages.  The English language was practiced in the British Isles playing with the Gaelic language, while the German language was doing its own thing in Germany.  In the fifth century, the Jutes, the Angles, and the Saxons migrated to Britain and the Germanic language was then interlaced with the Celtic-English, making English a predominately German language. 

In 1066, the Norman invasion took place in England and William the Conqueror became the first French ruler of the land.  The Saxons were pissed and refused to use the French language in Britain, though it was the law.  After a while though, the Germanic English of Britain began to blend with the French language creating Middle English.  If you notice, our English spelling is very similar to German but our pronunciations are closer to French.  This, you can see, makes the English language stuck between German and French. 

What does this have to do with the Anglicans you ask?  Well, philosophers believe that the separation from the Catholic Church was inevitable for the English because of their language.  The language of a people represents their thinking.  With their language’s grammar being between French and German, the English needed a religion that was just as balanced.  Creating the Church of England moved their position of thought closer to a halfway between the (French) Catholic theology and the (German) Protestant ideologies.