Cultural Appropriation and Reverse Appropriation
The English Language in the Development of Civilization
Primary Source Wikipedia, Modified by Terrance Lindall
English is the third most widespread native language in the world, after Standard Chinese and Spanish and is either the official language or one of the official languages in almost 60 sovereign states. There are more people who have learned it as a second language than there are native speakers. It is co-official language of the United Nations, of the European Union and of many other world and regional international organizations. It is the most widely spoken Germanic language, accounting for at least 70% of speakers of this Indo-European branch. English has a vast vocabulary, and counting exactly how many words it has is impossible.
English is a “lingua franca,“ a bridge language, developed around the world throughout human history, sometimes for commercial reasons (so-called “trade languages”) but also for cultural, religious, diplomatic and administrative convenience. The English were traders and a warrior people who created outposts through out the world developing the greatest empire the world has ever known. The English enriched themselves with appropriation and commerce and in turn enriched many of the nations and cultures it dominated.
Besides its influence in commerce, the European rediscovery of the Greek and Roman culture and Judeo-Christianity, especially its philosophies, its principles, and its literary achievements, brought organized thought and expressive abilities into the language. Through translation of ancient texts, such as Aristotle’s Poetics and Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Europe emerged from the Dark Ages with new intellectual energy that resulted in a consolidation of the English language from its many origins (languages from invading Danish hordes, from visitors, from its own origins in Wales and so on, from the Norman Invasion of 1066) into what can be called early modern English.
The Renaissance brought Greek and Roman verse forms, dramatic structure, and epic rules to English literature, as well as logic and rhetoric. English literature came from appropriation and further invention and enrichment after its origins in oral traditions, and early folk material. Beyond new enriched literary traditions, Roman and Greek law and the experiences of men like Marco Polo in China gave new ideas for administration of colonies by virtue of coercion as well as human psychology, the carrot and stick, and influenced the creation of English of jurisprudence that we admire today.
So the great circle of human development is seen as appropriation of language and ideas by the English and the reverse appropriation or gifting of an enriched language and culture to the peoples of the world.
The perfection of this linguistic and intellectual and literary appropriation culminated in the works of Milton and Shakespeare.