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HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
QUESTIONNAIRE CHAPTER I: OVERVIEW
1. How many people have the English language as their first language and how many are fluent English speakers?
About 400 million people have English as their first language
2. Mention the four most important sources of English words.
Latin (24,940); French (9,470); Scandinavian (1,530); and Spanish (1,280)
3. What labels are used for the different periods in the recorded history of English?
From its introductions on the island of Britain to the end of the eleventh century, the language is nowadays known as Old English (OE). From c.1100 to around the end of the fifteenth century is called the Middle English (ME) period, and from c.1500 to the present day is called Modern English (Mod.E) MoE is distintic therefore from present day English (PDE) which, if a period a all, extends at most to the childhoods of people now living, say from the early 20th century to the present.
4. Who were the Anglo-Saxons?
The Anglo-Saxon speakers of English has started to come from Britain early in the 5th C. from the lands across the North Sea-.
Bede states that the Anglo-Saxon invaders came from 3 tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. He equates the Angles with Anglian, the Saxons with Saxon, and the Jutes with Kentish.
5. English is a dialect of what branch of Indo-European?
English was a dialect of the Germanic branch of Indo-European
6. Where did the Indo-European language originated?
Indo-European originated in the southern steppes of Russia, although an alternative view holds that it spread from Anatolia in Modern Day Turkey.
7. Which language is the closest to English in purest linguistic terms?
The closest language to English in purely linguistic terms is Frisian, still spoken by about 400,000 Frisian-Dutch bilinguals in the Dutch province of Friesland and a few thousand speakers in Germany, most of them in Schleswig-Holstein
8. What is comparative reconstruction?
Comparative Reconstruction allows one to fill in stages of language history for which there is no surviving historical evidence.
Sanskrit Greek Latin OE PD English*
pita pater Pater faeder Father
*present day English
9. What kind of influence did Celtic languages had on English?
The withdrawal of Rome from Britain in 410 may well have been the catalyst for the Germanic settlement. In Linguistic terms, obvious Celtic influence on English was minimal, except for place and river names, the important series of articles incorporated in Preusler (1956)
10. What kind of influence did Latin have?
Latin influence was much more important, particularly for vocabulary.
11. How can you explain the rapidity of Germanic settlement?
The rapidity of the Germanic settlement, which was far more a conquest of Britain, linguistically speaking, that the Norman Conquest 500 years later would be.
12. How many kingdoms did the Germanic invaders establish?
There were 7 kingdoms: Wessex, Essex, Sussex, Kent, East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria.
13. What was the role that the Scandinavian Vikings from Denmark and Norway had?
The invasions were to come from fellow-Speakers of Germanic, namely Scandinavian Vikings from Denmark.
14. What was the most important and immediate effect of the Norman Conquest?
The most important and immediate effect of the Norman Conquest were political, for example in the appointment of the Normal bishops and the redistribution of the land to the Normans, as witnessed in the Doomsday book. Cultural, including linguistic, effects were much more long-term. That say, the eventual influence of French on English can be ascribed to the cultural patterns imposed on England as a consequence of the Conquest.
15. What were the differences between the Scandinavian influence mentioned in 13 above and the French that arrived with William the Conqueror?
16. Give an example of an English-French doublet. What is their basic difference in meaning?
A typical example of a doublet is house-mansion (PD French masion) the difference between these two words is essentially one of social prestige.
17. Is it easy to determine whether a word was taken from French or Latin?
It’s often quite difficult, indeed sometimes impossible to determine whether a word has been taken from French or from its antecedent language. Sometimes it is possible to find triplets, that is to say three words on each from Latin, French and (home-grown) English, all with the same basic meaning.
18. Where can the strongest influence of French be best seen?
The strongest influence of French can be best seen in the other areas, apparently unrelated but in fact closely connected to each other. These are (i) derivational morphology (ii) stress.
19. What role did the creation of the first two Universities had in the English language?
Two medieval English universities were founded in small midlands towns with 60 miles of London, at Oxford in the late 12th century and Cambridge in 1209.
Outside England, there were significant English-speaking populations in Edinburgh and (from 1170) Dublin which became the centre of a small
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