Change and Development in the English - Essay Example

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In the origin and development of the English language, several significant elements and events played their influential role and the changes and developments that have taken place over several centuries in the history of the language helped the English language achieve its present position…
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Change and Development in the English
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Download file to see previous pages When the West Saxon kingdom was overthrown England was left without a standard language where several dialects began to take important role. Started in 1066 AD by the troops of William the Conqueror, the Norman conquest of England was a pivotal event in English history as it basically removed the native ruling class and transformed the English language and the culture of England. "What the language would have been like if William the Conqueror had not succeeded in making good his claim to the English throne can only be a matter of conjecture. It would probably have pursued much the same course as the other Teutonic languages, retaining perhaps more of its inflections and preserving a preponderatingly Teutonic vocabulary, adding to its word-stock by the characteristic methods of word-formation already explained, and incorporating much less freely words from other languages... The Norman Conquest changed the whole course of the English language." (Baugh, 127) The Norman Conquest also helped the English language acquire the greater part of that enormous number of French words and connected England more closely with continental Europe. By the introduction of Anglo-Norman as the language of the ruling classes in England, the Norman Conquest caused one of the most obvious changes in English history. In a critical assessment of the effects of the Norman Conquest of Britain on the English language, it becomes lucid that the most outstanding result is that the Norman Conquest reduced the Scandinavian influence and controlled the spread and growth of several creoles in English language.
One of the most obvious results of the Norman Conquest was that it helped the progress of the English language along with its politics and law. In an analysis of the history of English language and its development, it becomes evident that the Old English which existed in England before the coming of the Normans in 1066 began to change due to the influence of the Anglo-Norman. "Although the majority of the population continued to speak English, French was now the language of the new ruling class and therefore the language of the new ruling class and therefore the language of government. This change in status for the English language allowed its grammar to change drastically." (Thackeray and Findling, 14) Such changes were reflected in the other aspects of the language such as spelling, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Therefore, the salient linguistic effects of the Norman Conquest resulted in the growth of the language.
Significantly, the linguistic effects of the Norman Conquest started in 1150 which influenced the remained relatively unchanged until then and the language slowly shifted from the Old English to Middle English. One of the features of the Old English speakers was that they hesitated from using foreign words, and normally made up their own correspondent of words rather than borrowing in a straight line. "One of the most significant differences between Old English and Middle English is the amount of borrowing from other languages, which expanded mainly with the Norman Conquest... The French, however, kept words and sounds similar to their foreign roots. One example of foreign sounds directly affecting English phonemics is the difference between [v] and [f]." (The Norman Conquest: The Impact) ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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