HISTORY OF ENGLISH
See also “Semantic Gaps and Sources of
New Words”
by Don L. F. Nilsen
and Alleen Pace Nilsen
1
HISTORY OF
ENGLISH
BEFORE
ENGLAND
2
FOUR MAJOR LANGUAGE
FAMILIES
SINO-TIBETAN
e.g. Mandarin Chinese
FINNO-UGRIC
e.g. Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian, etc.
HAMIDO-SEMITIC
e.g. Arabic and Hebrew
INDO-EUROPEAN
e.g. Romance, Germanic, Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian, and Celtic
NOTE: GIVE OTHER LANGUAGE FAMILIES PLUS EXAMPLES:
3
INDO-EUROPEAN
LANGUAGES
ROMANCE
French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish
BALTO-SLAVIC
Bulgarian, Croation, Czech, Macedonian, *Old Church Slavonic,
Polish, Russian, Serbian
INDO-IRANIAN
*Avestan, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Pashto, Persian, Urdu,
CELTIC
Breton, Cornish, Irish, Scots Gaelic, Welsh
GERMANIC
Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, English, Flemish, German, Icelandic,
Norwegian, Swedish, Yiddish
4
*PROTO INDO EUROPEAN LANGUAGES
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 522)
5
SOUND CHANGES BEFORE
ENGLISH
ABLAUT
UMLAUT
FIRST CONSONANT SHIFT (GRIMM’S LAW)
SECOND CONSONANT SHIFT (TO DISTINGUISH HOCH
DEUTCH FROM PLATT DEUTCH)
6
ABLAUT
begin-began-begun
break-broke-broken
choose-chose-chosen
come-came-come
eat-ate-eaten
fly-flew-flown
sing-sang-sung
7
UMLAUT
child-children
goose-geese
man-men
mouse-mice
woman-women
8
GRIMM’S LAW
/bh/, /dh/, /gh/ => /b/, /d/, /g/
/b/, /d/, /g/ => /p/, /t/, /k/
/p/, /t/, /k/ => /f/, /Θ/, /h/
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 510-511, 513)
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GRIMM’S LAW (Herndon 413)
10
GRIMM'S LAW
1st GERMANIC CONSONANT SHIFT
/b/ => /p/: bursa-purse, labial-lip
/d/ => /t/: decade-ten, dozen-twelve, dent-tooth, duet-two
/g/ => /k/: agriculture-acre
/p/ => /f/: pedestal-footnote, padre-father, plate-flat, pyre-fire
/t/ => /θ/: tricycle-three
/k/ => /h/: courage-hearty, corn-horn, canis-hound
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 510-511, 513)
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VERNER’S LAW
“When the preceding vowel was
unstressed, /f/ /θ/ /x/ underwent
a further change to /b/ /d/ /g/.”
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 513)
12
nd
2
GERMANIC CONSONANT
SHIFT: HIGH/LOW GERMAN
penny-pfennig
too-zu
water-wasser
13
INDO-EUROPEAN NUMBERS
ENGLISH:
SPANISH:
GERMAN:
FRENCH:
PERSIAN:
one
uno
eins
un
yek
two
dos
zwei
deux
do
three
tres
drei
trois
seh
four
quatro
fier
quatre
chahar
five
cinqo
funf
cinque
panj
(FRH [2011] 535)
14
HISTORY
OF
ENGLISH IN
ENGLAND
15
499-1066: Old English
1066-1500: Middle English
1500-Today: Modern English
499: Saxons invade Britain
6th Century: Religious Literature
8th Century: Beowulf
1066: Norman Conquest
1387: Canterbury Tales
1476: Caxton’s Printing Press
1500: Great Vowel Shift
1564: Birth of Shakespeare
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 462)
16
GREAT ENGLISH VOWEL SHIFT
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 493-494)
17
SOUND CHANGES IN
ENGLISH
1.
Great English Vowel Shift
2.
Intervocalic Fricatives become contrastive (phonemic)
3.
Loss of Vowels in Unstressed Syllables (Suffixes)
4.
Loss of Duals
5.
Number Becomes Intimacy (thou, thee, thy, thine, ye, you)
6.
Loss of Verb Endings (-est, -eth)
18
Great English Vowel Shift
A: bāt => boat, nāme => name
E: mē => me, hē => he, wē => we, gēs => geese
I: wīs => wise, ic => I, mīn => my, þīn => thine, mīs =>
mice
O: ēow => you, gōs => goose
U: þū => thou, mūs => mouse
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 493-494)
19
Intervocalic Fricatives become
contrastive (phonemic)
bath vs. to bathe
calf vs. to calve
half vs. to half
house vs. to house
lath vs. lathe
safe vs. to save
teeth vs. to teethe
use vs. to use
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 465)
20
Note that before English root syllables became
stressed and English suffixes lost their stress
and became lost, Old English was a very highly
inflected language.
In fact, at that time it was a synthetic language (with
many inflections) rather than an analytic
language (with prepositions and auxiliaries
instead of suffixes).
Here is an overview of Old English inflections.
Contrast it with Modern English, but don’t sweat
the details.
21
Loss of Vowels in Unstressed
Syllables (Suffixes)
Nominative:
bātas (boat) stān (stone)
Accusative:
bāta
stānes
Genitive:
bātas
stāne
Dative:
bātum
stāne
Instrumental:
bātum
stān
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 494)
22
SINGULAR ADJECTIVES, NOUNS &
PERSONAL PRONOUNS
ADJ:
N:
PERSONAL PRONOUNS:
1st
2nd
3rd
Nom: wīs
bāt
ic
þū
hē/hit/hēo
Gen:
bātes
mīn
þīn
his/his/hiere
bāte
mē
þē
him/him/hiere
bāt
mē
þē
hine/hit/hit
bāt
mē
þē
hine/hit/hit
Dat:
Acc:
Inst:
wīses
wīsum
wīsne
wīse
23
DUAL ADJECTIVES, NOUNS &
PERSONAL PRONOUNS
ADJ:
N:
PERSONAL PRONOUNS:
1st
2nd
Nominative:
wit
git
Genitive:
uncer incer
Dative:
unc
inc
Accusative:
unc
inc
24
PLURAL ADJECTIVES, NOUNS &
PERSONAL PRONOUNS
ADJ:
N:
PERSONAL PRONOUNS:
1st
2nd
3rd
Nom:
wīse
bātas wē
gē
hie/hie/hie
Acc:
wīse
bāta
ēow
hie/hie/hie
Gen:
wīsra
bātas ūre
ēower hiere/hiere/hiere
Dat:
wīsum
bātum ūs
ēow
him/him/him
Inst:
wīsum
bātum ūs
ēow
him/him/him
ūs
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VERBS
IND:
SINGULAR:
1st
drīfe
2nd
drīfest
3rd
drīfeþ
SUBJ:
drīfe
drīfe
drīfe
drīf
drāf
drīfe
drāf
PLURAL:
drīfaþ
drīfen
drīfaþ
VERBALS:
INFINITIVE:
GERUND:
PARTICIPLE:
IMP:
PAST TENSE:
drīfon
drīfan
tō drīfenne
drīfende
SUPPLETIVE VERBS, which come from two different paradigms:
ēom, eart, is, sindon, wæs, wære, wæron
NOTE: “go” comes from the “to go” paradigm; but “went” comes from
the “to wend” paradigm
26
OLD ENGLISH: “The Lord’s Prayer”
Fæder ure,
þou þe eart on heofonum,
si þin name gehalgod.
Tobecume þin rice.
Gewurþe þin willa on eorþan swa swa on heofenum.
Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg.
And forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfaþ urum gyltendum.
And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge,
ac alys us of yfele.
Soþlice.
(Roberts [2009]: 76)
27
MIDDLE ENGLISH, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droght of March hath perced to the
roote…
When April with its sweet showers
The drought of March has pierced to the
root….
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 489, 496)
28
MIDDLE ENGLISH, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Ther was also a nonne, a Prioresse,
That of hir smyling was ful symple and coy,
Hir gretteste oath was but by Seinte Loy,
And she was cleped Madame Eglentyne.
Ful wel she song the service dyvyne,
Entuned in hir nose ful semely.
And Frenshe she spak ful faire and fetisly
After the scole of Stratford-atte-Bowe,
For Frenshe of Parys was to hir unknowe.
(Roberts [2009]: 90)
29
EARLY MODERN ENGLISH: Shakespeare’s Hamlet
A man may fish with the worm that hath
eat of a king, and eat of the fish that
hath fed of that worm.
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 462)
30
THE KING’S ENGLISH
Name the ruler who settled:
Charleston
Georgia
Jamestown
Louisiana
North and South Carolina
Virginia and West Virginia
Williamsburg
31
TODAY:
ENGLISH AS A WORLD LANGUAGE
In Hong Kong you can find a place called the
“Plastic Bacon Factory.”
In Naples, there is a sports shop called
“Snoopy’s Dribbling,”
while in Brussels there is a men’s clothing
store called “Big Nuts,” which has a sign
saying “SWEAT—690 FRANCS.” This was
for a sweatshirt.
32
In Japan you can drink “Homo Milk” or
“Poccari Sweat” (a popular soft drink,
eat some chocolates called “Hand-Maid
Queer-Aid,” or go out and buy some
“Arm Free Grand Slam Munsingswear.”
(Nilsen & Nilsen 164)
(from Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way)
33
ANACHRONISM # 1:
Pease porridge hot.
Pease porridge cold.
Pease porridge in the pot nine days old.
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 476)
EXPLANATION: On the first day of a march, prisoners
used to be served hot pea soup.
On the second day they were served cold pea soup.
And on the ninth day of the march they would be
served pea soup that had been in the pot for nine
days.
34
ANACHRONISM # 2
Bob Newhart does a sketch in which Sir Walter Raleigh
telephones the West Indies Company in London.
He was reporting on his voyage to the New Land of
America.
Since Sir Walter Raleigh is on the telephone, we can
only hear one side of the conversation:
35
“What is it this time, Walt? You got another
winner for us do you? Tobacco? What’s
tobacco, Walt? It’s a kind of leaf and you
bought 80 tons of it? … You take a pinch of
tobacco and shove it up your nose and it
makes you sneeze. I imagine it would,
Walt…”.
The skit ends with, “You’re going to have a
tough time telling people to stick burning
leaves in their mouth.”
(Nilsen & Nilsen 31)
36
Web Site
History of English:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLdQ4DUnnw4&feature=fvw
History of Five Religions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-sIF78QYCI
37
References:
Aitchison, Jean “Language Change: Progress or Decay?
(Clark, Eschholz & Rosa, [1998]: 431-441).
Bryson, Bill. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got
That Way. New York, NY: William Morrow, 1990.
Clark, Virginia, Paul Eschholz, and Alfred Rosa, eds.
Language: Readings in Language and Culture, 6th
Edition. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.
Eschholz, Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark, eds.
Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers, 10th
Edition. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.
Fennell, Barbara A. A History of English: A Sociolinguistic
Approach. Oxford, England: Blackwell, 2001.
38
Falk, Julia. “To Be Human: A History of the Study of Language”
(Clark, Eschholz & Rosa [1998]: 442-476).
Fromkin, Victoria, Robert Rodman, and Nina Hyams. “Language
Change: The Syllables of Time.” An Introduction to Language,
9th Edition. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2011, 488-539.
Herndon, Jeanne H. “Comparative and Historical Linguistics”
(Clark, Eschholz & Rosa [1998]: 411-419).
Moore, Samuel and Albert Marchwardt. Historical Outlines of
English Sounds and Inflections. Ann Arbor, MI: Wahr, 1969.
Nilsen, Alleen Pace. “Changing Words in a Changing World.” Living
Language. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1999, 427-473.
39
Nilsen, Alleen Pace. “Technology and Language Change.” Living
Language. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1999, 379-426.
Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th
Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000.
Ohio State University Files. “The Family Tree and Wave Models”
(Clark, Eschholz & Rosa [1998]: 416-419).
Roberts, Paul “A Brief History of English” (Clark [1998]: 420-430,
Eschholz, Rosa & Clark [2009]: 84-93]).
van Gelderen, Elly, A History of the English Language.
Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins, 2006.
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