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HELL LECTURE 3 Middle English Period (1050 - 1500)

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Presentation on theme: "HELL LECTURE 3 Middle English Period (1050 - 1500)"— Presentation transcript:

1 HELL LECTURE 3 Middle English Period (1050 - 1500)

2 MIDDLE ENGLISH DIALECTS NORTHERN – North England EAST-MIDLAND *– the east of the Midlands WEST-MIDLAND – the west of the Midlands SOUTH-WESTERN – West England KENTISH – Kent

3 GENERAL MIDDLE ENGLISH CHRONOLOGY 1066-1204 Decline of English 1204-1348 Rise of English 1348-1509 Dominance of English

4 MIDDLE ENGLISH CHRONOLOGY I 1066-1204 Decline of English Norman invasion (1066), French conquest and unification of England; Norman = North-man, descendants of Danes, spoke French influenced by Germanic dialect William in full control of England within ten years death of many Anglo-Saxon nobles end of internal conflicts and Viking invasions; control of the Welsh Frenchmen in all high offices Anglo-Saxon Chronicle written until 1154 imposition of feudal system, vassalage, peasants bound to the land increase in dialectal differences kings of England spoke French, took French wives and lived mostly in France, French-speaking court Henry II Plantagenet (r. 1154-1189), married to Eleanor of Aquitaine, father of Richard I, the Lionheart (r. 1189- 1199) and John Lackland assassination of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket in 1170 lack of prestige of English; Latin was written language of the Church and secular documents; Scandinavian still spoken in the Danelaw, Celtic languages prevailed in Wales and Scotland development of bilingualism among Norman officials, supervisors, some marriages of French and English, bilingual children examples of French words: tax, estate, trouble, duty, pay, table, boil, serve, roast, dine, religion, saviour; pray, trinity very little written English from this period

5 MIDDLE ENGLISH CHRONOLOGY II 1204-1348 Rise of English King John (John Lackland) (r. 1199-1216), loss of Normandy in 1204 many Norman landholders chose to stay in England, spoke Anglo-French dialect barons revolt against John, Magna Carta (1215), origins and development of Parliament Henry III (r. 1216-1272), son of John; francophilia of Henry III, many Frenchmen given official positions Edward I (r. 1272-1307), son of Henry III, conquered Wales and waged war with Scotland decline of French cultural dominance in England rise in use of English, smoothing out of dialectal differences, beginning of standard English based on London dialect; crusades, pilgrimages contributed to increase in communication and formation of common language.

6 MIDDLE ENGLISH CHRONOLOGY III 1348-1509 Dominance of English French remained official language of England until 2nd half of 14th c. - by mid to late 14th c. English was normal medium of instruction -1362 English became official language of legal proceedings, everyone in England spoke English by end of 14th c., displacing of French, Norse, and Celtic languages persistence of dialectal differences, increase in English writing, more common in legal documents than French or Latin by 15th c. LONDON as commercial center, seaport, proximity to Westminster court - emergence of London/East Midland dialect as standard spoken and written language, compromise dialect, 1474 – William Caxton - printers' activity, literacy increased 1337-1453 - Hundred Years' War - Edward III (Windsor) (r. 1327-1377), his claim to French throne led to the war - English victories at Crécy (1346), Poitiers (1356), Agincourt (1415), role of Joan of Arc (1429) - eventual French victory, loss of all English continental holdings - French no longer significant to the English Black Death 1348-1351, death of 1/3 of English population, social chaos, labor shortages, emancipation of peasants, wage increases, rise in prestige of English as language of working classes 1455-1485 - War of the Roses, York vs. Lancaster, Richard Duke of York vs. Henry VI (executed) Lancastrian Henry VII Tudor marries Elizabeth of York, he fathers Henry VIII 1509 begins reign of Henry VIII, end of Middle English period

7 MIDDLE ENGLISH WRITING little English writing during 1100-1200 period; match between sound and spelling worsened; influence of French scribes, confusion in spelling system; new standard English not a direct descendant of West Saxon

8 MIDDLE ENGLISH PHONOLOGY - CONSONANTS Consonants consonant inventory much like that of Present Day English except for sounds in hu/ng/ (velar nasal) and mea/s/ure (alveo-palatal voiced fricative) addition of phonemic voiced fricatives: v,, z; effect of French loanwords: vetch/fetch, view/few, vile/file voiceless fricative /h/ had velar (ME thurh) and alveo-palatal (ME niht) allophones loss of long consonants (OE mann ) h lost in clusters, OE hlæfdige>ME ladi, OE hnecca>ME necke, OE hræfn>ME raven voiced velar fricative allophone of g (normally a voiced velar stop in OE) became w after l and r: OE swelgan>ME swolwen, OE feolaga>ME felawe, OE morgen>ME morwen, OE sorg>ME sorow OE prefix ge- lost initial consonant and was reduced to y or i: OE genog>ME inough, OE genumen>ME inomen unstressed final consonants tended to be lost after a vowel: OE ic>ME i, OE -lic>ME ly final -n in many verbal forms (infinitive, plural subjunctive, plural preterite) was lost (remains in some past participles of strong verbs: seen, gone, taken); final -n also lost in possessive adjectives my and thy and indefinite article 'an' before words beginning with consonant (-n remained in the possessive pronouns) w dropped after s or t: OE sweostor> sister, OE swilc>such (sometimes retained in spelling: sword, two; sometimes still pronounced: swallow, twin, swim) l was lost in the vicinity of palatal c in adjectival pronouns OE ælc, swilc, hwilc, micel> each, such, which, much (sometimes remained: filch, milch) fricative v tended to drop out before consonant+consonant or vowel+consonant: OE hlaford, hlæfdige, heafod, hæfde>ME lord, ladi, hed, hadde (sometimes retained: OE heofon, hræfn, dreflian>heaven, raven, drivel) final b lost after m but retained in spelling: lamb, comb, climb (remained in medial position: timber, amble); intrusive b after m and before consonant: OE bremel, næmel, æmerge>ME bremble, nimble, ember (also OE puma>ME thombe) intrusive d after n in final position or before resonant: OE dwinan, punor > ME dwindle, thunder intrusive t after s in final position or before resonant: OE hlysnan, behæs > ME listnen, beheste initial stops in clusters gn- and kn- still pronounced: ME gnat, gnawen, knowen, knave h often lost in unstressed positions: OE hit>ME it

9 MIDDLE ENGLISH PHONOLOGY - VOWELS Vowels loss of OE /y/ and /æ:/: /y/ unrounded to /i/; /æ:/ raised towards /e:/ or lowered toward /a:/ all OE diphthongs became pure vowels addition of schwa; schwa in unstressed syllables, reduction of all unstressed vowels to schwa or i as in K/i/d, reason for ultimate loss of most inflections; a source of schwa was epenthetic or parasitic vowel between two consonants, generally spelled : OE setl, æfre, swefn> ME setel, ever, sweven French loanwords added several new diphthongs (e.g. OF point, bouillir, noyse > ME point, boille, noise) and contributed to vowel lengthening; diphthongs resulted from vocalization of w, y, and v between vowels; lenghtening and shortening: phonemic vowel length in ME (lost in Modern English) already in OE short vowels tended to lengthen before certain consonant clusters OE climban, feld> ME climbe, feld lengthening of short vowels in open syllables (OE gatu, hopa > ME gate, hope) shortening of long vowels in stressed closed syllables, OE softe, godsibb, sceaphirde> ME softe, godsib, scepherde, exceptions (before -st): OE last, gast, crist>ME last, gost, Christ; if two or more unstressed syllables followed the stressed one, the vowel of the stressed syllable was shortened (Christ/Christmas [ME Christesmesse], break/breakfast [ME brekefast]); some remnants of distinctions caused by lengthening or shortening in open and closed syllables: five/fifteen, wise/wisdom; in weak verbs, the dental ending closed syllables: hide/hid, keep/kept, sleep/slept, hear/heard loss of unstressed vowels: unstressed final -e was gradually dropped, though it was probably often pronounced; -e of inflectional endings also being lost, even when followed by consonant (as in -es, eth, ed) (e.g. breath/breathed), exceptions: wishes, judges, wanted, raided; loss of -e in adverbs made them identical to adjective, hence ambiguity of plain adverbs e.g. hard, fast; final -e in French loanwords not lost because of French final stress, hence cite>city, purete>purity

10 MIDDLE ENGLISH PROSODY Middle English Prosody stress on root syllables, less stress on subsequent syllables; loss of endings > reduction in number of unstressed syllables, increased use of unstressed particles such as definite and indefinite articles, prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, analytic possessive (of), marked infinitive (to), compound verb phrases; OE trochaic rhythm shift to iambic rhythm of unstressed syllables followed by stressed ones (caused by increase in use of unstressed particles and by French loans)

11 MIDDLE ENGLISH GRAPHICS Middle English Graphics 26 letters, ash and eth dropped, thorn and yogh retained; French loans j and v treated as allographs of i and u; v reserved for initial position; interchangeable y and i; yogh: velar fricative /x/ (po/h/t), semivowel /j/ (/y/ung), alveopalatal voiced affricate /j/ (brid/g/e), also used as z (daiz) q and z more widely used under French influence, qu for /kw/ OE cwic, cwen> ME quicke, quene tendency for use of digraph th instead of thorn, thorn retained in function words, that, thou, then; confusion of y and thorn, hence ye olde coffee shoppe poor match of sound and symbol caused by OE > ME sound changes, French influence, new spelling conventions, dialectal differences o for u (come, love, son, won, tongue, some), way to avoid confusion caused by use of minims (vertical strokes) c for s, influence of French loans like cellar, place affected spelling of native words like lice, mice k for /k/, before i/e, n (OE cene, cyssan, cneow> keen, kiss, knee), cf. cat, cool, cut, clean increased use of digraphs: th for thorn/eth sounds, ou/ow for long u (hour, round); doubling of vowels to indicate length (beet, boot); sh for alveopalatal fricative s (OE scamu> shame); ch for alveopalatal affricate c (OE ceap, cinn> ME cheap, chin); dg for alveopalatal affricate j (OE bricg>ME bridge), (but j in initial position according to French convention, ME just); gh for velar fricative (OE poht, riht> ME thought, right; wh for w (voiceless aspirated bilabial fricative), OE hwæt, hwil, order of letters reversed in ME, what, while; gu for g, in French loans, guard, guile, guide, OE gylt>guilt punctuation: point, virgule indicated syntactic break; punctus elevatus, somewhat like comma; question mark; hyphen for word division at end of line; paragraph markers handwriting: insular hand replaced by Carolingian minuscule in cursive and gothic styles


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