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Development of english language

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Development of English Language

English belongs to the Germanic branch of the western group, of Indo-European languages and is the result of the linguistic contributions made by a number of inventions and mass-migrations over the century. Before becoming the national language, it was preceded by Celtic (spoken by early inhabitants of the island), than by Latin (introduced by the roman conquerors) and finally by the dialects and languages of Germanic and Scandinavian tribes from across the North Sea.

The letter contributed to form what can be called the "Teutonic Part" of English, the other part (the romance one) being supplied by the last invaders of the island, the Normans from France.

It's possible to distinguish three main periods, known as:

Old English or Anglo-Saxon (449-1100) derived from the gradual fusion of languages spoken by the Jutes, the English and the Saxons. Three Germanic tribes that invaded Britain in the 5th century.

How was the Old English?

It was not a compact language but it made up for dialects. Its characteristics are:

a.   Inflections

b.   Cases for nouns and adjectives (nominative, dative, accusative)

E.g.:    Daeb (=day)















c.   The "an" ending for infinitives

E.g.: bringan = to bring

d.   A particular type of alphabet, which the Anglo-Saxons had brought whit them, that was composed of a series of mysterious characters called "Runes" (magic signs). It was only when they were converted to Christianity that they adapted Latin alphabet.

The Middle English (1110-1500) emerged as a literary language with chaser. It laid the foundation of  "Standard English).

a.      The words were accented in a different way: the stress shift to the first syllable while final vowels (a/o/u) were all changed into the vowel (e)

b.     The definitive people was "the"

c.      Infinitive changed from "an" form into the "to" form

E.g.: bringan to bring

d.     After the Norman Conquest (1066) were introduced French words into English vocabulary: food, law, government, militarlike.

Modern English (1600-1700): the language began to be controlled and organised by rules. Dictionary began to appear as well as grammar book based on Latin rules of grammar. Following the increase of the British Empire and trading exchanges. The vocabulary was enriched with new terms becoming a cosmopolitan language. Its main figures the "functional shift"; the various parts of speech are interchanged with due other.    






To rain


The new words were coined from the old ones.

The knighthood

In the 8th and in the 9th century the job of fighting was made by minority, the composition of a new class made to become to knights professional warriors. Military roles increased at this time (Middle Ages). Before it happened in France and then in the rest of the Europe, but the knighthood was transformed in a political and social system. And the knights life had in its culture a set of values, that were: loyalty, courage, generosity and glory; but real life was very different from the chivalric ideals and outbreaks (esplode) in violence. The next stage in history of knighthood happen in 11th century when the Catholic Church introduced christian values. So the violence in knighthood was cancelled. At the same time the ancient pagan ceremony, used in undressing of the warriors, took religious connotation. There was the present of bishop during this ceremony (it's important to say that this ceremony became a knighthood not a hereditary privilege). This dressing was limited only for young male aristocrats.

The stages to became a knight were:

At first a young male aristocrats had to become a page, then a squire. In this second step (when he was a squire) he had to show what he could do in battlefield. So the candidate can be stand or knell before the altar on which his sward and armour lay for ten hours, until the mess was celebrated.

The development of chivalric story in literature was in 3 stages:

Chanson de geste

Stories about the knights (King Arthur

This story became a story of love

So  women played an important role, but only in the 14th and 15th were treated (trattate) chivalric stories in English literature. The most important authors were Chaucer and Malory. Whit Chaucer we have of the knight, taken from Canterbury Tales, a real image of this figure. Instead in Malory was mixed real ideals with elements of magic and fantasy ideals.

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