Introduction

  A millenium ago, at the apex of the Islamic civilization, at the peak of the High Middle Ages, more than three quarters of the (current) English language did not exist.  Even the parts that did were written with a different alphabet and spoken so differently we would not have recognized it as our own.  The English language of today, rather, is a conglomerate of cultures, view-points, and social classes.  It has been colored by the most remote corners of the world by languages dead and still evolving.  If we study the language as a medium of culture, we not only learn about our current culture, but the cultures that have come before us and the ways in which they and foreign peoples have interacted.  You'll learn about Hungarian maids, Greek emperors, and the occasional juggernaut.  You'll hear of African dance and music, the affects of the Cold War, and even some Spanish Moors.  You'll learn the current language of fiber-optic cables, l33t $p3a|<, and may even lol.