An Astonishing True Fact


In today’s society, cell phones are glued to one’s face on an every evolving twenty-four hour cycle that leaves the human race in wonderment of “what happened?”

Reading, the art and joy thereof seems to all but have vanished into a dismal abyss, leaving a population to fend off the ignorant-to-self-centered society to the likes never seen in history, but then again, history is a ledger of society’s errors, folly’s, left for the next reader to ponder, how to keep it from happening again.

We’ve all seen in recent years the closures of the once bustling book store, standing mighty and tall as to represent the thirsty minds feeding trough, only to disappear, one-by-one to the ever evolving cell phone addict.

The once great works of literature, swirling full of subliminal current events, wrapped up in a historical moment of time, all falling to the wayside of technology, the vanishing art form.

What I find most sad in this writing is that not only has the art form of writing vanished, but the level of comprehension has too gone to the wayside, replaced with 240 character conversations, quick jots of ones current mood or event that they are participating in.

Most disturbing though, is the ability to comprehend full length conversations of any subject for more than only a minute at best.

One of the many complexities of English is the ability of words to have multiple definitions, which opens the door for some words to be both derogatory and not derogatory, depending on who is using them or when.

These words can be confusing, especially to people who are just learning English and all of its complex nuances. “Why is that word OK to say here … but not there?”

Take the following examples, put yourself into a conversation with someone else. An innocent conversation and you will find yourself having to side-step words, phases or complete paragraphs while being self concise about the conversation as a whole.

Curious George and those winged creatures who did the Wicked Witch of the West’s bidding in the Wizard of Oz are monkeys, and you’ve probably been using that word to describe them for as long as you can remember. And, King Kong. That is what we might refer to as an ape. That’s as it should be.

A monkey, by definition, is “any mammal of the order Primates, including the guenons, macaques, langurs, and capuchins, but excluding humans, the anthropoid apes, and, usually, the tarsier and prosimians.” Ape is defined as “any of a group of anthropoid primates characterized by long arms, a broad chest, and the absence of a tail, comprising the family Pongidae (great ape), which includes the chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan, and the family Hylobatidae (lesser ape), which includes the gibbon and siamang.”

Calling the animals by their appropriate names is not a slur.

It’s even OK to call certain people “monkeys.” After all, small children are often likened by their parents to the person-like beasts, and this affectionate appropriation of the term has been in existence since the 1600s. And, ape and monkey can both be used as verbs. To ape something is “to imitate it,” while monkeying with something means “to play with it.”

You see, it is very easy to understand that someone that might be close to you and without comprehension of the English language might find your innocent conversation offensive. Now the two conservationist would have to stop the conversation in an attempt to explain to the listener how the conversation is being carried out in proper English and is in no way derogatory towards anyone or anything.

If one were to look at the following old Anglo-Saxon English, proper grammar, it would be easy to see absolute confusion for anyone to understand.

An. M.LXVI. On þyssum geare man halgode þet mynster æt Westmynstre on Cyldamæsse dæg 7 se cyng Eadward forðferde on Twelfts mæsse æfen 7 hine mann bebyrgede on Twelftan mæssedæg innan þære niwa halgodre circean on Westmyntre 7 Harold eorl feng to Englalandes cynerice swa swa se cyng hit him geuðe 7 eac men hine þærto gecuron 7 wæs gebletsod to cynge on Twelftan mæssedæg 7 þa ylcan geare þe he cyng wæs he for ut mid sciphere togeanes Willelme … 7 þa hwile com Willelm eorl upp æt Hestingan on Sce Michaeles mæssedæg 7 Harold com norðan 7 him wið gefeaht ear þan þe his here com eall 7 þær he feoll 7 his twægen gebroðra Gyrð 7 Leofwine and Willelm þis land geeode 7 com to Westmynstre 7 Ealdred arceb hine to cynge gehalgode 7 menn guldon him gyld 7 gislas sealdon 7 syððan heora land bohtan.

But if you were to put this into modern day English, it would look something like this.

1066 In this year the monastery at Westminster was hallowed on Childermas day (28 December). And king Eadward died on Twelfth-mass eve (5 January) and he was buried on Twelfth-mass day, in the newly hallowed church at Westminster. And earl Harold succeeded to the Kingdom of England, as the king had granted it to him and men had also chosen him thereto and he was blessed as king on Twelfth-mass day. And in the same year that he was king he went out with a naval force against William … And the while count William landed at Hastings, on St. Michael’s mass-day and Harold came from the north and fought against him before his army had all come and there he fell and his two brothers Gyrth and Leofwine and William subdued this land, and came to Westminster and archbishop Ealdred hallowed him king and men paid him tribute and gave him hostages and afterwards bought their land.

You can easily see that without proper reading or the understanding of written text, conversation can quickly fall apart and this is why it is so very important to read.