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Establishment of the literary norm

In New English there emerged one nation and one national language. But the English literary norm was formed only at the end of the 17th century, when there appeared the first scientific English dictionaries and the first scientific English grammar. In grammar books authors tried to stabilize the use of the language. Thus Samuel Johnson, the author of the famous Dictionary (1755), wrote that he preferred the use of "regular and solemn'' pronunciation to the "cursory (небрежный) and colloquial." Many famous writers also greatly contributed to the formation of English, and among them, first and foremost, the great Shakespeare.

Early New English (15th — beginning of the 18th century) — the establishment of the literary norm. The language that was used in England at that time is reflected in the famous translation of the Bible called the King James Bible (published in 1611). Although the language of the Bible is Early Modern English, the authors tried to use a more solemn and grand style and more archaic expressions.

A great influence was also connected with the magazine published by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele called The Spectator (1711—1714). The authors discussed various questions of the language, including its syntax and the use of words.

Late New English — since the 18th century.

If the gradual acceptance of a virtually uniform dialect by all writers is the most important event in the emergence of Modern English, it must be recognised that this had already gone a considerable way before 1500, and it was undoubtedly helped by Caxton's introduction of printing in 1477. The fact that the London dialect was used by him in his translations and prefaces, and that Chaucer's works were among the books he published, led to its rapid diffusion throughout the country. But the adoption of a standard of spoken English was a slower process. It was not until Elizabeth's time that the language of the court came to be generally recognised as the best form of spoken English; and as late as the 18th , and even the early 19th century country gentlemen in their occasional visits to polite society in London were not ashamed to use dialect.

Nevertheless, despite the persistence of wide varieties in pronunciation, the basic phonetic changes that distinguish Modern English from Middle English are profound, though they are not reflected in a similar modification of spelling. The early printers derived their spelling from the Middle English scribes (a fact that largely accounts for the difficulty of English spelling today).

 

Geographical expansion of English in the 17th — 20th centuries and its effect on the language



Up to the 17th century the English language was spoken by the people who lived only on the British Isles (at the time of William the Conqueror there were about 2 million people), but even there in the far-away mountainous parts of the country the people preserved their own Celtic dialects very long into the New English period. Thus in Cornwall the local dialect, Cornish died out in the 18th century. In Wales there arose a tendency to revive the local Celtic language. In 1893 the Welsh University was founded, and in 1961 the number of those speaking Welsh amounted to 650 thousand. In Ireland through centuries a struggle against English was fought. It reached its climax in 1916 with the Irish rebellion. In 1922 the Irish free state was formed and in 1949 the new state — Eire — left the Commonwealth of Nations. Now Eire occupies the whole but the Northern part of Ireland, which is a part of Britain. The number of people rose from 300 thousand to over 600 thousand, but the majority speak English.

The penetration of the English language to other parts of the globe mainly began in the 16th century together with the expansion of British colonialism. The 16th century was an age of great adventurers, and England's progress in the discovery and colonising field was tremendous. The first Virginian colony was founded; Drake circumnavigated (совершать кругосветное плавание) the globe; the East India Company was established and English seamen left their mark in many parts of the world. In 1620 the famous ship The Mayflower reached North America in the region which is now the state of Massachusetts. This marked the beginning of English in the New World.

The 18th century witnessed the coming of English to India, where nowadays the language is widely spread, although its sphere is limited to large cities and a certain social layer, and in today's India English is a state language together with the native languages of Hindi and Urdu ['uədu] - язык урду.

In the 18th century England conquered Canada. During the 19th century the colonisation of Australia took place. In the 20th century English penetrated into South Africa. Now about 300 million people speak English as their national language in various parts of the globe, and many times that – as a second language.

 

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