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Evolution of the English Language . From Caesar to Shakespeare. Summary Slide. First Invasions The Beginning of English Viking Invasions Middle English The Great Vowel Shift Modern English . The Roman Invasions. 55 b.C.—Julius Caesar invades Britain.

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slide1

Evolution of the English Language

From Caesar to Shakespeare

summary slide
Summary Slide
  • First Invasions
  • The Beginning of English
  • Viking Invasions
  • Middle English
  • The Great Vowel Shift
  • Modern English
the roman invasions
The Roman Invasions
  • 55 b.C.—Julius Caesar invades Britain.
  • 43 a.d.—Emperor Claudius conquers Britain.
  • Occupy Britain for nearly 400 years.
slide4

Roman Influence

  • Founded cities
  • Built walls, baths, roads, theaters
  • Intermarried with Celts.
  • Place names—Lancaster, Manchester, Winchester, London, Bath
  • Latin becomes the prestige

language of education

and social life

slide5

Romans Leave Britain

  • Roman Empire is threatened by invading Germanic tribes.
  • 410 a.d.—Emperor Honorius summons all Roman troops back to Rome.
  • Celtic tribes in Britain are left

defenseless against future

invasions.

so what language is being used in british isles at this time
So what language is being used in British Isles at this time?
  • Celtic languages—the native language of the people.
  • Latin—the language of Rome was the prestige language.
    • Education
    • Government
    • Written language
anglo saxon invasions
Anglo-Saxon Invasions
  • With the Romans gone, a power vacuum existed
  • Germanic tribes from the mainland soon began to fill that vacuum.
  • 450 a.d. By this time Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians have a firm foothold in Britain
  • Celts are conquered and/or driven out
the beginning of english
The Beginning of English
  • What we know as English today begins with these Germanic invasions.
  • The word English comes from Angles
  • Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is an early form of German
old english 450 1150 a d
Old English (450-1150 a.d.)
  • Four dialects emerge
  • Northumbrian
  • Mercian
  • Kentish
  • West Saxon
west saxon
West Saxon
  • Most important OE dialect
  • Most OE literature is in West Saxon
  • Dialect of King Alfred (d. 899)
  • Dialect of government and church
return of latin
Return of Latin
  • 597 a.d. Roman Church sends St. Augustine to England
  • England is Christianized
latin
Latin
  • Latin is the language of the church
  • Latin once again becomes prominent in education
  • Latin is the written language of the time
so what language is being used in british isles at this time1
So what language is being used in British Isles at this time?
  • Various dialects of Old English
  • All these dialects are forms of German
  • These dialects also adopt some words from Celtic languages and from Latin
viking invasions
Viking Invasions
  • Most powerful people of their time
  • 793 a.d. Vikings invade England
  • Eventually, Vikings control much of England
    • This area is called the Danelaw
  • Anglo-Saxons continued to control much of the south
  • Alfred the Great
so what language is being used in british isles at this time2
So what language is being used in British Isles at this time?
  • Various dialects of Old English
  • These dialects continue to be influenced by Latin and Celtic
  • They are also now influenced by Scandinavian languages
where do words come from
Where do words come from?
  • Anglo-Saxon words: to, and, for, in, man, wife, child, fight, love, sleep, eat, house, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
  • Latin words: altar, monk, preach, priest, hymn, noon, candle, offer
  • Viking words: lift, take, give, husband, sky, dirt, skull, leg, rotten, crawl, clasp
here come the french here come the french
Here come the French! Here come the French!
  • 1066 a.d. William the Conqueror invades from Normandy, France
  • Brings 600 ships and 10 to 12 thousand men
  • Defeats King Harold

at the Battle of Hastings

what changes
What Changes?
  • William the Conqueror was French
  • He did not speak English
  • French now becomes the language of the government and aristocracy
  • For the next 300 years all English royalty speak only French
  • Common folk speak English
  • Church speaks Latin and French
so what language is being used in british isles at this time3
So what language is being used in British Isles at this time?
  • Common folk speak English, which is slowly simplifying its form (losing tense and verb endings, etc)
  • English is also adopting many, many French words
  • Upper class folk speak French
  • Church speaks French and Latin
  • Latin and French are also written languages
middle english 1150 1500
Middle English (1150-1500)
  • Grammar is simplified
  • Case and number endings are reduced
  • Fixed word order is developed
    • Word order dictates meaning
  • Chaucer first major writer to use English
so what language is being used in british isles at this time4
So what language is being used in British Isles at this time?
  • Middle English, in various dialects, is now dominant
  • French begins to disappear from the scene
  • Latin remains prominent among the educated
vocabulary
Vocabulary
  • French Words: action, adventure, marriage, power, vision, beef, venison, honest, prefer, master, court, crown
  • Almost half of modern English vocabulary comes from Latin and French
the great vowel shift 1450 1550 a d
The Great Vowel Shift (1450-1550 a.d.)
  • Middle English looks a lot like Modern English
  • But it sounds a lot different
  • Between the mid fifteenth century and the mid sixteenth century all this changes
  • This is called the Great Vowel Shift
great vowel shift continued
Great Vowel Shift (continued)
  • Why does this happen?
    • Nobody knows for sure
  • What happened?
    • Six vowel sounds changed pronunciation
  • For example:
  • Middle English “five” was pronounced “feeve”
  • Middle English “house” was pronounced “hoose”
  • Middle English “reed” was pronounced “raid”
great vowel shift continued1
Great Vowel Shift (continued)
  • Middle English also pronounced the vowel e at the end of words
    • For example: “sweete” was pronounced as two syllables “swait”-”uh”
  • The Great Vowel Shift changes all this.
modern english
Modern English
  • By the end of the 16th century, we have Modern English
  • William Shakespeare and company are about to show the world what wonders can be worked with this language
  • Spelling has yet to be standardized
  • But that’s another story entirely!