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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 - 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.

The earliest known residents of the British Isles were the Celts, who spoke Celtic languagesa separate branch of the Indo-European language family tree. Over the centuries the British Isles were invaded and conquered by various peoples, who brought their languages and customs with them as they settled in their new lives. There is now very little Celtic inuence left in English. The earliest time when we can say that English was spoken was in the 5th century CE Common Eraa politically correct term used to replace AD. The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer, but it had ceased to be a living language. Official documents began to be produced regularly in English during the 15th century. Geoffrey Chaucer , who lived in the late 14th century, is the most famous writer from the Middle English period, and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work.

The English language changed enormously during the Middle English period, both in vocabulary and pronunciation, and in grammar. While Old English is a heavily inflected language synthetic , the use of grammatical endings diminished in Middle English analytic. Grammar distinctions were lost as many noun and adjective endings were levelled to -e. The older plural noun marker -en retained in a few cases such as children and oxen largely gave way to -s, and grammatical gender was discarded.

Early Modern English[ edit ] Main article: Early Modern English English underwent extensive sound changes during the 15th century, while its spelling conventions remained largely constant. Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift , which took place mainly during the 15th century.

The language was further transformed by the spread of a standardized London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardizing effect of printing, which also tended to regularize capitalization.

As a result, the language acquired self-conscious terms such as "accent" and "dialect". By the time of William Shakespeare mid 16th - early 17th century , [21] the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. In , the first English dictionary was published, the Table Alphabeticall. Increased literacy and travel facilitated the adoption of many foreign words, especially borrowings from Latin and Greek from the time of the Renaissance.

And foryeue to us oure dettis at is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris at is to men at han synned in us. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. Our father which art in heauen, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. Giue us this day our daily bread.

English history pdf of language

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. Gelany Anne Gelle. MissJessamyn Morisette. Iris Nguyen. Satheesan Jose.

Chris Buck. Andrea Barroso. Anna S. Silvita Castro. Liezel Maquiling. Princess Kaye Mangaya. Boyo von Doggville. Saxon pirates settled on 4. Language in Britain 21the litus Saxonicum, the Saxon shore, in Roman times, and their namecame to be used generically by the Romans for Germanic pirates attackingBritain. The name was adopted into Celtic, where it was narrowed down torefer to the English.

English language

The Welsh word for an Englishman is still Saeson, andthe English language is Saesneg; the Scottish word for the English, Sasse-nach, has the same origin.

In a later period the Angles became the domi-nant group, and the various peoples who settled in England from the fifthcentury called themselves Engle Angles and their language englisc Angle-ish. The term Anglo-Saxon conveniently links the names of theAngles and the Saxons, and is also used to distinguish the kind of Germanicspoken in England from Old Saxon, the language of those who remained onthe other side of the North Sea.

The northern group took two main routes. One group crossed the Soundto Denmark, and from there in the Viking age went on the eastern coast ofEngland, and to the mouth of the Seine. In England they founded thekingdom of York, and in France the duchy of Normandy.

The other groupwent from Norway round the north of Scotland to Iceland and the FaeroeIslands, and south to the Irish Sea, where they settled on the coast ofIreland, and founded the city of Dublin.

A History of the English Language

They dominated the Irish Sea,and settled on the Isle of Man, and on the western coasts of northernEngland and southern Scotland. By the early eleventh century Englandwas part of a Danish kingdom that stretched to Skane in southern Sweden.

This section will dealspecifically with Britain. We know nothing of the language of the abori-ginal population of Britain. The earliest fragment of information is thename Albion. The name was used in Ireland, and could conceivably preserve apre-Celtic form. The earliest languages spoken in Britain of which we have any know-ledge are the Celtic languages which survive in modern Welsh, Irish andScots Gaelic.

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. 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.

English pdf language of history

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. 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.

A potted history of the English language

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.

English history pdf of language

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.