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TESL 2200 Word Usage and Vocabulary in Context Lecture 2 The history of English: with relevance to the origin and development of English vocabulary 2009-2010.

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Presentation on theme: "TESL 2200 Word Usage and Vocabulary in Context Lecture 2 The history of English: with relevance to the origin and development of English vocabulary 2009-2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 TESL 2200 Word Usage and Vocabulary in Context Lecture 2 The history of English: with relevance to the origin and development of English vocabulary 2009-2010 Semester 2

2 Why the history of English The history of English is a fascinating field of study in its own right. The historical account can inform the present- day English language use. It satisfies the deep-rooted sense of curiosity we have about linguistic heritage. (Crystal D 1995:5)

3 The story of English In the simplest terms, the language was brought to Britain by Germanic tribes, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, influenced by Latin and Greek when St Augustine and his followers converted England to Christianity, subtlely enriched by the Danes, finally transformed by the French –speaking Normans. (McCrum,R.1986:46)

4 The making of English is the story of three invasions and a cultural revolution.

5 How it began The history of English begins with the conquest and settlement of what is now England by the Angles, Saxons and the Jutes from about 450 AD.

6 “To Aetius, thrice consul, the groans of the Britons..the barbarians drive us to the sea. The sea drives us back to the barbarians. Between the two we are exposed to two sorts of death; we are either slain or drowned.” — Venerable Bede, c. AD 700

7 Old English(450-1100 AD) 450—600 AD. The invasion of Britain by The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. Almost all of these invaders spoke dialects of a language they called Englisc (pronounced/ingli∫/) In 597, St Augustine and a group of monks from Rome arrived in England and taught the Anglo-Saxons about Christianity.

8 During the Old English period, English language borrowed a considerable number of Latin words, e.g. bargain, cheap, inch, pound; cup, dish, wall, wine; abbot, altar, candle, disciple, hymn, martyr, nun, priest, pope, shrine, temple and a great many others.

9 Although about 85% of the Old English vocabulary has been replaced in Modern English with words from Latin or Greek, the hundred most common words in Modern English all come from the language used at this time.

10 These Old English words are for very basic things and ideas: mann(person),wif(wife),cild(child), hus(house), mete(food), drincan(drink), etan(eat),slæpan(sleep),æfter(after), and, we on, is, and many more.

11 787-878. Vikings (Danes) invasion. Throughout the ninth and tenth centuries and into the eleventh, Norwegian and Danish Vikings invaded large parts of England. As a consequence, English borrowed words from the North Germanic tongue of the invaders, Viking Norse.

12 Many words from Old Norse(ON) entered and enriched Old English(OE). Some of them replaced the Old English words. For example, syster(ON) replaced sweostor(OE). In some cases, both the Old Norse and Old English words for the same idea was used. For example, there was wish (OE) and want (ON), and sick (OE) and ill (ON).

13 Some old Norse word survived in a dialect. For example today some Scots say kirk (ON) where English say church. About 900 Old Norse words became part of Old English, and they include many modern words beginning with sk- ;skin, skirt, and sky, for example.

14 Others are: bag, cake, die, egg, get, give,husband,leg,neck,same,take,window.

15 By the 8th century England was a centre of learning in western Europe. The greatest piece of literature in Old English is a long poem called Beowulf.


17 Early History of the Danes Listen: You have heard of the Danish Kings in the old days and how they were great warriors. Shield, the son of Sheaf, took many an enemy's chair, terrified many a warrior, after he was found an orphan. He prospered under the sky until people everywhere listened when he spoke. He was a good king!

18 Middle English (1100-1500) The Norman Conquest (1066). At the Battle of Hastings in Sussex, the last Saxon king Harold was killed. On Christmas Day of the same year, William of Normandy was made the King of England. French and Latin were used in government, the Church, the law and literature. English people who wanted to become important in society learnt French.

19 French words came into every part of life: For example, chair, city, crime, fashion, fruit, gentle, government, literature, medicine, music, palace, river, table, travel. Sometimes the French words replaced Old English (OE) words: for example, ask,(OE) and demand(F),wedding(OE) and marriage(F), king(OE) and sovereign(F).

20 Sometimes French words were used for life in the upper classes, and Old English ones for life in the lower classes. For example, the words for the animals in the fields were Old English (cow, sheep and pigs) but the words for the meat on the table were French (beef, mutton, and pork).

21 At the same time several thousand words also entered English from Latin. They came from books about law, medicine, science, literature or Christianity. Some words which came from Latin at this time were: admit, history, impossible, necessary and picture.

22 However, English did not die out and it was gradually widely used because -the increased marriage between Normans and English people; -The loss of Normandy to France; -the loss of French’s social importance in England.

23 From 13th century, English was used more and more in official papers, and also in literature. Geoffery Chaucer (1343/4-1400), who was born in London, wrote in the East Midland dialect (spoken by people living in the Oxford, London, Cambridge triangle), authored The Canterbury Tales.


25 夏雨给大地带来了喜悦, 送走了土壤干裂的三月, 沐浴着草木的丝丝经络, 顿时百花盛开,生机勃勃。 西风轻吹留下清香缕缕, 田野复苏吐出芳草绿绿; 碧蓝的天空腾起一轮红日, 青春的太阳洒下万道金辉。 小鸟的歌喉多么清脆优美, 迷人的夏夜怎好安然入睡 —— 美丽的自然撩拨万物的心弦, 多情的鸟儿歌唱爱情的欣欢。 香客盼望膜拜圣徒的灵台, 僧侣立愿云游陌生的滨海。 信徒来自全国东西南北, 众人结伴奔向坎特伯雷, 去朝谢医病救世的恩主, 以缅怀大恩大德的圣徒。 转自 [ 英美者 ]- 英语专业网站: 9.html For the movie you can go to H7TA.html

26 Later in 15th century, English completely replaced French in the home, in education and in government. It also replaced Latin as the language of written communication. English had survived—but it had changed enormously.

27 By the end of 15 century English was starting to be read by thousands of people. In the next century it was read by many more, and used by the great star of English literature- William Shakespeare.

28 Modern English (16 th century) However, the acceptance of English as a language of learning was not complete until the end of the seventeenth century. During 16th and 17th centuries, writers in English borrowed about 30,000 words from about fifty languages, mainly to describe new things and ideas, and many of them are still used today.

29 The new words came mainly from Latin; for example, desperate, expensive, explain, fact. As the European explorations of the world widened, so words came into English from America, Africa and Asia. For example, chocolate and tomato came from Mexico, banana from Africa, coffee from Turkey, and caravan from Persia.

30 Shakespeare(1564-1616) The age of Queen Elizabeth I (Queen of England 1558-1603) was one of a great flowering of literature. Shakespeare is considered the greatest writer of plays.

31 He created about two thousand words, and a huge number of expressions which are now part of everyday English. For example, he invented: it’s early days (it's too soon to know what will happen); in my mind’s eyes( in my imagination); tongue-tied (unable to speak because you are shy); the long and short of it( all that needs to be said about something)

32 The King James Bible(1611) This version has an important influence on the English language. They aimed to make the language sound poetic and musical when it was read aloud.

33 Its language became part of everyday English, with expressions like: the apple of somebody’s eye( a person who is loved very much by somebody); by the skin of your teeth( you only just manage to do something; the salt of the earth ( a very honest person); the straight and narrow (an honest way of living).

34 Bringing order to English The great growth in new words between 1530 and 1660 left people uncertain. What was happening to the language? If so many foreign and newly-formed words kept on being added to it, would it remain English?

35 Some people in England wanted to create an official organization to control the English language. In 17th century, the appearance of the first English dictionary slowly brought about more regularity in spelling.

36 In 1755, Samuel Johnson produced A Dictionary of the English Language. During 18th century, ways of spelling that differed from these dictionaries were seen to be incorrect and a sign of stupidity or bad education.

37 The grammarians at this time considered the grammar of much ordinary spoken language and regional dialects (especially Scots) to be wrong and believed that the grammar of English should be the same as that of Latin. For example, they thought that a sentence should not end with a preposition because in Latin it did not. For example, it would be correct to say I like the town in which I live, but not I like the town which I live in.

38 Modern English(1800-now) The discoveries and inventions in all areas of science in the last 200 years have led to new words for machine, materials, plants, animals, stars, diseases and medicines, and new expressions for scientific ideas. About 100,000 new words have entered the language in the last hundred years-more than ever before.

39 Some example of these new words, with the date when each word first appeared in writing. Most new words( about two-thirds) have been made by combining two old words: fingerprint(1859), airport(1919), streetwise(1965). The recent development in computers introduced many of its type: online (1950), user-friendly, download(1980).

40 Some new words have been made from Latin and Greek; for example, photograph (1839), helicopter(1872), aeroplane(1874), and video(1958).

41 Others are old words given new meanings. For example, pilot(1907) was first used to refer to a person who directs the path of ship, and cassette(1960) used to mean a small box. About five percent of new words have come from foreign languages. For example, disco(1964) has come from French and pizza(1935) from Italian. And a few words have developed from the names of things we buy: for example, coke(1909) from Coca- Cola, and walkman (1981) from Sony Walkman.

42 Some words have been shortened: photo (1860) for photograph;plane(1908) for aeroplane; telly (1940) and TV (1948) for television. Some words first appeared as slang before they joined the main language; for example boss (1923) was an American slang word, meaning manager.

43 Some words have combined sounds from two other words: for example,smog(1905), used to describe the bad air in cities, is made from smoke and fog. Only a few new words have not been created from other words. Two examples are nylon(1938) to describe a man-made material, and flip-flop(1970), a type of shoe that makes a noise as you walk.

44 Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which was completed in 1928, includes a total of 414,800 words, all English words since 1150 ( even those that are no longer used).

45 OED does not include many spoken words, slang words or words from non-British kinds of English. Some people think that there are probably a million different words and expressions in English today.

46 –The spread of new words in the 20th century was made possible by newspapers, radio, television, films, pop music and the Internet. –English passed the 1,000,000 threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT and today English has 1,001,543.(source: the global language monitor)

47 The future of English(es)? … we no longer control English in any meaningful way. It is no longer our ship, but the sea. (Andrew Marr,1998)

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