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Unit: Family-The History of the English Language - Concisely
Transcript of Unit: Family-The History of the English Language - Concisely
Monday The Moon
Friday Frig (Woden’s wife)
Saturday Saturn Roman words that
Angles, Saxons and Jutes brought with them
chest 450 AD 597 AD 789 AD 1066 AD Old English Middle English Early Modern English St. Augustine and his forty missionaries brought literacy to the pagan Anglo-Saxons.
King Ethelbert was converted to Christianity and within 100 years, England became the center of learning. Many of the new words derived from Latin refer to religion, such as altar, mass, school, and monk, but others are more domestic and mundane such as fork, spade, spider, tower, and rose. Old English
included much of the complexities of the invaders’ Germanic dialects of Indo-European languages Arbitrary Gender
wheat - masculine
oats - feminine
corn - neuter Verbs
seven classes of strong verbs
three classes of weak
no future tense Inflections
"green" or "big" could have
up to eleven different forms
masculine, feminine or neuter
five cases of singular
four cases of plural
The Danes were related to the Anglo-Saxons in both blood and language For many, many years in some places the people spoke only Old English while on the next hillside, they spoke only Old Norse. Eventually, the two languages merged peacefully. Impact on the language New Scandinavian Words
sky New Synonyms
raise--rear Words that changed spelling
and eventually their meanings
break--> breach The Normans were Vikings who settled in Northern France 200 years before. They abandoned their language and adopted a rural dialect of French. There were zero Norse words in Normandy, but they would eventually bequeath 10,000 words to English. After the 1066 conquest of William, the kings of England would not speak English until 1399 with Henry IV. “Norman society had two tiers: the French-speaking aristocracy and the English-speaking peasantry. Not surprisingly, the linguistic influence of the Normans tended to focus on matters of court, government, fashion, and high living. Meanwhile, the English peasant continued to eat, drink, work, sleep, and play in English.” Humble trades
shoemaker Skilled Crafts
tailor Animals sheep
pork, bacon Norman French words still in use
Not King and Queen 1150 to 1500 AD 1342-1400 (cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr Middle English undergoes dramatic changes, including the demise of inflections. Sometimes words were modified in one grammatical situation but left unmodified in another. That left several spelling pairs. half/halves
life/lives Plurals Endings reduced to "-s" or "-en" shoes or shoen
house or housen Three "weak" plurals
oxen Traces of Old English plurals
teeth Added to Old English
brotherhood fraternity About 85% of Old English words died out under the Danes and Normans. That means that only 4,500 words survived, which accounts for only 1% of the Oxford Dictionary. BUT!! They are words that are
essential to life:
Etc. Function words as well:
On That means in any sample of modern English writing, at least half of those words will be in Old English of Anglo-Saxon origin.
ALL of the 100 most common words are Old English. THEREFORE! 1500 to present day We say: What are you reading? He says: What do you read? “I am going.”
“I was going.”
“I have been going.”
“I will (or shall) be going.” These meanings would have confused him: 1564-1616 “The house is being built.” Also confusing... Old English (c.1000) sample
Fæder ure þuþe eart on heofonum
si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum
urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg
and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum
and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice. Middle English (1384), the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye:
Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name;
þi reume or kyngdom come to be. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene.
yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred.
And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us.
And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. Finally, in Early Modern English (King James Version, 1611) the same text is completely intelligible:
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.
And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliuer us from euill. Amen.