Ann's Corner

A taste of FAITH, a touch of LAUGHTER.

The Evolution (or devolution) of Language

Dec 2, 2020

I believe that language is a LIVING thing. It grows and changes, unless it is actually one of the “dead” languages, like Latin, which no one or his uncle actually speaks today.

I LOVE language! I only really learned English fluently, the language I grew up in (I should rightly call it Scottish, or I will deny my own heritage). I encountered Latin in High School and was interested, but was told it was not a course for me.

The times were rather class conscious in Britain, and as our family was working class I was not expected by those in the school system to attain much. My parents wanted more for me and fought for me to get my high school education rather than an alternate offering. My Dad specifically went to bat for me to be able to enter high school and his efforts paid off. I went to College and became a qualified teacher.

I dabbled in and experimented with, on various levels, four other languages in my lifetime, French, Spanish (in high school and college), Cree (in bible school in Alberta), and Nuu-chah-nulth, specifically the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations (KCFN) language, when I worked, lived, married and taught in Kyuquot on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

A sample of my late husband Jim Justin speaking in his language….flute accompaniment by Jim Miller… of Kyuquot and some nation members. This is a short introductory section of a longer missionary presentation I made for a visit to a contributing church in Wisconsin, USA.

I learned a fair bit of the KCFN language by “osmosis”, so to speak, from living amongst people who actually used it fluently in everyday life situations. My husband, his brother, my neighbours, and our various visitors spoke the language in my presence and I had the privilege of hearing that usage frequently. So, I became a student of it, in various ways. I listened, recorded in my own form, and collected a 300-word functional vocabulary. I did not know how to make sentences or hold a conversation, however.

I later decided that the language should be developed in my nursery/kindergarten school classes and successfully applied for funding for a pilot language immersion program, involving several fluent elder speakers. I developed a program built on hearing and using the language casually during existing classroom activities and I developed a series of instructional mini vocabulary lessons which were guided by elders.

I took on a position offered to advance and expand the nursery kindergarten program onwards into the elementary and high school program in order to teach more of the local language, in conjunction with another fluent speaker and several elders.

Written Language Sample:

During these times of working with and learning the language, I found that words that could not be found in the local language (people generally just used the English term in that instance) could be meaningfully “invented” by local speakers, and so I watched how a threatened living language could evolve and grow with the times. I saw the need to rescue the language while we still had fluent elders. I saw the need to develop conversation skills. I saw the need to teach some of the phonetic and grammatical aspects of the language in order to give students the ability to record what they heard of the existing local language around them.

Update, December 18, 2022

I’m still working on learning/preserving the language (North Island College courses, and KCFN locally-led classes) along with many interested people and I’m watching it being developed by others. It’s interesting and FUN to participate in current classes as a student rather than as a teacher, though those skills I have come in handy!


Here is a funny (though perhaps unrelated in some sense) language story I got from a Facebook friend…..

Haha!!! 😉 😜

“The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”.. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi TU understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.”


Enjoy the intricacies of your own language, whatever it may be, and even delight in learning a new one!


3 comments on “The Evolution (or devolution) of Language

  1. yassy
    December 20, 2022

    Love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on December 18, 2022 by in Blog, My Thoughts.... and tagged .


December 2022
Follow Ann's Corner on
Blogging U.
%d bloggers like this: