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Adriana Lunger

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Adriana Lunger

on 10 November 2015

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Transcript of Adriana Lunger

Characteristics of English
Indo-European Language Family
The Indo European language family encompasses different languages. These languages have fallen into eleven principal groups: Indian, Iranian, Armenian, Hellenic, Albanian, Italic, Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Celtic, Hittite, and Tocharian (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
Similarities in the Languages Families
-Although there is differentiation between the language families that have gone so far, sometimes beyond recognition, it is possible to recognize a sufficient number of features that the Indo-European language families still have in common. Such as:
-Shared cognates or words that match each other to some degree in sound and meaning, come from a common root in an older language, but did not actually serve as a root for each other (Wheeler, 2014).

Comparison of Two Languages
-English, as a language, has shifted through development over many centuries. It is one of the most important living languages in the world, as old words die out, new words are added, and existing words change their meaning in order to meet new conditions.
-More than 400 million people speak English as a first language, and its uses for international communication prove that it is the largest of the Western languages (Baugh & Cable, 2013).

English: Part of the Indo-European Family
-Over centuries, English has spread to become part of the Indo-European family. This particular language has both influenced and been influenced by other dominant languages that it has ever come into contact with. In general, the spread of language primarily results from outside forces, such as demographic, military, economic, and political changes.
Influence on Middle English
Dialectical Diversity
-Yet another influence on Middle English is its usage among different parts of the county. There were noticeable variations in regard to dialect depending on which county one lived. Principal dialects of Middle English were divided into four areas which were Northern, East Midland, West Midland, and Southern (Baugh & Cable, 2013). Pronunciation, vocabulary, and inflection were all distinctive depending on the area. These dissimilar dialects influenced Middle English because while some features from each dialect died out, other features were carried over into Modern English, that were not necessarily present in other dialects.
Adriana Lunger

A History of the English Language


LNG 353


-Japanese is the first language of 99.5% of the 125 million inhabitants of Japan and several millions worldwide. Although such a vast population speaks Japanese, it has not had as much influence on other languages as those of the Indo European languages. This is due to Japan being isolated from west for two centuries, while European languages were being established (Baugh & Cable, 2013). There are two major dialect groups, mainland Japanese and Ryukyuan. Several Ryukyuan dialects differ so much from each other and from mainland Japanese that they may be regarded as separate languages of the Japanese language family (Eifring & Theil, 2005).
-Japanese Basic Word Order employs a subject, object, verb or SOV order, and is an active, non-endangered language (Lewis, Simons, & Fenning, 2014).

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-What makes English most unique is that it borrows its vocabulary from a myriad of other languages. English is officially classified as a Germanic language, as it belongs to the group of languages that German, Dutch, Flemish, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian also belong to (Baugh & Cable, 2013). Therefore, the English language shares many common cognates and grammatical structure. However, more than half of the English vocabulary is taken from the Latin language. Because of this, English shares many cognates with other languages that are derived from Latin such as French, Italian, Spanish, and Portugese (Baugh & Cable, 2013

Characteristics of English ctd.
Old English
-The period from 450 to 1150 is known as Old English. It is sometimes described as the period of full inflections because during most of this period the endings of the noun, the adjective, and the verb are preserved more or less unaffected (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
-Today, the Old English language would be unrecognizable to the modern reader.
-An interesting feature of Old English is that so many Latin and French vocabulary words that have become an integral part of a modern English user’s vernacular are completely absent, to the point that Old English strongly resembles Germanic.

Influences on Old English
-One of the major influences on the English language during the Old English period was coming into contact with Latin. During this period, Old English came into contact with at least three other languages- the language of the Celts, the language of the Romans, and the language of the Scandinavians. Latin, the language of the Romans, was undoubtedly the most instrumental of the three. Latin influence was especially vital in regards to vocabulary additions to Old English.
-Latin was the language of a revered civilization. Anglo-Saxon people, those who spoke Old English, wanted to learn this highly sophisticated language. Contact with the Roman civilization first started out with commercial and military interactions, then moved onto intellectual and religious exchanges. This contact extended over many centuries and was ever-changing. There were three distinct occasions in which borrowing from Latin occurred.

Influences on Old English ctd.
-Another influence on Old English was the Benedictine Reform. During this period, the Danes ruined the state of the church. They caused considerable damage to Britain’s churches and monasteries at the end of the eighth century. By the tenth century, this decline had negatively affected the morality of the church. As the church decayed, members became accustomed to living the life of ease, over indulgence, and luxury. After about twenty years, great religious leaders and kings brought about revival to the church through restoration and reform.
-The bulk of Old English poetry was written towards the close of this reform, which signified a rise in literary activity. This reform also ignited a newer style in Latin influences in Old English, which was the expression of more scientific ideas and learned character.

Changes of the English Language During the Old English Period

Because Old English contains characters that are no longer a part of the English alphabet, the pronunciation of Old English vowels and consonants cannot be read without special study. The pronunciation of Old English words is vastly different than the pronunciation of the same words today. The long vowels have undergone significant changes. For example, the word stān is the same word as today’s word stone, however the vowel is different. Similarly, vowels have been changed over time in words such as in hālig—holy, gān—go, bān—bone, rāp—rope, hlāf—loaf, and bāt—boat (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 38, p. 52).


Changes of the English Language During the Old English Period
Grammatical Gender
- A system of grammatical gender, whereby every noun was treated as masculine, feminine or neuter, existed in Old English, but fell out of use during the Middle English period. Old English nouns are not dependent on sex and the question of gender is quite illogical (Baugh & Cable, 2013). Old English words such as girl (mægden), wife (wīf) and son (bearn) are neither masculine nor feminine. However the word woman (wīfmann) is masculine. Modern English employs a much simpler system in regards to grammatical gender.
Comparison of Two Languages
-The Indian language is a vital piece of Indo European history, as it preserves the oldest literary texts known as the Vedas or “sacred books of India”. These books, which were written in Sanskrit, contained everything from hymnals to rituals and everything in between for Brahman religious practices. Many other local dialects were also used called Prakrits. “From these various colloquial dialects have descended the present languages of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, spoken by some 600 million people. The most important of these are Hindi, Urdu (the official language of Pakistan), Bengali (the official language of Bangladesh), Punjabi, and Marathi” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 16, p. 20).
-14,100 people in India currently use Sanskrit and there are 194,000 people who are L2 users of the language. Its Basic Word Order is that of subject, object, verb or SOV (Lewis, Simons, & Fenning, 2014).

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-Beowulf is the title of an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important, preserved works of Anglo-Saxon literature. “It is a narrative of heroic adventure relating how a young warrior, Beowulf, fought the monster Grendel, which was ravaging the land of King Hrothgar, slew it and its mother, and years later met his death while ridding his own country of an equally destructive foe, a fire-breathing dragon” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 52, p.66).
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Similarities in the Languages Families ctd.
-A “full system of declensions and conjugations by which it became clear that the inflections of these languages could likewise be traced to a common origin” (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
-The same verb endings, which are evident in present tense verbs across the language family.
-Similar inflection, vocabulary, roots, formative elements, and rules to which certain sound changes occurred (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
Characteristics of English ctd.
-In English, gender is determined by meaning. All nouns are either masculine or feminine according to a person’s gender, and all other nouns are neutral.
-English features inflectional simplicity. Inflections in nouns have been reduced to a sign of the plural and a form for the possessive case. It does not feature complicated inflection of adjectives or verbs.

English: Part of the Indo-European Family ctd.
Different ways in which the English language has spread have included political and social events such as the Roman Christianizing of Britain in 597, which brought England into contact with Latin civilization, the Scandinavian invasions of England, and the Norman Conquest of 1066. Other ways in which English spread to become part of the Indo-European family is because of the Hundred Years’ War, the Renaissance, the development of England, the expansion of the British Empire, and the growth of commerce, industry, science, and literature (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
-Although Old English lacked all of the Latin and French words that have since been incorporated into English, in no way was this language limited in a way that prevented its users to express only menial ideas. “When our means are limited, we often develop unusual resourcefulness in utilizing those means to the fullest. Such resourcefulness is characteristic of Old English. The language in this stage shows great flexibility, a capacity for bending old words to new uses” (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
Old English ctd.
Three Latin Influences on Old English
Three Latin Influences on Old English
Three Latin Influences on Old English
-The first Latin words that appeared in Old English can be traced back to very early interactions between the Romans and Germanic tribes who later became the English people. They had several interactions with the Romans through which they attained a substantial number of Latin words.
-The second Latin influence on Old English appeared during a later period when Germanic tribes came to England and learned additional Latin words from the Celts who had previously been ruled by Romans.
-The third Latin influence, and the most altering, was the Christianization of Britain. The year 597 indicates the beginning of Rome systematically trying to convert the inhabitants of England into becoming a Christian country (Baugh & Cable, 2013). The introduction of Christianity brought about many changes during this time period.
-New churches and monasteries were built. Latin was the language used in all of the church services and schools, and became more prevalent in England. Numerous traces of this influence are to be seen in the additions of vocabulary in Old English. “As a result of the Christianizing of Britain, some 450 Latin words appear in English writings before the close of the Old English period” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 66, p. 88).
Influences on Old English ctd.
-Additionally, another major influence on English during this period was the Viking Age and Scandinavian impact. Near the end of the Old English period, the Scandinavians invaded England and extensive Scandinavian influence on the English language took place.
-There was extensive interaction of the two languages, which is evident in the large number of Scandinavian elements that are found in English. An example of a Scandinavian element found in Old English after the Viking invasions is the appearance of the sound sk. New words such as sky, skin, skill, and whisk were developed and incorporated into Old English, along with other Scandinavian elemental changes (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
-Scandinavian influence not only affected the vocabulary of Old English, but it also affected its inflectional elements, grammar, and syntax.
Middle English
-The period from 1150-1500 marks the time of Middle English. Middle English was the most important time in the history of the English language as this is when the most critical changes took place. These included extensive changes in phonology, grammar, and vocabulary.
Influences on Middle English
French Influence on Middle English Vocabulary
-“The Norman Conquest changed the whole course of the English language” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 81, p. 104). French words and influence made English more of a Romance language and greatly affected its vocabulary. The French had quickly influenced and enhanced Britain’s military, religious institutions and law-making system that would eventually develop into one of the finest legal systems in the world. French brought important words to the English language such as ‘judge’, ‘jury’, ‘evidence’ and ‘justice’ (The Open University, 2011).
French Influence on Middle English Vocabulary ctd.
-French remained the language of the upper class for 200 years after the Norman Conquest. The king and upper class had no association with English because French was much more useful to them. The language of the common people remained English, as English was looked down upon and thought to be an “uncultivated tongue” that belonged to a socially inferior class. After 200 years, through intermarriage and socialization, both French and English grew closer and closer together.
French Influence on Middle English ctd.
-New French vocabulary words that appeared in the English language before the year 1250 were words that were most likely used by common people coming in contact with someone of French nobility, literary channels, and the church (Baugh & Cable, 2013). After 1250 the French vocabulary that poured into English related to administrative jargon, legal, military, fashion, food, social life, art, education and medicine.
Influence on Middle English
Latin Influence on Middle English
-Though less popular than French vocabulary, there was a large number of Latin words that were borrowed and assimilated into Middle English which mainly appeared in writing and literary works more so than in conversation (Baugh & Cable, 2013). Words borrowed from Latin relate to different subjects ranging from law, medicine and theology to science and literature. Examples of these terms include allegory, conspiracy, homicide, incarnate, legal, limbo, notary, polite and quiet to name a few.
Changes of the English Language During the Middle English Period
-During Middle English, the most vital changes took place in phonology, grammar, and vocabulary. “Those in the grammar, which were intertwined with changes in the phonology, reduced English from a highly inflected language to an extremely analytic one. Those in the vocabulary involved the loss of a large part of the Old English word-stock and the addition of thousands of words from French and Latin” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 111, p. 152).
Changes of the English Language During the Middle English Period ctd.
Changes of the English Language During the Middle English Period ctd.
Inflectional Endings
-Vast changes in pronunciation affected endings of nouns, verbs, and adjectives that once distinguished numbers, case, and gender in such a way that they were no longer needed. Because of this, most inflectional endings were done away with. For example, “a number of originally distinct endings such as –a, –u, –e, –an, and –um were reduced generally to a uniform –e, and such grammatical distinctions as they formerly expressed were no longer conveyed” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 113, p. 155).
Dissipation of Grammatical Gender
-As stated before, a system of grammatical gender, whereby every noun was treated as masculine, feminine or neuter, existed in Old English, but fell out of use during the Middle English period. This is due to the eliminations of inflections. Since the gender usage of Old English was not often determined by meaning, it was troublesome at times because it was in complete contradiction of the meaning. As previously mentioned, in Old English woman was masculine and wife and son were neutral. This changed in Middle English when grammatical gender disappeared and personal pronouns were used, and sex became the only factor in determining the gender of English nouns.
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Modern English
The period since 1500 marks the era of Modern English, the time of the Renaissance. By this phase, much of the original inflectional system is completely done away with. Also, “the transition from Middle English to Early Modern English is most saliently seen in the changes in its sound system, especially in its vowels” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 153, p. 195). This transition is known as “The Great Vowel Shift”. Another extremely influential force on Modern English was the work of William Shakespeare.
The Great Vowel Shift
-The Great Vowel Shift distinguishes the main difference between the pronunciation of Middle English and the pronunciation of Modern English, and therefore, marks its separation. The Great Vowel Shift describes a shift during the Renaissance where the vowels were long (where a was pronounced like the a in father, not like the a in name). Then in the fifteenth century, all of the vowels shifted upwards. A vowel that used to be pronounced in one place of the mouth changed so that it was pronounced in a different, higher place in the mouth.
The Great Vowel Shift ctd.
-“All of the long vowels gradually came to be pronounced with a greater elevation of the tongue and closing of the mouth, so that those that could be raised (a, ę, ẹ, ǫ, ọ) were raised, and those that could not be raised without becoming consonantal (i, u) became diphthongs” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 154 p. 195). The Great Vowel Shift is accountable for the unconventional use of vowel symbols in English spelling. As a result, our vowel symbols no longer correlate to the sounds they used to represent in English.
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William Shakespeare
-The influence of Shakespeare was highly impactful throughout the period of Modern English. His work is what is referred to most as linguists study the period of Modern English (Baugh & Cable, 2013). The work of William Shakespeare reformed the English language all areas to include vocabulary, pronunciation, nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions and pronouns.
William Shakespeare
-Because Early Modern English was inconsistent, lacking structure and rules in comparison to Latin and Greek, it was consistently incorporating words from other languages. This was due to wars, colonization, and exploration. To accommodate for insufficient vocabulary, Shakespeare articulated his ideas by borrowing and changing lexicon from other languages (Mabillard, 2000).
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Nouns and Adjectives
William Shakespeare
-Shakespeare invented about 2000 new words that were assimilated into the English language (The Open University, 2011) as he had the “largest vocabulary of any English writer” (Baugh & Cable, 2013). This was largely due to liberal attitude towards foreign borrowing. Examples of the words that he invented that are still widely used today are ‘eyeball’, ‘puppy-dog’, ‘anchovy’, ‘dauntless’, ‘lackluster’, and ‘alligator’ among a plethora of others (2011). He also integrated famous phrases and idiomatic language into his writing, which was correspondingly incorporated into the English language such as ‘flesh and blood’, ‘out of house and home’, ‘good riddance’, ‘breaking the ice’, ‘as dead as a doornail’, and ‘get your money’s worth’ (The Open University, 2011).
-Since the vocabulary of Middle English was lacking the necessary elements to express the ideas of Shakespeare, he borrowed and changed nouns, verbs, and adjectives from other languages quite frequently. For example, the word ‘antic’ was originally classified as a noun to mean, “a fool”. Shakespeare turned the noun into a verb as seen in the phrase, “The wild disguise has almost anticked us all” (King, 2007). Modern English had become more flexible than it had ever been, and Shakespeare was a pioneer in taking advantage of this aspect.
Shakespeare’s writing proved that English had developed “a standard literary language, free from the variations of local dialect” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 185, p. 245). Although it was quite possible for Shakespeare to have grown up with a strong Lancashire and Warwickshire accent, he wrote without dialectical idiosyncrasies ((Baugh & Cable, 2013). This is a very informative time marker of English becoming a more cohesive language as a whole.
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Major Differences Between American and British English
Pronunciation and Dialect
-Changes in pronunciation and dialect began to happen between American English and British English as early as early colonists came to America. During this time, changes developed in the British English especially by way of vowel sounds in words such as fast, path, grass, dance, can’t, and half (Baugh & Cable, 2013). Southern England began to change from what is called a flat a to a broad a in these words (from a sound like the a in man to one like the a in father). In America, the old sound was preserved, and fast, path, and so forth are pronounced with the vowel of pan. The most prominent difference in pronunciation between British and American English is the pronunciation of r. In England, the r sound has completely disappeared except before vowels, whereas in America, the sound is still very much in use.
Major Differences Between American and British English
-American English grammatical structure differs from British English as seen in the term “Give it to me!”. “Give it to me!” is used in American English and has a verb followed by a pronoun and a prepositional phrase referring to a recipient. In England, this construction is not at all common, as the terms “Give me it!” and “Give it me!” are used instead. (Eifring & Theil, 2005).
American English Influence on British English
-American vocabulary has had quite the impact on British English. “The difference between the British and the American lexicon today is lessened by the fact that many American words have made their way into British use, and their number appears to be increasing rather than diminishing” (Baugh & Cable, 2013). Native American words, geographical words, political jargon, and other words associated with American items have been easily accepted and used in British English. In fact, “when an American word expresses an idea in a way that appeals to the British as fitting or effective, the word is ultimately adopted in Britain” (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
British English Influence on American English
-Because the English language originated in Europe, British English has the most influence on American English by far. This was because colonists brought the English language to America from England and settled along the Atlantic seaboard in the seventeenth century (Baugh & Cable, 2013). When colonists settle in a new country however, they must expand the resources of their language in order to create or borrow words to describe new objects and experiences they undergo.
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The Purist Attitude
-According to a definition published in 1926, Purist and purism “are for the most part missile words, which we all of us fling at anyone who insults us by finding not good enough for him some manner of speech that is good enough for us; by purism is to be understood a needless and irritating insistence on purity or correctness of speech.” (Fowler, Modern English Usage [Oxford, 1926], pp. 474–75.)
The Purist Attitude ctd.
- In England at any time during the nineteenth century, any impurity in the language, meaning anything that the individual purist objected to, was more likely than not to be described as an Americanism (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 252, p. 384). Purists in England held that Americans were “ruining and corrupting” the language and that they were lowering many standards. It was not until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with the establishment of a modern tradition in American literature that the authority of English opinion and usage diminished (Baugh & Cable, 2013).
The Purist Attitude ctd.
-Although it is understandable that language purists of England wanted to preserve the language exactly the way it was, the Purist Attitude is invalid because it directly contradicts the Doctrine of Usage. The Doctrine of Usage is the modern doctrine that holds that the most important facet of language is usage. This doctrine argued that no language is perfect, and that “every language has its peculiarities; they are established by usage, and whether right or wrong, they must be complied with” (Baugh & Cable, 2013, Section 202, p. 277). Believers in this doctrine understood that usage must be allowed, and that the custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. The importance of usage is fundamental, because without it, language would not be living and evolving.
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A History of the English Language
According to the Doctrine of Usage, the most important aspect of any language is usage (Baugh & Cable, 2013). Speaking a language and passing it on to other generations is the most paramount standard for any language around the world. It is usage that sustains the language and allows it to evolve overtime. Throughout many centuries and spanning through the periods of Old English, Middle English, and Modern English, the English language has undergone many changes without losing the vitality of a thriving and ever-evolving language-one that will continue on to become the most important language in the world.
The vast and rich history of the English language has had many influences and undergone many changes throughout thousands of years. It is evident that this language has been highly influenced by its users, and is flexible enough to evolve and flourish with durable intent. Because the English language is far from dying out and because countless countries throughout the world use it, one can predict that this vital language has the potential to one day become a universal language- a language that is more than equipped to solve the world’s problems.
Baugh, A. C., & Cable, T. (2013). A history of the English language (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Eifring, Halvor & Theil, Rolf. (2005). Linguistics for Students of Asian and African
Languages. Retrieved from (http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/hf/ikos/EXFAC03- AAS/h05/larestoff/linguistics/Chapter%205.%28H05%29.pdf).

Fowler, H. W. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926.
The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage.3d ed. revised by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998

King, Warren (2007). Shakespeare’s development for early modern English. No Sweat Shakespeare. Retrieved from http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/resources/shakespeare-early-modern-english/.

Lewis, Paul M., Simons, Gary F., and Fennig, Charles D. (eds.). 2014. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Seventeenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com.

Mabillard, Amanda. Why Study Shakespeare? Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug 2000. (14 June, 2014) Retrieved from http://www.shakespeareonline.com/biography/whystudyshakespeare.html.

The Open University. (Producer). (2011, June 22). The history of English in ten minutes:
Track 2: The Norman Conquest [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/english-language/the- history-english-ten-minutes?track=ae050bd400

The Open University. (Producer). 2011, June 22). The history of English in ten
minutes: Track 3: Shakespeare [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/english-language/the- history-english-ten-minutes?track=5cd3f2ca23

Wheeler, Kip L. (2014). The Sanskrit connection: keeping up with the joneses. Retrieved from https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/IE_Main4_Sanskrit.html.

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