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The history of the English language as an item of the curriculum
§ I. This outline history covers the main events in the historical development of the English language: the history of its phonetic struc ture and spelling, the evolution of its grammatical system, the growth of its vocabulary, and also the changing historical conditions of English speaking communities relevant to language history.A language can be considered from different angles. In studying Modern English (Mod E) we regard the language as fixed in time and describe each linguistic level - phonetics, grammar or Iexis - syn chronically, taking no account of the origin of present-day features or their tendencies to change. The synchronic approach can be contrasted to the diachronic. When considered diachronically; every linguistic fact is interpreted as a stage or step in the never·ending evolution of language. In practice, however, the contrast between diachronic and synchronic study is not so marked as in theory: we commonly resort to history to explain current phenomena in Mod E. Likewise in describing the evolution of language we can present it as a series of synchronic cross-sedions, e.g. the English language of the age of Shakespeare (16th-17th c.) or the age of Chaucer (14th c.).
§ 2. Through learning the history of the English language the student achieves a variety of aims, both theoretical and practical.
The history of the language is of considerable interest to all students of English, since the English language of today reflects many C€nturies of development. As F. Engels wrote: "Substance and form of one's own language, however, become intelligible only when its origin and gradual evolution are traced, and this cannot be done without taking into account, first, its own extinct forms, and secondly, cognate languages, both liv· ing and dead" (Anti-Duhring. M., 1959, p. 441).This is no less true of a foreign language. Therefore one of the aims of this course is to provide the student with a knowledge of linguistic history sufficient to account for the principal features of present-day English. A few illustrations given below show how modern linguistic features can be explained by resorting to history.
§ 6. Another important aim of this course is of a more theoretical nature. While tracing the evolution of the English language through time, the student will be confronted with a number of theoretical ques tions such as the relationship between statics and dynamics in language, the role of linguistic and extralinguistic factors, the interdependence of different processes in language history.
§ 7. One more aim of this course is to provide the student of English
with a wider philological outlook. The history of the English language shows the place of English in the linguistic world; it reveals its ties and contacts with other related and unrelated tongues.
3. The sources of our knowledge of language history.
4. The Indo-European family of languages.The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects. There are about 439 languages and dialects, according to the 2009 Ethnologue estimate, about half (221) belonging to the Indo-Aryansubbranch. It includes most major current languages of Europe, South Asia, parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, and was also predominant in ancient Anatolia. With written attestations appearing since the Bronze Age in the form of theAnatolian languages and Mycenaean Greek, the Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics as possessing the second-longest recorded history, after the Afro-Asiatic family.Indo-European languages are spoken by almost 3 billion native speakers, the largest number by far for any recognised language family. Of the 20 languages with the largest numbers of native speakers according to SIL Ethnologue, 12 are IndoEuropean: Spanish, English, Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, German, Sindhi, Punjabi, Marathi, French, Urdu, andItalian, accounting for over 1.7 billion native speakers. Several disputed proposals link Indo-European to other major language families.
5. The Anglo-Saxon invasion of Great Britain.When Roman legions came back to Rome to defend it, Britain was left to defend and rule itself. The time had come for new rulers and new rulers came. They were Angles, Saxons and Jutes. They came from the territory of present Denmark and Northern Germany. The Germanic invaders first arrived in small groups throughout the fifth century. Being terrific warriors, they controlled most of the island by the seventh century A.D., ousted the British population to the mountainous parts of the Isle of Great Britain. Later, they united and became the Anglo-Saxons.The Anglo-Saxons controlled the central part of Britain which was called as England, while the Romanized Celts fled West, talking with them their culture, language and Christianity. England was a network of small kingdoms. That time there were seven kingdoms established: Essex (East Saxons), Sussex (South Saxons), Wessex (West Saxons), East Anglia (East Angels), Kent, Mersia and Northumbria, and the largest three of them – Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex – dominated the country at different time.The southern part of Britain became known as Angieland or England. That time the Anglo-Saxons followed their old Germanic religions. Pope Gregory 1 decided to convert the Anglo-Saxon population to Christianity. In 597 A.D. there was sent a mission of 41 monks under the leadership of the monk Augustine. By 700 A.D., all England was Christian. The Pope became a head of the Church. They built many monasteries in England and those monasteries became centers of religion and culture.The Anglo-Saxon kings were elected by the members of the Council and they ruled with the advice of the councilors, the great men of the kingdom. In time, it became the custom to elect a member of the royal family, and the power of the king grew parallel to the size and the strength of his kingdom. In return for the support of his subjects, - who gave him free labour and military service, paid taxes and duties – the King gave them his protection and granted lands.
6. The Scandinavian invasion.The end of the Old English period and the beginning of Middle English is marked by two outstanding political events —the Scandinavian invasion and the Norman conquest.It is impossible to state the exact date of the Scandinavian invasion as it was a long process embracing over two centuries. Various Scandinavian adventurers at the head of their troops came to England wave after wave, although the English offered the invaders a stubborn resistance. At first the invaders fought with the natives, robbed and plundered the country, but later they began to settle on the ands they had managed to conquer.The kingdom that was the strongest among many existing in Britain at that time and that could consequently withstand the invasion more successfully than any other was the Wessex kingdom, especially under the rule of King Alfred the Great. King Alfred the Great was so powerful and successful in his struggle.The Scandinavians in England remained very strong through centuries, and at the beginning of the 1 lIh century, namely in the period between 1016 and 1042 the whole of England came under the Scandinavian rule. Although in 1042 England was back under English power, the English king who came to the throne — Edward the Confessor — was to be the last English king for more than three centuries.The Scandinavian invasion brought about many changes in different spheres of the English language: word-stock, grammar and phonetics. The influence of Scandinavian dialects was especially felt in the North and East parts of England, where mass settlement of the invaders and intermarriages with the local population were especially common. The relative ease of the mutual penetration of the languages was conditioned by the circumstances of the Anglo-Scandinavian contacts, i.e.:a) There existed no political or social barriers between the English and the Scandinavians, the latter not having formed the ruling class of the society but living on an equal footing with the English;b) There were no cultural barriers between the two people as they were approximately the same in their culture, habits and customs due to their common origin, both of the nations being Germanic.c) The language difference was not so strong as to make their mutual understanding impossible, as their speech developed from the same source — Common Germanic, and the words composing the basic word-stock of both the languages were the same, and the grammar systems similar in essence.
7. The Norman Conquest. The Norman Conquest began in 1066. The Normans were by origin a Scandinavian tribe who two centuries back began their inroads on the Northern part of France and finally occupied the territory on both shores of the Seine. The French King Charles the Simple ceded to the Normans the territory occupied by them, which came to be called Normandy. The Normans adopted the French language and culture, and when they came to Britain they brought with them the French language.In 1066 King Edward the Confessor died Duke William, profiting by the weakness of King Harold who succeeded King Edward on the English throne, invaded England. He assembled an army, landed in England and in a battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066 managed to defeat Harold and proclaimed himself King of England.The Norman conquest had far-reaching consequences for the English people and the English language.The Norman conquerors continued pouring into England thousands after thousands, years and years after the conquest, and during the reign of King William over 200,000 Frenchmen settled in England and occupied all positions of prominence in the country, be it in court, Parliament, Church or school.The Norman conquerors, though Germanic by origin, were French by their language, habits and customs. They were a people and a class that stood aloof from the conquered English, whose habits and customs they despised and whose language they could not understand. They spoke French and addressed people in French. They taught their children FrenchThe Norman Conquest put an end to the West Saxon literary language. But eventually after a prolonged struggle the English language got ascendance over French and again became the state language of the country.The English language emerged after the straggle, but it came in a different position. Its vocabulary was enriched by a great number of French words and its grammatical structure underwent material changes.The end of the 14th century also saw the first "English" translation of the Bible, and Chaucer was writing his "English" masterpieces.
8. The formation of the English national language.The formation of the English national language. It began with late Middle English - Early New English(1475 - 1660; 16th – 19th c.). The following external (outer) factors which favoured the rise of the national language and the literary standards are: 1. the unification of the country and 2. the progress of culture The unification of the country was favoured by the result of the war between the white and the Red Rose (1455 - 1485) which led to the decay of feudalism, the rise of an absolute monarchy and a political centralization, and consequently a linguistic centralization which led to a predominance of the national language over local dialects.The decay of feudalism led to a new social order - capitalism.The capitalism order caused changes in economic and social conditions: they led to the intermixture of people d to the developing of trade beyond the local boundaries. All over the world the victory of capitalism over feudalism led to the consolidation of people into nations, to the formation of national languages and as a result of it to a national standard.
9. The three periods of the history of English.The evolution of English in the 15 hundred years of its existence has been an unbroken one, but within it it’s possible to single out 3 main periods:1.Old English (OE) 2.Middle English (ME) 3.New English (NE)Old EnglishThe historical background. It began in the 5th century, when the German tribes (Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians) settled in the British Isles. Originally the social and economical system was tribal and slave owning, which gradually developed into a feudal one. Accordingly tribal dialects developed into local ones. Geographically it covers the territory of the so-called English Proper. The main historical events are:
-the introduction of Christianity;
-the Scandinavian invasion.
Word-stock (WS) Originally OE was a purely G language. So the WS comprised 3 layers of native words:
1st – IE words (mother, father)
2nd – CG words (to rise, to sink)
3d - OE proper (hlaford - lord)
There were some borrowings from the Celtic language, denoting mostly place-names (London, York) and names of rivers (the Thames). After their settlement in Britain the G. tribes came into contact with the Celtic tribes who lived there, but the Celtic borrowings are very few (Loch Ness).
Latin borrowings are:
1.Latin words borrowed by Ancient G. tribes when they lived on the continent of Europe.
2.Latin words borrowed by the Anglo-Saxon tribes from Romanized Celts on the British Isles.
3.Latin words which penetrated into OE after the introduction of Christianity.
Phonetic featuresPF are close to those of PG. OE inherited the marks of the consonant shift and the G word-stock. The most significant innovations are found in the system of vowels, which was enriched by specific OE sounds. [æ, y]
SpellingThe main principle of spelling was phonetic. The Latin alphabet was employed with the addition of some runes. [ on] – thorn [wyn]
Some Latin letters were modified. Æ ð[g] [g’]
between back vowels[j]- before or after front vowels (good) bry, (bridge) dra an,
Grammar Grammatically OE was a purely G language, practically without innovations. It was highly inflected. The typical features:1.A rich morphological system in nouns, pronouns, adjectives.2.A two types declension of adjectives: strong and week3.Numerous declensions of nouns 4.A pure verb system which comprised only 2 tenses. (Present and Past)
Strong verbs were divided into the usual 7 classes and weak verbs built up their past tense and Participle II with the help of the dental suffix.
Have – hæfde – dental suffix
The OE period is called a period of half endings because all the PG inflexions were preserved. OE period lasted up to 1066 (Norman invasion)
Middle EnglishME began in 1066 and continued up to 1475 (the introduction of printing)
Historical background. ME corresponds to the well developed feudal system. Local dialects were distinguished. There were no common national language. The period after the Norman conquest is the period of French as it was the official language of the country (300 years). English existed only in oral form.Word-stock.As a result of the Scandinavian Invasion and the Norman conquest the WS lost its purely G. character. There took place numerous borrowings and replacements.
W-formation was slightly affected by the foreign influence.
Phonetics. The G. system of w-stress was partly lost due to the addition French borrowings with a different system of w-accentuation and due to the stress shift in the course of the assimilation vowels underwent positional changes in quantity, which undermined the original contrast between long and short vowels. Some OE consonants and consonant clusters gave rise to new kinds of consonants in ME which had not existed before. E.g. sibilants and affricates.[ , d , t , ]
Some OE diphthongs (ea, ea, eo, eo) were monophthongized and new diphthongs appeared.
Spelling. It was affected by French spelling. This influence is mainly seen in the introduction of diagraphs (диграф).
GrammarG. was considerably simplified. This period is called a period of leveled endings, as the inflexions were greatly reduced especially in the nominal system (nouns, adjectives & pronouns) Now declensions were practically lost; adjectives retained some traces of declension. Great changes took place in the system of verbs, as there began to develop analytical forms.
English existed only in oral form. That’s why there developed a gap in the written history of the English language. Later on there appeared some records in local dialects and in the 14th century (at the time of Choser) the London dialect developed as literary language. On the basis of this dialect there developed the national English language. Geographically English spreads to cover the entire territory ofEngland. By the end of the 14th - с the English language had taken the place of French as the language of literature and administration.
The formation of the English National language is closely connected with the rise of the London dialect. The London dialect belonged to the South - Western dialect group, it was fundamentally east Saxon.
Due to its political (it was one of the biggest cities in England, and a few years before the Norman conquest it became the capital of England) position geographical position (it was near the largest river the Thames and it was a large port in the center of the country) and also due to its economic position (where people of the South trading with each other) and finally due to linguistic position (mingling with people enabled Londoners to acquire features of both southern and northern dialects) made the London dialect the foundation of the English National language. The importance of the London dialect grew also of the fact that many of the best writers (Geoffrey Chaucer one of the most popular writers of the 14th - 15th - c.c.) used the London dialect in their writings.
10. Phonetic Peculiarities of the Germanic languages.
11. Phonetic Peculiarities of the West-Germanic languages.
12. Anglo-Saxon phonetic peculiarities.
13. Phonetic changes of the Old English period.
14. The Old English system of letters and sounds.
15. Middle English phonetic and Orthographic changes.
16. The Middle English sounds and letters.
17. Changes in pronunciation and spelling during the New English period.
18. The modern English system of sounds and letters.
19. Common Germanic features.
20. West-Germanic and Anglo-Frisian peculiarities.
21. Old English morphology: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Verbs.
22. Old English syntax.The syntactic structure of OE was determined by two major conditions: the nature of OE morphology and the relations between the spoken and the written forms of the language. OE was largely a synthetic language; it possessed a system of grammatical forms which could indicate the connection between words. It was primarily a spoken language, consequently, the syntax of the sentence was relatively simple.The Phrase. Noun, Adjective and Verb Patterns.The syntactic structure of a language can be described at the level of the phrase and at the level of the sentence. In OE texts we find a variety of word phrases. OE noun patterns, adjective and verb patterns had certain specific features which are important to note in view of their later changes.A noun pattern consisted of a noun as the head word and pronouns, adjectives, numerals and other nouns as determiners and attributes. Most noun modifiers agreed with the noun in gender, number and case, e.g. on þǽm ōþrum þrīm daзum ‘in those other three days’ – Dat. pl Masc.An adjective pattern could include adverbs, nouns or pronouns in one of the oblique cases with or without prepositions, and infinitives, e.g. him wæs manna þearf ‘he was in need of man’.Verb patterns included a great variety of dependant components: nouns and pronouns in oblique cases with or without prepositions, adverbs, infinitives and participles, e.g. brinз þā þīnз ‘bring those things’.Word order.The order of words in the OE sentence was relatively free. The position of words in the sentence was often determined by logical and stylistic factors rather than by grammatical constraints. Nevertheless the freedom of word order and its seeming independence of grammar should not be overestimated. The order of words could depend on the communicative type of the sentence – question versus statement, on the type of clause, on the presence and place of some secondary parts of the sentence. A peculiar type of word order is found in many subordinate and in some coordinate clauses: the clause begins with the subject following the connective, and ends with the predicate or its finite part, all the secondary parts being enclosed between them. It also should be noted that objects were often placed before the predicate or between two parts of the predicate.Those were the main tendencies in OE word order.
24. Essential grammatical changes of the New English period.
25. The Indo-European and Germanic heritage.
26. The Old English vocabulary.
§ 228. Examination of the origin of words is of great interest in establishing the interrelations between languages and linguistic groups. Word etymology throws light on the history of the speaking community and on its contacts with other peoples.
The OE vocabulary was almost purely Germ2:1.ic; except for a smal1 number of borrowings, it consisted of native words inherited from PG or formed from native roots and affixes. § 229. Native OE words can be subdivided into a number of etymological layers coming from different historical periods. The three main layers in the native OE words are: a) common IE words, 2) common
Germanic words, 3) specifically OE words.
plants and animals, agricultural terms, names of parts of the human body, terms of kinship, etc.; verbs belonging to this layer denote the
basic activities of man; adjectives indicate the most essential qualities; this layer includes personal and demonstrative pronouns and most nu merals. In addition to roots, this portion of the OE (and Germanic) her itage includes word-building and form-building elements. OE exampl s of this layer are: eolh, tnR.re, mOna, treow, sawan, nre3l, beard, brOiJor,
27. Middle English vocabulary changes.
28. New English vocabulary changes.The vocabulary is changing quickly. Many new words are formed to express new notions, which are numerous. Ways of enriching the vocabulary:1. inner means (conversion: hand => to hand);2, outer means. The sources here are numberless, as the English have not only direct, but also indirect (through books, later — TV, radio, films) contacts with all the world. In the beginning of the Early New English (15th—16thcentury) — the epoch of the Renaissance — there are many borrowings from Greek, Italian, Latin.The ,17th century is the period of Restoration =>.borrowings come to the English language from French (a considerable number of these words being brought by Charles II and his court). In the 17th century the English appear in America => borrowings from the Indians’ languages are registered.In the 18 century the English appear in India => borrowings from this source come to the English language (but these words are not very frequent, for they denote some particular reality of India, ex.: curry). In the 19 century the English colonisers appear in Australia and New Zealand => new borrowings follow (kangaroo).At the end of the 19th—beginning of the 20th century the English appear in Africa, coming to the regions formerly colonised by the Dutch => borrowings from Afrikaans and Dutch appear. Old English and Middle English Russian borrowings are scarce — the contacts between the countries and their peoples were difficult. In New English there are more borrowings: sable (very dark), astrakhan, mammoth; in the 20lh century — soviet,kolkhoz, perestroika, etc.
29. The expansion of English.
30. Peculiarities of American pronunciation.
31. Spelling differences.
32. Peculiarities of grammar.
33. Vocabulary differences.
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