Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol and Chasing Language

I’m a great fan of the series ‘Gavin and Stacey’ by James Corden and Ruth Jones.  It’s brilliantly conceived, written and acted.

One of my favourite pieces of music on it, and there are many, is Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

I heard it on the radio this morning and was struck by its effective yet simple language.

Most of the words used could be described as Anglo-Saxon rather than Norman.  They are short, down to earth and to the point.

It has become something of a truism in Britain that the old Anglo-Saxon words are somehow more powerful than the more elaborate and refined Norman-French additions to the language.  Young writers used to be advised to use the short, sharp, powerful English words rather than employ the more effete arriviste additions brought over after 1066.

Yet now I live in France and I begin to wonder about this notion.  Don’t the French use powerful language?  Doesn’t this language have qualities which English does not?  Perhaps the words the French use have the same degree of down-to-earth power to French ears as Anglo-Saxon ones do with me.

Living on the borders raises questions I have never thought of before.

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About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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