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Middle English: What kind of a language is it? PowerPoint Presentation
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Middle English: What kind of a language is it?

Middle English: What kind of a language is it?

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Middle English: What kind of a language is it?

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  1. Middle English:What kind of a language is it?


  3. Cnut’s Danish-English Empire 1014-1035

  4. Harold Godwin Earl of Wessex William of Normandy

  5. The Norman Invasion 1066

  6. Battle of Hastings • Harold Godwin dies • Normans pillage southern England • Christmas 1066: Enthronement of William of Normandy

  7. After the Norman Conquest 1066-1204 William replaces the old English nobility by a new Norman nobility. Soon, every important position in government, church and at universities was held by a Norman.

  8. Norman property in England and France KEY EVENT: 1204 - Loss of Normandy

  9. English in the 13th century After loss of Normandy: French remains the dominant language of the upper classes. At the end of the 13th century, English is used more commonly by the upper classes. King Henry III 1216-1272

  10. The growing importance of English • Upper classes need to communicate with their people. • After the loss of the Normandy, French was no longer needed as a lingua franca of upper classes. • Speaking French was fashionable in the 13th century, but Norman French had much lower prestige than the French spoken in Paris.

  11. The 100 Year’s War 1337-1453

  12. Rise of new middle class Craftsmen Merchants

  13. Black Death 1349



  16. Early French loan words (1066-1250) baron noble servant messenger feast

  17. ME French loan words: nouns action adventure number age air pair bucket calendar person carpenter city powder coast comfort river cost country sign courage coward opinion

  18. ME French loan words: nouns ease envy poverty error face reason noise fault season flower force sound Honor hour use manner task honor damage debt people

  19. ME French loan words: verbs advise aim allow approach arrange arrive betray change chase serve comfort complain conceal consider continue count deceive destroy declare defeat delay desire enjoy enter

  20. ME French loan words: verbs force form increase inform join suppose marry obey observe pay wait please praise prefer propose prove push receive refuse relieve remember waste satisfy save

  21. ME French loan words: adjectives able active actual brief calm certain clear common contrary courageous cruel curious eager easy faint fierce final firm foreign gentle hasty

  22. ME French loan words: adjectives honest horrible innocent large natural nice original perfect poor precious pure real rude safe scarce second simple single special stable usual

  23. Government and administration – ME French loan words: government crown state empire realm authority court parliament assembly traitor treason exile liberty office mayor prince baron duke sir madam mistress

  24. Church and religion – ME French loan words: religion sermon confess prayer lesson passion chant sacrifice chapter abbey cloister virgin saint miracle mystery faith mercy pity virtue preach pray

  25. Law – ME French loan words: justice equity judgment crime judge attorney bill petition complaint evidence proof bail ransom verdict sentence award fine punishment prison accuse indict blame arrest seize pledge condemn convict acquit fraud perjury property estate heir entail just innocent

  26. Army and navy – ME French loan words: army navy pace enemy battle combat siege defense ambush retreat soldier guard spy captain besiege

  27. Fashion – ME French loan words: dress habit fashion robe coat collar veil mitten adorn embellish blue brown fur jewel ivory

  28. Meals and food – ME French loan words: dinner supper boil taste appetite salmon beef veal pork sausage bacon gravy cream sugar salad fruits orange roast lemon cherry peach spice mustard vinegar

  29. Furniture, social life – ME French loan words: couch chair screen lamp blanket wardrobe recreation leisure dance fool music chess stable retrieve falcon forest park tournament

  30. Art, learning, medicine– ME French loan words: art painting beauty color figure image tone cathedral ceiling tower porch bay column vase poet rime story paper pen study logic geometry grammar noun clause copy medicine stomach ointment poison

  31. Loss of Germanic words French borrowing Lost English word poor earm people leod guilty scyldig army here warrior cempa air lyft confess andettan praise hearian

  32. Semantic differentiation French loan English word judgment doom judge deem cordial hearty power might demand ask desire wish beef ox pork swine veal calf mutton sheep

  33. Old English verbal prefixes – STILL ACTIVE for- (German ver-) forget, forbear, forbid with- (German mit-) withdraw, withhold to- (German zu-) ---

  34. English derivational morphemes – PRODUCTIVE -hood childhood, likelihood, manhood -ship friendship, kinship, hardship -dom freedom, wisdom, kingdom

  35. Latin and Romance verbal affixes – BORROWED TOGETHER WITH LOAN WORDS Verbal prefixes inter–, counter–, re–, trans–, anti–, dis–, Verbal suffixes –able, –ible, –ent, –al, –ous, –ive

  36. Loan words from Latin adjacent conspiracy contempt custody distract frustrate genius gesture history homicide include incredible individual infancy suppress infinite innate intellect

  37. Loan words from Latin interrupt legal magnify minor moderate private necessary nervous picture polite popular prevent project submit prosody reject summary substitute

  38. Loan words from Flemish, Dutch, Low German deck dock freight rover booze gin easel etching landscape


  40. Middle English Grammar The structure of Middle English is radically different from the structure of Old English. Old English is a highly inflectional language. Middle English has very little morphology.

  41. Morphosyntactic changes • Simplification of inflection/morphology • Emergence of new grammatical devices: • a. analytical verb forms • b. rigid word order

  42. Noun declension

  43. Noun declension

  44. Noun declension

  45. Relics of the -en plural in EME EME PDE eyen ‘eyes’ shoon ‘shoes’ hosen ‘hose’ housen ‘houses’ peasen ‘peas’

  46. Relics of the -en plural in ME oxen children brethren

  47. OE Gender NEUT Þætscip ‘that.N ship’ MASC se sta:n ‘that.M stone’ FEM seogiefu ‘that.F gift’

  48. Gender: from ‘grammatical’ in OE to ‘biological’ in ME Gender: predicts what adjectives and pronouns will occur with the noun • anaphora: • PDE: the wife … her… • OE: þætwīf … his ‘its’… • concord: • OE: þætwīf ‘the woman’

  49. Gender: from ‘grammatical’ in OE to ‘biological’ in ME Grammatical gender in OE: • conflicts with biological gender, e.g. • þætwīf ‘wife, woman’ is ‘neuter’ • sēoduru ‘door’ is ‘feminine’ • “in most cases nothing in the form of the noun itself to indicate it” • “overtly realized only in … the concordial relation between a noun and its modifiers and anaphors.” • “the richest and most distinctive marking for nominal categories is on determiners, the strong adjective declension, and pronouns” • and we’re about to see what happened to them... • was relaxing even in OE, “the further an anaphor was from its governing noun” Ðaon þamehteoðandæge hi comonþætcildymbsniðan, Then on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child and nemdonhyne his fædernamanZachariam. and called him his father’s name Zacharias.)

  50. ‘Biological’ Gender in ME • “now a system in which sex (or the lack of it) became the primary or sole determinant”: ‘SEX’ (M or F) vs ‘NON-SEX’ (neut.) • as early as the 10th century the change begins in the north and moves south • by 1300, pretty much complete, except in Kent (SE)