Revision. Key Moments in the Linguistic History of the English Speaking World

Prüfungsvorbereitung: Universität Bremen

Exam Revision 2014 6 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Other


Key Moments – Revision

1. Old English


- lasted from450-1100
- 449:Saxons, Jutes and Angles invaded England
- heptarchy:seven kingdoms:
- Northumbria
- Mercia
- East Anglia
- Kent
- Essex
- Sussex
- Wessex
- Celts, Picts and Scots lived in England
- 8th century: Vikings invaded East of England
- Danish king came on throne


- OE hadcase inflexionsinstead of prepositions; innoun phrases
- inflexion signalscase, gender, number
- OE can have 1 of 3 word orders; 3 grammatical genders & 4 noun declensions
- vocabulary from native Germanic
- affixes, compounds and word-borrowings
- borrowed from Saxon, Latin, Jutes, Old Norse, Celtic
- OE is asynthetic language:dependent on inflection
- analytic language:dependent on word order

2. Middle English


- 1100-1300:Early Middle English
- 1300-1500:Late Middle English (loss of case marking & inflexions)
- 1042:King Edward the Confessor broughtFrenchto England
- January 1066:Edward died without child to follow him
- Harold, Earl of Wessex & Edward’s second cousin William of Normandy battled
- September 1066:battle for throne: Harold was killed, William became king
- 1204:struggle for Normandy à sense of English identity
- 1337-1453:Hundred years war between England and France
- 1348:Black Death1/3 of population died; jobs became available on all levels; lower class people climbed social ladder; thus English climbed social ladder


- Frenchbecame language ofcourt& theruling class
- Latinbecame language ofchurch&administration
- lots of bilingual children
- word-borrowing from French
- English went from being a synthetic language to an analytic language
- instead of inflexions, the word order now signaled grammar case

3. Early Modern English


Translation of the Bible:

- Bible had huge effect on English language when it was translated
- 1380-82:John Wycliffe’s later banned translation led to increase of literacy
- 1522:German translation of bible by Martin Luther
- 1525:William Tyndale’s later banned translation
- 1611:King James Bible (first authorized translation)
- English became language of religion


- 1476:William Caxton set upprinting press
- a standard form of English was needed
- 1480:English-French dictionary by Caxton
- 1604:first monolingual dictionary by Richard Cawdrey
- 1755:Samuel Johnson’s dictionary (43 000 words)

The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1650)

- vowel which is higher up in vowel chart was used instead of vowel below
- position of tongue was raised
- push chain:one vowel pushes the other away
- drag chain:other vowels are dragged in leftover spot
- à all vowels needed to be raised
- [i:] and [u:] were the highest and couldn’t move any higher à turned intodiphthongs[ti:d] & [hu:s] à [təid] & [həus] (not finished shift)

4. Inner, Outer and Expanding Circles

The two Diasporas of English:

- 1. Diaspora:migrations to North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
- 2. Diaspora:colonization of Asia and Africa

The 3-way categorization:

- ENL:English as a native language
- language of those born and raised in a country where English is historically the first language to be spoken
- UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
- approx. 350 million speakers
- ESL:English as a second language
- language spoken in once English territories
- example: India, Nigeria, Singapore
- approx. 350 million speakers
- EFL:English as a foreign language
- language serves no purpose within the country
- approx. 1 billion speakers withreasonable competence
- ELF:English as alingua franca(spoken if no other language in common)
- Difficulties with categorization:
- ENL is not a single variety of English
- Pidgins & Creoles don’t fit into categorization
- large groups of ENL speakers in ESL territories and vice versa
- quality of ENL language not considered



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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511 KB
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Institution / College
University of Bremen – FB 10 - English-Speaking Cultures
revision moments linguistic history english speaking world prüfungsvorbereitung universität bremen



Title: Revision. Key Moments in the Linguistic History of the English Speaking World