History of the English Language

Topics: English language, Germanic languages, German language Pages: 10 (3456 words) Published: March 11, 2011
1. Origin and the position of English
The English language of today is the language that has resulted from the history of the dialects spoke by the Germanic tribes who come to England in the manner described. It is impossible to say how much the speech of the Angles differed from that of the Saxons of that of Jutes. English belongs to the Law West Germanic branch of the Indo-European family. This means in the first place that it shares certain characteristics common to all the Germanic languages. It shows the shifting of certain constants. It possess a “weak,, as well as a “strong,, declension of the conjugation of the verb the so called weak or regular verbs such as: fill, filled, filled, which form their past tense and past participle by adding –ed as some analogous sound to the system of the present. In the second place, it means that English belongs with German and certain after languages because of features, it as in common with them and that enable us to distinguish a West Germanic group as contrasted with the Scandinavian languages (North Germanic) and Gothic (East Germanic). These features have to do mostly with certain phonetic changes, especially the germination or doubling of constants under special conditions. And it means finally that English along with the other languages of Northern Germany and the Law countries did not participate in further modification of certain constants, know as the second or High Germany Sound – Shift. In other words, it belongs with the dialects of the lowlands in the West Germanic area.

2.a. Origin of English
There are more than 4000 languages spoken in the world. Linguistically speaking there are three similarities between them: 1) Etymology-they have the same origin. For example, English, Swedish, German are similar, because of the same origin 2) Structure-they are not similar by origin but they are similar because of their structure, 3) Contact-similar by contact, like French and English. The English language of today has resulted from the history of the dialects spoken by the Germanic tribes who came to England. English belongs to the Low-West Germanic Branch of the Indo-European family. This means that it shares certain consonant; it possesses a weak and strong declension of the adjective and of the regular verb. But the most important feature is the adoption of a strong accent on the first syllable of most words, which is responsible for the decay of inflections in these languages.
3. a.Periods in the History of English -English language development occurs in three periods. Like all divisions in history, the periods of the English language are matters of convenience and the dividing lines between them purely arbitrary. But within each of periods it is possible to recognize certain broad characteristics and certain special development that take place: The periods from 450-1150 is know as the period of full inflections, because during the most of this period the endings of the noun, adjective and verb are preserved more as less unimpaired. From 1150-1500 the language is knows as Middle English. During this period the inflections, which had begun to break down toward the end of the old English period, became greatly reduced, and it is consequently know as the period of leveled inflections. The language since 1500 is called Modern English. By the time, we reach this stage in the development a large part of the original inflectional system has disappeared entirely, and we therefore speak of it as period of last inflections. b. Old English, Middle English and Modern English (M.E.) 1.

1) The period from 450 to 1150 is known as Old English (the period of full inflections). 2) The period from 1150 to 1500 is known as Middle English (the period of leveled inflections) 3) The language since 1500 is known as Modern English, it is also known as the period of lost inflections. It continues until now. During this period the English language developed constantly and naturally,...
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