The English Language: A Historical Introduction (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)
Charles Barber, Joan C. Beal, Philip A. Shaw
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Where does today's English come from? This new edition of the bestseller by Charles Barber tells the story of the language from its remote ancestry to the present day. In response to demand from readers, a brand new chapter on late modern English has been added for this edition. Using dozens of familiar texts, including the English of King Alfred, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Addison, the book tells you everything you need to know about the English language, where it came from and where it's going to. This edition adds new material on English as a global language and explains the differences between the main varieties of English around the world. Clear explanations of linguistic ideas and terms make it the ideal introduction for students on courses in English language and linguistics, and for all readers fascinated by language.
[ç] (like the consonant of Modern German ich). The punctuation of the passage has been modernized. Forsoth his eldere sone was in the feeld, and whanne he cam and neiȝede to the hous, he herde a symfonye and a crowde. And he clepide oon of the seruauntis, and axide what thingis thes weren. And he seide The flux of language 35 to him, Thi brodir is comen, and thi fadir hath slayn a fat calf, for he receyued him saf. Forsoth he was wroth, and wolde not entre. Therfore his fadir gon out,
past participle ‘ravaged’. Clause (5) has the order S–V, but the verb is intransitive, so there is no direct object; the nouns dependent on the past participle ‘filled’ (which are in the genitive plural) are placed before it. The order V–S–O is normal in questions: Hwȳ didest þū þæt? ‘Why did you that?’, Hæfst þū ǣnigne gefēran? ‘Have you any companion?’ Negation is achieved by use of the particle ne: Fram ic ne wille ‘Away I do not wish (to go).’ If the ne was the first word in the sentence, the
Chaucer and his contemporaries in south-east England in the fourteenth century used they for the nominative but English forms like hem and hire for ‘them’ and ‘their’. The form hem meaning ‘them’ still survives as ’em (initial /h/ being regularly lost in unstressed words). The borrowing of such central grammatical words as personal pronouns shows the strength of the Scandinavian influence. When the Scandinavian words appear in English texts they are given English inflections. Occasionally,
function was taken over by the use of the S–V–O word-order, which became the dominant one in the ME period. The S–O–V word-order found in some subordinate clauses disappeared in Early Middle English. The use of V–S–O order, especially after certain adverbs, persisted throughout the period, and is not uncommon as late as the seventeenth century. Indeed, the use of V–S order (but without an object) is still occasionally found today. But it was in the Middle English period that S–V–O was established
and some of its proceedings are conducted in Gaelic and Scots and recorded in these languages as well as standard written English.