Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Professor and Me

Today's entry comes out of a comment left by a reader, a Professor Smith, who wanted to know what I'd meant when I wrote in another comment, "..... the further back the History, the larger the pinches of salt that should be taken with it......".

Professor Smith wanted to know what exactly I meant. Did my statement imply that the further one goes back in History, the less one can believe it?

I replied:
That's exactly what this statement implies. My doubts about the veracity of the ancient History most of us were taught in school began when I learned that the origins of the English language and of the Romance languages may not be what we were all told.

I invite you, Professor Smith, to read what I recently wrote about this, *here*, and *here*.

I don't expect you, after having read these modest and non-scholarly blogging entries, to now believe that the English were already speaking English when the Anglo-Saxons arrived, and to now believe that the ancestors of those who today live in the Romance-language areas of Europe were already speaking these languages when the Romans invaded.

However, on the assumption that you believe what everyone else believes, I hope there is now at least a smidgeon of doubt in your professorial mind about English having come out of Anglo-Saxon, and the Romance languages having come out of Latin.

I invite you also, Professor Smith, to read what Professor Stephen Oppenheimer wrote about the *origins of the British*.

Oppenheimer postulates that the British are not, as is commonly supposed, descended mainly from the Anglo Saxons, but, rather, from the Basques.

And he postulates that the English were already speaking a Germanic-type language - the forerunner of today's English - when the Romans arrived.

I also learned of the *Paleolithic Continuity Theory*, which postulates that ".....The prehistoric distribution of proto-languages akin to Italic was an important factor underlying the current distribution of Romance languages throughout Europe......".

What this means is that long before the Romans, the forebears of today's Romance-language speakers were already speaking Latin-like languages.

It's not important in itself that we may have got everything wrong about the origins of the English and Romance languages. But if we are wrong about them, we may also be wrong about much other History we take for granted.
For all I know, what we were all told at school about the origins of English and of the Romance languages, that they came out of Anglo-Saxon and Latin respectively, may be true after all. But, enough plausible objections have been raised against these two self-evident truths, to cause the man on the street to at least raise his eyebrows.

I, for one, have doubt about these two self-evident truths which I accepted unquestioningly until quite recently. I also have doubt about the truthfulness of History generally, particularly ancient History.

I'll talk more about this at another time.........

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