The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language Quotes.

1. "That, too, is part of this adventure — there are both casualties and survivors as this hungry creature, English, demanded more and more subjects."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

2. "English was the language of protest and protesting its right to be heard and taken account of before the highest in the land. And the highest of the land used it in 1381, to chop down the revolt of thousands of English speakers."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

3. "The masculine pronouns are he, his and him But imagine the feminine she, shis and shim! So our English, I think you’ll all agree Is the trickiest language you ever did see."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

4. "In 1362, for the first time in almost three centuries, English was acknowledged as a language of official business. Since the Conquest, court cases had been heard in French. Now the law recognised that too few people understood that language, perhaps because many of the educated lawyers, like the clergy, had died in the plague. From now on, it was declared, cases could be pleaded, defended, debated and judged in English."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

5. "Queen Elizabeth I has a fair claim to be the best educated monarch ever to sit on the throne of England. Apart from her mastery of rhetoric — demonstrated at Tilbury — she spoke six languages and translated French and Latin texts."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

6. "Scots had become what was called the low language and metropolitan English was now the medium of law, administration, education and religion. From the eighteenth century onwards, the gentry of Scotland increasingly tended to receive an English education. So in Mr. Sheridan’s polite and Adam Smith’s influential circles, English was the standard: no variety of Scots was codified. It even began to be disparaged and by its own people: books proliferated listing Scotticisms to be avoided in polite society. The Scots were assailed and harangued but in one sense of the phrase, they asked for it. And they made English work for them by turning out some of the finest philosophical prose in the language."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

7. "We shall fight on the beaches, said Churchill in 1940, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. Only surrender is not Old English. That, in itself, might be significant."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

8. "Whilst a word like impede survived, its opposite, expede, did not."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

9. "English was emerging from the tribal Babel as a resourceful tongue, but it had no great written language and without that it would be for ever condemned to the limbo of vernaculars all over the world whose attempt to live on by sound alone has often doomed them to insularity, then to irrelevance, finally to oblivion. Occasionally there is desperate resuscitation from a few survivors who know that to lose any language is to lose a unique way of knowing life. Only writing preserves a language."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

10. "America became very confident in its own English language. A witty resolution was proposed in the House of Representatives in 1820 suggesting they educate the English in their own language: Whereas the House of Representatives in common with the people of America is justly proud of its admirable native tongue and regards this most expressive and energetic language as one of the best of its birthrights . . . Resolved, therefore, that the nobility and gentry of England be courteously invited to send their elder sons and such others as may be destined to appear as politic speakers in Church and State to America for their education . . . [and after due instruction he suggested that they be given] certificates of their proficiency in the English tongue."
- Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

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