History of English
English belongs to the Germanic Branch of Indo-European
English has changed more than most IE languages
INDO-EUROPEAN PERIOD (? 8,000 to 4,000BC ?)
Indo-Europeans were some of the world's first farmers
homeland - probably western half of the Black Sea
Kentum languages spread through Europe, Inner Asia by 3,000BC
Satem languages - Indo-Iranians, after 4,000 BC
Proto-Germanic was a Kentum language that started spreading north from Black Sea, reaching the North Sea by 2,000BC
COMMON GERMANIC PERIOD (? 4,000BC - to 500 BC)
Proto-Germans mix with aboriginal farming peoples in Northern Europe
North Sea Aborigine words and traits borrowed into Germanic:
1. Toponyms: Sweden (Sverige), Scandi and Finn
2. Nature: sea, land, strand, mew, eider, auk, seal, sturgeon, herring. New coinages: swan (<sing), flounder (<flat)
3. Sea travel: ship, keel, sail, oar.
4. Religion: hel, ragnarok.
5. Society: wife, bride, groom, husa replaces domo, folk replaces manni, which replaces vir/wer, aboriginal words sometimes survive in negative meaning
knapa (youth)->knave karl (man) became churl.
6. farming or animal husbandry: hafur (oats; haversack) mare. Also: ram, lamb, sheep, kid, bitch, hound, dung.
7. Other basic words: risan, rise, hlaupan, leap, lagjiz, leg, handuz, hand, skuldar, shoulder, bainam, bone, seukaz, sick, hairsaz, hoarse, newhiz, near, lik, like, ibnaz, even, kak, a round object, hence cake, kr -> crooked, cripple, creek, etc.
Probably two replacements in North Europe:
Non-IE hunter-gatherer (before 5,000 BC) replaced by
First IE farmers (who borrowed heavily from them)
Second IE farmers (Proto-Germans) mixed with the first farmers
Germanic is more changed than many other IE branches, probably due to this double dose of mixing. Germanic has many unique words, grammatical and phonological patterns.
WEST GERMANIC PERIOD (500 BC - 430 AD)
Germanic spreads, develops three main dialects:
North Germanic - Scandinavia free from Roman, Celtic influence, later becomes Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
East Germanic - Gothic, moves into E. Europe, destroyed by Huns
West Germanic - yields Modern German, Dutch, English
West Germans called themselves Teutes (<Teuton, Dutch, Deutsch)
All modern Germanic languages are closely related:
English Dutch Swedish sing, sang, sung zingen, zong, gezongen sjunga, sjo:ng, sjungit
West Germanic influenced by Latin (Roman) culture and vocab.
First Latin borrowing into what became English (100BC to 400AD):
1. Foodstuffs: oleum-> oil, olive, butirum-> butter, caseus -> (cheese/Kase, replaces yustas/ost), piper-> pepper, coquina-> kitchen, panna-> pan, cuppa->cup, discas->dish, kaula-> cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, coleslaw; petrosileum->parsely.
2. Time: yarum -> year, mannoth -> month, langtinus -> Lent
weekday names are Germanic calques (loan translations) based on Latin:
Saturday was borrowed, since Germans had no god equivalent to Saturn
EARLY ANGLO-SAXON, or Early Old English (430-800 AD)
By 430 AD the Celts had lost out to the Germans and Romans, refuge was in Britain (Welsh) and Ireland (Irish, later Scots Gaelic)
By 600 AD Celts and Romans (Latin speakers) lose out to Germans
After 430 AD Germanic tribes - Angles, Saxons, Jutes move to Britain, begin displacing Celts there.
Their dialects partly merge to become Anglo-Saxon (OLd English)
The growth of Anglo-Saxon
1. Celtic borrowings: very few in number, town <-tun (fortified hill) iron, crag, rix ->king (cf. regal, Reich, rex, bishopric), curse, cross (original Germanic gives us crutch), ass (borrowed earlier by the Celts from the Latin asinus)
2. Aboriginal borrowings (perhaps through Celtic) dog, girl, boy, Britain, Ire (Eire) land
3. Drift of /sk/ to /S/ by 600 AD: scield -> shield, scip -> ship, disc -> dish, scirt -> shirt
4. 587AD conversion to Christianity, Second Latinate Borrowing:
Cultural, religious words from Old French: preost, biscup, nonne, monoc, diafol, engel;
Calque based on Old French: par-don -> for-give.
Some Anglo-Saxon words gained new, Christian meaning: synn, hel, God, Easter
OLD ENGLISH, or Late Anglo-Saxon (800-1066 AD)
Late 700's to 900 AD Norse invasions, many Vikings settle North England, mingle with Anglo-Saxons. Anglo-Saxon mixes with Old Norse (Old Danish) creates a new language called either Late Anglo-Saxon or Old English. Two major effects:
1. Many new lexical doublets (synonyms from different sources:
Early Anglo-Saxon Old Norse rear raise carve cut craft skill hide skin from fro no nay heaven sky
Some lexical doublets are also Cognates - words with a single origin found in different languages
Early Anglo-Saxon /S/ Old Norse reintroduces /sk/ shin skin shirt skirt ship skipper shatter scatter
2. Anglo-Saxon inflectional system collapses (most endings lost)
a. Most plurals regularized: stan/stanas, nama/namen, ship/shipu, sunu/suna. A few remain: ox/oxen; foot/feet.
b. Many strong verbs regularized: help -> helped (not holp)
c. Grammatical endings drop: stan, stanas, stanu, stanam, stanum, stanos, etc. -> stone, stone's, stones, stones'
Old English in 1066 was still mostly Germanic; Latin/French words limited to food, religion. Old English sounded more like modern Icelandic than modern English:
Fæder ure, Du De eart on heofunum
Si Din nama gehalgod,
Tobecume Din rice
GewurD Din wille
On eorDan swa swa on heofonum
MIDDLE ENGLISH (1066 - 1450-ish)
William defeats Harold at Hastings in 1066. Norman French kings rule England in place of Anglo-Saxons
Diglossia -Norman French spoken by upper class, Anglo-Saxon by lower.
The two languages gradually merge into one, called Middle English
Impact of Norman French vocabulary (Third Latinate borrowing)
1) governmental: count, heraldry, fine, noble, parliament.
2) military: battle, ally, alliance, ensign, admiral, navy, aid, gallant, march, enemy, escape, peace, war (cf. guerilla).
3) judicial system: judge, jury, plaintiff, justice, court, suit, defendant, crime, felony, murder, petty/petit, attorney, marriage (Anglo-Saxon wedding), heir.
4) ecclesiastical: clergy, altar, miracle, preach, pray, sermon, virgin, saint, friar/frere.
5) cuisine: sauce, boil, filet, soup, pastry, fry, roast, toast.
6) personal names: John, Mary (Biblical Hebrew or Greek) and Norman French (Charles, William, Richard)
New lexical doublets (stylistically marked)
Anglo-Saxon Norman French cow beef calf veal swine pork sheep mutton deer venison sweat perspire
Doublet phrases: law and order, lord and master, love and cherish, ways and means.
New derivational morphology:
many suffixes: -or vs. -er; -tion, -ment, -ee, -able
most prefixes: ex-, pre, pro, dis, re, anti- inter.
Anglo-Saxon: be- in besmirch, or for- in forgive, forstall;
Phonology: Norman French phonemes /z/ and /v/ borrowed
More than 50% of modern English words are Norman French
But most function words and basic vocabulary are Anglo-Saxon
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. With this ring I thee wed, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse. . . in sickness and in health. . . Thank God. Go to hell. Drop dead! I love you. Up yours! .
MODERN ENGLISH (1450 - PRESENT)
Anglo-Saxon/Norman French completely merge
English becomes a world language, overseas dialects develop
Changes in Early Modern English 1450-1600
a. velar fricative [x] drops or becomes /f/: night, light, though, enough
b. velar +nasal clusters simplify: know, gnat, knee, gnome .
c. GREAT VOWEL SHIFT - all tense vowels change pronunciation
2. Vocabulary -Fourth Latinate Borrowing -mostly learned terms ( enormous, action, item, suicide, etc.)
Latin, Greek plurals: datum/data; cactus/cacti, formula/formulae.
New lexical doublets Older Norman French New "artificial" Latin example exemplary pensive ponder
Aspects of English artificially made to follow Latin
No split infinitives
painture ->picture; dette ->debt, verdit ->verdict.
Minor grammatical changes after 1600
a) some irregular verbs became regularized: spake>spoke
b) 3rd person singular verb ending: he doest/doth/does.
c) thou, thee, thy/thine replaced by: you, your.
d) plural /es/ to /s/ or /z/ except after sibilants.
English after 1600 - only major changes are
1) dialect development
2) vocabulary expansion
mosquito (Portuguese or Spanish); pajamas (Hindi); bungalo (Bengali); tulip, turban (Turkish); taboo (Tahitian); okay (Chocktaw?); So long (Malay)
Origin of Modern English vocabulary
1) North European aboriginal terms into Common Germanic (before 2000BC)
2) Latin terms from Romans into West Germanic (100BC-400AD)
3) Christianized Latin terms into Anglo Saxon (after 587AD)
4) Old Norse into Anglo Saxon (700-900AD)
5) Norman French into Old English (1066-1300AD)
6) Ancient Latin and Greek into Modern English 1500- through the present)
forgive/pardon Latin borrowing from the Christianization vs. Norman French borrowing shirt/skirt Native Anglo-Saxon word vs. Old Norse borrowing cow/beef Native Anglo-Saxon vs. Norman French borrowing dish/disk Older Latin borrowing vs. later Latin borrowing chief/chef Older Norman French borrowing vs. recent borrowing from French