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History of the English Language
Why is English so inconsistent? n Through n Though n Bough n Ought n Cough n Rough
Linguistically Influential Periods of Early English History 1. Pre-Roman/Celtic Period up to 55 B. C. 2. Roman Occupation 55 B. C. – 410 A. D. 3. Invasion of Angles, Saxons, & Jutes 410– 1066 A. D. 4. Norman Conquest 1066 A. D. 5. Renaissance & Great Vowel Shift aft. 14 th century
(1) Pre-Roman/Celtic Period Stonehenge was built during the time of the Celts. n Historical Notes: – The island we know as England was occupied by a race of people called the Celts. One of the tribes was called they Brythons or Britons (where we get the term Britain) – The Celts were Pagans and their religion was known as “animism, ” a Latin word for “spirit. ” Celts saw spirits everywhere. – Druids were their priests; their role was to go between the gods and the people.
(1) Pre-Roman/Celtic Period
(2) Roman Occupation n Historical Notes: – Julius Caesar began invasion/occupation in 55 B. C. – Occupation completed by Claudius in 1 st century A. D. – Hadrian’s Wall built about 122 A. D. to identify the northernmost reaches of the Roman Empire – Romans “left” in 410 A. D. because Visigoths attacked Rome – St. Augustine landed in Kent in 597 and converted King Aethelbert (king of Kent, the oldest Saxon settlement) to Christianity; Christianity began to take hold in England (but does not fully displace Paganism for several hundred years)
Today’s goals and plans: n 1) Today we will look more at how our language developed. n 2) You should takes notes of what caused major shifts in language and include a few examples. n 3) After our notes, you will get to look at the runic alphabet and try creating some words with it!
(2) Roman Occupation n Some Characteristics of the Language: – LATIN influence: § Latin was the official language of the Romans and it heavily influenced the development of the English language – The Roman practice of recording history led to the earliest English “literature” being documented – The Latin Alphabet
(2) Roman Occupation n Early Latin Borrowings Latin Meaning caseus pondo calx uncia milia cheese weight chalk twelfth strata road thousand paces Mod. Eng cheese pound chalk inch mile street
(3) Invasion of Angles, Saxons, & Jutes n Historical Notes: – The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5 th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark and northern Germany. – The Angles were named from Engle, their land of origin. Their language was called Englisc from which the word, English derives. Germanic invaders entered Britain on the east and south coasts in the 5 th century.
(3) Invasion of Angles, Saxons, & Jutes n What happened to the Celts? – Most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders, mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland Ireland. – One group migrated to the Brittany Coast of France where their descendants still speak the Celtic language of Breton today. Scotland Ireland Wales Brittany Coast of France
(3) Invasion of Angles, Saxons, & Jutes n Germanic invaders called the native Celtic peoples “wealas, ” meaning foreigners. Their territory became known as Wales. n The Celts called all Germanic invaders “Saxons, ” regardless of tribe, but by the 6 th century, the term ”Angli” began to be used. (This is where the term “Anglo-Saxon” is derived). n Because the language spoken by the German invaders was Englisc, their territory became known as Englaland (England).
(3) Invasion of Angles, Saxons, & Jutes During the “Anglo-Saxon” Period, England was divided into seven sovereign kingdoms (heptarchy) n Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy= Seven Kingdoms 1. Northumbria 2. Mercia 3. East Anglia 4. Wessex (West Saxon) 5. Essex (East Saxon) 6. Sussex (South Saxon) 7. Kent n 1 2 3 5 4 7 6
(3) Invasion of Angles, Saxons, & Jutes n Some Characteristics of the Language: – GERMAN / NORSE / DANISH / SCANDINAVIAN influence: § Old English, the earliest form of our language, finally developed.
Old English (450 -1066 A. D. ) n The invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages, which in Britain developed into what we now call Old English. n Old English did not sound or look like English today. Native English speakers now would have great difficulty understanding Old English. Nevertheless, about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The words be, strong and water, for example, derive from Old English. n There were many dialects of Old English, because there were separate kingdoms founded by related , but different cultures: Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Scandinavians, etc. Part of Beowulf, a poem written in Old English.
Old English (450 -1066 A. D. ) n The Runic Alphabet – Old English was first written in an alphabet called Runic, derived from the Scandinavian languages, but shifted to the Latin alphabet that was reintroduced to the land by Christian missionaries coming from Ireland.
Old English (450 -1066 A. D. ) n Old English is mainly Germanic in grammar (syntax and morphology) and lexicon (words) the core of or modern English is vastly influenced by this early linguistic “DNA”
Old English (450 -1066 A. D. ) n Old English vocabulary – an Anglo Saxon (German) base – borrowed words from the Scandinavian languages (Danish and Norse) § sky, egg, cake, skin, leg, window (wind eye), husband, fellow, skill, anger, flat, odd, ugly, get, give, take, raise, call, die, they, their, them – borrowed words from Latin § street, kitchen, kettle, cup, cheese, wine, angel, bishop, martyr, candle – surviving Celtic words (mainly place names and river names) § Devon, Dover, Kent, Trent, Severn, Avon, Thames Many pairs of English and Norse words coexisted giving us two words with the same or slightly differing meanings. Examples below. Norse English anger wrath nay no from ill sick bask bathe skill craft ski hide skirt shirt scatter shatter skip shift
Old English (450 -1066 A. D. ) n What did Old English look like? Line Original Translation  Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum, Father ours, thou that art in heaven,  Si þin nama gehalgod. Be thy name hallowed.  To becume þin rice, Come thy rich (kingdom),  gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa on heofonum. Worth (manifest) thy will, on earth also as in heaven.  Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg, Our daily loaf sell (give) us today,  and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum. and forgive us our guilts as also we forgive our guilty (lit. guiltants).  And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. And lead thou us not in temptation, but loose (release) us of evil.  Soþlice. Soothly.
Old English (450 -1066 A. D. ) n What did Old English sound like? n http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=av- 37 L 0 G 8 lw
(4) Norman Invasion n Historical Notes: – In 1066 William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy (part of modern France), invaded and conquered England. The new conquerors (called the Normans) brought with them a kind of French, which became the language of the Royal Court and the ruling and business classes.
(4) Norman Invasion n Some Characteristics of the Language: – A period of linguistic class division… § Upper classes, political leaders, royal court: spoke French § Lower classes: spoke Old English – By the 14 th Century… § English became dominant in Britain again, but with many French words added. § In 1399, King Henry IV became the first king of England since the Norman Conquest whose mother tongue was English. By the end of the 14 th Century, the dialect of London had emerged as the standard dialect of what we now call Middle English. OLD ENGLISH (Celtic, Latin, Germanic, Scandinavian) + FRENCH = Middle English
Middle English (1100 -1485) n n n WORDS: – Because the English underclass cooked for the Norman upper class, the words for most domestic animals are English (ox, cow, calf, sheep, swine, deer) while the words for the meats derived from them are French (beef, veal, mutton, pork, bacon, venison). PLURALS: – The Germanic form of plurals (house, housen; shoe, shoen) was eventually displaced by the French method of making plurals: adding an s (house, houses; shoe, shoes). Only a few words have retained their Germanic plurals: men, oxen, feet, teeth, children. SPELLING: – French also affected spelling so that the cw sound came to be written as qu (eg. cween became queen). In 1066 the Normans conquered Britain. French became the language of the Norman aristocracy and added more vocabulary to English. More pairs of similar words arose. French English close shut reply answer odour smell annual yearly demand ask chamber room desire wish power might ire wrath / anger
Middle English (1100 -1485) n Middle English was the language of the great poet Chaucer (c. 1340 -1400), but it would still be difficult for native English speakers to understand today.
Middle English (1100 -1485) n What did Middle English look and sound like? Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote And bathed every veyne in swich licour, Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open eye(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages); Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; And specially from every shires ende Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende, The hooly blisful martir for to seke That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke. When in April the sweet showers fall That pierce March's drought to the root and all And bathed every vein in liquor that has power To generate therein and sire the flower; When Zephyr also has with his sweet breath, Filled again, in every holt and heath, The tender shoots and leaves, and the young sun His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run, And many little birds make melody That sleep through all the night with open eye (So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage) Then folk do long to go on pilgrimage, And palmers to go seeking out strange strands, To distant shrines well known in distant lands. And specially from every shire's end Of England they to Canterbury went, The holy blessed martyr there to seek Who helped them when they lay so ill and weak
Early English 1 Roman Occupation 55 B. C. -410 A. D. 2 Anglo-Saxon and Viking Invasions 410 – 1066 A. D. GERMAN(IC) LATIN 3 The Norman Invasion (The Battle of Hastings) in 1066 A. D. FRENCH
Modern English (1485 -Present) n Modern English began around the 16 th century (late 15 th century). – Early Modern English (1485 -1800) – (Late) Modern English (1800 -Present) n Why did it change?
Modern English: Early Modern English (1485 -1800) n Why did it change? – (1) Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation (the Great Vowel Shift) started, with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter.
Modern English: Early Modern English (1485 -1800) n Why did it change? – (2) Other things that helped the evolution from Middle English to Modern English: § New words and phrases – Resulted from… § Increased contact with many peoples from around the world § The Renaissance of Classical learning § Standardization of language, dialect, spelling, grammar – Resulted from… § Invention of printing § Mass availability of books § Increased literacy § Dialect of London standardized by publishing houses located there § Publication of the 1 st English Dictionary (1604)
Modern English: Early Modern English (1485 -1800) n Shakespeare wrote in Early Modern English. Hamlet's famous "To be, or not to be" lines were written in Early Modern English by Shakespeare.
Modern English n Although Modern English began around the 16 th Century, like all languages it is still changing. – One change occurred when the th of some verb forms became s (loveth, loves: hath, has). – Auxiliary verbs also changed (he is risen, he has risen).
Modern English: (Late) Modern English (1800 -Present) n The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. n Late Modern English has many more words, arising from two principal factors: – (1) the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for new words; – (2) the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the earth's surface, and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries.
So what does the evolution of English look like? Old English 400 -1066 Beowulf (from Beowulf!) “Gaæþ a wyrd swa hio scel” (OE) = “Fate goes ever as it must” (Mn. E) Middle English 1066 -1485 Chaucer (from CT) “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote. . . ” (ME) = “When that April with its sweet showers. . . ” (Mn. E) Early Modern English 1485 -1800 Shakespeare (from KL) “Sir, I loue you more than words can weild ye matter” (EMn. E) = “Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter” (Mn. E) Modern English 1800 present Austen (from P&P) It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. OE=Old English ME=Middle English EMn. E=Early Modern English Mn. E=Modern English
What about “American” English? n From around 1600, the English colonization of North America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety of English. n Some English pronunciations and words "froze" when they reached America. In some ways, American English is more like the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. Some expressions that the British call "Americanisms" are in fact original British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost for a time in Britain (for example trash for rubbish, loan as a verb instead of lend, and fall for autumn; another example, frame-up, was re-imported into Britain through Hollywood gangster movies). n Spanish also had an influence on American English (and subsequently British English), with words like canyon, ranch, stampede and vigilante being examples of Spanish words that entered English through the settlement of the American West. n French words (through Louisiana) and West African words (through the slave trade) also influenced American English (and so, to an extent, British English).
Other Varieties of English n Today, American English is particularly influential, due to the USA's dominance of cinema, television, popular music, trade and technology (including the Internet). But there are many other varieties of English around the world, including for example Australian English, New Zealand English, Canadian English, South African English, Indian English and Caribbean English.
Bibliography n n n n n http: //www. englishclub. com/english-language-history. htm http: //www. krysstal. com/english. html Abrams, M. H. , and Stephen Greenblatt, Eds. Introduction. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, seventh ed. , vol. 1. New York: W. W. Norton, 2000. 1 -22, 29 -32. Anderson, Robert, et al. Eds. Elements of Literature, Sixth Course, Literature of Britain. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1993. 2 -42. Burrow, J. A. “Old and Middle English Literature, c. 700 -1485. ” The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature. Ed. Pat Rogers. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987. Grant, Neil. Kings and Queens. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1999. Hollister, C. Warren. The Making of England, 55 B. C. to 1399. 6 th ed. Lexington, Mass. : D. C. Heath, 1988 Pyles, Thomas and John Algeo. The Origins and Development of the English Language. 4 th Ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt, 1993. Wikipedia (articles on “Norman Invasion, ” “Roman Occupation of Britain, ” “King Alfred, ” “King Aethelbert, ” “Vikings, ” and “Battle of Hastings”). Dates of access: August 10 -20, 2006.
Some Characteristics of the Language: CELTIC A vigesimal number system (counting by twenties) verb-subject-object (VSO) word order bifurcated demonstrative structure Examples: (Irish) Ná bac le mac an bhacaigh is ní bhacfaidh mac an bhacaigh leat. (Literal translation) Don't bother with son the beggar's and not will-bother son the beggar's with-you. (Welsh) pedwar ar bymtheg a phedwar ugain (Literal translation) four on fifteen and