History of english language

The first pre-written or pre-historical period, which may be termed Early Old English, lasts from the West Germanic invasion

History of english language

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he hands of the Norman barons, Williams own possessions comprising about one third of the country. The Normans occupied all the important posts in the church, in the government, and in the army. Hundreds of people from France crossed the Channel to make their home in Britain. Immigration was easy, since the Norman kings of Britain were also dukes of Normandy and, about a hundred years later, took possession of the whole western half of France, thus bringing England into still closer contact with the continent. French monks, tradesmen and craftsmen flooded the south-western towns. Much of the middle class was French.

The Norman Conquest was one of the greatest event in the history of the English language. Its earliest effect was a drastic change in the linguistic situation. The most immediate consequence of the Norman domination in Britain is to be seen in the wide use of the French language in many spheres of life. For almost 300 years French was the official language of administration. The intellectual life, literature an education were in the hands of French-speaking people; French, alongside Latin, was the language of writing. At first 2 languages existed side by side without mingling. Then, slowly and quietly, they began to permeate each other. The Norman barons and the French town-dwellers had to pick up English words to make themselves understood, while the English began to use French words in current speech. Probably many people became bilingual and had a fair command of both languages. The struggle between French and English was bound to end in the complete victory of English. The earliest sign of the official recognition of English by the Norman kings was the famous PROCLAMATION issued by Henry 3 in 1258 to the councilors in Parliament. It was written in 3 languages: French, Latin and English. During this period such changes were in English: there appeared prepositions and conjunctions, but the grammar was saved unchangeable. Such words as servant, prince, guard (connected with life of royal families) were borrowed. With life of church chapel, religion, prayer, to compess; with city life city, merchant, painter, tailor. The names of animals were saved, but if their meanings were used as meal the Normans names were given to them (beef, pork, veal, mutton).


6. ME dialects. ME major written records. G. Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales


The regional ME dialects had developed from respective OE dialects. ME dialects can be divided into 2 groups: early ME and late ME dialects. Early ME dialects are: The Southern group included Kentish and the South-Western dialects. Kentish was a direct descendant of the OE dialects known by the same name though it had somewhat extended its area. The South-Western group was a continuation of the OE Saxon dialects, not only West-Saxon, but also East Saxon. The East Saxon dialect was not prominent in OE but became more important in Early ME, since it made the basis of the dialect of London in the 12th and 13th c. The group of Midland («Central») dialects corresponding to the OE Mercian dialect is divided into West Midland and East Midland as two main areas, with further subdivisions within: South-East Midland and North-East Midland, South-West Midland and North-West Midland. The Northern dialects had developed from OE Northumbrian. In Early ME the Northern dialects included several provincial dialects, e.g. the Yorkshire and the Lancashire dialects and also what later became known as Scottish. In Early ME, while the state language and the main language of literature was French, the local dialects were relatively equal. In Late ME, when English had been reestablished as the main language of administration and writing. The London dialect prevailed over the others. In the 14th and 15th c. there was the same grouping of local dialects: the Southern group, including Kentish and the South Western dialects, the Midland group with its minute subdivisions and the Northern group. And yet the relations among them were changing. The London dialect prevailed over the others at that time. The History of the London dialect reveals the sources of the literary language in Late ME and also the main source and basis of the Literary Standard, both in its written and spoken forms. The London dialect became more Anglian than Saxon in character. ME major written records: the earliest samples of early ME prose are the new entries made in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles from the year 1122 to the year 1154, known as the PETERBOROUGH CHRONICLES. The works in the vernacular were mostly of a religious nature. The great mass of these works are homilies, sermons in prose and verse, paraphrases from the Bible, psalms and prayers. The earliest of these religious works, the POEMA MORALE represents the Kentish dialect of the late 12th or the early 13th c. Of particular interest for the history of the language is ORMULUM, a poem composed by the monk Orm in about 1200 in the North-East Midland dialect. It consists of unrhymed paraphrases of the Gospels. The text abounds in Scandinavianisms and lacks French borrowings. Its most outstanding feature is the spelling system devised by the author. He doubled the consonants after short vowels in closed syllables and used special semicircular marks over short vowels in open syllables. The 13th c. is famous for POEMA MORALE (Kentish Sermons), ANCRENE RIWLE (South-western dialect life of knights), PROCLAMATION of Henry 3 (political poems, London dialect), THE PROSE RULE OF ST BENEDICT (northern dialect). The 14th c. is famous for AY ENBITE OF INWIT (Dan Michael, Kentish dialect), a versified CHRONICLE, SIR GAWAINE AND THE GREEN KNIGHT (unknown author, SWd), translation of POLYCHRONICON (Hidgen, from latin into SWd, 7 books on world history, John de Trevisa of Cornwall), Adam Davys poems, Romances of Chivalry, Miracle Plays (midland or east midland dialect);, John Wyclif translation of the Bible (London dialect).Most famous works are works of John Gower (VOX CLAMANTIS is in Latin, CONFESSIO AMANTOS- a composition of 40.000 octo-syllabic lines) and Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer (13401400) was by far the most outstanding figure of the time. In many books Chaucer is described as the founder of the literary language. He was born in London and had the most varied experience as student, courtier, official, and member of Parliament. His early works were more or less imitative of other authors Latin, French or Italian. He never wrote in any other language than English. The culmination of Chaucers work as a poet is his great unfinished collectin of stories THE CANTERBURY TALES. Chaucer wrote in a dialect which in the main coincided with that used in documents produced in London. Although he did not really create the literary language, as a poet of outstanding talent he made better use of it than his contemporaries and set up a pattern to be followed in the 15th c. Chaucers literary language, based on the mixed London dialect is known as classical ME; in the 15th and 16th c. it became the basis of the national literary English language.


7. The formation of the national English language


The London dialect. The domination of the French language in England came to an end in the course of the 14th c. The vitory of English was predeterminated and prepared for by previous events and historical conditions. Towards the end of the 14th c. the English language had taken the place of French as the language of literature and administration. English was once more the dominant speech of all social classes in all regions. The history of the London dialect reveals the sources of the literary language in Late ME and also the main source and basis of the Literary Standard, both in its written and spoken forms. The Early ME records made in London beginning with the PROCLAMATION of 1258 show that the dialect of London was fundamentally East Saxon; in terms of the ME division, it belonged to the South-Western dialect group. Later records indicate that the speech of London was becoming more mixed, with East Midland features gradually prevailing over the Southern features. Most of the new arrivals came from the East Midlands; Norfolk, Suffolk, and other populous and wealthy counties of Medieval England, although not bordering immediately on the capital. As a result the speech of Londoners was brought much closer to the East Midland dialect. The official and literary papers produced in London in the late 14th c. display obvious East Midland features. The London dialect became more Anglian than Saxon in character. This mixed dialect of London, which had extended to the two universities (in Oxford and Cambridge) ousted French from official spheres and from the sphere writing.

8. The Germanic languages in the modern world, their classification. Their common ancestor


Languages may be classified according to different principles. The historical, or genealogical classification, groups languages in accordance with their origin from a common linguistic ancestor. Genetically, English belongs to the Germanic or Teutonic group of languages, which is one of the 12 groups of the IE linguistic family. The Germanic language in the modern world are as follows: 1. English in Great Britain, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zeland, the South African Republic, and many other former British colonies and dominations, (dialects of the Angles, part of the Saxon and Frisians, and probably Jutes develop into the English, WG) wr 7c,; 2. German in the Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, part of Switzerland, Old High German group dialects (Saxon, the Alemanians, Bavarians, and Thuringians) mixed with Middle and High Franconian, wr 16 c. 10 million; 3. Netherlandi


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