It displays the history of English and its impact:
- Pamphlet for Grammar by William Bullokar in 1586 was the first grammar of the English Language. (p.71)
- The scientific journal Philosophical Transactions, first published in 1665, was probably the first international science journal written in English. (p.86)
- The term “Badminton” originates a game with shuttlecocks invented in southwest England. (p.92)
- The term “Bungalow” is from a corruption of ‘Bengal’, describing the kind of cottages built by European settlers in that par of India. (p.92)
- Carl Linnaeus, a Swede, rationalized the ‘binomial nomenclature’ that is the foundation of the modern scientific naming of all living things (animals and plants). Linnaeus insisted that every species should have two names: the first would identify the genus to which it belonged; the second would identify the species within the genus. (p.107)
- Louis Braille’s six-dot grid provided exactly what was wanted to transcribe writing for the eye into writing for the fingertip. (pp.117-118) Yes. it is still in use today, I found them on the packages of medicines.
- In 1825, George Stephenson built a steam engine that he called Locomotion to haul a train from Stockton to Darlington. Locomotion was not the first self-moving stream engine, but it was the first passenger locomotive. (p.123)
- Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch means ‘St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near the Rapid Whirlpool of St Tysilio of the Red Cave.’ (p.148) I went to see this longest name station last year, didn’t know it was closed in 1968. I think it’s open at present.
- The shortest place name in the British Isles is Ae, a village in Dumfries and Galloway. ‘Ae’ is Celtic for river, as are Avon, Ouse and Wey. Many place names owe something to the Romans, particularly those ending in ‘- chester’. That comes from the Latin word castrum – fort. Those are places where Roman armies set up camps that later became cities. Places ending in ‘-by’, ‘-thorp’, ‘-beck’, ‘-dale’ and ‘-thwaite’ were originally Danish settlements and are usually found on the east coast and in the north. (p.150)
- On 10 March 1876, the world’s first telephone message was sent/received between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson at Exeter Place, Boston. (p.150)
- It was The Times of London that developed the technology to print on both sides of the page using high-speed press in the 1820s. (p.166)
- Arthur Wynne created ‘word-cross’ puzzle. first included in the New York World on 21 December 1913. (p.168)
- The tarting point of BBC English is an accent that became known as ‘Received English’, or RP. It was a new name for a speech pattern developed in English public schools in the nineteenth century. Its intention was to ensure that it was not possible to detect the birthplace of a speaker. (p.175)
- In 2000, the Oxford English Dictionary went online, and it is in the process of a complete rewriting. Some 4,000 words are being added every year. What will be called OED3 is promised for 2037; meanwhile, the digital OED lists over 600,000 headwords. (p.178)
- http://www.plainlanguage.gov/ website dedicates to the use of effective communication by the federal government starting in the United States and has wide acceptance across the world. (p.185)
- On page 221, it said over 100 countries speak English as their major language, including the Philippines and Pakistan. I didn’t realise it. Indeed English is their official language.