Last week Chichester Copywriter took a bit of time out of the office to visit London Town and get a bit of copywriting inspiration from the experts at the British Library. There’s nothing like a day spent with bookish types, literary fanatics or English language geeks to get the creative writing juices flowing !
Katy has been jiggling in anticipation about a trip to Evolving Language: One Language, Many Voices, displayed at the British Library until April. This is the first exhibition exploring the English language in all its national and international diversity. There’s so much that has shaped the way we use language today, from various invasions on our small island throughout history to religious texts and ancient literature.
Some highlights on display include the only surviving manuscript of Beowulf and Caxton’s printing of the Canterbury Tales. But when thinking about the English language and how it’s come about there are all those other things, like local dialect, speeches from influential leaders, propaganda posters, music recordings and the influence of the digital age, to consider too. English truly is a fascinating subject!
One area that Katy enjoyed exploring in a bit more detail was Evolving English and the Dictionary and our favourite professional copywriter attended a talk on this subject by Lynda Mugglestone (great name!), Fellow of English Language at Pembroke College, Oxford. Lynda presented an enlivening look at the early dictionaries of Samuel Johnson with their somewhat amusingly subjective definitions, how the Oxford English Dictionary has evolved through the ages and the influence that a rich history of social, cultural and linguistic change has had.
It was interesting to note that although dictionaries are compiled only using words for which actual textual evidence of their origin can be found, the words are very much a human product. It is only if we keep using words that they become part of our everyday language, become part of published language and, so, get included in dictionaries.
Find out more about Evolving English at the British Library at: http://www.bl.uk/evolvingenglish/index.html. Find out how Chichester Copywriter can help your marketing communications to evolve by contacting: Katy@ChichesterCopywriter.co.uk.