The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume 2: by Norman Blake

By Norman Blake

Quantity II bargains with the center English interval, nearly 1066-1476, and describes and analyzes advancements within the language from the Norman Conquest to the creation of printing. this era witnessed vital positive factors equivalent to the assimilation of French and the emergence of a typical number of English. There are chapters on phonology and morphology, syntax, dialectology, lexis and semantics, literary language, and onomastics. every one bankruptcy concludes with a piece on additional interpreting; and the amount as an entire is supported by means of an intensive word list of linguistic phrases and a entire bibliography. The chapters are written through experts who're accustomed to glossy techniques to the research of ancient linguistics.

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3), Roger Lass whose authors have to one degree or another 'invented' their spelling systems, and in the process told us a great deal about aspects of linguistic structure that tend to be invisible in less fluid traditions. The immediately following centuries (sixteenth to seventeenth) saw the rise of the first native descriptive phonetic tradition (see vol. Ill, ch. 1); from the mid-sixteenth century we have explicit and often quite reliable phonetic descriptions. Dating from less than a century after the end of our period, these give us for the first time relatively hard phonetic evidence, independent of our interpretation of spellings, and close enough to our major data so that backward projection becomes feasible, with rather less speculation than we need for earlier times.

The effect is of a relatively unified tradition producing a body of religious material in a standardised language fragmenting into a number of disparate and unrelated bits with the result that odd texts appear in more localised dialects. It is the fragmentation which allows us to see the changes which had taken place in the language and which are here given expression because of the loosening of the traditional scribal system. The Norman Conquest brought England into close contact with France through the immigration of French-speaking people and through the ownership of lands on either side of the Channel.

This procedure is the foundation of historical phonology, and is perhaps the most reliable technique in the historian's armoury. g. g. Old Saxon for Old English); modern languages, both related and descendant (say German and Dutch as evidence for earlier stages of English, or modern dialects of English as evidence for the state of earlier ones). 2 Written: texts. Our data for earlier English are written texts, of all kinds (literary and non-literary, formal and informal). , we can often form a good idea of what a particular spelling ought to mean, which we support with other evidence.

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