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History of english language pdf

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The aim of the present textbook is to introduce BA students of English to the basics of the history of English. It is “unorthodox” in a couple of ways. First, it does . The history of the English homeranking.info - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or view presentation slides online. The focus of the book is on the internal history of the English language: its of the book, tracing the history of the language from prehistoric Indo-European.


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A History of the English Language Fifth Edition Baugh and Cable's A History of the English Language has long been considered the standard work in the field. Why should one take part in a seminar on The History of English? 1) In general, to Models of language change and the history of English. ▻ Documents for. Mid Sweden University. A (very) Brief History of. English. Mats Deutschmann . study of how historical events have affected the English language will highlight.

Search inside document. Rendered in Middle English Wyclif, , the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Beef, commonly eaten by the aristocracy, derives from the Anglo-Norman, while the Anglo-Saxon commoners, who tended the cattle, retained the Germanic cow. Anna S. Muhammad Ryan Perdana. Fder ure ue eart on heofonum si in nama gehalgod tobecume in rice gewure in willa on eoran swa swa on heofonum urne gedghwamlican hlaf syle us to dg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfa urum gyltendum and ne geld u us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele solice. A wide range of languages musthave been spoken in Britain at this time.

A number of names survive from the early Celtic period. It wasadopted by the Romans in the Latin name Britannia, and from this in turnwe derive the English name Britain. It is likely that the name Britishoriginally belonged to a dominant Celtic-speaking tribe, and that it waslater used generically. Other tribes included the Iceni of the south east, the 5.

A tribe with a particularly interesting name is the Scots, who originally settled in Northern Ireland but who later migrated to north- ern Britain. The Roman army occupied the southern two-thirds of Britain in the years following the visit of Julius Caesar in 55 BC. Latin was introduced as the language of the occupying forces, and it would have been used by people dependent on them, and in the towns which grew up round the Roman forts. Roman soldiers came from all parts of the empire and beyond it.

One of the legions stationed on Hadrians Wall came from Romania, and Lancasterwas occupied by a legion from Gaul. We cannot assume that all Romansoldiers were fluent speakers of Latin. A wide range of languages musthave been spoken in Britain at this time.

In Britain, Celtic had never been completely replaced by Latin, and itsuse continued after the withdrawal of the Roman forces in the early fifthcentury. Leith speculates that Latin may have survived in the townsof the south east, but this was not in any case to have a permanent effect onlanguage in Britain.

For a detailed discussion of the evidence, see Jackson, Although Latin has had a considerable influence on Eng-lish, this is not in any sense a continuation of the Roman occupation. Theinfluence of Latin on English was largely the result of the work of Englishscholars in the sixteenth century see section 5.

From the early fifth century, some tens of thousands of Germanicmigrants crossed the North Sea and settled on the east and south coastsof Britain.

The history of the English language.pdf

These are the people now known as the Anglo-Saxons, and theirlanguage is the earliest form of what we now call English.

They came frommany different places, from modern Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein, thenorth coast of the Netherlands, and possibly from further inland. Theyspoke many different dialects, much as years later the settlers inAmerica took different varieties of English with them. These dialectseventually came to form a recognizable geographical pattern. In order tounderstand how this happened, we need to trace both the growth of Anglo-Saxon settlements and the effect of political and administrative institutionson the speech of the immigrant population.

The early settlements eventually grew into petty kingdoms. By the end ofthe sixth century, these lay predominantly to the east of a line fromEdinburgh down to the south coast. The names of some of the southernkingdoms — Essex, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex — survived as county names.

By the early ninth century, the petty kingdoms had merged into four majorones. Northumbria extended from Edinburgh to the Humber, and across tothe west coast. Mercia was bounded to the west by Offas dyke, and to theeast by the old kingdom of East Anglia, although for some of the timeMercia actually included East Anglia within its borders.

To the north it wasbounded by a line from the Mersey to the Humber, and to the south by aline from the Severn to the Thames. The old boundary of Mercia and 6. Early English 23Northumbria is still reflected in the name of the Mersey boundary river. In the south, Wessex stretched from the Tamar in the west to the bound-aries of Kent in the east.

In other words we have to make inferences aboutthe spoken language from the written language. This is made difficult bythe different patterns of contact. Whereas spoken English was interactingwith Celtic in the context of the emerging kingdoms, written English wasinteracting with Latin as the international language of Christendom. Early English dialectsThere was no such thing at this time as a Standard English language in ourmodern sense. Not only did the original settlers come from many differenttribes, they also arrived over a long period of time, so that there must havebeen considerable dialect variety in the early kingdoms.

As groupsachieved some local dominance, their speech was accorded prestige, andthe prestigious forms spread over the territory that they dominated. In somecases the immigrants took control of existing Celtic kingdoms, for exampleNorthumbria subsumed the old kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira Higham, Here there would already be a communications infrastructure whichwould enable the prestigious forms to spread.

Within their borders, therewould thus be a general tendency towards homogeneity in speech. Theevidence of the earliest written records suggests a rough correlationbetween dialects and kingdoms, and the dialects of Anglo-Saxon are con-ventionally classified by kingdom: Northumbrian, Mercian, West Saxonand Kentish see map 1.

The northern dialects, Northumbrian and Mer-cian, are usually grouped together under the name Anglian. The pattern ofchange which was established at this period survived until the introductionof mass education in the nineteenth century. Subsequent development of English dialects can in some cases be traced toshifts in political boundaries. The new Scottish border see section 3.

The political boundary between Mercia and Northum-bria, for instance, disappeared over years ago, and yet there are stillmarked differences in speech north and south of the Mersey. In south-eastLancashire, a consonantal [r] can still be heard in local speech in words suchas learn, square, but this is not heard a few miles away in Cheshire. Map 1 Old English dialects. There are indications that Kent was settled by some homogeneous tribalgroup, possibly Jutes or Frisians, and so Kentish may have had markeddifferences from the earliest times.

For example, a word meaning give wassyllan in Wessex and sellan in Kent; it is of course from the Kentish formthat we get the modern form sell.

English language of pdf history

When England finally became a single kingdom, innovations wouldspread across the whole of the country, and begin to cross old borders. Eventually this created a situation in which some features of language aregeneral and others localized. The general features are interesting becausethey form the nucleus of the later standard language. This point is worthemphasizing, because there is a common misconception that dialects ariseas a result of the corruption or fragmentation of an earlier standard lan-guage.

Such a standard language had never existed. The standard languagearose out of the dialects of the old kingdoms. The beginnings of written EnglishFrom about the second century the Germanic tribes had made use of analphabet of characters called runes, which were mainly designed in straightlines and were thus suitable for incising with a chisel.

Runes were used forshort inscriptions on jewellery and other valuable artifacts, commemora-tive texts on wood, rocks and stones, and for magical purposes. As Chris-tianity was introduced to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, a new literacy culturewas introduced with it.

The new culture made use of connected texts, andits language was Latin. There are some interesting overlaps between thetwo cultures, for example the Ruthwell Cross is a late runic monumentfrom the middle of the eighth century, and is incised with runes represent-ing extracts from the Christian poem The dream of the rood. One runicpanel even represents a phrase of Latin Sweet, The earliest use of English in manuscripts as opposed to inscriptions isfound in glosses, which provided an English equivalent for some of thewords of the Latin text.

To make the earliest glosses, the writer had to finda way of using Latin letters to represent the sounds of English. The angle brackets are used to enclose spellings. English also had vowel and consonant sounds which did not exist in Latin, and a means had to be found to represent them. Another solution for non-Latin soundswas the use of digraphs. The pronunciation of this word has not changed: The same spellings would be used time and time again, and eventually aconvention would develop.

The existence of a convention tends to con-servatism in spelling, for old conventions can be retained even whenpronunciation has changed, or they can be used for another dialect forwhich they do not quite fit.

The sequence [sk] was replaced in pronunciation by thesingle sound [J], so that the words were later pronounced [fij, Jip]. Spellingconventions can thus reflect archaic pronunciations, and any close connec-tion between spoken and written is quickly lost. There has always been variation in the pronunciation of English words,and so the question must be raised as to whose pronunciation was repre-sented by the spelling.

In the first instance, it was more likely that of theperson in charge of a scriptorium than of the individual who prepared themanuscript.

When new spellings were adopted, they would represent thepronunciation of powerful people: Itfollows that although we can usually guess what kind of pronunciation isrepresented by English spellings, it is far from clear whose pronunciationthis is, and it may not be the pronunciation of any individual person.

Second,while it is possible by examining orthographic variants to work out roughlywhere a text comes from, it does not follow that these variants represent thecontemporary speech of the local community. Official languages, in parti-cular spellings, are not necessarily close to any spoken form, and arerelatively unaffected by subsequent change in the spoken language. Thelanguage of early texts was already far removed from the speech of theordinary people of Tamworth or Winchester, much as it is today.

There is a similar problem with respect to grammar. Some later glosses,for example the Lindisfarne gospels of the mid to late tenth century, takethe form of an interlinear translation of groups of words or a whole text. Early English 27These raise interesting questions about the relationship between the trans- lation and the original.

They were designed to help the reader who was notsufficiently familiar with Latin, and they would not be polished literarytranslations but more like the kind of translation made today by foreign-language learners to demonstrate their understanding of the foreign text. We cannot infer that the constructions used in these glosses were normal inEnglish at that time. Indeed we sometimes know that they were not. Englishversions of the Paternoster begin father our but words such as my and ourhave always come before the noun in English.

The tenth-century Rushworthgospel Sweet, We cannot conclude from this one example that Englishcould at that time put the subject after the verb. Nor can we tell withoutfurther evidence whether be hallowed was a normal use of the passive at thattime, or whether it was a clumsy attempt to represent the meaning of theLatin word.

At the very least, we cannot easily draw conclusions about theforms of early spoken English from a study of written records. The most typical kind of reading in our modern culture is that undertakenby individuals reading silently to themselves. In medieval times, readingmore typically meant reading aloud. St Augustine, in his Confessions,comments that St Ambrose read silently, implying that this was unusual Aston, We now think of letters representing sounds whichimplies that sounds are logically prior to letters , but the medieval term forthe sound of a letter was its voice which implies that letters are prior tosounds.

John of Salisbury in Metalogicon in the mid twelfth centuryindicates that silent reading was known but not the normal case: Littereautem, id est figure, primo vocum indices sunt; deinde rerum, quas animeper oculorum fenestras opponunt, et frequenter absentium dicta sine voceloquuntur2 quoted by Clanchy, This view is consistent with the notion that letters are the smallest unitsof both written and spoken texts. According to Aelfrics grammar: Littera is staef on englisc and is se Isesta dael on bocum and untodaeledlic.

This has been the standard view in grammars and dictionaries up to thenineteenth century. Second, we normally expect a text to be read aloud in the language inwhich it is written. There are some exceptions to this. For example, we2.

Letters, however, that is characters, are in the first place the indicators of voices, and thenof things, which they present to the mind through the windows of the eyes, and frequentlyspeak without a voice the words of people who are absent. Littera is "letter" in English, and is the smallest part of books "texts" and indivisible. We divide books into utterances, and then the utterances into parts "words" , and then theparts into syllables and then the syllables into letters.

The concept of syllable here refers toa group of letters rather than a group of sounds. The circum- stances in which Latin was read out meant that simultaneous translationwas a frequent requirement, and a Latin text could be read out in English,or indeed in Welsh.

The language in which the text was written was thus independent of the language in which it was read aloud. By the same token,there is no reason to assume that an English text would be read out in thedialect represented by the spellings.

A third important aspect of Latin literacy is that it was controlled by thechurch. As a powerful international organization, the church had a complexrelationship with political states, working through the existing frameworkbut retaining some independence.

From the beginning, written Englishreflects the power of the church.

Missionaries from Rome were first sentto Kent in , and in Pope Gregory established two archepiscopalsees at London and York. After some initial rivalry with Irish Christianity,the Roman model survived, although in the event the southern see was setup not in London, but in Canterbury, the Kentish capital.

As early as ,the kings of Northumbria and Kent collaborated over the appointment ofthe archbishop of Canterbury Whitelock, Bedes concept ofthe gens Anglorum the English people , or its equivalent angelcynn Angle-kin , represents a church view much broader than that of any ofthe political institutions of the time.

Tension between the wider church view and the narrower political viewprovides the context in which written English first developed. To beginwith, the concept of an English language — as opposed to Kentish orNorthumbrian — could at that time only be a church concept.

Politicalstates, naturally enough, put their own stamp on the written form. The firstEnglish texts were produced in Northumbria, but the earliest survivingtexts date from the eighth century, when literacy was already established,and when political leadership had passed from Northumbria to Mercia.

Thechurch provided the literacy infrastructure, but in so far as changes in thewritten form reflected any particular variety of English, it was Mercian. Mercian forms would be used not only in Mercia, but throughout theterritory over which it had influence, and, for example, some Mercianspellings were adopted in areas under Mercian control, as far away asKent Toon, The dominant power in the ninth century was Wessex,and the dialect of Wessex, West Saxon, was adopted as an official writtenlanguage within and beyond the borders of Wessex.

After southernerswere appointed to the see of York Whitelock, The survival of Celtic It is known, for example, that in thefifth century a large number of Britons moved to Armorica, and thismovement is reflected in the name Brittany. The size of the native popula-tion has been estimated at about a million Hodges, The bulk ofthe population must have remained where they were. People in positions ofpower would speak English, and there would be strong incentives for Celticspeakers to learn the new language.

The origins of the english language (PDF)

Centres of population would go over toEnglish, and from there it would spread to more outlying districts. In thecourse of time the whole local population would have adopted English, andwould have absorbed the newcomers.

English speakers would be in contact with the native population, and theresult of this contact is that the native population learned English. Thispattern would be repeated continuously as the Anglo-Saxons expanded tothe west. The settlers called the native population of Britain wealas foreigners and their language wcelisc foreigner-ish , or Welsh. The old languagecontinued to be spoken to the north and the west of the Anglo-Saxonsettlements, in the Highlands of Scotland, in south-west Scotland and theLake District, Wales and Cornwall.

To the north, the narrow strip of boggyland between the Clyde and Firth of Forth provided a natural barrierbetween the Celtic and English-speaking populations. The Picts were over-run by a Gaelic-speaking tribe from Ireland called the Scots, so that theCeltic spoken in this part of Britain was different from that spoken furthersouth.

Language pdf of english history

Gaelic remained the dominant language of the Highlands until thedestruction of the clans in the eighteenth century. The pattern of English-speaking Lowlands and Gaelic-speaking Highlands see section 3. South of the Clyde, the old language remained in the west. In the southwest, the borders of Wessex were extended to the Severn after the battle ofDeorham in , and as a result Cornwall was cut off from the Celtic-speaking communities further north. The Celtic-speaking area wasrestricted further when Wessex reached the Tamar, and Cornish continuedin relative isolation until it died out in the eighteenth century.

In the northwest, when the borders of Northumbria reached the Mersey following thebattle of Chester in about , the northern Celtic areas were cut off fromthe west by land, at any rate , and the Celtic language developed sepa-rately in the two areas. At some point the western border of the English-speaking area was formed by Westmorland, and Celtic was still spoken in From this time, the main Celtic- speaking area in southern Britain was west of Offas dyke.

As English political borders moved to the west, the adoption of English was a gradual process, taking several generations. Eventually there would be isolated pockets of Welsh in predominantly English-speaking areas. Such pockets are reflected in placenames beginning with the prefix Welsh.

There are, for example, two places called Walworth in Co. Dur- ham, and a place called Walton near Brampton Higham, Such a prefix would not be meaningful in border areas where Welsh speech was still common. Giue us this day our daily bread. And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. And lead us not into temptation, but deliuer us from euill. The history of the English language. Flag for inappropriate content. Related titles. Jump to Page. Search inside document. Documents Similar To The history of the English language.

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A History of the English Language 5th Edition

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