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Chapter 9

LINGUIST 1Z03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Anglo-Saxons, Early Modern English, Great Vowel Shift


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LINGUIST 1Z03
Professor
Karen Tucker
Chapter
9

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1Z03 Chapter 9: A Brief History of English
Karen Tucker
Old English spoken between 700 and 1100 AD
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Originated somewhere between the black sea and the caspian sea
English is a Germanic language belonging to Indo-European languages
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Reconstructed vocabulary can indicate style of life in the past
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Textbook
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Differences that exist between languages tend to be systematic
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p -> f (pisc/fish,pater/father)
t -> e (tres/three,tu/thouk
k -> h (centum/hundred,cord/heart)
d -> t (dent/tooth, duo/two)
g -> k (genu/knee, genus/kin)
Grimm's Law Systematic changes of plosive consonants
By studying cognates you can guess about what words may have looked like, and reveal
systematic sound changes across languages
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Such changes are a result of influence of other old European languages when travelling
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Substratum effects - where one language is influenced by languages of nearby groups
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English belongs to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages
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East Germanic - southeastern Europe ( not spoken today, but gothic writing survived)
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North Germanic - evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages
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West Germanic - ancestor of modern German, Dutch, English
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500 BC Britain invaded by Celtic tribes
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In 43 AD, islands invaded by Emperor Claudius and Britain became part of the Roman Empire
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Roman empire collapsed
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Scots and Picts were taking over Celts, Celts asked for help from Southern Denmark and north-
western Germany, who conquered the Scots and pushed the Celts to the ends of the island
and took the Celt's lands for themselves
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Primitive Old English Period
Oldest manuscripts written with Roman letters found in Britain were dated from this time
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Before this time, the roman alphabet was adopted and there was primarily Christian literature
in English
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Original Britain tribes broken into seven smaller kingdoms
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These kingdoms spoke different languages based on the grammars, vocabularies and
pronunciations of the original Germanic languages of the different tribes
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Old English Period (700-1100 AD)
Old English was highly synthetic meaning that inflectional endings were used to signal the
grammatical function of words, and word order was less important
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Adjectives also had inflectional endings that reflected the noun they described as did
pronouns and articles
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Ten different classes of verbs all with different systems of declension
The verb system was also inflectional, different endings depending on the grammatical subject
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Minimal influence from Celtic, place names influences (e.g Thames, the dark river, Kent,
London, the town of the wild one
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9: A Brief History of English
November 18, 2017
1:13 PM
Class Notes Page 1
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