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Excerpt from Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy, page 24, by Allain Atienza

Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

By Allain Atienza

Page 24

LANGUAGE LESSONS

As Zorikh studied the big wooden door of Heorot and mulled over the conversation with Bass, he suddenly figured out what’s been bothering him since they got there. “I just figured out what’s been bothering me since we got here.” He said. Theodora arched her eyebrows at him, which he took as a sign to continue. “You’ve lost your accent. And you don’t even speak the way you used to. I thought this was a big deal back at the marsh, but now I know this isn’t really the big big deal. The big big deal is,” he took a deep breath, “how is it that I can understand everybody?”

Theodora fixed her eyes onto his. “I no longer seem to have an accent” she said, “because I’m no longer speaking your language. And you can understand me, and everyone else because you’re now speaking mine.”

“So now I’m speaking Anglo-Saxon or whatever it is you speak? How?”

“I really don’t like the term Anglo-Saxon, Zorikh, it’s too academic. I speak the language of the Saxons. Osa and his family speak the language of the Jutes. It’s close enough for us all to understand each other. Frankly, I’m not quite sure if you’re speaking mine or Osa’s language, you’re accent really keeps me from being sure.”

“I’m speaking yours I guess, the folks around here sound a bit twangy. So how did this happen? More magic huh?”

She tapped her jacket where her silver bracelet lay. “A gift from the Sadja. I don’t really know if it’s magic though. It’s the Sadja that lets me speak to you in your own place and time.”

“What if we went to, say, Rome from here by boat,” said Zorikh, “would we be able to speak with them?”

“Yes. And if a Roman were to come through that door and speak to us in his ridiculous tongue, we’d be able to converse with him.”

Zorikh gave this a moment of thought, then smiled and said, “What if we were in a huge room full of hundreds of people from all different parts of the world, all speaking at the same time, what would happen then?”

Theodora gave him the gravest stare he had ever seen since his wood shop teacher introduced him to a circular saw. “We would die.” She said.

Zorikh had been halfway kidding with his question. What had been a wry smile now melted from his face. “Die?”

“The experience would kill us. I know of no one who would be able to withstand it.”

He took a step away from her, astonished at how relieved he was that she didn’t follow him. She merely stood quite still and stared at him. Suddenly the hunk of silver in his jacket pocket seemed far too close for his comfort. Slowly he said, “You’re, ah…kidding right?”

Theodora turned from him and faced the door. Tidying her jacket and scarf, and brushing her hair back from her face, she prepared to meet the Lady of Heorot. “Of course I’m kidding.” She answered, giving him a hint of a smile. “And by the way, your accent is quite charming. It sounds French.”

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RELATED LINKS
History of the English Language
The Beginnings of English in England
An amusing history of the English language
First Steps in Old English
Ða Engliscan Gesiþas
Online Presentations in and about Lowlands Languages: English
Anglo-Saxon Language and Culture: The Millennium
An Introduction to Low Saxon
Or gugge ma' Saxon Language Site(The "least liked" language in Germany!)

Tower of Babel.com
The Unnatural Museum - Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel Gallery
International Etymological Database Project

Note: These links are for the edification and entertainment of our audience. No endorsement of any product, service, lifestyle, religion, or political agenda is implied, intended or should be inferred.

(Links coming soon)

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