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Understanding the Multi-functional Nature of the Countryside

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It is tempting to see the countryside through a haze of a pink washed nostalgia as somewhere where life continues with a perceived simplicity in tandem with the seasons and inherited practises. However, just as urban areas change and evolve, so does the countryside. With this, comes a more complex wordscape that combines the traditional language of farming and the countryside with new and adapted terms. The country-dweller, or visitor, of history would still recognise the language and life of rural areas in many ways. A plough may still be used to cultivate the land, and this land may itself be scattered with the same veteran trees that were there hundreds of years ago. People still go about living and working in rural areas, some engaging in traditional crafts, like coppicing, whilst others might live in the buildings that were occupied by their forebears. These buildings, themselves, might now form part of the built heritage of the countryside, and may, perhaps, be protected by some form of planning designation. However, the countryside does evolve, and technology has brought about an increasing and continuing change; the plough has evolved from a simple piece of equipment pulled by oxen or horses, to a more complex example of machine-driven engineering. The role of the horse has altered in many countries, from being a crucial source of power on the farm to an animal more often kept for recreation. New plant and animal breeding approaches have resulted in new varieties of crops being produced, alongside livestock with improved characteristics for food production. Technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) are also increasingly being incorporated into agriculture and these sit alongside other, more controversial, developments such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The evolution of the countryside does not happen in isolation from wider societal developments, global issues, and pressures. By its nature, the countryside is multi-functional and. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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