Tag Archives: Identity

MA Texts and Contexts Week 2

Inspiration this week again comes in the form of the Irish Examiner. Wednesday the fifth’s edition had a feature with the headline “The art of language is slowly dying away”. Mary Leland goes on to describe the decline of grammar in modern society, and the evolution of new forms of spelling and expression due to the “growing tendency to communicate only by email or text”. She states that “[t]o those of us who see language as  a link not only to immediate concerns but to a heritage of literacy, little losses seem important”. It is precisely these little losses led to the evolution from Old English to Middle English, and in turn from Middle English to the language we know today. This week’s Strand A reading focused on the connection between language and identity in Anglo-Saxon England. the importance lies not only in the language which we choose to use, but in the way in which we use it. Sarah Foot believes that language is an important part of identity as it is used to construct thought: “ideas are conditioned by the language in which they can be thought” (26). Language tells us a lot about the society of the Anglo-Saxons and other past generations, but it also reveals a lot about ourselves and where the priorities of modern day society lie. Leland sums it up nicely in her final line when she describes literacy as “a key to the past as well as to the future”.

References:

“The art of language is slowly dying away”. Irish Examiner [Cork] 5 Oct. 2011. Print.

Foot, Sarah. “The Making of Angelcynn: English Identity before the Norman Conquest.” TRHS 6th ser. 6 (1996): 28-50. Print

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