Part one : Part one A History of English before England Slide 2: Four major language families
e.g Mandarin, Chinese
e.g Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian
e.g Arabic and Hebrew
e.g Romance, Germanic, Balto Slavic, Indo Iranian, Celtic Slide 3: Germanic subdivided into the following:
Africaans, Danish, Dutch, German, English, Flemish, Icelandid, Norwegian, Swedish, Yiddish Those key events in history…. : Those key events in history…. 400 Saxons invade Britain
6th Century- religious literature arrived
8th century- First Viking Invasions Beowulf (first epic poem in Old English)
1066 Norman conquest
1387 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
1476 Caxton’s printing press
1500 Great Vowel Shift
1564 Birth of Shakespeare Old English : Old English The Celts were pushed north and west by invaders from Jutland and Denmark.
The name ‘English’ comes from ‘Engle’ which means ‘Angles’- people who were part of the islands of Denmark (then known as Angulus)
All new settlers were known as ‘Engles’, their language ‘Englisc’. In history books, it’s often called ‘Anglo-Saxon’.
This is Old English- the language used from 450 AD to 1150 AD
Nouns- faedre lufu wif hus
Adjs- blodig cald blaec
Place names- brad ford = broad crossing
Areas- East Anglia, Sussex, Essex, Middlesex The grammar of Old English : The grammar of Old English Inflections, prefixes and suffixes to indicate person, number, mood or tense
E.g: depending on the gender of a word, plurals could be formed by adding –as –a -um –an –ena
Now, we usually add -es or -s
OE Functional words, prepositions
in, on, under Example of Old English : Example of Old English se bat seglode fif dagas ("the boat sailed for five days")
bates segl is lytel ("the boat's sail is small [little]")
fif batas seglodon ofer brim ("five boats sailed over the sea")
seglas bata sind lytele ("the sails of the boats are small") OE spelling and pronunciation variation : OE spelling and pronunciation variation By C9th, four very different major dialects had emerged
Northumbrian (NE and Scotland)
West Saxon (South West)
Example: niht, neaht, neht
nacht The Vikings and Old Norse : The Vikings and Old Norse C8th -11th from Scandinavia.
Eventually settled in North and East.
Their language Old Norse had significant influence.
Place names suffixes –by and –thorpe = settlement Middle and Early Modern English : Middle and Early Modern English from 1000 AD to the 1600s Part 2 1066 – 1204: English in decline The Norman Invasion : 1066 – 1204: English in decline The Norman Invasion In 1066 the Normans invaded England, and the French of Normandy, together with Latin, was to become the language of court, religion and science
English was still used by the majority of common people, but it had no prestige and there was no literature written in English for 200 years.
few written records of early Middle English, especially between1100 and 1200
Situation of the ruling class speaking one language, and their subordinates another, could not last. Normans had to learn some English in order to communicate. Norman kings set off to the Crusades in the 12th century- they had to persuade people to go there; would have used English for propaganda- just like Alfred. Words derived from French : Words derived from French Law accuse arrest
Government parliament treasurer
Military soldier, lieutenant
Dining Beef, Ham
…OE words replaced by French
OE Wlitig= OF beaulte=ME= beauty
…sometimes both survived but specialised
OE woods and OF forest The Transition to middle English1150 onwards : The Transition to middle English1150 onwards Significant change- Loss of inflections and increasing importance of word order (syntax)
In OE subject could be in diff positions
E.g: Ðone cyning hī brōhton cucene tō Iosue.
[They brought the king alive to Joshua.]
You could tell it was the subject due to its inflections.
Now word order would make clear what noun was the subject of a sentence
ME= Subject+ verb+ object Spelling variations : Spelling variations Still huge variations between dialects
Medwe meede medoue
Consonants and vowels written differently
OE sc (pronounced sh) started to be written as sh
OE scho – ME sho
Long vowels written differently
OE rot ME root Latin? : Latin? Spoken in Church and amongst educated people.
French borrowed Latin words, and these in turn were borrowed into English
E.g. Distract, genius, interrupt, script, testimony Middle EnglishThe Rebirth of English? : Middle EnglishThe Rebirth of English? During the late 13th and in the 14th century, English was making a comeback. The mood towards France was becoming more and more hostile: it wasn’t seen as a mother country, but as a dangerous rival. Although French and Latin were still languages of prestige, English was becoming the language of communication, even among the nobility.
Dialect of Anglo-French ridiculed in Paris, growing mutual dislike.
The Hundred Years’ War with France (mid-14th – mid-15th cent.) marked a definite decline of French and the rise of English as a chief language.
BUT there had been integration and intermarriage between Normans and English Middle English1348 – 1509: English triumphant : Middle English1348 – 1509: English triumphant 1348: first outbreak of the Black Death: one third of population dies- leads to social turmoil and worker shortages. Higher prestige for the lower classes and their language.
1362: English official language in legal proceedings.
English expands all over Britain, French only artificially maintained.
London English emerges as basis for standard.
1509: Henry VIII ascends to the throne and breaks with the Roman Catholic Church. Thereafter, all religious services and documents are in English. Literature in Middle English : Literature in Middle English What we now call Middle English appears after the great silence of 200 years, in the 2nd half of 14th century.
Prior to that time, vernacular (=not in Latin) literature consisted primarily of religious writings. The second half of 14th century produced the first great age of secular (=not religious) literature.
The best representative is Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘the father of English poetry’. By making a conscious choice to write in English, he symbolizes the rebirth of English as a national language. His works also helped the London dialect of English become a standard.
We can read and understand Chaucer’s English fairly well – this shows how much the language had changed. Middle English‘The Canterbury Tales’ : Middle English‘The Canterbury Tales’ Chaucer’s most famous work is ‘The Canterbury Tales’ (about 1387), a long poem, or a collection of stories in verse. And it is real verse – another novelty. The rhyme has taken place of Old English alliteration.
The story is about a party of pilgrims, the poet among them, traveling to Canterbury to visit the grave of Thomas a Becket. To pass the time, they agree to tell tales.
Strong French and Anglo Saxon influences The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales : The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Other Middle English Poetry : Other Middle English Poetry On the other hand, the old alliterative verse was still in use in Chaucer’s time. Poems such as William Langland’s ‘The Vision of Piers the Plowman’, ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ and ‘Pearl’ (anonymous) were written in it.
fair field full of folk
ße bor brittened and brent Middle English Prose : Middle English Prose John Wycliffe – translated the whole Bible into English
Sir Thomas Malory – ‘Morte D’Arthur’ Eight tales of Arthur and his knights (mid-15th cent.). This work is important because 8 tales are structurally connected and reminiscent of a novel. His language is close to the spoken language, but also poetic and full of feeling. This was the first attempt to organize a story into a single narrative. More dialects : More dialects During this period 5 dialects emerged
Southern Early Modern English1400s- : Early Modern English1400s- William Caxton set up the first English printing press in 1476. He printed works of Chaucer and Malory, and also books from other countries translated by himself into English prose. He was a major influence on the spread of learning and knowledge, and was part of the ‘communications revolution’. For the history of English and its spelling, Caxton’s decision to reproduce the language of London and the South-East is crucial. This dialect was to become standard. Standardisation : Standardisation The first printing press was established in Westminster- the centre of Political Administration and Law.
Producing identical copies of the same text meant that for the first time everyone was reading the same thing, written the same way
Difficult choices for Caxton. He had to choose between dialects and writers’ personal choices. He also had to create a punctuation system, as there was nothing uniform in place …and so to William Shakespeare…. : …and so to William Shakespeare…. A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade he bravely broached his bloody boiling breast Slide 27: More about this next week……