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The Norman Conquest

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The Norman Conquest
Major Changes in the sound system in Middle English
Old English. General characteristics
2. Old English Phonetics and Grammar
The Norman Conquest
5. Tendencies of New English Language Development
4. Middle English phonetics and grammar
Definition and aims of the course, its connection with phonetics, grammar, stylistics. The lexical system of the language. Syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations.
Lexicology №2. Word-building
Semasiology. Its object and problems
Native words and borrowed words. The source of borrowings and the origin of borrowed words. Ways of borrowing
The phoneme, the allophone. Distinctive features of phonemes. Complementary distribution. Free variations. The functions of the phoneme. Modifications of phoneme in speech: assimilation, accommodation, elision, reduction. Sound insertion
Theories of the nature of the syllable. Syllable formation. The rules of the syllable division. Functions of the syllable. Word stress.
Rhythm, tempo, pausation, tamber. Functions of intonation. Prosodic units: syllable, rhythmic group, intonation group, the utterance. The structure of the intonation group. Types of head, prehead, tail. Utterance stress
The Southern British type of English pronunciation, the Northern regional type of English pronunciation, the Scottish regional type of English pronunciation.
Description of the English verb: the categorical meaning of the verb, its morphological system, syntactic function. The category of tense in different linguistic theories.
The segmental units of morphology as part of the grammatical theory. The notion of morph. Types of morphs. The definition of morpheme.
The subject matter of syntax. The basic syntactic notions: the phrase, the sentence, the suprasegmental construction. Their definitions. The notions of minor and major syntax. The phrase and the sentence. Essential differences
Theories of parts of speech classifications. The principles of syntactico-distributional classification of English words. The three-criteria characterization of grammatical classes of words developed in home linguistics.
The Sentence. Its definition. Classification of sentences
Description of the English verb: the categorical meaning of the verb, its morphological system, syntactic function. The category of tense in different linguistic theories.
The sentence and the text
1. Этапы развития романтизма в Англии
10. William Makepeace Thackeray as a representative of English realism of the 19
Теккерей «Ярмарка Тщеславия»
Теория эстетизма и творчество Уайльда (1854\56 – 1900)
11. Literature of the turn of the centuries Fin de Siecle. Great Britain in the end of the 19
11. Literature of the turn of the centuries Fin de Siecle. Great Britain in the end of the 19
Творчество Дж. Голсуорси//Творчество Т. Харди. John Galsworthy
13. Naturalistic tendencies in the American literature of the turn of the centuries
Предпосылки натурализма
М. Твен основоположник реализма в литературе США
15. Interaction of realism and modernism in the English literature of the first half of the 20
Взаимодействие реализма и модернизма в английской литературе первой половины 20 века
«потерянного поколения» в творчестве Э. Хемигуэя; «американская мечта» в романах Ф. С. Фитцджеральда «Великий Гэтсби и Т. Драйзера «Американская трагедия»
17. The peculiarities of the Faulkner’s artistic world
Особенности художественного мира У
18. The creativity of Ernest Miller Hemingway, peculiarities and evolution of the literary method
Творчество Э
Philosophical novels
2. The poetry of English romanticism (Lake school, John Keats, P. B. Shelley)
Поэзия английского романтизма Озерная школа, Дж. Китс, П. Б
Postmodern literature
20. American literature after the Second World War
Особенности развития литературы США после Второй мировой войны
Becoming Sir Walter Scott. He dies in his house in 1832
George Gordon Byron
Лорд Джордж Гордон Байрон 1788-1824
5. The peculiarities of American Romanticism. American literature in the 20-s of the 19
Пионеров (романы Ф. Купера); тип героя и использование фольклора (новеллы В. Ирвинга); религиозная символика (Мелвилл и Готорн); ключевые идеи трансцендентализма (Р. Эмерсон, Г. Торо)
Двойничества; детективные новеллы; основные стилистические приемы
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Victorian literature
English literature
Вальтер Скотт
English literature Walter Scott (1771-1832)
William Wordsworth

3. Middle English. General Characteristics.

The Norman Conquest

There was already strong French influence in England before the Conquest, as Edward the Confessor (the Anglo-Saxon king, who ruled after Canute’s death) was half Norman, had Norman advisors and spoke French.

After Edward’s death William, Duke of Normandy, wanted to succeed him, though Harold Godwin was already crowned. William invaded England and took the throne by force of arms in September 1066. The king was killed in the Battle of Hastings, and William was crowned King of England on Christmas Day, 1066. This fact brought about enormous changes to the social, political, religious and linguistic situation in England.

William and his barons devastated many lands in England, burning down villages and estates. Most of the lands of Anglo-Saxon lords passed into the hands of the Norman barons, William’s own possessions comprising one third of the country. The Normans occupied all the important posts in the church, in the government and in the army.

Folowing the conquest hundreds of people from France crossed the Channel and made their home in Britain. So not only the higher nobility but also the middle-class(tradesmen, monks, craftsmen) were French.

The use of French

The French language dominated in England until the reign of Edward I (1272-1307), the first king for generations to have a good command of English.

For 200 years after the Norman Conquest, French was mainly used among the upper classes in England. French was the language of administration: of the king’s court, law courts, the church, the army and the castle. French alongside with Latin was the language of writing, teaching was also conducted in French. At first those who spoke French were Normans, but soon through intermarriage numerous English people started to learn the new language. English remained the language of the masses: the lower classes in the towns, in the country-side continued to speak English.

At first the two languages existed side by side, but then they started mixing slowly. The Norman barons picked up English words to make themselves understood, and for the English good knowledge of French was a mark of a higher social position. So probably many people became bilingual.

The Reestablishment of English, 1200 – 1500

The struggle between French and English ended in the complete victory of English, for English was the living language of the entire people, while French was restricted to certain social spheres. Yet the final victory was still a long way off. In the 13th c. only a few steps were made in that direction. The earliest sign of the official recognition of English by the Norman kings was the famous Proclamation issued by Henry III in 1258 to the councilors in the Parliament. It was written in French, Latin and English. In 1362 the king’s speech at the opening of Parliament was made in English, and in the same year an act was passed making English the official language of the law-courts instead of French By the middle of the century, when the separation of the English nobles from their interests in France had been about completed, English was becoming a matter of general use among the upper classes. It is at this time that the adoption of French words into the English language assumes large proportions. The transference of words occurs when those who know French try to express themselves in English. There is evidence that by the close of the century some children of the nobility spoke English as their mother tongue. Towards the end of the 14th c. the English language had taken the place of French as the language of literature and administration, it was again spoken by all social classes in all regions, the documents were written in English and it became the language of education.

Separation of the French and English nobility.

After the Norman Conquest a large number of English nobility held lands in both countries. But shortly after 1200 conditions changed. In 1204 king John lost Normandy. One of the most important consequences of this event was that it brought forward a question of whether many of the nobility are faithful to England or to France. As a result English noble families were to choose and give up one land or the other. The process of the separation of the English nobles from their interests in France lasted for half a century.

The Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453).

The active interference of France in England’s efforts to control Scotland led Edward III finally to put forth a claim to the French throne and to invade France. Although this long war turned people’s attention to the continent, and the various expeditions could help to keep the French language in use, it seems to have had no such effect, but rather the opposite. During all this time it was impossible to forget that French was the language of an enemy country, and the Hundred Years’ War is probably to be recognized as one of the causes contributing to the death of French.

The rise of the middle class.

By the end of the Middle English period the condition of the labouring classes was rapidly improving. Fixed money payments were gradually substituted for the days’ work due the lord of the manor, and the status of the villains more nearly resembled that of the free tenants. Later after the the plague of 1349, when there was shortage of labour and therefore rise in wages, these villains escaped their lords in search of higher wages. The effect of the Black Death was to increase the economic importance of the labouring class and with it the importance of the English language which they spoke.

At this time another important group rose – the craftsmen and the merchant class who lived in towns. These towns became free, self-governing communities.

The Middle English dialects.

One of the striking characteristics of ME is its great variety in the different parts of England. The language differed almost from county to county. In the 14th and 15th c. the dialect division was the following:

  • The Southern group

    • The Kentish dialects

    • The South-Western dialects

  • The Midland (“Central”) group with its subdivisions

    • West Midland dialects

    • East Midland dialects

  • The Northern group

    • The Yorkshire dialects

    • The Lancashire dialects

    • The dialect, later known as Scottish

The peculiarities that distinguish these dialects are partly matters of pronunciation, partly of vocabulary, partly of inflection.

The extension of trade, the growth of towns and the penetration of Scandinavian and French borrowings favored the intermixture of the local dialects. The most important event in the changing linguistic situation was the rise of the London dialect as the main written form of language.

The London dialect originally belonged to the South-Western dialect group, gradually taking more features from the East Midland dialect. The explanation for the mixed character of London English lies in the history of London population. In the 12th and 13th c. the inhabitants of London came from the South-Western districts. In the middle of the 14th c. during the “Black Death” about one third of the population died out. Most of the new arrivals came from the East Midlands. As a result the speech of Londoners was brought much closer to the East Midland dialect. The London dialect became more Anglian than Saxon in character.

The rise of Standard English.

Out of this variety of local dialects there emerged toward the end of the 14th century a written language that in the course of the 15th won general recognition and has become the recognized standard in both speech and writing. The part of England that contributed most to the formation of this standard was the East Midland district, and it was the East Midland type of English that became its basis, particularly the dialect of the metropolis, London. Several causes contributed to the attainment of this result.

In the first place, as a Midland dialect the English of this region represents a kind of compromise, sharing some of the characteristics of both its neighbours.

In the second place, the East Midland land was more valuable than the hilly country to the north and west, and in agricultural age this advantage was reflected in both the number and the prosperity of the inhabitants.

A third factor was the presence of the universities, Oxford and Cambridge, in this region. The two universities had developed into important intellectual centers.

One more factor is the influence of Chaucer. His influence must be thought of as lending support in general way to the dialect of the region to which he belonged.

The spread of the London standard.

By far the most influential factor in the rise of Standard English was the importance of London as the capital of England. London was, and still is, the political and commercial centre of England. It was the seat of the court, the focus of the social and intellectual activities of the country. By the 15th century the London standard had been accepted, at least in writing, in most parts of the country. From the beginning London has been the centre of book publishing in England. Caxton, the first English printer, used the current speech of London in his numerous translations.

French influence on the vocabulary.

French influence is clearly observed upon English vocabulary. A considerable transference of words from French to English was inevitable because these two languages existed side by side for a long time and the relations between the people who spoke them were very close. In the borrowing of French vocabulary two stages can be observed:

  • an earlier stage (before 1250)

  • a later stage (after 1250)

The borrowings of the first stage were less numerous (about 900 words). These were the words which 1). the lower English-speaking classes heard from the French-speaking nobility (baron, noble, servant, feast); 2). came into English through the literary channels (story, rime, lay); 3). were associated with the church.

The second stage was characterized by the change from French to English, but people who had been already used to speak French carried over French words with them into English. These were

  • government and administrative words: government, administer, crown, state, empire, reign, royal, court, council, parliament, tax, etc.

  • ecclesiastical words: religion, theology, confession, prayer, saint, miracle, etc.

  • law words: justice, crime, evidence, proof, punishment, prison, etc.

  • army and navy words: army, navy, peace, enemy, arms, battle, soldier, spy, etc.

  • fashion, meals and social life words: fashion, dress, gown, coat, fur, luxury; blue, brown, scarlet; ruby, emerald, pearl; dinner, supper, feast, beef, mutton, pork, bacon, sausage, cream, orange; curtain, towel, wardrobe, leisure, dance, music, chess, conversation, etc.

  • art, learning, medicine words: art, painting, sculpture, music, beauty, colour; cathedral, palace, tower; study, logic, geometry, grammar, noun, clause, gender; medicine, pain, malady, anatomy, poison, etc.

Middle English literature.

The flourishing of the literature in the 14th c. testifies the complete reestablishment of English as the language of writing. There were translations, original compositions and prolific poetry.

One of the prominent authors was John de Trevisa of Cornwell. He translated 7 books on world history – Polychronicon – from Latin into South-Western dialect of English.

John Wyclif, the forerunner of the English Reformation translated the Bible in 1384 into the London dialect. It was copied and read by many people all over the country and it played an important role in spreading this form of English.

“The vision concerning piers the plowman” was written by W.Langland and it was an allegory attacking the vices and weaknesses of social classes.

In the Early Middle English period there sprang up a new kind of secular literature inspired by French romances of chivalry. These romances told the readers about the life and adventures of the knights and many of them were paraphrased from French: “Brut” (13th c.), numerous stories about king Arthur and his “Knights of the Round Table”, “Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight” by unknown author (14th c.)

The ME literary period is known as the age of Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer was by far the most outstanding figure of the time. He never wrote in any other language than English. His most famous work is “The Canterbury Tales”. It is a story of the author’s pilgrimage together with the other 29 people – each of them is a life-like portrait of people of different social position: a monk, a scholar, a plowman etc. Already in the Prologue the vivid picture of contemporary England is given. Each of the characters tells a story. The book was’t finished. His books were among the first to be printed.literary language based on the London dialect is known as classical ME.


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