The Corner

Mine!

In England, excavators have found what may be the earliest example of English writing: the runic letters for N, E, I, and M scratched onto the back of a bronze brooch dated at 650 AD. “Whether it is a charm of some form, a person’s initials or the first letters of a phrase is something only future research will be able to determine. It was obviously something treasured by its owner as it had been carefully repaired,” says an archaeologist in this story. But isn’t it obvious? NEIM is an anagram for what must be one of the most popular “first words” for every English speaker, as so many parents have come to learn: MINE!

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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