The two different versions presented below were written to draw deliberate attention to the historical changes which the lexicon of English, and in a few places its syntax, has undergone following the historical event of William’s Conquest in 1066, for no other event in our language’s long history has brought so much change to our language as that one did.
On tallying the toll of years
We don’t know; there likely is no unsameness for you to tease out
between them. Did you see how some seven-and-fifty of those
come clad with not one but indeed both your two tags? As with all
ELU’s tags, our folk have always put these to a bubbling hotchpot
of misfired goals all unalike.
I bid a mingling of the twain that would leave us one named tag in
their stead, for I do not know how best to sift free the shiny seeds
of those tags from the unwanted chaff that wraps and hides them.
First we had best hone this new tag’s meaning, no? Shall we not try
to say here and now what we wish this tag to be for, if we can?
Rightly speaking, what shall we hold the “history” of English to
be for us?
Is it that tale begun by the Ænglisc-sprǽcende boaters who leaving
their homelands in the eastern marshes dared the narrow sea to reach
Britain anent fond hopes that they might settle those lands left
fallow after the crumbling western “Imperium” of Old Rome had little
by little withdrawn from them, whether these had been wholly emptied
Is it the tale spun of their tongue alone, or is it also to be that
of their folk as well?
I foresee your answer will be that it is to be of their tongue
alone, but even this leaves much turf untilled. Is it about how
their writings looked once we had foregone our forefathers’ ᚠᚢᚦᚨᚱᚲ
for that way of writing followed by the “Romans” who had lingered
long in those lands before we roamed thither? Shall it be only of
the words, whether those be spoken or written, or shall it also be
of their meanings? Even so, then for either end I can but deem our
clearly-Greek tag “etymology” well and good, and enough.
Or is it also to be about the many shifting ways these words have
come to be put together as Father Time has worked his whittling
ways upon our living tongue as it has grown, such as by setting
first one word before the other but then later only the other before
the first, as well as how these ways have themselves wandered wide
over the strands of tide and time?
I take it that this should also be about their sounds, right?
What would you have us do about all this? It is, after all, your
very own webhome to do with as you will or nill.
On accounting for the ages’ changes
Good question! There’s probably no real difference for you to discern
between members of the pair. Did you notice how some fifty-seven of those
were labelled with not just one but both your two tags? As with all ELU’s
tags, people have always chosen them really randomly according to whatever
purpose had suited them at the moment. They’re really all just circumstantial
accidents that have already occurred. Don’t imagine they signify anything
I suggest we simply merge the two tags so that just one would remain,
because I’ve really got no idea how to separate the desirable kernels we
would see retained from the bland exteriors enclosing them that we’d rather
First we should decide what we prefer this new tag to be used for, no?
Properly speaking, what shall we consider a theoretical question-tag about
the changing history of English to denote in our site’s context?
Is it the story that commenced when those initial English-speaking inhabitants
departed their villages from the humid terrain to our east to traverse the
channel separating Europe from Britain, aspiring to establish new domains
left unguarded after the Western Roman Empire disintegrated and gradually
departed, even when that didn’t leave the countryside completely unpeopled?
Is it the history of their language alone, or should it also be the history
of their people whose many arrivals and departures have so altered our
language’s subjacent and its surface textures alike?
I anticipate your response will be that it’s supposed to just be about
their language only, not those using it, but even this provides too much
terra incognita. Is it about the language of the scribes who copied
ancient manuscripts after we’d discarded our ancestors’ runic alphabet in
favor of the Latin script used by the local Romanized middle-class that
preëxisted before we emigrated to those places? Shall it be only of the
forms written or spoken, or should it also extend to cover their various
denotational or connotational senses? If so, I lament to report that I
must judge our current Greek-looking etymology label sufficient for such
Or is it also to be about the changing syntax of how to assemble pieces of
words and entire words in toto to produce more extensive phrases and
sentences as immortal Chronos has manipulated our nascent language like
changing the normal orderings we use to place our words in, and how those
strategies and traditions have evolved across the aeons?
I assume this should also be about their pronunciations, right?
What would you prefer for us to do about all this? It is, after all, your
very own website to do whatever your please with, however this should prove to suit your fancy or fable.