Spring 1998

English Explorers
(Part 1)

What is English?

Many countries now use English, but not long ago, like Japanese, English was only spoken on a few islands off of the continent of Eurasia.

Japanese>>Japan .  .  . English>>England

England is an island country like Japan. Which do you think is bigger, Japan or England?

Check the world map.

If you guessed that England is smaller, your right!

It's hard to believe, but a few hundred years ago, only the people on this island spoke English. Now people all over the world use it. How do you think this language spread around the world? Today we are going to see how English spread around the world.

Let's begin our trip to England from Africa like the first people who lived there during the ice age. Do you remember the ice age story in Everyone's Birthday Party? That's right, the top and lower parts of the earth were much colder than they are now, so life had to survive near the equator. Africa has the most land of all the continents at the equator.

Check it out on the world map! 

Now let's draw the equator on our construction paper in red. And then let's draw Africa. I think Africa looks like an elephant's ear. What do you think?

During the last ice age 10,000 years ago, Northern Africa was much greener than it is now. Now the Sahara desert is growing every year. There are four big rivers in Africa: the Zambezi, the Congo, the Niger, and the Nile. You've seen the pyramids along the Nile river in pictures haven't you? Does anyone know what country this is? How many countries do you think there are in Africa? Check the map! There are forty-eight! Can you name a few? Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, . . . Let's write "Africa" in the Sahara desert.

karimba.jpg (69628 バイト)This is an instrument from Zimbabwe in southern Africa.   It's called a Marimba (thumb piano).  It is easy to play.  Do you want to try?

All right, everyone ready? We're going to walk now with our pencils from Africa to England. Let's draw it together, ready. We're now in Israel and Lebanon (people are always fighting over water here.)

This leg is Greece (where the Olympics were born) and this boot is Italy (have you heard of Rome, the alphabet was born around here). Here we go! Now this is Spain and Portugal, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Norway. Wow there are allot of countries in this region. We call this region Europe. Let's write the word Europe right here. If you are a strong swimmer, you can start in France and get to England in a day.

What kind of weather do you think England has? It's a long way from the equator, so you can imagine. The winters are long and rainy and it helps to have a fire in the stove. A few hundred years ago, the people had cut most of their forests for firewood so they had to find something else to burn. They dug in the ground and what do you think they found? Yes, it was coal. But they had to dig deeper and deeper to get it and the holes filled with water. Then they had to think of a way to get the water out of the holes as they dug more coal. Someone invented a pump and then a steam engine to run the pump.

The steam engine was the first in the world! Put wheels under the engine and what do you have? You have all seen a steam engine haven't you? Put the engine in a boat and you can travel around the world too. Shall we build a steam boat like the English and explore the world? Where do you think the English wanted to go in their boat?

Let's ask them in English. Where do you want to go? Write this question across the top of your paper.

What do you think they would answer? Remember, this is a cold climate, so think about what you might want in cold weather. How's Coffee? Cocoa? Tea and sugar? The English really liked tea and sugar.
But it was expensive, so they wanted to go to where they grow it. Where in the world could that be?

Right, India. But India is a long, long way from England. Even with a steam boat. You've got to go all the way around the tip of Africa. But wait a minute. Have you ever made a boat? Let's draw our boats right here before we continue.

Has anyone ever been in a boat? How long were you in one? Were you all right? You didn't get sick? How about spending a month in a boat on the Ocean? Do you think you can handle it. Well it takes almost a month just to get down here to Africa from England! Alot of people riding the boat said enough is enough. Let us off! These people decided they would stay in Africa and try to make a new country. They called it, South Africa and that's still the country's name today and people still speak English here. Let's mark that country on the map and we'll begin to see how English began to spread around the world.

O.K.! Are your boats ready?! If we're lucky, we'll have enough time to get to India and get some tea today! Let's continue drawing our map all the way to India.

Pick up your green crayon again. We're already in Arabia.

 There's allot of desert and camels here! Next is Mesopotamia (Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran.) Next is Afghanistan and Pakistan. And, here we are -- India! Yeah, we made it! After that long boat trip, who's ready to climb a mountain?! How about the highest mountain in the world?

  An Englishman named George Everest liked the mountain so much that the English named the mountain after him. The English people loved to explore the world and they loved to drink tea from India. They still do. Let's travel some more with the English explorers after we rest for a week or two. Until then, check out the connection between India and England in the library.

Part 2

  Does everyone remember our trip last week from Africa to England. Remember?  We started in the biggest, warmest continent, Africa and walked around Europe and then started our steamboat trip from England.  Some people got off in South Africa and then we traveled to India to buy some tea and explore the world's highest mountain, Everest.

All right, now that we found our tea, let's load up the boats again and continue exploring the world -- all the way to North and South America. We'll stop in Japan too. Anyone want to be our guide as we go? Just open the map and tell us where we are going.

What is the country to the right of India.

Right! Start yelling them out! Here we go! Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

Malaysia shoots right out into the Indian Ocean. There's Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Let's go on down to Australia while we are here. All these countries are very close to the equator, so what color skin do you think the people have?

Right! Dark skin to protect them from the sun.

The English liked Australia a lot and decided to try to make a country there too. They settled in the islands off of Australia and New Zealand too. So these countries use the English language here too.

Shall we stop in Japan on our way to the Americas?

All right, here we go !

Yell out the countries, someone! Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. What's the biggest country that sticks out like a belly into the ocean? China! And what's the two countries closest to Japan. Right! Korea and Russia, right!

At the end of the last Ice Age, the Japan Archipelago and was connected to these countries. Wooly mammoths walked right over and so did the Jomon people.

That's about the time when the first people walked over to North America. Let's move right along with them into Alaska, Canada, and California. Wow, we've already entered South America! Columbia, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil. 

Whoh!  We're back in North America.  There's my home state, Georgia. Everyone please come visit me in Dahlonega, Georgia some day.

banjo.jpg (31890 バイト)dulcimer.jpg (48173 バイト)The English liked it here too. The name Georgia is even named after a king of England, King George.  That's why today, most people in North America still use English. These are two instruments from the Appalachian mountains of northern Georgia.  On the right is the banjo.   On the left is the mountain dulcimer.  In the old days, women played the dulcimer and men played the banjo. 

How about South America, what language do you think they speak? Spanish and Portuguese. There were Spanish and Portuguese Explorers too!

Now that we've explored the world a little, where do you want to go? There's lots of interesting people, food, and music all over the world.  
Ask your friend, "Where do you want to go?" If you don't have an idea yet,  just close your eyes and point to a spot. Or check your map and tell us where you want to go next time.