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Development of the English Language

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Presentation on theme: "Development of the English Language"— Presentation transcript:

1 Development of the English Language
Humble Beginnings, Grand Destiny

2 Overview Three periods of development:
Old English (O.E.) Beowulf Middle Eng. (M.E.) Chaucer Modern Eng. (Mod.E.) Shakespeare Did you say Shakespeare? Modern? No way! Yes, way.

3 I. Old English Period Before the English (The Way it Was)
1. Celtic people in Britain for centuries before Julius Caesar in 55 B.C. 2. Part of Roman Empire 55 B.C. to A.D. 410 3. But the Celts (Britons) kept own language 4. Romans left in 410,  Britain invaded by: a. Picts from the North (also Celts) b. Scots from the West (Gaelic, Irishmen) The Britons were defenseless

4 I. Old English Period B. The coming of the English
1. Britons appealed to Rome for help; got none 2. Saxons, Angles, Jutes invaded in 449 —Old English period begins —Britain can be thought of as England (Angle Land) 3. They defeated the Picts and Scots and subjugated the Britons 4. Most Celts fled to Wales, Cornwall, Brittany

5 I. Old English Period C. Three Germanic dialects joined into one:
Anglo-Saxon English (now called Old English)

6 II. Middle English Period
A. Transition period from the Norman Conquest to time of the first printed books B. The Conquest, 1066 1. In 9th Century, Scandinavians settled in Normandy and in England 2. William’s Claim a. Edward the Confessor of England, last successor to Alfred the Great, died without an heir b. Harold II, son of an earl, elected king by nobles c. William, Duke of Normandy, a distant relative, claimed English throne

7 II. Middle English Period
B. The Conquest, 1066 (cont’d) 3. William invaded England at Hastings 4. William and the Normans were French, culturally and linguistically C. French influenced English greatly but it did not dominate French = language of government, commerce, law English = language of the common people

8 II. Middle English Period
D. The Conquest made the difference: 1. Thousands of Latin-origin words entered the English language through the French 2. Caused the transition from Old English to Modern English over the 400-year period we now call Middle English

9 Hear the Difference Old English: from Beowulf

10 Hear the Difference Middle English from The Canterbury Tales
Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote (1) The droghte (2) of March hath perced (3) to the roote,  And bathed every veyne (4) in swich licour (5) Of which vertu engendred is the flour (6); Whan Zephirus (7) eek with his sweete breeth  Inspired (8) hath in euery holt (9) and heeth  The tendre croppes (10), and the yonge sonne Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne (11), And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open eye (12) (So priketh (13) hem nature in hir corages (14)),  Thanne longen (15)  folk to goon on pilgrimages… 

11 Hear the Difference Early Modern English from Macbeth
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

12 Final Thoughts The difference is striking.
And we owe it all to political events. Is it the same language? Vocabulary greatly changed Basic structure the same That’s all, folks

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