Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Point / Weaker Point: Old English

Old English is Historically Important
- by Herman Feilman, Ph.D, Sociolinguist/Philologist

I hear it all the time from my students, “Why do we have to learn Old English if it's a dead language?” Similar arguments are made for Latin and all of the other “dead languages.” These students might as well ask, “why do I take linguistics?”

Linguistics is the study of languages, all languages. We can not just study the current jargon of the day and be on our way, just as a military historian would never study America's current War on Terrorism without examining the conflicts that came before it – the most important, obviously, being the Soviet-Afghanistan encounter in 1980 and the United States involvement in that conflict. Then once you study that encounter you see that it was heavily brought about by other Cold War discords occurring from World War II, a war that was directly caused by the aftermaths of World War I, etc., etc. We could go on all day.

Similarly, in languages, you see the influence on a current speech pattern occurring from past ways of speaking that are directly related to past ways of speaking, that are directly related to…well, you get the picture. Thus, in order to fully understand why a college freshman might “mac on his shorty,” you need to understand the cultural influences that have brought about that phrase; of which Old English is, without a doubt, a cultural influence.

Stay Away From the Eight Ball!
- by Jimmy Laven, CAS Sophomore

Man, my roommates are always talking about Old English Malt Liquor, saying how it gets them all gassed up. While that may be true, my roommates need to consider two important facts in choosing a malt liquor.

First of all, Old English gives you a wicked hangover. For example, last Thursday I drank a 40 of Old E and then two Old German's. The next day I missed my 10:00 Calc class and had a splitting headache.

Second of all, there are better tasting malt liquors out there. I recommend better tasting Mickey’s (the one with the stinger and funny caps, those caps are really funny!) or perhaps Colt 45. Colt 45 is not as good as Mickey’s, but it is still better than Old E. The taste is more delicious. I compare it to eating a McDonald’s hamburger or having a hamburger from the “O,” where the McDonald’s hamburger is like the Old E and the Mickey's is like the “O” burger, which is better.

In conclusion, I believe that Old English is an inferior malt liquor. Firstly, I thought this because of bad hangovers which are given by Old E. Secondly, because the taste is worse, and better in Mickey's and Colt 45. So the next time you get a senior to buy you a malt liquor, I recommend not getting Old English.

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