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Post  Admin on Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:41 am

Cool Describe the characteristics of Old English (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar), include
its major dialects, etc (Chloe,Aldy)


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part 2 question 8 Empty Version Bianca... il y a beaucoup plus d'info mais voici ce que je trouvais d'important

Post  Bi on Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:44 am

• Old English is the term used to denote the language used in England for seven centuries (450-1150 AD). At this time the English language was still synthetic like the Latin language, unlike the Modern English which is analytical. OE relied on inflection or endings on words in order to distinguish the differences between cases, genders and numbers. Adjectives were not variable; however they were inflected to demonstrate whether they were strong or weak. OE distinguished between tenses, moods, numbers and persons. (The Oxford History of English, page 33)
• The transitions in the language may be viewed as internal (grammar, spelling, vocabulary) and external (changes due to social and political events) perspectives. (The Oxford History of English, page 33)
• There are four distinguishable dialects found within Old English: Northumbrian, Mercian, Kentish and West Saxon. The major differences between these dialects are found within the spelling. West Saxon was considered the standard written language. Initially you would learn West Saxon. In order to normalize the language, primers tried to eliminate any spelling and forms that did not belong to West Saxon. (Mitchell, Bruce, C. Robinson, Fred,1992, A Guide to Old English, Blackwell publishers, page 11)
• The Old English period is divided into two main periods. The early old English which is known to be between 700-900AD and the Late old English that is found between 900-1100AD. In 1100 there was a drastic language shift and there is found the start of Middle English. (Kispert, Robert J., 1971, Old English, An Introduction, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. page 2)
• West Saxon was the language of Alfred the Great. He fought for more and more territory and spread the language and Christianity with his battles. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is the major written work from this period. Kentish was the language spoken by the Jutes. There are few documents that relate to this dialect, however the texts are characterised by a dialectal admixture, the earlier ones mixed with Mercian and later ones with West Saxon. Northumbrian and Mercian were the languages spoken by the Angles. Many runic inscriptions have been found relating to these languages. (Kispert, Robert J., 1971, Old English, An Introduction, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. page 2-5)
• Pronunciation: The vowels in old English were mostly pronounced with a High Middle Low tongue height in the mouth and they were generally voiced. The vowels could be long or short, the tongue was tenser if the vowel was long. In Old English the “y” always represented a vowel. Although the long vowels were not Diphthongs in Old English there closest relative in Modern English are. There were eight diphthongs in Old English 4 short ones and 4 long ones. [ie, ea, eo io, īe, ēa, ēo, īo] however they were all lost in middle English, the only diphthong that returned was created with a [ә]. However, the consonant system was very similar to the one today. (Kispert, Robert J., 1971, Old English, An Introduction, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. page 11-20)
• Gender and Number: In Old English, nouns and adjectives are inflected for gender (feminine, masculine, neutral, number (singular, plural) and case (nouns, adjective, verb, adverb) Definite article: had to agree with the noun in gender, number and case. (Kispert, Robert J., 1971, Old English, An Introduction, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. page 21-28)
• Anglian smoothing, by which the diphthongs ea and eo before certain back consonants or consonant groups (here c and rc) became respectively the monophthongs æ and e. (Oxford history of English p.38)
• Poetry was metrical and alliterative, it was characterised by variation or repetition of sentence elements. It was also characterised by the use of peotic compounds (words formed by joining to separate word) (oxford history of English p. 38-40)
• With the arrival of Christianity the major shift in old English was the writing system that changed from the runic alphabet to the Latin writing system. (oxford p. 41)
• When the Latin started translating work into English, the normative case was used to refer to the subject of the sentence and the accusative case was used to express direct objects of the sentence. (Oxford p. 45)
• The Freedom in word order characterises Old English Syntax. Although the main clause seemed to respect the subject verb object, the use of inflections allowed much flexibility in word order. (Oxford page 46-47)
• Punctuation and Capitalisation started to appear with the shift from early to late West Saxon. (Oxford page 52)


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