Introductory Phonetics and Phonology: A Workbook Approach

By Linda I. House | Go to book overview

Appendix C
Middle English (Englysshe)

Middle English is believed to have started after the Norman Invasion of England in 1066 A.D. and it lasted until the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1454 A.D. Middle English is characterized by extensive vocabulary and grammatical changes, loss of phonetic spelling, and a general decline of the importance of English as a language.


VOCABULARY CHANGES

Beginning with the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D. and lasting for the next 300 years, French was the official language of the country. Anglo-French (the language spoken by the French who invaded England) was used in the royal court; by the government including the parliament, schools; and in all legal situations. During this time, hundreds of new vocabulary words were introduced and absorbed from the French into the English language.

Numerous Latin words also entered the English language during Middle English. The scholars and educated individuals commonly wrote in Latin words and interspersed English words. Over time, these words became part of the English language.

Forty percent of all French words came into the English language during this time. More than 10,000 loanwords were assimilated. Of these, more than 75% are still in use. Remember, Old English did not have French or Latin loanwords.


GRAMMATICAL CHANGES

The grammar of Middle English changed reflecting leveled inflections or weakened inflections (this was the result of Anglo-Norse influence), an added word order, and the new use of prepositions and phrases. Most of the irregular verbs used today are the result of declensions no longer used (feet, geese, men).


LOSS OF PHOENTIC SPELLING

Spelling was drastically changed during the Middle English period. During this time period, before the invention of the printing press, books were hand copied by French scholars who did not know the English language. Because of their lack of knowledge, these scholars often introduced their own language. Other

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Introductory Phonetics and Phonology: A Workbook Approach
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Part I - Understanding Phonetics and Phonology 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Basis of Phonetics and Phonology 3
  • Chapter 2 - Anatomical and Physiological Correlates 11
  • Chapter 3 - Vowels 29
  • Chapter 4 - Diphthongs 51
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 5 - Consonants 62
  • Chapter 6 - Single Phoneme and Phonological Development 130
  • Part II - Stress and Theory 139
  • Chapter 7 - Coarticulation 141
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 8 - Syllable Stress 148
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 9 - Narrow Transcription and Factors Influencing Pronunciation 176
  • Chapter 10 - Sentence Stress 203
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 11 - Standards of Pronunciation and Dialects 210
  • Notes *
  • Appendix A - Background of the English Language 217
  • Appendix B - Old English (enʒlisć) 221
  • Appendix C - Middle English (englysshe) 229
  • Appendix D - The Modern Period 236
  • Notes *
  • Appendix E - Aphabets, Writing, Speling, and Dictionaries throughout the Years 240
  • Appendix F - Loanwords 247
  • References 257
  • Index 258
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