Thursday, December 17, 2015

Folklore Thursday: Inventing the English language

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So, I am aware that I am supposed to have a new theme here, but I just stumbled across a story from the Peasant Bible that I can't not share with my English-speaking readers. Because it's about the English language, you see.

The invention of the English language

In the beginning of the World, the Lord Jesus was handing out languages to people. He had a large pot full of language pieces, and people lined up to receive their share. Everyone got a ladleful of language - "You shall speak Hungarian, you shall speak German, you shall speak Turkish," and so on.
Except fro the English. They were off somewhere doing 'business,' which is what the English usually do. By the time they got around to the language line, all the languages had been handed out.

"Whatever shall I do with you?" pondered the Lord, and then he had an idea. He turned the pot upside down, and shook out all the leftover odds and ends that somehow stuck to the bottom. It made a small, mismatched pile of language, which Jesus then handed over to the English.

"I know it is not much" he said "But I shall ask everyone else to pitch in too!"

And so it happened. Everyone gave some bits and pieces of their own language to the poor English. The Germans were the nicest, they gave the most words.
Ever since then, the English language has been as it is: A mix of odds and ends.

(Note: I mashed this story up from two versions - one ends with the pot being turned upside down, and the other with everyone pitching in.)


  1. There are a couple of German drolleries (interestingly from all over the country that are about God giving each german region their own dialect. But in the end one region (the one where the storyteller is from) is is left over and there are no more dialects to hand out. So God decides "WEll, then you're going to talk as I do". Usually the stories are told in Standard German with God's proclamation in the end told in the storyteller's native dialect.