The information provided in the cartoon has three perspectives. Two points of view from the cartoon are correct while the third isn’t. From the information presented in the comic strip, there is the perspective of Middle English relating to Old English. This perspective is correct because Middle English developed from the Old English that was used during the Norman Conquest. Secondly, it is correct that the upper classes spoke Norman French. This is as a result of how the Norman Conquest influenced the Old English resulting in a language that was mostly used rulers who settled in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. However, the piece of information provided that the average person spoke Old English is not correct. This is as a result of the fact that Old English developed into Middle English and was being used as the ancient dialect in Europe before the emergence of modern civilization.
I would advise my Italian friend to choose two of the most relevant discussion topics for her History of English seminar. Firstly, I think Introduction to Middle English would be a great seminar topic for him. In this topic, he will get introduced to some of the basics of English grammar and elementary concepts of the language from the early 12th century to the 1500s. While doing his seminar, he will have to choose from a wide range of reading materials ranging in the same dates. I also believe this seminar topic will be exciting because it includes the basics of orthography, syntax, morphology, phonology, and dialectology. Introduction to Middle English would also be an exciting topic to study because of its role in illustrating how the language has gradually changed over the years. My Italian friend would find this aspect fascinating because the history it carries along with regard to the development of Middle English. He will be glad to find out that in the middle ages, the gradual change of this language was as a result of migrations and invasions from citizens of neighboring territories in Europe. For instance, the Norman Conquest led to the settlement of the French in parts of Scotland, Wales and Ireland leading to the emergence of Middle English. As an Italian, this would make him more focused and interested in knowing more about the topic.
Secondly, I would also advise him to choose the History of American English as an alternative topic for the seminar. This topic is relevant to the theme of the seminar and much more interesting as compared to the rest. From this seminar topic, he will find out how English Spoken in the United States relates to that of Britain and how it emerged. This seminar topic is also educational because it gives both the developmental usage of American English. The development aspect of this language will reveal to him that it originated or deviated from British English during the colonial period. After the deviation from British English, the language acquired regional flavor and difference depending on how the British colonialists settled in America. From this seminar topic, he will also be able to learn that Americans do not speak the same way as the Britons or the Australians who also use English. Last but not least, using this topic in the seminar would help the Italian student identify the various influences American English has on cultures especially those in the northern part of the nation.
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