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Copy of Exploration of the English Language

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Transcript of Copy of Exploration of the English Language

Exploration of the English Language
Language Families
Indo-European
English
Major influences on the English language during the Middle English period
by Samantha Osborn
What is a Language Family?
Language families are groups of languages that all
share a common ancestral language known as a
proto-language.
There are many language families, although the exact number is not agreed upon by linguists (Eifiring & Thiel, 2005).
Like all other languages, English belongs to its own
family known as the Indo-European language family.
image found at
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US-hoosier-family.jpg
Example of a
language family tree
image found at
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iranian_Family_Tree_v2.0.png
Indo-European
language family
image found at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GEO_Globe.jpg
Examples of languages within the different branches
Similarities
image found at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Equals_sign_in_mathematics.jpg
What makes English unique?
English vs. Japanese
How did English
become part of the
Indo-European language family?
French
The strengthening
of English
English Literature
The Norman Conquest
During the period of the Norman conquest, Normans were largely influenced by French culture. They spoke the French language and shared many cultural norms with French civilization. They experienced a close relationship with England which often intermarried with their people.
The duke of Normandy who was second cousin of the king Edward, William, expected to be his successor. When the king's adviser’s son Harold succeeded him instead, William decided to take England's crown through battle. The Normans, led by William, won a brilliant victory at the battle of Hastings and soon after in 1066, William took the crown.
Normans replaced upper class nobility and important members of the church such as archbishops and abbots. “By the early thirteenth century, an assimilation had taken place whereby [Normans] were beginning to play the role expected of knightly families in thirteenth-century England as a whole, taking their place within a single elite...in the local aristocratic network...,” (Latimer, 2010).
image found at http://www.alibaba.com/countrysearch/FR-France.html
Not everyone in England chose to recognize William as the king, so he campaigned and wiped out a considerable amount of Old English nobility to demonstrate his level of power.
As Normans replaced Old English nobility they continued the use of their native language, French. Some learned English as they continued to live in English and communicate with English people, but their continued use of French made it the language of the upper class.
French in England
Examples of English words taken from French
Governmental – crown, royal, usurp, tyrant, reign, parliament, allegiance
Ecclesiastical – religion, vicar, miracle, absolution, mystery, crucifix, mercy
Fashion/Social life – garment, cape, embroidery, mitten, blue, scarlet, brooch, ivory
Art/Medicine – beauty, color, chamber, apothecary, paralytic, stomach, anatomy, arsenic
“[O]n many occasions when the king and his nobles crossed the channel they were engaged in military operations... [T]he business of ecclesiastics and merchants constantly took them abroad, [so] we can readily see how this constant going and coming...made the continued use of French...not only natural but inevitable,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 116).
image found at: http://schools.hwdsb.on.ca/glenecho/french-immersion/
With this huge infiltration of French among the court systems and general upper class individuals of England, it is easy to understand why English has borrowed so many words from French.

“Where two languages exist side by side for a long time and the relations between the people speaking them are as intimate as they were in England, a considerable transference of words from one language to the other in inevitable,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 168).
English-Norman fuse
Most people could speak or at least understand English which was a very big change from when many of the Normans could only communicate in French.
After a time, the Normans and the English began to fuse culturally. There were no longer major distinctions between Normans and English but rather one people as a whole.
image found at: http://www.kimmierose.com/home/how-do-we-create-unity/
French was the language used by the upper class of society as well as by courts and English was the language used by the general mass of the people of England.
Losing Normandy
King John lost Normandy in 1204 after not appearing at the court to be tried for his charges. They confiscated his territory according to feudal law (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 128).
This made it so that kings and nobility had only England to focus on rather than a split responsibility.
During the 13th century the upper class continued to speak French, but only to assert the matter of their social standing rather than it being their only language of communication. English began to be normal among upper class individuals as well.
image found at: http://www.cityofhewitt.com/index.aspx?NID=357
The Black Death
“By and large, the effect of the Black Death was to increase the economic importance of the laboring class and with it the importance of the English language which they spoke,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 143).
The disease known as “The Black Death”, the bubonic plague, appeared in the summer of 1348 and by the end had an approximated 30 percent death rate.
Because the mortality rate was so high, areas afflicted were left with a serious lack of bodies to work as laborers. This resulted in a rise of wages and gave more power to the people in these positions, peasants. As mentioned previously the large masses of England spoke English, therefore, as these people become more important, so did their language.
image found at: http://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-events/black-death.htm
Written English
English had to compete with French and Latin in terms of written word. Before 1400 there were few English letters but after 1450, English letters were the rule instead of the exception.
English began to be seen in records for towns as well as in records for Parliament.
At the beginning of the 14th century, English was the common language among lower/middle classes as well as the upper classes. It was generally understood that everyone knew the spoken form of English. The reign of Henry V (1413 – 1422) seems to be the turning point in English writing.
image found at: http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/writing_assignments/index.html
1350-1400 is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 156).
Chaucer
During this period the greatest English writer seen before the time of Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400), is seen creating such popular works as Troilus and Criseyde and Canterbury Tales.
Chaucer as well as other writers of the time, William Langland and John Wycliffe, established a literary foothold for English.
image found at: http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/illuman/14_02.html
Major structural/spelling changes during the Middle English period
Adjectives
Many originally distinct endings in English words such as -a, -e, -an, and -um were all reduced to a simple -e. The grammatical distinctions were no longer made after this, (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 159).
Strong verbs
What is a strong verb?

Adjectives began to have no difference between plural and singular forms. Both forms would, instead, end in an -e.
Example:

blinda → blinde
blindan → blinde
Strong verbs continued
The main change to strong verbs in the Middle English period was that several disappeared. This was due largely to the loss of so many native words as a result of the Norman conquest. About one third of strong verbs died out during the Middle English period (Baugh & Cable, 2002).
A strong verb is one in which the tense of the verb is indicated by a vowel change instead of by the addition of -ed, -d, or -t to the end.
Examples of strong verbs

draw - drew, dig - dug, drive -→drove

Example of weak verbs for comparison

call - called, walk - walked
Change in strong verbs during Middle English
The other change to strong verbs during this time was their transition from strong conjugation to weak conjugation. After the Norman conquest, the strong verbs that still remained were influenced by the majority and were then changed over time to the weak inflection (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 162). The desire to follow a pattern led English speakers to use the more common verb conjugation, resulting in the loss of many strong verbs.
Strong verbs continued
“When we subtract the verbs that have been lost completely and the eighty-one that have become weak, there remain just sixty-eight of the Old English strong verbs in the language today,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg.164).
References
Baugh, A. C., & Cable, T. (2002). A history of the English language (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Eifiring, H. & Thiel, R. (2005). Linguistics for students of Asian and African languages. Retrieved from http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/hf/ikos/EXFAC03-AAS/h05/larestoff/linguistics/
Latimer, P. (2010). Assimilation in North-Western England from the Norman Conquest to the Early Thirteenth Century: The Kirkby, Pennington and Copeland Families. Northern History, 47(1), 49-66. doi:10.1179/174587010X12597746068462
The Renaissance
and the
Modern English period

1500-1650
A change in thought
Latin
The English of Science
The Printing Press
The printing press was invented in the middle of the fifteenth century before being brought to England.
Most of the books being printed were in Latin, but by the end of the seventeenth century there were several printed in English.
The ability to produce several exact copies of the same book was huge to the progress of the English language. It enabled readers to see a sort of a standard for written English.
image found at: http://www.leafletprinting.co.uk/blog/printing-history-the-gutenberg-press/
Literacy
In the seventeenth century, a class of trades people began to emerge. These people had enough wealth and time to pursue education. This resulted in an increased number of schools and further promotion of education as well as the rising popularity of the novel and journalism.
During this time it is estimated that between one third and one half of people could read, if not write (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 201).
“As a result of popular education the printing press has been able to exert its influence upon language as upon thought” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 201).
image found at: http://www.writersleague.org/112/Book-Awards-Contest
Self-consciousness
As the level of literacy and higher learning increased, so did the desire to adapt to certain social standards. Those who reached a higher station through knowledge wished to conform with others of the same station, thus, a desire to adhere to grammar and pronunciation.
Knowledge
Many books holding knowledge including history and science were written in Latin. This made it so that those who didn't know Latin didn't have access to these ideas, creating a block for the majority of people.
“Latin...had the advantage of universal currency, so that the educated all over Europe could freely communicate with each other, both in speech and writing, in a common idiom, “Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 204). However, only those educated in Latin could converse, meaning that all the great wealth of thoughts that the rest of the population may have had were kept under lock and key.
image found at: http://www.timeforcake.com/blog/post/dont-leave-your-visitors-alone-and-confused/
Defenders of language diversity
Du Bellay
He asserted that there was no reason that his language could not achieve the same level of perfection as any other language.
Richard Mulcaster
“I love Rome, but London better, I favor Italie, but England more, I honor the Latin, but I worship the English,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 205).
Alberti
He spoke out that although Latin was highly regarded, it shouldn't make other languages seem inadequate to serve the same purposes.“I do not see why our Tuscan of today should be held in so little esteem...,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 204).
image found at: http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/10/X085/Academics/Science/default.htm
Translations
In the sixteenth century, several books started to be translated into and created as original copies in the English language rather than only Latin.
Knowledge
The translations from Latin to English led to a more widespread access to knowledge, allowing those who couldn't read Latin to educate themselves on more subjects than they could have previously.
The scientists, after conversing in Latin for a period of time, “realized they all spoke English and they could transform our understanding of the universe much quicker talking in their own language, (The Open University, 2011).
“The cross-fertilization of art and science in the Renaissance resulted in more scientific analyses of neuroanatomy as well as more creative ways in which such analyses could be depicted” (Ginn & Lorusso, 2008). This also led to the creative expression of science through words.
image found at: http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/infobank/programs/html/definition/grav.html
Several new terms relating to science had to be invented as science furthered itself at an alarming rate.
Vocabulary
Examples
Examples - acid, gravity, electricity, pendulum, cardiac, sternum, penis, vagina (The Open University, 2011).
image found at: http://eofdreams.com/electricity.html
image found at: http://www.123rf.com/photo_13870300_anatomy-of-the-human-body.html
Today
The amazing technology that has been created and the breadth of knowledge people have today can be, at the very least, partly attributed to the Modern English period.
Ginn, S. R., & Lorusso, L. (2008). Brain, Mind, and Body: Interactions with Art in Renaissance Italy. Journal Of The History Of The Neurosciences, 17(3), 295-313. doi:10.1080/09647040701575900
Indo-European language family
The Indo-European language family contains around 443 languages and is one of the largest families in the world (Eifiring & Thiel, 2005).
It has 11 branches that hold groups of similar languages and these are Indian, Iranian, Armenian, Hellenic, Albanian, Italic, Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Celtic, Hittite, and Tocharian (Baugh & Cable, 2002).
Examples of languages within the different branches
Germanic
This branch contains many languages, most notably
English, German, Dutch, and Swedish.
Italic
This branch contains many of the romance languages including Italian, French, Spanish and Latin.
Celtic
This branch contains Irish, Scottish, and Welsh along with a few other languages.
image found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Germanic_languages
image found at: http://www.jesterbear.com/Aradia/tree.html
image found at: http://celtmouth.blogspot.com/2011/04/irish-gaelic-little-history-of-long.html
Geographical location
The most common similarity found among the group of Indo-European languages is their geographical location. That is to say, they are all connected to each other by close proximity.
image found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indo-European_isoglosses.png
Vocabulary/Grammar
“The characteristics Indo-European languages share with respect to vocabulary and grammar have led many scholars to postulate that they are all descended from an original parent language,” (Indo-European, 2013).
“…Indo-European languages generally have a common word for winter and for snow,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 38). This could be because the protolanguage originated from a cold area, indicating a geographical closeness.
Cognates
Cognates are words that have similar meanings and structures in different languages. Languages within the Indo-European language branch have many cognates.

image found at: https://www.businessfinancestore.com/2012/01/15/town-buried-by-snow-dont-feel-buried-by-hiring-first-employee/
Examples of Cognates
English
German
Latin
Spanish
mother
me
three
mutter
mich
drei
mater
me
tres
madre
me
tres
(Sprunger, 2009).
English is very widespread. It is spoken in many countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, United States of America, Canada and many more.
English is an SVO language. This means that in its sentence structure the order of words starts with subject, then verb, and ends with object.
English is absorbent. It has and still continues to borrow and steal words from other languages to grow and change its vocabulary.
English is starting to be seen as the world's academic language.
image found at: https://www.lexingtonlaw.com/blog/credit-repair/college-grad-returns-home.html/attachment/close-up-of-a-graduation-cap-and-a-certificate-with-a-ribbon
French: "à la carte" "au contraire"
Japanese: "sushi" "tsunami" "sayounara"
German: "kindergarten" "Fahrenheit"
Spanish: "armadillo" "adios" "aficionado"
Many languages in the Indo-European language family are actually SOV languages. Being an SVO language amongst so many SOV languages makes English unique.
Comparing an Indo-European language to a language from another language family:
Japanese is a part of the Japonic language family which is significantly smaller than the Indo-European language family


Similarities
Both English and Japanese are spoken today
Japanese is primarily spoken in Japan while English is spoken world wide

English is a subject-verb-object language and Japanese is a subject-object-verb language
Both languages have 'borrowed' many words from other languages. English has stolen many words from French and Japanese has stolen many words from Chinese and English (i.e. orenji juusu for orange juice)
Japanese has two main dialects while English has several
Differences
The primary reason that English is a part of this particular language family is the location of its origin. Evidence of Old English and Middle English was found in the area of Indo-European language family territory.
"English belongs to the Low West Germanic branch of the Indo-European family. This means in the first place that it shares certain characteristics common to all the Germanic languages," (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 51).
It deserves to be mentioned that English was resilient and survived despite several invasions of other civilizations and repeated attempts to extinguish it. This can probably be attributed to the fact that English is so absorbent.
image found at: http://andymcphee.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/how-to-develop-strong-textbook-features/
images found at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/anatomy.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_(headgear), http://www.howtobecomeapharmacist.org/50-incredibly-insightful-apothecary-blogs
This can possibly be attributed to the process of leveling the inflections in the English language during this period.
Alberti was an Italian humanist who had many works in Latin and was therefore secured in reputation.
Du Bellay was a French scholar who wrote Deffence et Illustration de la Langue Francoyse.
Mulcaster was the Head Master of the Merchant Taylors' School, and he was the most enthusiastic of the defenders of the English language in England.
English Today
English Purity
American and British English
American English
American English
vs.
British English
American Dialects
Purist Attitudes
Migration to America
The English language was brought to America by colonists from England in the seventeenth century who spoke English and therefore spread the language when they inhabited the new land (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 351).
After coming to a new land, the settlers had to find new words for the many new objects they were coming in contact with. This led to an increase and change in vocabulary, many of which came from the Native American population but also from the German, Dutch and French colonists.
Examples – foothill, divide, underbrush, skunk, raccoon, bullfrog, sweet potato, popcorn, bureau, caribou, coleslaw, cookie, noodle, pretzel
images found at: http://kids.discovery.com/tell-me/mythbusters/animal-myths/skunk-spray, http://www.glasscommahouse.org/?q=node/210, http://www.bubblews.com/news/924783-popcorn-made-the-old-fashion-way
Uniformity
People who would visit America from England were astonished to see a very similar form of English being spoken by all of the people living there. The differences between the English spoken in any given area were laughable compared to the differences in England
This uniformity may have had to do with the fact that American people were so mobile, crossing into other areas quite often. “...John Witherspoon...observed of the common people in America that 'being much more unsettled, and moving frequently from place to place, they are not so liable to local peculiarities either in accent of phraseology” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 357).
Archaism
American English includes old parts of the English language that died out in most of England, making American English slightly more old-fashioned in nature.
The 'r' as well as the usage of the flat 'a' in words like 'path' are no longer used in England but are regularly used in America.
image found at: http://www.jeremycwilson.com/2010/05/careers-question-undergraduate-major-path-to-ceo/
American English uses many words according to the way they once were used but are no longer used in Britain.
Examples:
“mad” to express “angry”, “sick” to express suffering from illness rather than only nausea, “fall” instead of “autumn”, and the phrase “I guess” “...is as old as Chaucer and was still current in English speech in the seventeenth century,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 360).
Noah Webster
Webster was born in America and received an education at Yale. He wrote books on English spelling and grammar and was adamant that the English of his country America was a separate entity from other sorts of English. He wanted “...to show that the English language in this country was a distinctly American thing, developing along its own lines, and deserving to be considered from an independent, American point of view” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 367). Others shared his ideas, wanting a difference in language now that America was independent of England. Webster decided to write an American Dictionary of the English Language to establish these differences, although the language stayed the same at the root. Though, Webster did go “...so far as to predict that the American language would one day become a distinct language,” which has yet to be seen (Dillard, 2009).
image found at: http://article.wn.com/view/2013/04/11/Why_Weiner_s_words_come_now/#/related_news
Impact on American spelling
Impact on American pronunciation
Americans omit the 'u' that is common in British spelling. Examples: 'honor', 'color', and 'favorite' instead of 'honour', 'colour' and 'favourite'.
Americans spell some words like 'traveler' instead of 'traveller'
Americans use “...ax, plow, tire, story, and czar, for axe, plough, tyre, storey, and tsar” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 369).
American pronunciation wasn't wholly changed by Webster, but he did contribute to it through his insistence on a uniform English throughout the country. He was very adamant about pronouncing all the parts of a word, including every syllable. This is probably what resulted in “...the greater clearness with which Americans pronounce unaccented syllables” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 375).
The vowel sounds in words like 'fast', 'dance', and 'half' retained a flat a sound as in the word 'man' in America while it underwent change in England to a broad a, thus pronouncing these words with the sound made in 'father'.
Americans, especially those of middle and western areas, pronounce the r that has been mostly lost to English speakers in England.
What is a dialect?
“...[A] dialect is regarded as a geographical variety of a language, spoken in a certain area, and being different in some linguistic items from other geographical varieties of the same language” (Eifiring & Thiel, 2005).
Dialects exist in many languages such as Japanese and Chinese and are not unique to English, but there are many English dialects.
Examples of dialects found in America
New York City
This dialect used to, like in England, omit the 'r' sound, but since World War II has started to increase the use of it (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 379). They also pronounce words like 'curl' and 'third' as 'coil' and 'thoid'.
Southern
The Southern dialect “...involves a dipthongization or double dipthongization of stressed vowels” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 381).
There is generally no distinction between the words 'pin' and 'pen'.
African American Vernacular English
This dialect is not confined to a certain geographical location, nor is it characteristically confined to African American people.
There is a reduction in the use of final consonants and in postvocalic r's (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 384). Examples: 'lis' instead of 'list' and 'fo' instead of 'four'.The pronunciation of 'th' is often changed. For example, 'dat' instead of 'that' and 'mouf' instead of 'mouth'.
Along with pronunciation differences, there are also grammatical differences. AAVE regularly deletes the helping verb 'to be', changing sentences like “she is fat” to “she fat”.
image found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City
American controversy
As Americans continued to add new words to the English language, people in England started to view this act as a sort of corruption of the English language. Webster, taking this controversy as an attack on his work, wrote a letter to dispute these ideas. He made the point that words would be made and used if convenient whether England chose to allow it or not.
image found at: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/can-america-survive-if-americans-no-longer-agree-on-a-core-set-of-shared-values/can-america-survive-if-americans-no-longer-agree-on-a-core-set-of-shared-values-photo-by-drrandomfactor
American influence on British English
Largely due to the popular culture of America, several American influences have been made on the English spoken in England. “Spread by motion pictures, books, and television, Americanisms—especially American slang—have in large numbers found their way to Great Britain, more and more blurring the distinctions between the two forms of the English language” (Dillard, 2009).
The fact is that language is used to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions. A person is likely to use language in a way that suits them, regardless of whether they are conforming to a strict list of rules. This is why purist attitudes don't work. Preserving a language isn't possible unless there is a wish for the language to die.
The Old English Period
Major influences on the English language during the Old English period
England before English
Before the English civilization and indeed before the English language, Celtic was spoken. “Celtic was probably the first Indo-European tongue to be spoken in England” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 45).
In the summer of 55 B.C., Julius Caeser, a Roman, decided to invade England during his conquest of Gaul. His idea was to frighten the Celts living in England to prevent them from interfering with his progress in Gaul. The Celts living there were surprisingly resistant and made it quite difficult for Caeser to establish a landing. He failed to conquer them, returning to his previous battle at Gaul, leaving England undisturbed for over one hundred years.
image found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/caesar_julius.shtml
The Roman Conquest
In A.D. 43, Roman Emperor Claudius sent an army of 40,000 to Britain and conquered the majority of what is now England (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 46). His thought process was greatly influenced by Julius Caeser.
image found at: http://www.kidspast.com/world-history/0082-roman-conquest.php
The region began to adapt to Roman life, building Roman buildings, wearing Roman clothing, etc.
image found at: http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/clothing2.html
This conquest led to the introduction of Latin into the area of where England now exists. Latin wasn't used by the majority of the population and was probably the language of the upper class. “On the whole, there were certainly many people in Roman Britain who habitually spoke Latin...But its use was not sufficiently widespread to cause it to survive” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 47).
The Germanic Conquest
In 449, Britain began to be invaded by several Germanic tribes who were invading certain areas and then spreading from the areas.
“...[T]he Germanic tribes that conquered England were the Jutes, Saxons, and Angles,” according to Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English Language, written in 731 (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 47).
Anglo-Saxons began to settle down in the area. The word 'English' is derived from the word “Angles”, and was used at that time to describe the language of all of the invading Germanic tribes.
The English spoken today is a result of the dialects spoken amongst the German tribes. This line of history makes it easier to place English on the Indo-European, and more specifically on the West Germanic, branch of the language tree because there is a direct line.
image found at: http://www.englishclub.com/english-language-history.htm
Major structural/spelling changes during the Old English period
Nouns
Nouns changed in inflection based on whether they were singular or plural as well as the case. Old English had 4 cases that were much easier than the cases of Latin.
Example
Singular N. gief-u Plural N. gief-a
G. gief-e G. gief-a
D. gief-e D. gief-um
A. gief-e A. gief-a
Verbs
Old English only changed inflection based on past or present forms of verbs.
image found at: http://eloquentscience.com/2012/05/past-or-present-tense/
Germanic languages have the special characteristic of having verbs known as strong verbs. These verbs make it possible to tell the tense of a verb right away through its ending unlike weak verbs.
Example: strong verb: sing, sang, sung
weak verb: walk, walked, walked
images found at: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/singing/images/430336/title/sing-photo, http://dietnotagain.blogspot.com/2013/05/where-oh-where-do-you-walk.html
“In Old English...the first and third person singular have one vowel while the second person singular and all persona of the plural have another” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 60).
Resourcefulness
In English of the modern day, vocabulary is shaped from the influence of many languages such as French, but Old English did not yet have that influence. It would be easy to assume that the vocabulary and structure of Old English would then be insufficient to express the breadth of thoughts and feelings that exist. However, Old English showed a grand capacity for finding new uses for old words.
image found at: http://www.spartanburgcounty.org/govt/depts/pubwrks/Recycle/recycle.html
“By means of prefixes and suffixes a single root is made to yield a variety of derivatives...,” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 64). That is then further extended through the use of compounds.
Example
mod (mood) could mean a variety of different things such as 'heart', 'mind', 'courage', or 'pride'. Adding on an adjective ending, making the word 'modig', could change the word to mean 'bold' or 'spirited'. The adding of other such prefixes and suffixes could transform the word into more than one hundred words with different meanings (Baugh & Cable, 2002, pg. 65).
Dillard, J. L. (2009). American English. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://ehis.ebscohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/eds/detail?vid=3&sid=2c5c4b32-c236-4273-82c3-67692363137a%40sessionmgr11&hid=106&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#db=funk&AN=AM083600
The Open University (2011, June 22). Track 5: The English of Science [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/english-language/the-history-english-ten-minutes?track=39814ca3cc
Full transcript