A.~:rociated CfJmj;Hl1'l'i'es. b,..QtlcJ7ciS (nul reprtsentaUves througJu:m.t the world

© C.E. :EU:;:KI1:l It 5 I. ,J!". A WJ) j. M .• ECKE.Rlii,l.·EY, 19'60

AU ri_gbts rca:served. N'D· part ,of thiapublica.tion :may berepreduced t sw:red _ jn a retrieval s:y:stelti, ,. Oili.'" trans,miued i.~ any fOiflll or' by a;nry means, electronic, meehaniea], pbotoc()iP'Y:il'i!g~ reco:rdin,g.! Ol" otbeirw:icSe:~ withclUt, thepdor pe'ml~$si()n o.fthe Copy.right OW:ller"

.Fl'rIJ publiJJu.d 1960 Eigktl~ j,'nfP'-tssirmJ l'9liO

SBN SS2 52040 t Ca!loed. edition S-S.N 5·8,2 ,5:2042 8" P:npe.r ecHdoft

:i;'RtNTIID~Y 'HON'~ :!(O~G

IIi'" [tAl, N.!PP~NrR:l.wnNc,CI) (~m£il:NA:'Ii!ONIIL) 1..1"'1


\Vbenthe Romans came to Britain, first under J ulius Caesar in55 s,c, and later under Claudius in, A··J),,42 , they'- found! a ra.o€!: of Celtic peo;pte~tbe Britons, in occupation. These Britons, resisted dleRomans fi,eroel 011 the: shores o.f south-east Eng,andl but they were' c-:_._ - conquered and driven back. The ROUlaJlS were Dot the fu:stinvaders o~l 'the: country. The Britons themselves bad come asinvaders and they bad been preceded by others, but until the c;omm,g o,t' the Romans n,'l' writtenrecord ,0:£ these Influxes had been made, Gradually the' lnvader occupied thegreater part of the eQ1mUy,j but ,5'()OD hB came 'up against the obstacle tbat bad no doubt held up earlier invaders and was to hold. up ]atu O'n~tDe moantains of Wales and Scotland. Amongthe m,ountaiM, tn,e' Britons took refug1e andhere the invader was Iorced tJD c,om,e; to a stop,

During the next f.our hundred year$~ thoDgh En,gland 'be ... came a. Roman <colony. Wales and N:W., ScotlMd remained largely unconquered, The :R,oonans made their magnfficem,t roads into Wales (Vlatling Street went nom London to Anglesey)" they built camps at Caernarven (Segorrtium) andt at Caerleon, and :great '\Y.allsto ke£'p clack the: Scots, But outside the: c-amps and beyondtbe WaD •. the ,Rom.an inBnene;e was hardly Ielt, -the old Celtic, language: was spoken and Latin never became a spok~n la-n,guage there as :it d:id. in Enghlnd; at any rate in the l~ger to'WDS. _

,InAJ!)" 4"0 the Romans l'eft Britain: tbeir' soldiers, were needed to defend Rome i~lf against the Goths. It was then that the Ang~es and Saxons and, Ju,tes ea~m"e and seized the undefended Britain. And 'they eame fo s'ta.,y. Once more the Britons of England were driven to the monneains 0] Wales and. Scotland", W. - Ireland and. the Isle of A1an. to Cornwall or Brittany.


Thelanguage .s-poklellby those Britons, bas developed into Welsh, spoken by' tbepeopIe of Wa.],es; GaeUc,. spoken in



418 A, C01njJ1'eJIC1z,sive English Gramma,"

parts of the Highlands of Scotland: Erse, spoken, in Ireland: and, B!I'etoD.J, spoken in Brittany in, France, There is still some M,a,n:t spoken in the Isle of ManJ but it is dying out: and there: used to be a Cornish language, but this died out in the eigh, ..

. teenth century. 'V,eIsh and Erse, Gaelic, Breton and MaIL,", .. tbough they come from the same ancestor, are not of course the salle language. but a, Welshman would probably be understood (with difficulty) by a Breton, and a _ Ianxman might make -sam tbing of a, speech in Gaelic or Erse, But if an, Eng1ishmaJ1 heard a speech in any ,of these: languages he would not understand. a single wt)rd of it for the EngliSh that. he speaks comes, not from the Britons who withstood the Romans" but fromtbe Angles who made Britain "Ang[e-Iand~,; and English toolk practically nothing from the old Celtic language~ The wards, .ass" wot;k· (= a badger), banno,c.k (= a loaf of home-made bread) and bin (= a, manger) are probably survivals of British words, and there have been importations into English at a Iater date; from WelSh: i:ff4:ii.~ jl«nJricz., gu.lZ~ bQ¥,cl~· hom Scotch Gaelic: ,Gtlirn I Glan, plaid~ f8hi.s~~·' and from. Irisa: brog~I'l:6. sAamro(;k~ galore.

But something of Celtic bas been fossilized in numerous place names, Ten of our rivers still have the beautiful name of Avon:" hom the Celtic word Ior riv-er~" and ESRJ Ex, ,U $k~ OtfcSe, A iTa are ,an from theword for 'water' . The Don and the Douns (like the D'flnfl-lJ'e1) are from another' old. Celtic word for w(dfIY. Stout', Tees, Trent, Wye. and, Wey are all celtic: names, The eel tic ,dun (_.; a protected p,~a(.e) can be seen in DI,m.deet DUll-bar and 'in 'the old name for Edinburgh" DU1Eedin; Kill f= a church) in. Kilda:re~ Ki'lkenny;, -comb« (C1r\"Dl) (=. a boilow) in Ilfr3£t!flJi1e" Combe Martln: ClU:., (= a castle) in Caerleon~, Carlisle~ Cardif1; and -lla« t= holy) in Llang,oUen" Lla,rotUdnO. The names Londo», Dover, York, GlasgO'll':are British, and so is thefirst partof Dorchester, GZ'o'tfcesterl, M:aftchester t '~Vi?u:hes:ter~ .5 a Usbury, towhieb bas been added 'the 'Old English ,cBasie:r (bam the Latin eastra = a camp) or -burgh, ,( = a. fort)"


The story of English in. England, therefore, begins in the first half o,l'the fifth century when the invaders c3JDe~, the, Angles

.A Brief History of the E'11~UStb Language 419

from Schleswig, me Saxons from Holstein, the ]ut1es from J utland. T-~.e la~gn~~they all spoke beIo~tg~d. to tb~ Genn~c . speech family, ThMS 1111 tum 'was separated Into three main families: EAST GE~MANECJ which died out with Gothic about. the' eighth century;' NORTH GERMAN I'C " which developed into, S'\VIedishJNonvegian. Danish and Icelandic; and WEST GERM.ANle, FrOIn which are descended Dutch, Flemish, Friesian and English. But the Germanic languages are merely one branch of another gr-eat family .. the Indo-European, which comprises most 01 the languages of Europe and India. The parent Indo-European langtlage began several! thousands of years B.C., probably in South Europe near the Asian border.

I t spread West into Europe and East into India, splitting and modifying into various fonns as it spread and came into contact with other languages of different origin, As a result 'o,{ these divisions there are two main groups of languages in the Indo-European ,frunily: there "is the Western grouPJ containmng Germanic, Celtic, Greek, Latin; and there is, the Eastern gro~p containing Balto-Slavonic, Indo-Iranian." Albanian and Armenian. The chart on page 4:21 will show tbe'modem descendants of Indo-European and their relationship to each other.

The language that these invaders of England spoke was a west Gerrnanic member 10£ the Indo ... European languages, We generally term it ~Ang!o-Saxon". 'The Jutes settled in K,eut Southern Hampshire and the, Isle of Wight; the' Saxons in the rest of Southern England son th of' the Thames; the Angles. in th.e land north of the Thames .. , Each Otl thethree tribes-spoke a different form oi their common language, and so In England CBritadrnk 11 ad now become "EnglaJand·" 'the land of the Angles') three differeD.t dialects dev.eloped----Ol'rathe.r four dialects .. for very soon NO fonus grewup in the North, ope spoken north Q£ the Humber (Northumbriaa), the other south of. toe Humber (M'ercian)., The dialect of the Saxons, was called West Saxon, that of the Jutes was called Kentish, At first U: was, the N orthumbrian with its centre at Y ark that developed the highest standard of culture. It was in Northumbria in the eighth century that Caedmon, the. first great English poet

m .But the Gothic of the Crimea Iasted 1Iillltil about .1500. Pra.ctically the (~iru.y 'IIvrl:tin.gs that wehave of Gothic are f:r,agn1!ants -of a translation of ·the13ibl~made by Jaishqp Ulfilas (A.'I). 311,....,81).


I~ I!:JU

~ Vl I «


z. it

_i~~ ~==~== ~~~~~





. CO~IISHI (EKIiner. ) WE~H

:SANSKJF!.I'f (l.~tim:t)







'ill;; 1 DANISH


:~==,....,. ............. ---

i£ n:nAlN DIG




_.UJ' :K ...... ~:=:":":-:-:'~

. i ffi (;~Rt-\\ANI



.i!2I .,. -

wrote hispoetryl,andl it was into Northumbrian that the Venerable Bede translated, the gospe] 0.1 St. John, Then for a tune under Alfred the Great (:848-gCH) .whohad his. capital in Winchester and whoenceuraged learning in hiskingdom and also was himself a. great writer, West Saxon became pre-eminent. It remained pre-eminent until Edward the Conlessor held his court not in Winchester out in Westminster, Then London became the capital oftbe Jc,ountry;; and from Mercian, the dialect spoken in Lo:ndon-etnd at Oxford and Cambridge_"... came the standard English fh atw'€l speak today" But - the lMgu~gB of Eng:] and, in 'the time {:I,f Alfred bears little rescm .. blanca to the hU'lgu.age 01' today.

Angl.o .. Saxonor Old .E~ngUsh.~~ was am inflected langu,ag,e"but not so h~g;b]y inBect.ed as Greek, Latin 101" Gothic. 'Ibus there were five cases of nouns (Nominafive, Vocative, Accusative, Genitive, Dative], 'i'stro.l1g'~ and fweak~' declensions for adjectb,!ieSI (each witb five cases); therewas a luU conjl1gm.tiGll 0,1 /vie:rlbs,_com'plete \\lith Subjuncti ve=-and jnera was a system ot grammatical gender, So in Old English nfllnd was feminine, fot (= foot) ~raSJlHl$CuHn:e.!bnt hcajod (.....;; head) was neuter; '[fIll (=wif'e} was neuter, butwi.f'IM~n,n (~ woruan) was masculine: tiag (= da.y) was masculine but 'nikt (= nigh.t), was feminine.

Most of that bas ChaIlged. In modern English, as YOR 'have

se.,.'~n.t gr .. ~.amma._tj .. cal .. I.,ge~~~. r o.f.·~ l]jO;~?st.,l~~ cCOOl . .p~~.t~~y_ di~ap. p. jear.~d, adjectives no lcO,ng,e'l'" agI~e~wlt!l, tbewr nouns 11.11 number" case

:and gender, nouns have only -'bvo eases, verbs very Jew forms, and the subjunctive has praeticallydisappeered .. Most of these changes were caused, or at any rate hastened, by the two other

Invasions of E'l1;gland~. -


The first of these wasby the ~Nortb.men~ or Danes. Towards the close om the eightb century they appeased, frrst as raiders, then as conquerors and settlers. Fora time they were 'held. at bay by Alfred and the country was divided •. the northern half ornanelaw'" being ruled by the Dan€s'Jtlle southern h.alf by

1 The hi~tory 01 E.ngu1iihis (Uvid~dinto, three sections.: Old E-ngJish, from. the earnest w,tibtten documenta to tbre end of the seventh. Cenl:!.lJ';r; M~ddt.e. E1~g,U£h, seventh c~nblry to 1500; Jl'lQi~NI, .HugJ'is/J. I~,Oo to, pres,ea t day;.

42~ A C(jmpre~ve Ef~lish watnmar

Alfred; but in :u)l6.a1ter Alfr-ed's death, aD'anisb King"

CO'T'i'~n--tQ 1b,D"'~'T1I'1'ri:!r; K':iD"" of _,111' Engfand '''.lIiIl!' ''HI:!,- "u '::1001:' of D<!:Io'Tl~;~'II"'f. ..

~I-_, _~'., .~~I,w. '.\1 .oj ,_., WJI. -~ ;~'IJ.· -__ ~I ne ~ \ _J, '~\lI.JJIL .. =u!.~rL

and Norway.

The language spoken by tbe Danes 'was Dot unlike the

,language of ,En,gl,and-..w,o'rds like '1Iwtha and father J" rnan and "lPJife.~Sf~U'l<f1t£Y and 'itJintc., lunJS8, ttm.n~~ tree, laM" grass, come, ri-de, see, tJ~i"'k, will and a host of others, were common to both languages, and Saxon and Dane could more Orr less understand each other.But thongh the languageswere similar J' the endings were dIffer,ent;. and, as the roots of the words, were the same in beth ]anguages"axon and Dane found 'they eould understand each other better if the inflectional endings tended to be levelled to the same form and uJtimatefy- to. be dropped altogether.

There were, too, some positive gains, in vocabulary and grammar. The word LAw is Danish, 50. are leg" $,11,'1'1,) ,slt,uU, knife. sky and Thutsdtl.y. The Old Engli_sb, plural P'fOllO'ElDS, hi~ hiera~, hem, were very like the sOt,gular fonns. Jl.e" h£ere'" ll!int" so it was a great advantage when the Danish plural forms theYt tJz<&ir~ the-'J1~ onsted them,

Among adjectives from Danish there are: fiat, happy. low, ~ug'Zy t weak and wrong,' among verbs want)' call:, C1014'" die, lift and take. The Danish are replaced the Anglo.-Saxon sindon j' and seme replaced tJJ-ilke, and it is because Qif the Danes, that today we say eggs instead ,of the Saxon eyTe<n and speak o,f a winilo'liJ' (old 'Norse vi1tdauga = wind.~ye) and Dot" as the Saxons did, of an eye-,tltnt t= eye,Jholel, though we do say '}f(J,st,il C'nose .. hole').

An Interesting feature of the language is a number of Danish forms existing side by side with, and usually witli a different. meaning from. the English forms, e.g,

E ngt,:sh Dlt,,,1SN. E flEl~ish

shirt skirt rear'

no nay :from

drop drip blossom

sit seat






There was still ODe other invasion yv:hieh was to play- a maj or part in the shaping of the English. language, that of the

A Brief His.tory of the English Langl,lage 423

Normans. \Ve generally date the Norman .. French period in, English history !Tom the invasion by William the Conqueror in, Io66J, but Norman influence had appeared before then. The Saxon King Ethslred rthe Unready (reigned 97~IoI6)had married a Norman, princess, and his son Edward the Confessor (I042~I066), who, reigned after him, had been brought pp in France. "vi th the result th.at a number oE French words had come into the Ianguage before William the Conqueror became King of England ..

The, Normans were descended from the same fierce warrior race of 'Nersemen' as bad harried England a century' before: the coming 'Of theConqueror.Tn 912 'Rollo the Roverwasgiven N ormandy by the French King Charles the Simple, With amazing vigour the Normans, became' one of the most highly organized states in the 'world. They adopted French as their language, embraced Christianity and became renowned for their learning 'their 'military prowess and their organizing ability, Aft'er defeatingthe English king" Harold, at I-ia5tings in ,lJO_6., ~.';6, ~ VliU,' ].·am" the Conqueror began ~o organize.E,>4' ngland 0l!the Norman pattern. Many Frenchmen carne to, England

bringing the rich learning and developed civilization of Normandy, and putting England into the full stream of European culture and thoughnThe Normans ruled with a. hard hand, and the defeated Saxons suffered oppression and indignities. For the next three centuries all the' Kings of Etmgl.and, spoke French; all the, power in Court and castle and Church was in the hands of the Normans; and the Normans organized from above the liv-es and activities of the common people, 'The language they spoke was French and they never dreamed of doing' their .organizing inany Ianguage except French or Latin. For about three hundred years two languages were spoken side by side inEngland.v'Ihe 'official' language was French:

English was spoken only by the 'common' people, Robert of Gloucester, writing about IJOO. says:'

'So J England came into N ormandy's hand; and the Normans spoke French just as they did at home, and had their children taught in the same manner so that people of rank in thls country who came of their blood all stick to the same language; for if a man knows no French, people- will think Iittle of him, But the Iow'er classes still sti .. ek to E'nglLsb as their own language. I imagine there is no country

4'24 A Ccm1.p:re7tensi1NJ,E1¥ll'(s7~ ,GramnueJ,r

in the 'world that doesn't keep its own 1 angu age: except England. But it iswell known-that it is the best 'th:irig to know both langna.ges~, for the more a man know's the more he is, werth.' -

Ttlehlugn,age o,{ Saxon tiJnes, \yas being ch angle d, but it was m no danger of dying out; all1d the changes were all to tile

good, _

.- Ulthnutely Noml!ID!U and Saxon united to form,,,,one nation, I hut 'it had taken more than, three centuriea The turningpcint was perhaps marked in 1,,36'2 when for the first time Edward III opened Parliament in English, Attl16 same time the Statute o,i Pleading enacted that proceedings in la'\i\:l' court's Should be in English. -because "Prenchhasbecome much unknown in this, realm', In 1415 the English ambassadors who represented Henry 'l could not speaJ~ Freneh, and the papersthey had to sign were written In- Latin, Henry himself !ia.idj, :ac{:'ord:ing to Shakespeare, as he tried to woo Katherine: ~'It is ,Q,S, easy for me, Kate, to conquer the Kingdom as to speak so much more French.'

\1Vtum finally English emerged as the ~fulguag€l of 'England,

it had been greatly modified by the vicissitudes throagh which

it 11 ad gone. Th,egradual dropping ofinfleetional endings and

tbe general grammatical simplification vibich~ we noticed, had

begun in the: time o:f the Danes, ,had ,g:one onand had been

greatly accelerated by the coU isi on with French and by the f~ct

that- English had for three centuries been almost ,~ntirel,y ,a

spoken, Ea:nguage~ no long~r restrained and, kept :from change by literary models. The changes were striking and t~volutio~iary.

The rangu~ge, had now got rid of grammatical :geIDder~ai feat

that: 50 'at as we can tellno other langtl:a:ge in the 'wo]"}tl ,~~: achieved, Case endings 0.1 nouns hadbeen reduced tOl on! ~ I the Genitive or Possessive; prepositions had taken thep~a .. ~;::. ~-€~' ~~J inflec tiona} endingsPl ural forms, tl101];g,O not made entirely regular, had been made much fewer, verb forms had been simplified, and the wh 0] e: language had been made much more

flexible and expressive,

"J\]] this was more or less the" accidental or il1di:re-ct result of the Norman Conquest. Whatwas itsmore direct ·eff,ect?Tbere is no doubt that rtagreatest impact was on the vocabulary, The ] anguage emerged 'with its essential structure still Get ... manic. But an examination of thl€: vocabulary oinlodern

II Brief His:tfJ1Y of the' .E1t.glish LantIteage 42,5,

Engl lsh will show that approximately ,50 I~& cent, of the words in it are O'f French 01 Latin origi.n~a.tld !~alf of these were adopted betw'e~n ]25Q and I~OO. Nevertheless, despite this tremendous French element, English remains fuoda.men-tally .Ang~.o=.sa:'J;on~ fo,[ thougll it is. leasy enough to ~e _!ieutences on ordinary subjects ,vithout using a single 'worn of French or Latin origin]! it is 'practica.lly inlpoissible, to make even a short sentence without using Saxon words,

. Tbeborroi\\<ings throw .an interesting 1Ii,ght on the social

history ,of the times,

"In it (the Englis.h Jamgu.:age) as it were. there Hesfossilized. or still Sb.O'vlug the SE,gnS oj' the freshness of the assimilatioifl" the whole o.f .En'gtishhist)ory~ external and int~rnalj, political

and social .. ~1 -

If all other sources of knowledge about the Normans were lost,twe oou1d almost rei-construct-the, times from, an. examination of thelangnage .of today. We should know, fOE example, th,at the NOitmaJ]swere the luling race, f.ar almost. aU the werds expressing goVlenml.emt (including g()~,eiY1f.meftt itseJf) ar-e of French origin .. II is, true that the Normans lefr fhe SaXQID words kinganc1 queen~ eal';Zj lora and laiiY~'butPrij'"~, sooe''£~gn" ~h1',()n.eJ c.-I1Qii!'1&," Tay,a,l~, $t~eej' countrYl IJfJ()ple~ 1~ation .• ptu:l·i,,~t~J 4~~ke. ,oQ, .. nfr "JUJ'Iu;elllJT'l min i:st e:r ~ cou~oi'l and many other' such words areall Norman, So too are such 'words, as ,ko'2otn"~glf»)'~' .c(}:z:~rteo'UsJ! ,dllt,~ ~ jJfJTiii6'., ce.nscie1i'etJ, nobl'(}~1 In~,ty~, ftjMt C1u~l.J· ete., words. expressin;g the Uf;\V ideas of chivalry and refinement (both! ,againj! Norman words) .. From, their activity in 'building I(,io the 'Norman style') and architecture ·c,aJJle ,arch" pillar" PtJllace',~ Casll6~ ,to1JJCfl etc.; frOl'D their interest in warfare we giort:, 'l~ay~, peat;t" battle,J! ,tjT1n{)'UY ~offi(J;rJY~ s.()ldl~er ~ na~y I !capiai'nJ! ene11&Y. dClng;,~¥~ 1Jul1''C1Jj wlnprn~y, to, ment1.o'D but :;1 f;ew .. The Normans wer,e greatlaw-givers.and 'fhou§!h lWllJ itself is Scandinavian.the words iu.stice. iudcgc,1 j'l:fry~ ";CFUr.t~ cause wlJ1H~ tfa1~J' Q:ssize. pri!l()n!~ ia», 1OO1tey~ 'f~nl~ .p.,OPe.f,~'~', i1':~jury are all of French ~origi:rn,.m,:y the tilirtet!1l.th century there W;a:5 a. certain amount of translation 01 'the Scriptures and vi sermons from Latin into :E:ngU:shby' Nomum monks.Tn making these translations it was often. easier to adept 'the Latin word I geaerally -in Fr--eneh guise .. than to-bunt :rmmd fOF the Saxon. equivalent, So a large number

:I TAe ,EnglisJl Languag~. c. L. 'Wl\enu (MethueD').

A Compreluln:s.iv.e EngZ(sh Gramnutf

o£ French words connected with. religioncarne into the Ian .. gua;ge:' 'religion" seruice, savi·ol1.ir,pr()jJhet, sai1lctr sacriftt.e:~ miracle" preach. pray.

The names o'f nearly all articles of luxury and pleasure are N orman: the simpler th.ings are English, There was the N orman castie and cit:y~' but tow'u and hamlet" lUJme, and. house are Ellg~ish, The Norman had his ·reltdi:o'ns.ancestors and de'Scenilanls~' but the English words are father and 1n()tlt't:f~ sisterl b1't)fheri son and tiaftghtsr'. The N orman bad pleas"J:{r,e.J cmnfor.t1 eas«, d,f)ligl~i~· the Englishman had hapPi'nessand §,ladness and w()rl~. The names of great tbm,gs of Nature, .if not of art, are .EngHsh: the ,s~nz, the maon, the stars, w£.nas, morning and evening, the plo'tt,gh! the .spad'e"wJUttJ,t:~ oats, grassl'" the Norman had /rMita.ndjlol£f,errs,

artj b€auty~ desigu~ orname'nt. _

The lowly English worker was a shoemaker, she:phe.rd~ ~1z,iElerJ jis!t,en'tuJ/"'Jz,, :sn1/Uh 01" bake«; the menwho came more ill contact with the' rulers were ttfIil{)rs.~ barbers, painters~, carpfJJ:~t'{Jrs. The Normans used thtl'irs" tables andfuNlitu'l'e~· the EngIishnlan. had only thehumble stool. 'The Norman ate the big din1t61fJ feast~ swpfnw, at whicb £004 could be J;oited~ fried, roasled.;the Engs lishman had the simpler or"takjast. The whole situation is grven in a very interesting passagein Scott's_lva:.nhoel 'where Wamba points out to' Gurrhthat the names oI almost all the animals \vhHe they are alive are En.gli:sh" but when they are prepared for food theyare Norman, hi other words, thepoo[ S~Qn had all the work and, troubleof looking! after them ~vhil~. they Were -aliv,e; but when there v,1'@.S the pleasure of leatin,g' them, the Englishman's COW', o-z;tU or ox' became French beef; his she.ep and ,~.a1tlb became French. 1'nuiton: his sW"in,e, or pig became pork or becon: his ,cal! turned to veaZ,and the deer (which he would be hanged for killulg) went to Norman tables as ven,ison.

The close relationship both for peace and war that England and France have always had Irom Norman times. until the presenthas resulted in, a constant inflUx of French words into the language. In the thirteenth century l11eUnlv,ersity of Pa.rl.SJI the most renowned of its time, attracted English scholars and incidentally led to the fotmding of Oxford, It is i nteresting to note that at that time the pronunciation of the French of Paris was different from .Ang~o-Nonnan French, (Chaucer's: Prioress, ~t "vin be; remembered, spoke, French ~ after the scole of Stratford-atte-Bowe, For Frenssh of Faris

.At Brief H ista,y of UJ!e E1Jglish, Language' 421

was to meunknowe".}l So w,e have occasionally two English words, 'both derived from, the sameFrench word .. but borrowed at diffef\ent times.and, as, 3; result, ba:\ring d.iflet'ient Plt1UllUOciac.. tions and ttsUally smighUy different. meanings., They areknown as ,r. doublets' .. Examples aJie~~flrd'et~, ,g'ttaraian/1. '~~tanttY;

gZUlT.an.tM)" ,ca:l.flfJt ,r;hfuitel; cat(j,h~ ,chas6~ .

: French,.~ordlsc- that. came early into the l~agle. became

=or:~~:~~;o~~: ~~:~p:=ac!::~~.e~ll:

to aehievetbis complete incerporafien into the language. ,A feature of Q]c] En,g;Iisb~ and of theGermanic ,group g,eD!ernJjy~, was that in words of mor-e than one synable the, accent is on 'til,~ first syllable. And we have that aecenruatlon in early borrowings, from French such as virtu8~ ,,~{dur.e "hon,f)ul" ~ /avClzu. coar/'Il/a '1'. eas011. caJiJ.·'t'ain - Words lite c. amJ..· .... (ti.f!o .. 'It (i()9lht<aiSS~'U-;t

~'"b J' . --- - -. -_'1~- -- --" - ,. -:'1"'''r:. J' ., ... I'

fa9atle~ '1_Mibutgehave not yet ecquired this accentuation, ,Agajq~

words like . tablt.~ c~hair ~ castle J' g"'O&U'~ b~amj.l' are socom;ph~tely ~English,J; that it, gives us, almost a shock of surprise tor:ealrz,e

that they have not always, been. native words. But, with Q;1,11ttllenY, smifl1&'~ v..alc'~~ chef '\'¥6 do nothave that feeling. 'The

W· --C'-l.'l_-;'I,t!t,"'4o''I1JJ4.~ - is ~ n· a -h ..... 1 t -~~"·'1'U staee 'lire', ,,.. 'T'£!Io no· t q- 1", c' .. ni~f-e- 's- - - ,_!lLU D~"'~~' oIi· il,,,, _ruJl· ... ~.~ ·;;:)Igb, ..... \1~'. '1iiY\" U, _'. 'uu.'I.!!.· ·ore

whether it ought to be jnononaced [/'gar,a:s], [ga'ra!3,] or whether, Iike Icarriage ()rma"itlge~ it basreached ang,tiCizatiOD as l,garldJ,]. Compare ag:ain thewords of early borrowing, ,cJl<iej. thOi ·e~, ,cna:jJ'ciJ, ,cherish. chimlley~, Charles (where tb!=l 'ch' is proncuneed I[t j]) 'vii til the later ones ,chcef~ckaper,o~t. J cnamp,«gfl41' cM~ffe"Yf clulln(j,eUe,~ ClzllrZottB, where the ~ehJlis [no Similarlyct the ~,g~ pronounced [d3J in '1'ag,e~ ,s,uge:j 1l1!i!rJI Juage:j dates these as old bOITOWiJ1. that have became a:ng]ic:tz1ed. whereas the ~gj pr,o.D..ounced 3 ~ in. roug'e;j' n:i:rag{;';r sa'botage~ ca~moufiage ,sb@ws. ~h;a:t t~'ese are n_lore re,ce1l.t b~rrow:hligs. 9~ compar:_e_tbe ~owels,

m ~"'J,i,1i and ;-',~'1l!p.3 '"!'i'iIe''''' and ... ..,. ... I't'lIi.g·' .J<I!"~I\:J' and ~l"'''u- '" .i~6 .. .n'''''~1Ji

... ~1M!L~ a..IldI:' ..li-.li~~~'jJ (I ... :~r~~· fIl:!IU.lltl . .:_ J '-I'-tli¥IIf"-~'j fj,ll~~ ~ . .LI, 'J !U ~!!l!., hit ~~*-"""J

and b,ea"J'" COf',''1~t and ,tour.

Inahnest every century since Norman times French.words

1 s&Qle= schoo~. 1,i.1'l) = her. 'lM.ln()Will' = unkaown ..

S;t.'dt[oriJ 4tte: BOIfU8. The:~e was a nl!l.l!]leJYI,~bo1J,t ,3.00 years ,old in Chaucer's liim€" at B.rom1¢y near :str-at'Hd~l~-,Bo~-v (now caUed, "Bow' simpl'r). London.

:; Tille fimt wun! of eaehpalr .is Nm-ma.n-F_nmc:hJ' the second is later French,

~} T.h.c' ~t. of eacla ,pair of wo!rds .ts anearly borrowin g;the selCQ;uda

late one.' _

have en tere d. the language. In the sixt.eenth we took, among many others: pilfJ,t~ Tleluiez-'vottS. 7J'Ollcy" iJ'tlS,S, mOfJ:rtacA(J,~ '}n(l(;hi'i'J,ff~' in the seventeenth: ,:r:prima1ul. btillet~ f1udt!is'life~ cflCl,rnjJ.ttgne.J, 1Jaiv" J' nz,'1JSli,_ r S01{'9, §YO'up l' quart"," in the eighteen th: IM'J~ig,rd, g'1.f1~11(Jtil1t;, corps 1 cspimuzge depo~J h'j.ITea~il:!, oenteen. roug«, risso·Ze., b:r'tt'ltelt.eJ pir:n:i(;, :polic.~· in the nineteenth: ba.'?.r~gei ,h(J.Sst:', .P,(l7que.tJ baum, TQSeU - , fJroji16'1 s'l.r£ite I' CTcionn8, restfll.eT.ant, nti1nf~~ cl~u/llfl;euT" jia1fJ&k, jweslige, tliJJ4tl.e: and in this century we continue witb gaT.ttgic, ta'lIfDfrjlflgt, IIS-Rgu, ,leV1'U~.

An in'teresti11lg effect of 'the French, pMticu1arly the Nonnan." element has been 'to give the Ianguage 3 sort of 'bilingual 'quality" with two words, one 'Of Saxon. origin and one of French origin" to expressroughly the same meaning .. Thus we have foe and enm:.YJl71 f,.ie1-dsln~p and a~y~' jTe'edom and U:oerty,' 1tnZikely and 'l1wJmobable; ho1nely and a01nesillcatcdJ: happiness and feUc#y; f(dh.el'~y UdP,tlJCTflall• 1Mtlulth(J'ori.and 1Jllt1ie,n~it:y~~ boJ.d and c<ourageous'.-" lmu: and. clusY,itYJ> and a host of others. This,

duality has been turned. to great use, for in practically no case are there any complete SjnOD,YJDS.1 Quite often there is :8. difference of meaning. a.Jm:ost always there is a difference of association O'I emotional atmosphere; and the Saxon word has geaerallythe deeper emotional content; it is near-er the nation's heart. ,BYotlie.rly ,lmll: is, deeper than. /ratemaJ ,(l.ffeclion~· ,lope is stron,g-e:f than tharity;" liMP expresses deeper need than 4id~· a hea.rfly W·ClCOtllle is warmer 'than, a CIJ''''rl:ial1'e'CDj;~i(Jn~ .

There is just one other rather interesting characteristic 01 Old. English that Iarj,ely died out 'with the coming !t)f' the Normans: that is its power aud ingenuity in making compounds from its native words. Thus Old English had such words [replaced by the French word in bra.ck·ets) a$fore~eldors3 (ancestors); lai1'",hoo.a (beauty); w81thojJe (despair); e'll,.t~tiltb, (agri.cultw~); g,(J,ld~Ji(),tUd (treasure); b()(}I~ .. ,hoaTd (library); stu.r-craft (astronomy): lea"fl;ing-k1J~gJ~ (disciple); le·~chrcr:{1.jt, (m,edli," dine); and the title 0,( a moraltreatise o.f about 1340 was The Ayeubileo] I-r:nllit (Tb.e~agaill bite', i.e, ~f'emo£seJ'"olr 'conscience').

1 The firs ,~.tord.in each pair Is axon, the second F,ench,-

l!;.A syD(nJym ,ml"ieally a. word lila,' bas, the same mealiling as another.

It is probably true 'tel say that DO 'two '\"i-oms :in EugliSh bave ~:xactly the same ·meamng or the same lemotional connotation .in all,ool.ltexts. The term. 'syDonirm:·js, oit,en used for a, ' .... ·onl ,,'ith nea'~l)~ th.e same meanlagas a'llQtber ene,

~'The. exa.mples au, given in modem. spelling.

·A .B:rieJ History of )tlte E11glish La~lUQ,g6 429

Since: Norman times no ()tbe:rinvad@I has eerae to England. to impose an wen tlfingDle on tbe country, Bu.t the stream of words has never eeased to Bow in,

y.U1I£ .C. 'II' it ~rr:HI'" -"" 'Ii' E' . if' 'II;''lI..M!;"lO.:t"Tc''

,~, " ~~I.~r-:'il...!, -~:;l;l~I.''':,1.,

Both Latin and]! to a lesser degree, Gr,eek have been 00 .. portantcentributors, though often. Latin" and even. often,at Greek, words have (101M€!: in French Iorm or via French or some other Ianguage, Some. Latin words were taken in.to tbe, langnage of the Angl;es and. S:axonsbefore these peoples came to En.g .. laJld~ e.g, ~e;J·i1,H~.. C'1'lp. l:mt~e,,;, cheese" siliJ Cop;6TJ, ,stTeet~ j;'(Juna, mi'&e, Pl't.t71~,. A, few C,aIRe in, tduring the Roman occupation and were leamed by the EDglish. Irom 'Romanized Britons of the towns, chmely placenames like Ci!tl.S:t.u (latin" casJra;). With the coming of Christiarr culture from Rome and Ireland in the sixth ,a.nd seventh centuries numerous others came:' cflni.lel, monk t hisl1.op [Latin efis:~opu,s) J M IUi:S. InaJI. about ,4DO Latin words became English beforethe C' . erman CO'ElqUes1J. but m;amy oj' these arc' not Icommon],y used ..

In the Middle English period :i& number 01 technical or

• iI.'~ A· t",'11·.. d ~ ".,1. -1" ·t" .

SC.Ili3nru,1uCIi:6IMS 'were i I~en, an .. ··· gJJveu a wluerapp_~ea~o.n. e,.g ..

i1zae~~ ,si1.ni.le~paupler~ e'quiro:al",l:J. lqjt"naJe~ dio'Cese~ l'oleranae.

A grea.t flood came witb the Revival of Learning 'in the fifteenth. and sixteenth centuries, Per ,81 time 'the wbo~e Latin vccabulary beeame potentially Engtisb.~'. The EngliSh 'Gram ... 'mar Schools' were schools where Lidi1J> gnnnmar" not English grammar, was, taught. Nor was it only awritten langu~-e:_lt, became a medium of international. communication between scholars, and in tbe selaools 'ale boys ~spoklfj Latin-~at least whUetbeir teacher l¥3,S within earshot. Bacon :and Newton, wrote seme of their books in Latin.wrifers like .:Milton anell. Sir Thomas Browne 'WI"O'te ~gnificenl buthlghly Latinised EngUsb; 'books 'to expound En,gHsb grammar w,er'€; written in, Latin, and 'tb,e English hroguage '\1mWS distorted to fit mt:o tltu'j! pattern of Latin rgranlJDllU.! Not all the ~\-!'o:rds. ~:at were adopted. til.elI have lasted, but many' of them have, fOlf example in the sixteenth century: SPec.i1,unt. j«'"US.1 ltT'e1l-a1! .L1J'11c1n" n~i1:"~'mum, lens, r.,()nrfJlc.~, '/Je.11dult'111,· m 'the eighteenth tC~]l'tnty,: nucleus~.

l°J!." .'1' - • 0 0 ;]'~.(; - '"' ~'l. • . ·th"

a <Z,CJj~ ulAt'rt"'fa$w'l,~J! sxt"'a~ 'i1J.SOfllnta,. mal ~~~C"it:J'· 10. me nineteen ' . t

century: eg,f), ,opus" r~fC'l'eNl'MlJ~ bacilltl-S.


We have mentioned that many Latin wor-ds: came, through French, In the ,saul,e ,'way :lllost, Greek, 'words eame through Latin into French and English., ~Iost, of themwere learned, 'technical or scientific wo'rds.At: the time of the Revival of Learning many of the new ideas or branches o.f learning that tae Renaissanee brought were expressed by Greek words: aritl~ef,i(;'~ geo1netry ,astronomy, grammaf~ logic', rhetcrric J1?o.dry'l .c'!tne.'dY'~ tlialogueJ, j)rolO,gue:. Of tihemQ:rcgeneralterms that 'En.glish b.ad gained by the fifteenth century were: Bible.~ academy'" a.tom, ~jtrant, t,h.eatre. In the sixteenth eentnry carne: alphabe.t .. dr:lt1tna~ c}~orus, theory;. the seventeenth century contributed 01'(;]uJS'tra'J,museU1n: J~yphen~ ,clinic, Since, thea science,

medicjlle~pb~~siCst ch~~istry :m"dl other scie~c7s and arts,ha," :\1~6 gone ,to Greek. for their nomenclature, c.ounng from 'Gr1eek words that the Greeks never knew: lynamo and psy,citoEogy,. zoat~gy and telePhone~, p'boi(JgraPh~. lJicycle"Cle1'OpZane ,1:llurog,ffl,. cQs1netic and ant:istptiG.

In addition there are a, grea.t number of words formed from Greek prefixes tacked on to' words of .E~g;lish or other lan,gnages" like JUJU (' == 'against): anti,..British, ,antipodes;: hYP',e:r { - beyond); }~er:..criticaJ. lJyp8,bole;, arc}, (~ch.i.ef)':ar:chhishop; dia 't == 'th:rou:ghl:·dia:metel', diagoll\al~' Izemi if= half]: h~mispbet~; n01Ha (::=::;, same): hDlnogeneo:us; ho-monym; fflotlO (= single): 'mr;m,GP~ane:" monocle, ,monotoI1:O'u.s; f;:a.'1tl (= all): pantomime, pan:theist: 'P,olyi (= :many):: palysyUable,,~ po.tygmot;' P"'o (= be .. f'ore):prophet~ prologue; psoudo (= false): p$e~donym;, syn ~ sym (' ~ with): .sympathY~Sj1nthes,is; t-ele (' = at a- distance): lcll!gr:aph; tri (- three):' tripod~ t-Yicy'e'le-:. From, sufnxes, lilile .,.iSl1~~ we get Bolshevss-», vegetarianism~' from~olpgy J soclolog;,1f', radiology and. numerous others.


From almost every country in the: world words have CODre into this language. Italy, for 50 long tn:e: centre of European culrurevhas given words to OHI' vocabulary of music and architecture and poetry; pia,1U)'J picc()l()~ sopranrJ, fin.a},'e, sola, sonata J' 0'P,(f:ya ;"p\altt~e ~ cameo, fresco ~ miniat~~r e I stuaitj l model .I' liz-sta.·' ba.lcony'~ -corridor, l)'(l1'aPle't~ 8tuCC()~~ s(jnnet~ s:lanza~ ~an~()'. But 'there have been more commonplaee words I. too, frem Italy: al(l'Yf}l" o¥i~,an:,d~ftorit~~ pilgri~n ~all before 1500), tl~ubreU(i, i'l.ifl)ufflza~ m<t;~sli:r~., dueJ~ n~it'lill"e1' and 'nlJ)nkey.,

A. B"f~eJ HistrJry of the &i'l&lish Lang'l.'J,~e 431

From Spanish ~'e have: ,'argo., Glfa:1", cigar;etteJ (;fJT·k. E,ngHsh seamen clashed with Spanish ones in thesixieentb, and seven .. teenth centuries and we see 'the evidence of tbis:in a.111Jb't,scade~ dcspett:uj{jj Irlispatck, gr,1l1ulQ.e~ rene.gade., ,AU~g~tor Is really the Spanish e.l·lagl1~tO ~ "the m,ard I ~ She.nyget:s: its namefrom the Spanish port of Jenaz .. From the vo'ya_g€S of the Elizabethan seamen to ·the' N·ew \Vor:ld wehave I()Jm'()~ tobacco" cano'eand eobo,ggan. From M·exlco came ti/uxouue', CtlCO'Q (a,. mistake lor cacao) t tomato" ICa1tttiitZl is said, to have been. broll,ght. to Europe by Columbus, and lwmttacA, l~14rri(;ane~, maize are Cadbrbe:an words,

Portugal gav'e us .pQt':~(wine) from OipottOjl1n(tr"tu:daJe~ to/nil'. lJ1<~ff(1l(J., vertl:nd~1-" .pa:ras(jl~ ,,«sie. and,ftl'»~[ (abusiness Co'mpany) ana, €T1om Portuguese exploration in Afri.ca~, ba:na1la~, and. negro.

We are reminded ofthe fame of Holland as a maritime nation by )'tlcktJ b1'1.tJY!, frcigld.J, l~tIZl~, dock"skippe.¥.,C',uis~ and sl)1$.uggle" and of the richschool of Dutch and Flemishpainting

by; ,larul.'Stape~ easel~ ,sketch. '

- From India we have :P'J1jMM$.; sJuunpoo~ banrg:le~ c}ti<t·tn~y ~ kltakij te(i,kJ,~ju1qIalow.t Ittll/rrj1~ gingo and chin~. From, Persian we get bassar, ctlr;alt',a.n~ ,iivau ~ ,io.,ckal .• jasmine ~ lilac and che'Ck ... male in chess l(shlJ,IJ mil ~the Kmg is dead), From Arabic comes a41:niral~ alkati~ lemqn", al'coJwl", (llgeb"a~ c(J!feej, ,c(J.ti,c}1tt C'l'i11'lSO]'l; and ,lIssQ.Ss.i-n,.Teais· from the Chinese; Da'mb'o:Q'j llantamJ, gO.ng: and sago from Malaya. From Polynesia and Australasia 'we have ta boo ~ '(;(Jckid(J{J, boo;;IU'Yatng;, Itl.1lgtuO:O.

No ~ariI;gu~ge seems to be so ready as EngHsnto absorb foreignwords, perhaps because there has never be-en any selfconscious worship of 'pure English ~ that opposed the ~ debasingJ of the language by' the introduction of 'new words, So when, for example, the potato was brought to Europe, the English used the nat]v,e American werd; tb& French on the other hMd gav!€ it a Frenchname, ,POfJ'/J'l'{!. de l£.,.rc .. Even thrnlgbthere is already :21. word inEngiish. similar in meanmg to tlle fQ.reign, one. English still takes in 'the for,ei;gn word, Take £or example the words pp,ejace" .f()r'8'JIJ(),d~ pfc(Jloguf:. "'fhere French, Anglo,.. Saxon and Greek have contributed to expr-essmg the same idea; or ;1'tJvel'b~ sayi.n,g (Of' saw) ~ at1loriS-llt, -pr8tePtt1f.&,aJ~() where, in addition, Latin and Italian have also 'been, enrolled, In tile course of time each 'word acqaires a, s['igbtly or even markedly

432 A. C01npTeke11Sive E'ng#sh G't'"·1nn~a.,

different ltleanmg from. the others. Almost any group of synonyms in jhe language ,~ould. illustrate t_his;. but 'to take one at random, here are. tb.irty~v·en (synonynls~ Cor the general.id~,a of 'thief": fobb8T, mu.gla1'J' h&US'e~bf'ealtt7~ :Jrick-p()cke.t~ Gut .. .pu¥.se, sn a;-lijteT Jpilfert:r~ s.iude:r J< fikher .1!l"t1Ui'eT,er.~ pillager, It'esf;ltiM:r, h,iglz-'W~ynliltJ,. foot.pttd.! brigtnui. ba'lulil" malr(flurler'~ d6preilaJtJY, 'P'fu'loine:I"I' ;et.uUdw. swi1Uile:r, e'fJ'~be:t2.1el;, ac.!'rQ.1>itlert ga'ugst~rl .piraJ,e~ b~<JC~(l.1U~eT·" sharpe?" haT!!", (;"tl'.cRJftmn'J! ,Qroc"?,. j;fJ'aclutf j 1iid1lqper ~ alJ:ludrJr ~ plaginnsl" rifl(JY~ tJtugJ wtlslu'f,

This bO.H,gw·ing has made El1i.gliSb ,a, ri.dl langu.age with a vocabulary of alreadyabont half :amiDion. vtordsi• and growing d~ldy. It is this w,eaI'tb of near;..synonY1l1S, which gives to English its po:w,e[' to express exactlythe most subtle shades of

. -



I N amEl' in ,hmton.cai order fhe lan;gua,ges 'that: have left tbe deepest mark. lOB E~g;lish!, Bud iUuslTate bye~amples in wh:at seenons '0;£ the EmgImb vocab1(thLf'Y their' in ..

alu'ec 'Ij'iI~""'" 'C', '~'ir! 1", ... m'; ,· .... ~,t-""IA~'I!"I'1J', r-~n-

Uy _~""" ~ ug _ 'U~, W~'IIJ' ~~I~; _~.

II Ho\V" em :rOUe m.Cf"'" by ·~ples that durin,g one lmportant period o:f ~ry _ ifJ:urre 'li"'ere 'tw'o' la.m:guag,es in S:imil:dt-al]J~OUS use mE-ulland! by mOl different :soci~ dasses?


II] Vlbat other l:ang-uages have most inBt1enc~d Eng'Usb m

the ,~OnCl~\Ving :tie~ds of bum an activity:

Govem:mem.t;, religi.on~ law. musi'cjm,erucine'r' I

Quote aeveralezamples of these inBlI,eXDJces 'for each of

the above. -

lV Describ€ the el'rec't (ltD the EugHsh lmgu,age: ofth~e ia.(;t thalt; Englisb was, -fOf' a ]Olng period in. tJ)Jf~, ;M:i.d,dle Ag@s~ almost e.x(:]usively ,3, sloken, language.

V Compare aJilld 'contt:ast~ so fa.r as may bepossible, the dev1fdopment of the ElIlglish language wiltb Cthat of YOUI" own. DOlting' es:pociaUy any ,sectiom;;, of vocabulery in 'whicb. yOUl" IO~':n I:anpageand. English haVill' been subject, to the same in fl'uen,ces. -

VI' E~"Pfess 'f,our opinjon forar .against the idea thart Bllg]lish ooC1!l.p~es. a l,llmque' ,position amo\nghlllgt1.a;g'l!S in respect o~ the ,coetnbilluOllS mad.e toO it by Qtner lMgtI,a;ges ~1Jd .i ts eoaseq \lent ric1uu;:ss ,o(f'voc~bulary.

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