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A Brief History of the English Language and Literature, Vol. 2 by Meiklejohn. No cover available. Download; Bibrec Download This eBook. A history of the English language. [Elly van Gelderen] -- "The English language in its complex shapes and forms changes fast. This thoroughly revised edition. A History of the English Language Fifth Edition Baugh and Cable's A History of the of thousands of eBooks please go to myavr.info


History Of English Language Ebook

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Editorial Reviews. From the Author. This book provides you with an introduction to the history of eBook features: . Germanic linguistics, and especially the history of the English language, have been a passion of mine for as long as I can . Editorial Reviews. Review. Named a Book of the Year by the Daily Telegraph, Times Literary Robert Tombs's momentous The English and Their History is both a startlingly fresh and a uniquely inclusive account of the people who have a . History of the English language. byLounsbury, Thomas Raynesford, Publication date Topics English language -- History.

The question simply concerns the use of English, or some other widely known idiom, for inter-national communication. The world is poorer when a language dies on average every two weeks. For native speakers of English as well, the status of the English language can be a mixed blessing, especially if the great majority of English speakers remain monolingual. Despite the dominance of English in the European Union, a British candidate for an international position may be at a disadvantage compared with a young EU citizen from Bonn or Milan or Lyon who is nearly fluent in English.

During the s the explosive growth of the Internet was extending English as a world language in ways that could not have been foreseen only a few years earlier.

Department of Defense in conjunction with military contractors and universities. In English was the dominant language of the Internet, with more than half of the Internet hosts located in the United States and as many as three-fourths in the United States and other Englishspeaking countries.

The protocols by which ASCII code was transmitted were developed for the English alphabet, and the writing systems for languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean presented formidable problems for use on the World Wide Web. The technology that made knowledge of English essential also facilitated online Englishlanguage instruction in countries such as China, where demand for English exceeds the available teachers.

However, changes in the Internet economy are so rapid that it is impossible to predict the future of English relative to other languages in this global system. It is increasingly clear that online shoppers around the world prefer to use the Internet in their own language and that English-language sites in the United States have lost market share to local sites in other countries. In September Bill Gates predicted that English would be the language of the Web for the next ten years because accurate computerized translation would be more than a decade away.

Assets and Liabilities. Because English occupies such a prominent place in international communication, it is worth pausing to consider some of the features that figure prominently in learning English as a foreign language.

English present and future 9 learner, some of these features may facilitate the learning of English, and others may make the effort more difficult. All languages are adequate for the needs of their culture, and we may assume without argument that English shares with the other major languages of Europe the ability to express the multiplicity of ideas and the refinements of thought that demand expression in our modern civilization.

The question is rather one of simplicity. How readily can English be learned by the non-native speaker? Does it possess characteristics of vocabulary and grammar that render it easy or difftcult to acquire?

Middle English

It is easy to assume that what we in infancy acquired without sensible difficulty will seem equally simple to those attempting to learn it in maturity. For most of us, learning any second language requires some effort, and some languages seem harder than others.

All else equal, including the linguistic skill of the individual learner, English will seem easier to a native speaker of Dutch than to a native speaker of Korean. Linguists are far from certain how to measure complexity in a language.

History of English

Even after individual features have been recognized as relatively easy or difficult to learn, the weighting of these features within a single language varies according to the theoretical framework assumed.

However, if a result of the loss of inflections is an increase in the markedness of larger syntactic structures, then it is uncertain whether the net result increases or decreases complexity.

It is important to emphasize that none of the features that we are considering here has had anything to do with bringing about the prominence of English as a global language. The ethnographic, political, economic, technological, scientific, and cultural forces discussed above have determined the international status of English, which would be the same even if the language had had a much smaller lexicon and eight inflectional cases for nouns, as Indo-European did.

The inflections of Latin did nothing to slow its spread when the Roman legions made it the world language that it was for several centuries. A history of the english language 10 9. Cosmopolitan Vocabulary. One of the most obvious characteristics of Present-day English is the size and mixed character of its vocabulary. English is classified as a Germanic language.

That is to say, it belongs to the group of languages to which German, Dutch, Flemish, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian also belong. It shares with these languages similar grammatical structure and many common words. On the other hand, more than half of its vocabulary is derived from Latin.

Some of these borrowings have been direct, a great many through French, some through the other Romance languages. As a result, English also shares a great number of words with those languages of Europe that are derived from Latin, notably French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. All of this means that English presents a somewhat familiar appearance to anyone who speaks either a Germanic or a Romance language.

There are parts of the language which one feels one does not have to learn, or learns with little effort. To a lesser extent the English vocabulary contains borrowings from many other languages. Instead of making new words chiefly by the combination of existing elements, as German does, English has shown a marked tendency to go outside its own linguistic resources and borrow from other languages. In the course of centuries of this practice English has built up an unusual capacity for assimilating outside elements.

We are not conscious that the words brandy, cruller, landscape, measles, uproar, and wagon are from Dutch. And so with many other words in daily use. From Italian come balcony, canto, duet, granite, opera, piano, umbrella, volcano; from Spanish, alligator, cargo, contraband, cork, hammock, mosquito, sherry, stampede, tornado, vanilla; from Greek, directly or indirectly, acme, acrobat, anthology, barometer, catarrh, catastrophe, chronology, elastic, magic, tactics, tantalize, and a host of others; from Russian, steppe, vodka, ruble, troika, glasnost, perestroika; from Persian, caravan, dervish, divan, khaki, mogul, shawl, sherbet, and ultimately from Persian jasmine, paradise, check, chess, lemon, lilac, turban, borax, and possibly spinach.

A few minutes spent in the examination of any good etymological dictionary will show that English has borrowed from Hebrew and Arabic, Hungarian, Hindi-Urdu, Bengali, Malay, Chinese, the languages of Java, Australia, Tahiti, Polynesia, West Africa, and from one of the aboriginal languages of Brazil.

And it has assimilated these heterogeneous elements so successfully that only the professional student of language is aware of their origin.

Studies of vocabulary acquisition in second language learning support the impression that many students have had in studying a foreign language: Despite problems with faux amis—those words that have different meanings in two different languages—cognates generally are learned more rapidly and retained longer than words that are unrelated to English present and future 11 words in the native language lexicon.

Inflectional Simplicity. A second feature that English possesses to a preeminent degree is inflectional simplicity. Within the Indo-European family of languages, it happens that the oldest, classical languages—Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin—have inflections of the noun, the adjective, the verb, and to some extent the pronoun that are no longer found in modern languages such as Russian or French or German. In this process of simplifying inflections English has gone further than any other language in Europe.

Inflections in the noun as spoken have been reduced to a sign of the plural and a form for the possessive case. The elaborate Germanic inflection of the adjective has been completely eliminated except for the simple indication of the comparative and the superlative degrees.

The verb has been simplified by the loss of practically all the personal endings, the almost complete abandonment of any distinction between the singular and the plural, and the gradual discard of the subjunctive mood.

The complicated agreements that make German difficult for the nonnative speaker are absent from English. It must not be thought that these developments represent a decay of grammar on the one hand or a Darwinian evolution toward progress, simplicity, and efficiency on the other. From the view of a child learning a first language, these apparent differences in complexity seem to matter not at all.

As Hans H. Hock and Brian D. To the extent that the simplification of English inflections does not cause complications elsewhere in the syntax, it makes the task easier for those learning English as a foreign language.

Natural Gender. English differs from all other major European languages in having adopted natural rather than grammatical gender. In studying other European languages the student must learn 8 See Gunilla M.

Andeman and Margaret A.

See also John Holmes and Rosinda G. A history of the english language 12 both the meaning of every noun and also its gender. In the Romance languages, for example, there are only two genders, and all nouns that would be neuter in English are there either masculine or feminine.

Some help in these languages is afforded by distinctive endings that at times characterize the two classes.

But even this aid is lacking in the Germanic languages, where the distribution of the three genders appears to the English student to be quite arbitrary.

The distinction must be constantly kept in mind, since it not only affects the reference of pronouns but also determines the form of inflection and the agreement of adjectives.

This Language, A River

In the English language all this was stripped away during the Middle English period, and today the gender of every noun in the dictionary is known instantly. Gender in English is determined by meaning. All nouns naming living creatures are masculine or feminine according to the sex of the individual, and all other nouns are neuter. The three features just described are undoubtedly of great advantage in facilitating the acquisition of English by non-native speakers. On the other hand, it is equally important to recognize the difficulties that the foreign student encounters in learning our language.

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One of these difficulties is the result of that very simplification of inflections which we have considered among the assets of English. It is the difficulty, of which foreigners often complain, of expressing themselves not only logically, but also idiomatically. An idiom is a form of expression peculiar to one language, and English is not alone in possessing such individual forms of expression.

All languages have their special ways of saying things. The mastery of idioms depends largely on memory. It is doubtful whether such idiomatic expressions are so much more common in English than in other languages—for example, French—as those learning English believe, but they undoubtedly loom large in the minds of nonnative speakers. A more serious criticism of English by those attempting to master it is the chaotic character of its spelling and the frequent lack of correlation between spelling and pronunciation.

Writing is merely a mechanical means of recording speech.

And theoretically the most adequate system of spelling is that which best combines simplicity with consistency. In alphabetic writing an ideal system would be one in which the same sound was regularly represented by the same character and a given character always represented the same sound.

None of the European languages fully attains this high ideal, although many of them, such as Italian or German, come far nearer to it than English. In English the vowel sound in believe, receive, leave, machine, be, see, is in each case represented by a different spelling. Conversely the symbol a in father, hate, hat, and many other words has nearly a score of values.

The situation is even more confusing in English present and future 13 our treatment of the consonants. We have a dozen spellings for the sound of sh: shoe, sugar, issue, nation, suspicion, ocean, nauseous, conscious, chaperon, schist, fuchsia, pshaw. This is an extreme case, but there are many others only less disturbing, and it serves to show how far we are at times from approaching the ideal of simplicity and consistency.

We shall consider in another place the causes that have brought about this diversity. We are concerned here only with the fact that one cannot tell how to spell an English word by its pronunciation or how to pronounce it by its spelling. English-speaking children undoubtedly waste much valuable time during the early years of their education in learning to spell their own language, and to the foreigner our spelling is appallingly difficult.

To be sure, it is not without its defenders. There are those who emphasize the useful way in which the spelling of an English word often indicates its etymology. Again, a distinguished French scholar has urged that since we have preserved in thousands of borrowed words the spelling that those words have in their original language, the foreigner is thereby enabled more easily to recognize the word. It has been further suggested that the very looseness of our orthography makes less noticeable in the written language the dialectal differences that would be revealed if the various parts of the English-speaking world attempted a more phonetic notation on the basis of their local pronunciation.

And some phonologists have argued that this looseness permits an economy in representing words that contain predictable phonological alternants of the same morphemes e. But in spite of these considerations, each of which is open to serious criticism, it seems as though some improvement might be effected without sacrificing completely the advantages claimed.

That such improvement has often been felt to be desirable is evident from the number of occasions on which attempts at reform have been made. It was suggested that since we wrote has and had we could just as well write hav instead of have, and in the same way ar and wer since we wrote is and was. But though logically sound, these spellings seemed strange to the eye, and the advantage to be gained from the proposed simplifications was not sufficient to overcome human conservatism or indifference or force of habit.

It remains to be seen whether the extension of English in the future will some day compel us to consider the reform of our spelling from an impersonal and, indeed, international point of view. For the present, at least, we do not seem to be ready for simplified spelling. Advanced Search Help. Multi-volumed work The History of English.

Volume 3 Middle English.

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You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. A history of the English language Author: Elly van Gelderen Publisher: Amsterdam ; Philadelphia: Revised edition View all editions and formats Summary: This thoroughly revised edition has been refreshed with current examples of change and has been updated regarding archeological research. Most suggestions brought up by users and reviewers have been incorporated, for instance, a family tree for Germanic has been added, Celtic influence is highlighted much more, there is more on the origin of Chancery English, and internal and external change are discussed in much greater detail.

The philosophy of the revised book remains the same with an emphasis on the linguistic history and on using authentic texts. My audience remains undergraduates and beginning graduates.

The goals of the class and the book are to come to recognize English from various time periods, to be able to read each stage with a glossary, to get an understanding of typical language change, internal and external, and to understand something about language typology through the emphasis on the change from synthetic to analytic. Read more Find a copy online Links to this item View full text. Show all links. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private.

Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Electronic books Problems, exercises, etc Additional Physical Format: Print version: Gelderen, Elly van.

History of the English language. Material Type: Document, Internet resource Document Type: Elly van Gelderen Find more information about: Elly van Gelderen. The English language in its complex shapes and forms changes fast.Structured to reflect the chronological development of the English language, History of English describes and explains the changes in the language over a span of years, covering all aspects from phonology and grammar, to the register and discourse.

Marsh, Lectures on the English Language ; rev. Conclusion -- Appendix I: When the Northumbrian culture was destroyed, the kingdom of Wessex became the centre of English civilization; and under the scholarly influence of King Alfred, and the revival of learning he promoted, West-Saxon became the literary and classical form of English, and almost all the specimens of Early English that have been preserved are written in this dialect.

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