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Lec 2 – Before English

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University of Toronto St. George
Carol Percy

9.12.2013 – Before English Modern English has many words that are similar in meaning to each other, but differ in form and register. English also has two different ways of conjugating verbs: there is either a vowel change or the addition of a suffix. The Old English period begins in 450 AD, and ends in 1100 AD. The Middle English period begins in 1100 and ends in 1500. The Early Modern English period begins in 1500 and ends in 1800. Since 1800, we have been in a period of Present-Day English. Certain sounds in Latin correspond with English sounds; for example, the "k" sound in Latin is related to the "h" sound in English. Looking at Germanic and Romantic languages, it is easy to see that the languages shared the same ancestor, but follow certain rules within each division. The words that share similarities and have stayed in these languages are common words: body parts, kinship words, numbers, etc. If certain common words have not stayed in the language, it is an indication that something significant must have happened over the course of the transition. These words are called cognates — words that have similar structure and meaning. These words share an ancestor or source. The common Indo- European Construct does not exist anymore and there is no written evidence for it. We can reconstruct it by studying modern languages, as well as written languages that are now dead. Another way is to find patterned consistent relationships between words. There are no actual records of common Indo-European being spoken, but its descendants were spoken in Greece as early as 2000 BC. It was spoken on the Indian subcontinent by 1500 BC. We do not know where in particular it originated from, because the term "Indo-European" only represents the later Diaspora of the language. But, we can infer where it
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