Реферат: The History of English

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School Research Paper

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<span Arial",«sans-serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Student:

<span Arial",«sans-serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">JakoubsonJulia

<span Arial",«sans-serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Grade: 9 “A”

<span Arial",«sans-serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">School №9

<span Arial",«sans-serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">TeacherGorbacheva M.V.

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<span Arial",«sans-serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Kolomna 2003.

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<span Arial",«sans-serif»; color:red;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Contents



I. Old English…………………………………………………………...3-17

a).Celtic Tribes…………………………………………………………3-4

b). The Romans…………………………………………………………4-10

c). Germanic Tribes…………………………………………………….10-15

d). The Norman French………………………………………………..15-16

II. Middle English……………………………………………………....16-19

III. Mordent English…………………………………………………...20-22


Listof Literature………………………………………………………..26


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<span Arial",«sans-serif»; color:red;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Introduction.

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Why do people all overthe world learn foreign languages? Perhaps because the world is getting smaller, in a way:  nations are more closely linked with eachother than ever before, companies operate world-wide, scientists of differentnationalities co-operate, and tourists travel practically everywhere.  The ability to communicate with people fromother countries is getting more and more important. And learning foreignlanguages broadens your horizons, too!

Before learners of aforeign language are able to communicate, they have to acquire manyskills.  They must learn to produceunfamiliar sounds.  They must build up avocabulary.  They must learn grammarrules and how to use them.  And, last butnot least, they must develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skillsand learn how to react in a variety of situations.

Allpeople like to travel. Some travel around their own country, others travelabroad. Some like to travel into the future, others prefer to travel into thepast. While I was working out my research paper and reading many books onEnglish history, I had an exciting trip into a remote past. It was afantastical journey our Imaginary Time Machine and a Magic Wand. The TimeMachine took me into the depth of the centuries, into the very early history ofBritain. I waved the Magic Wand and the words began to talk, they disclosed tome their mysteries, I discovered secrets hidden in familiar things. In otherwords, you will be a witness of making of English.

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<span Arial",«sans-serif»;mso-fareast-font-family: Arial;color:red;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">I.<span Times New Roman"">          

<span Arial",«sans-serif»;color:red; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Old English. (450-1100)<span Arial",«sans-serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">

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<span Arial",«sans-serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">a). Celtic tribes.

Make a first turn of the<span Arial",«sans-serif»; font-weight:normal"> Time Machine and you will findyourself on the British Isles in the time of the ancient inhabitants, theCelts. The Celts were natives of the British Isles long before the English. TheCelts had their language, which is still spoken by the people living in thepart of Britain known as Wales. And though many changes happened on the BritishIsles, some Celtic words are still used in the English language.

Twothousand years ago there was an Iron Age Celtic culture throughout the BritishIsles. It seems that the Celts, who had been arriving from Europe from theeighth century BC onwards, intermingled with the peoples who were alreadythere. We know that religious sites that had been built long before the arrivalof the Celts continued to be used in the Celtic period.

For people in Britain today, the chiefsignificance of the prehistoric period (for which no written records exist) isits sense of mystery. This sense finds its focus most easily in the astonishingmonumental architecture of this period, the remains of which exist throughoutthe country. Wiltshire, in south-western England, has two spectacular examples:Silbury Hill, the largest burial mound in Europe, and Stonehenge. Such placeshave a special importance for anyone interested in the cultural and religiouspractices of prehistoric Britain. We know very little about these practices,but there are some organizations today (for example, the Order of Bards, Ovatesand Druids – a small group of eccentric intellectuals and mystics) who basetheir beliefs on them.

The Celts preservedtheir language in someparts of Britain, but they did not add many words to the English vocabulary.Those, that are in use now, are mostly place-names: names of regions, towns,rivers. The Celts had a number of similar words to name rivers, like: Exe, Esk,Usk. All of them come from a word meaning water (uisge). Later this wordwas used to name a strong alcoholic drink made from barley or rye. It was firstcalled “water of life”. The word changed its from and pronunciation, and todayat restaurants in the West one can see on the menu among other spirits whisky,a Celtic word formerly meaning water.     

<span Arial",«sans-serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">b). The Romans.

One more turn of our Time Machine and it took me into the 1stcentury of our era. At that time Romans came into Britain, they ruled thecountry for 400 years. So, you can guess that many Latin words came later intothe English language through Celts, because, as you know, Romans spoke Latin.

The Roman province of Britannia most of present-day England and Wales.The Romans imposed their own way of life and culture, making use of theexisting Celtic aristocracy to govern and encouraging this ruling class toadopt Roman dress and Roman language. The Romans never went to Ireland and exertedan influence, without actually governing there, over only the southern part ofScotland. It was during this time that a Celtic tribe called the Scots migratedfrom Ireland to Scotland, where they became allies of the Picts (another Celtictribe) and opponents of the Romans. This division of the Celts into those whoexperienced Roman rule (the Britons in England and Wales) and those who did not(the Gaels in Ireland and Scotland) may help to explain the development of twodistinct branches of the Celtic group of languages.

The remarkable thing about the Romans is that, despite their longoccupation of Britain, they left very little behind. To many other parts ofEurope they bequeathed a system of law and administration which forms the basisof the modern system and a language which developed into the modern Romancefamily of languages. In Britain, they left neither. Moreover, most of theirvillas, baths and temples, their impressive network of roads, and the citiesthey founded, including Londinium (London), were soon destroyed or fell intodisrepair. Almost the only lasting reminder of their presence are place-nameslike Chester, Lancaster and Gloucester, which include variants of the Romanword castra (a military camp).

Roman rule lasted for 4 centuries. There are many things in Britaintoday to remind of the Romans: wells, roads, walls.

To defend their province the Romans stationed theirlegions in Britain. Straight roads were built so that the legions might marchquickly. Whenever they were needed, to any part of the country. These roadswere made of several layers of stones, lime, mortar and gravel. They were madeso well that they lasted a long time and still exist today. Thomas Hardydedicated his poem to Roman roads. Here is the beginning.THE ROMAN ROADThe Roman road runs straight and bare

Asthe pale parting line in hair

Across the health. Andthoughtful men

Contrast its days of now and then,

And delve, and measure, and compare,

Visioning on the vacant air

Helmed legionarieswho proudly rearThe eagle as they pace againthe Roman road…

One of the roads has a name – “KATLINGSTREET”. It is a great Roman road extending east and west acrossBritain. Beginning at Dover, it ran through Canterbury to London, thencethrough St.Albans, Dunstable, along the boundary of Leicester and Warwick toWroxeter on the Severn. The origin of the name is not known and there areseveral other sections of the road so called. In the late 9thcentury it became the boundary between English and Danish territory.

To guard their province against the Picts and Scotswho lived in the hills of Scotland the Romans built a high wall, a militarybarrier seventy-three miles long. It was called “Hadrian’s Wall” because it wasbuilt by command of the Emperor Hadrian. Long stretches of “HADRIAN’SWALL” have remained to this day.

In the capital of Britain you can see the fragments ofthe old London wall built by the Romans.

What really happened in AD 61? In AD 61 the king ofthe Celtic tribe Iceni died. Before he died he had named Roman Emperor Nero ashis heir. He hoped that this would put his family and kingdom under theEmperor’s protection. But the result was the exact opposite of his hopes. Hiskingdom was plundered by centurions, his private property was taken away, hiswidow Boadicea was flogged, his daughters were deprived of any rights, hisrelatives were turned into slaves. Boadicea’s tribe rose to rebellion. Boadiceastood at the head of a numerous army. More than 70,000 Romans were killedduring the revolt. But the Britons had little chance against an experienced,well-armed Roman army. The rising was crushed, Boadicea took poison to avoidcapture.

Her monument on the Thames Embankment opposite Big Benremind people of her harsh cry: ”Liberty of death” which has echoed down theages.

Some of the English words relating to meals are ofLatin origin, they were borrowed from the Romans in ancient times. The Romansin the period of their flourishing and expansion came into contact with theGermanic tribes, or the Teutons, who later moved to Britain and formed therethe English nation. The Romans were a race with higher civilization than theTeutons whom they considered barbarians. They taught the Teutons many usefulthings and gave them very important words that the forefathers of the Englishbrought with them to Britain and that remained in the English language up tonow. Kitchen and table are Latin words borrowed in those far-offdays, that show a revolution in culinary arrangements; dish, kettle andcup also became known to the Teutons at that time.

The early words of Latin origin give us a dim pictureof Roman trades traveling with their mules and asses the paved roads or theGerman provinces, their chests and boxes and wine-sacks full of goods that theyprofitably bargained with the primitive ancestors of the nowadays English. Winewas one of the first items of trade between the Romans and the Teutons. That’show this word came into use.

The Teutons knew only one fruit – apple, theydid not grow fruit trees or cultivated gardens, but they seem to have beeneager to learn, for they borrowed pear, plum, cherry.

The Teutons were an agricultural people, under theinfluence of the Romans they began to grow beet, onion.

Milk was one of the main kinds of food with theTeutons, but the Romans taught them methods of making cheese and butterfor milk.

Among other culinary refinements that came to theTeutons from the Romans are spices: pepper, mint.

Judging by the Latin borrowings of that period theancestors of English were very much impressed by Roman food, weren’t they?

The word “calendar” came to us from Latin. In the Latin there was aword “calendarium”. It meant “a record-book”. Money-lenders kept a specialbook, in which they recorded to whom they lent money and how much interest theywill get. This book was called “calendarium” because interest was paid on the“Calends”. By the Calends the Romans named the first day of each month.

Time passed, the old meaningwas forgotten. “Calendar” began to mean therecord of days,weeks, months within a year.

This is a story of the word “calendar”. But the story of how a calendarwas made is still more interesting indeed. We know that a calendar provides aneasy way to place a day within the week, month or year. But it is not easy tomake a calendar. The trouble is that the length of a year is determined by thelength of time the earth takes to revolve once on its own axis. But the earthdoes not take an equal number of days to complete its year. It needs 365 days,5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. Obviously you cannot divide a day of 24hours into that. And the problem is further complicated because the month isdetermined by the length of time it takes the moon to go around the earth,which is 29 ½ days into 365 ¼ days, minus 11 minutes and 14 seconds.The result is that most calendars were messes.

The English got their calendar from the Romans. But at first the Romanshad a very bad calendar. They had ten month of varying length, and then theyadded enough days at the end to make the year right. Besides the politicianschanged the length of the months as they wished. They could change the lengthof the month to keep themselves in office longer and to leave less time fortheir opponents. I can’t imagine that somebody will reduce June, July, August totwo weeks each, and will take away more than half my summer vacation? Will youlike that? Of course, not.

The calendar varied so much that by the time of Julius Caesar Januarycame in August.

Meanwhile a very good calendar had been worked out in Asia Minor and wasin use in Egypt. Julius Caesar, a great Roman emperor, changed it a little tofit the Roman customs and introduced it in Rome. This calendar was called afterhim “the Julian Calendar”. As a matter of fact, Caesar only gave the orders; hehad the advice of a Greek astronomer named Sosigenes. This calendar worked wellfor hundred years. But it provided only for exact figure of 365 days a year andan extra day in every four years, it did not count minutes and seconds. So,once more, the calendar year was getting farther and farther from the year ofthe earth’s revolution around the sun.

Then in 1582 another change of calendar took place. The Roman PopeGregory XII suppressed ten days in 1582 and started new calendar. The Englishpeople adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. And for a time all dates weregiven two ways: one for the New Style, one for the Old Style.

Now nobody uses the Old Style any more, but of course the calendar isnot quite accurate yet. Still it will be a long time before we have to add orsubtract another day.

The year is divided into months and every month has its own name. Nowwe’d like to investigate how the names of months appeared. But first, let’sthink of the word  “month” itself.

A month is a measure of time. It is a very old word. It goes back to Indo-Europeanbase. Long time ago people pro­bably- had only threemeasures of time  — year, which was thefour seasons; a day which was the period from one sunrise to the next; and amonth, which had the period from one moon to the next.

So, the Indo-European base “me-“ came into OldEnglish, and became “mona”. The word meant «a measure of time». Then it began to mean “moon”, since the moonmeasured  time. Later suffix"-th" was added to the end of the word; the word «monath»meant the period of time which the moon measured. Still later the Englishpeople dropped the «a» and called it «month”.

And now, stories of the names ofmonths. The Modem English names for the months of the year all come from theLatin. But before the English people adopted the Latin names they had theirnative names. And, in fact, in some cases the native names are more interestingthan the Latin ones.

The first month of the year is January.January is the month of Janus. Janus was a Roman God of the beginning ofthings. Janus had two faces: on the front and the back of the head. He couldlook backwards into the past and forward to the beginning year. January is aright name for the first month of the New Year, isn't it? On the New Year evewe always think of what we have done in the past year and we are planning to dobetter in the New Year.

Now, the Old English  had its own name for January. It was“Wulf-Monath», which  means “monthof wolves". To-day England is thickly populated and a very civilized countryand it is hard, to imagine that their was a time when wolves roamed the island.In the cold of the deep winter they would get so hungry they would come intothe towns to look for food, and so January was called “the month of the wolves".

The name of February  comes from the Latin “februa” — «purification». It was a month when the ancient Romans had a festivalof purification.

Before the English adopted theLatin name, they called this month “Sprate-Kale-Month”. “Kale” is a cabbageplant, «sprote» means to sprout. So, it was“the month when cabbages sprout”

Marchis a month of Mar's, the Roman God of war. Marchwas the earliest warm time of the year when the Romans could start a war.Before the time of Julius Caesar the Roman year began with March which was thenthe first month of the year.

The Old English name for Marchwas «Hlyd-Monath», which means «the month of noisy winds».March in Britain often comes with strong winds. By the way, this explains thesaying: «If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb».

There are a few stories aboutthe meaning of the name “April”! The most spread one is a pretty story that the month was named from aLatin word “aperire" – “to open”. It is a month when buds of trees andflowers begin to open.

The English before they adoptedthe Latin names, called April «Easter-Monath”, the month of Easter.

“May”is named for the Roman goddess of growth andincrease, Maia. She was the Goddess of spring, because in spring everything wasgrowing, flourishing, increasing.

The English name is not sopoetic. They called the month „Thrimilce“, which means something like“to mi1k three times”. In May the cows give so much milk that the farmers hadto milk them three times a day.

Month of „June“was so called after the Junius family of Rome, one of the leading clans ofancient Rome. Besides, the Roman festival of Juno, the Goddess of Moon, wascelebrated on the first day of the month.

We think of June as the month ofbrides and roses, but to the Anglo-Saxons it was „Sere-Monath“, the “drymonth”.

“July”is the month of Julius Caesar. The month began tobe called that in the year when Julius Caesar was killed.

The English called July“Maed-Monath”, “meadow month”, because the meadows are in bloom in July.

Now, comes “August”. Thismonth was once called “sexillis”, as it was the sixth month from March, withwhich, as you remember, the year once opened. It was then changed into Augustin honour of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, the nephew of Julius Caesar.This man was chosen by Julius Caesar as his heir, he took the name Caesar, andwas given the title “Augustus” by the Roman Senate. This month was “a luckyMonth” for Augustus Caesar. By the way, Augustus re­fused to have fewer days inhis month of August than there were in the month of July. So he borrowed a dayfrom February and added it to August; that is why August has 31 days.

The Old English name for Augustwas „Wead-Monath“, the month of weeds. You know, the Old English word»weed" meant vegetation in generale.

“September”,“October”, “November” and “December”are just  «seventh»,«eighth», «ninth» and «tenth» months of the year.You remember that be­fore the Romans changed their calendar, March was thefirst month.

The English had more descriptivenames for these month. September was called «Harfest-Monath»,«the harvest month». October was «Win-Monath», «thewine month». November was «Bloo-Monath», because in November theEnglish sacrificed cattle to their gods. December was “Mid-Winter-Monath”,because this month was the middle month of winter.

<span Arial",«sans-serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">C). Germanic tribes.

At the beginning of the5th century the Romans left the islands, they had tоsave their own country from barbarians. If youwant to know what events followed after that, turn on the Time Machine again.So, here we are, in the 5th century, This is the time of the birth of theEnglish language. ТheGermanic tribes of Angles, Sаxоns and Jutes invaded thеmisty fertile island. Some of the native Britonswere killed, mаnуothers fled from the invaders "аs from fire" into the hillуparts of the country. Anglеs, Saxons аnd Jutes spread all over the fertile lаnds of the Isles. Gradually thеуbесаmеone nation — English. They developed one language- English. As historians write, «thеEnglish language arrived in Britain on the point of аsword»! The реорlеоf that timеof thеhistory аrеcalled Аng1о-Sахоns, their language is оld English оr Ang1о-Saxonas well.

Тhеnext destination оf оur ТimеМасhinеis the 7th century, when Christiаnity was introducеd in Britain, monasteries with sсhools аnd libraries were set uрall оver thесоuntry. ТhеEnglish language was considerably enriched bуthe Latin woгds.

Now, with the help of theТimеМасhinеwe'll fly over into the 8th сеntuгу. Аt thistime the ancient Scandinavians, cаlled the Vikings, began to гаid Britаin. ТhеVikings continued thеir wars with the English until the timеthe Ang1о-Saxоn kingAlfred thеGreatmade аtreaty with them аnd gave them араrt ofthe country, that was саlled«Danelaw». ТhеVikings settled thеrе,married Еnglishwives аnd bеgan peaceful life on the territory of Britain.Later military conflicts resumed again, but by the 11th century they were over.The influence of these events оn theEnglish lаnguagеwas great, indeed. Аlаrgenumber of Scandinavian words саmеintоЕnglishfrom «Danes» as thеAng1o-Saxons called all the Vikings.

One reason why Roman Britannia disappeared soquickly is probably that its influence was largely confined to the towns. Inthe countryside, where most people lived, farming methods had remainedunchanged and Celtic speech continued to be dominant.

The Roman occupation had been a matter ofcolonial control rather than large-scale settlement. But, during the fifthcentury, a number of tribes from the north-western European mainland invadedand settled in large numbers. Two of these tribes were the Angles and theSaxons. These Anglo-Saxons soon had the south-east of the country in theirgrasp. In the west of the country their advance was temporarily halted by anarmy of Celtic Britons under the command of the legendary King Arthur.Nevertheless, by the end of the sixth century, they and their way of lifepredominated in nearly all of England and in parts of southern Scotland. TheCeltic Britons were either Saxonized or driven westwards, where their cultureand language survived in south-west Scotland, Wales and Cornwall.

The Anglo-Saxons had little use for towns andcities. But they had a great effect on the countryside, where they introducednew farming methods and founded the thousands of self-sufficient villages whichformed the basis of English society for the next thousand or so years.

The Anglo-Saxons were pagan when they came toBritain. Christianity spread throughout Britain from two different directionsduring the sixth and seventh centuries. It came directly from Rome when StAugustine arrived in 597 and established his headquarters at Canterbury in thesouth-east of England. It had already been introduced into Scotland andnorthern England from Ireland, which had become Christian more than 150 yearsearlier. Although Roman Christianity eventually took over the whole of theBritish Isles, the Celtic model persisted in Scotland and Ireland for severalhundred years. It was less centrally organized, and had less need for a strongmonarchy to support it. This partly explains why both secular and religiouspower in these two countries continued to be both more locally based and lesssecure than it was elsewhere in Britain throughout the medieval period.

Britain experience another wave of Germanicinvasions in the 8th century. These invaders, known as Vikings,Horsemen or Danes, came from Scandinavia. In the ninth century they conqueredand settled the extreme north and west of Scotland, and also some coastalregions of Ireland. Their conquest of England was halted when they weredefeated by King Alfred of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex. This resulted in anagreement which divided England between Wessex, in the south and west, and the“Danelaw” in the north and east.

However, the cultural differences betweenAnglo-Saxons and Danes were comparatively small. They led roughly the same wayof life and spoke two varieties of the same Germanic tongue (which combined toform the basis of modern English). Moreover, the Danes soon converted to Christianity.These similarities made political unification easier, and by the end of the10th century England was one kingdom with a Germanic culture throughout.

Most of modern-day Scotland was also united bythis time, at least in name, in a Gaelic kingdom.

Paopla in Anglo-Saxontimes. Living uncomfortably close to the natural world, were wall aware thatthough creation is inarticulate it is animate, and that every created thing,every “with”, had its own personality.

The riddleis a sophisticated and harmless for of invocation by imitation: the essence ofit is that the poet, by an act of imaginative identification assumes thepersonality of some crested thing — an animal, a plant, a natural force.

Thespecialists consider that they know not enough about The Exeter Book collectionof riddles. Ridding was certainly a popular pastime among the Anglo-Saxons,especially in the monasteries, and there are extant collections (in Latin, ofcourse,) from the pens of Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, Tatwin, Archbishop of Canterburyand others.

The provenance and genesis of the collection areunknown, and from internal evidence one can only draw the modest conclusionthat the ninety-five riddles were not written by one man.

In English a studentand the little black circle in the center of the eye are both called “pupils”?And the connection between them is a doll. Both the words came into the Englishlanguage through French from the Latin. In Latin there was a word “pupa” – “agirl”, and “pupus” – “ a boy”. When the Latin ending “illa” was added to “pupa”or “pupus”, the word meant “ a little girl” or “ a little boy”. Since littlegirls and little boys went to school, they became “pupils”.

But “pupilla”, a little girl, also meant “a doll”. It is easy tounderstand why, isn’t it? Now, if you look into the pupil of someone’s eye whenthe light is just right, you can see your reflection. Your figure, by the way,is very, very small like a tiny doll. The Romans named the black circle in theeye “pupilla” because of the doll they could see there. And the word came intothe English as “pupil” as well. And thus, we have in the English language twowords that are spelt the same and have the same origin, but mean differentthings: “pupil” – a student, and “pupil” – a black circle in the center of youreye.     

Professor casts a quick glance at the wall and noticed a map there.“This map is made of paper. But the word itself meant cloth once. Thisword came into English from Latin, the Latin mappa was cloth. Firstmaps were drawn on fabrics. In Latin the combination of the words appeared: mappamundi – “cloth of the word”. It was the first representation of the worldas a drawing on the cloth. Later maps began to be made of paper, but the wordremained.

By another route the same word came into English for the second time. InLate Latin this word was corrupted into nappa, and later, throughFrench, it entered the English language with the new meaning of napkin.”

“When a teacher asks you a question. She expects you will give a correctanswer. Answer is a very strange word. Its spelling makes no sense untilyou know its origin. This is a very old word. In Old English the noun was andswaruand the verb – andswearing. So, you see, it consisted of two parts: andand swear. The word and at that time meant against; swearmeant to give a solemn oath. In the youth of the English language  andswaru was “ a solemn oath madeagainst an accusation”. A man had to pronounce a solemn in reply to anaccusation, to prove that it is wrong. In the course of historical developmentthe word lost its solemnity and it means now a reply, to reply. Anylittle child answer you back today.”

Professor History remarks, “ I see that some of you write with aballpoint pen, others with a pencil, and there are some who write with afountain pen. So, you can’t do without ink, after all. A simple three-letterword ink comes from a nine-letter ancestor that meant a brandingiron. And now a few steps away from the skill of writingtowardsthe skill of healing wounds. When we have a wound we cauterize it, we burn itwith heat or with a chemical in order to close it and prevent it from becominginfected. The ancient Greeks used to cauterize a wound as we do, and thegrandparent word of cauterize is kauterion, a branding iron. TheGreek not only sealed wounds with heat, but they used much the same process inart for sealing fast the colours of their painting. It was customary then touse wax colours fixed with heat or, as they expressed it, encauston, burnedin. In Latin this word changed to encaustum, and it became the namefor a kind of purple ink that the emperors used when they signed theirofficial documents. In Old French encaustum became enque. Englishadopted the word as enke or inke, that is how today we have our ink,coloured liquid used for writing or printing.”

“The start of spoken language is buried in mystery and in a tangle oftheories,” Professor History begins his lecture. “The history of writtenlanguage also disappears in the jungles, in the deserts and far fields of unrecordedtime. But at least the words that have to do with writing tell us much aboutthe early beginning of the art and the objects that were used to record thewritten symbols.

The word write was spelled writan in Old English. It firstmeant to scratch, and it is exactly what the primitives did on theirbirch-bark or shingles with sharp stones and others pointed instruments. In themore sophisticated lands that surrounded the Mediterranean the papyrus plantwas used instead of the bark of the trees; as you already know, that gave usthe word paper.

Penwith which we write now, in its Latin form penna,meant a feather and in some ancient collections you can still see quill pens.And pencil that we hold inherits its name from the Latin penicillum,meaning a little tail, and this refers to the time when writing was donewith a tiny brush that looked indeed like a little tail.

The term letter designating a written symbol, a letter of thealphabet is thought to be relative to the Latin word linere, to smear,to leave a dirty mark on some surface. Isn’t it a good description of some ofthe early writing?

But what is written should be read. In read we have an odd littleword, from the Old English raedan, which meant first to guess, todiscern. And again it is just what you had to do to interpret what wasscratched on wooden shingles. Anything that had to be interpreted was called araedels. Later on people began to think that the word raedels was aplural because of the “s” on the end. A new singular, raedel was formedand here is the ancestor of our word riddle. Finally the word readtook on its modern meaning: if you can read, you have the ability to look atand understand what is written.

Of course the basis of all writing is language. But it is firstof all, a spoken activity, and hence this noun is derived from a word referringto the organ of speech primarily involved. In this case it is the French word language,which goes back to the Latin lingua, tongue. The English, though,retained their native word to name that soft movable part inside your mouthwhish you see for tasting and licking and for speaking”, a tongue. Sometimesyou may hear the word tongue used in the meaning of language, but it isan old-fashioned and literary use.

If you want to read what is written in a foreign language, you need adictionary. The term dictionary comes from the Latin word dictio,from dico, say or speak. A dictionary is really a record of whatpeople say, of the pronunciation, spellings, and meanings that they give towords.”

In Old English there was a different word with which the Englishmencalled bread, it was half. But then as a result of the Vikings invasionand Scandinavian influence on the English language a new word of the samemeaning entered the English vocabulary from Scandinavian: cake. Sincethe English had already their own word (half), they started to use theword cake for a special type of bread. First it referred to a small loafof bread of flat and round shape. From the 15th century it began tomean sweet food, as it does now.

To the Scandinavians, living in Britain, called their bread by the word brauth.The English had a similar word – bread meaning a lump, a piece ofbread. Under the influence of the Scandinavian language the word breadwidened its meaning and began to mean bread in general, while the word loaf(from Old English half) narrowed its meaning, now it is a large lump ofbread which we slice before eating.

The Great Englishman Caxton, who introduced printing in Britain in 1476,wrote in a preface to one of the books about a funny episode with egg.The thing is that in Old English the word egg had a different form whichspelled as ey in Middle English; its plural form was eyren. Andagain the Scandinavians brought with them to Britain their word egg. Itfirst spread in the northern English dialects, the southerners did not know itand used their native word.

Caxton tells the readers that once English merchants from the northernregions were sailing down the Thames, bound for the Netherlands. There was nowind and they landed at a small southern village. The merchants decided to buysome food. They came to a house and one of them asked a woman if she could sellthem eggs. The woman answered that she did not understand him becauseshe did not know French. The merchant became very angry and said that he didnot speak French either. Then another merchant helped. He said they wanted eyren,the woman understood him and brought them eggs.

For rather a long period of time two words existed in Britain: a native Englishword eyren was used in the South, and the Scandinavian borrow eggsin the North. The Scandinavian word has won after, as you can see.

<span Arial",«sans-serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">D). The Norman French.

I made another excursioninto the past. The Time Масhinеhas саrried me into the 11th century, into the year of 1066.An аwful picture ореns before my eyes: аgreat battle at Hastings, the English king Наrold is killed, the English are defeated, theNorman invaders have won аvictory. ТheNormans саmеfrоm across the British Сhannеl,from the part of France called Normandy. Тhеуconquered the English under the head of their leader, Duke William, who latergot the name of William the Conqueror. ТhеNormans brought into Britain not оn1уtheirking, but their French language as well. So it еxplаins why there are so many French words in the Englishvocabulary.

The successful Normaninvasion of England in 1066 brought Britain into the mainstream of westernEuropean culture. Previously most links had been with Scandinavia. Only inScotland did this link survive; the western isles (until the thirteenthcentury) and the northern islands (until the fifteenth century) remaining underthe control of Scandinavian kings. Throughout this period the English kingsalso ruled over areas of land on the continent were often at war with theFrench kings in disputes over ownership.

Unlike the Germanicinvasions, the Norman invasion was small-scale. There was no such thing as aNorman area of settlement. Instead, the Norman soldiers who had been a part ofthe invading army were given the ownership of land – and of the people livingon it. A strict feudal system was imposed. Great nobles, or barons, wereresponsible directly to the king; lesser lords, each owing a village, were directlyresponsible to a baron. Under them were the peasants, tied by a strict systemof mutual duties and obligations to the local lord, and forbidden to travelwithout his permission. The peasants were the English-speaking Saxons. Thelords and the barons were the French-speaking Normans. This was the beginningof the English class system.

The existence of twowords for the larger farm animals in modern English is a result of the classdivisions established by the Norman conquest. There are the words for theliving animals (e.g. cow, pig, sheep), which have their origins inAnglo-Saxon, and the words for the meat from the animals (e.g. beef, pork,mutton.), which have their origins in the French language that the Normansbrought to England. Only the Normans normally ate meat; the poor Anglo-Saxonpeasants did not!

The strong system ofgovernment which the Normans introduced meant that the Anglo-Norman kingdom waseasily the most powerful political force in British Isles. Not surprisinglytherefore, the authority of the English monarch gradually extended to otherparts of these islands in the next 250 years. But the end of the thirteenthcentury, a large part of eastern Ireland was controlled by Anglo-Norman lordsin the name of the English king and the while of Wales was under his directrule (at which time the custom of naming the monarch’s eldest son the “Princeof Wales” began). Scotland managed to remain politically independent in themedieval period, but was obliged to fight occasional wars to do so.

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<span Arial",«sans-serif»;color:red; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">II. Middle English. (1100-1500)

The English which wasused from about 1100 to about 1500 is called Middle English. The cultural storyof this period is different. Two hundred and fifty years after the NormanConquest, it was a Germanic language (Middle English) and not the Norman(French) language which had become the dominant one in all classes of societyof England. Furthermore, it was the Anglo-Saxon concept of common law, and notRoman law, which formed the basis of the legal system.

Despite English rule,northern and central Wales was never settled in great numbers by Saxon orNorman. As a result the (Celtic) Welsh language and culture remained strong.Eisteddfods, national festivals of Welsh song and poetry, continued throughoutthe medieval period and still take place today. The Anglo-Norman lords ofeastern Ireland remained loyal to the English king but, despite laws to thecontrary, mostly adopted the Gaelic language and customs.

The politicalindependence of Scotland did not prevent a gradual switch to the Englishlanguage and customs in the lowland (southern) part of the country. First, theAnglo-Saxon element here was strengthened by the arrival of many Saxonaristocrats fleeing the Norman conquest of England. Second, the Celtic kingssaw that the adoption of an Anglo-Norman style of government would strengthenroyal power. By the end of this period a cultural split had developed betweenthe lowlands, where the way of life and language was similar to that inEngland, and the highlands, where (Celtic) Gaelic culture and languageprevailed – and where, because of the mountainous landscape, the authority ofthe king was hard to enforce.

It was in this periodthat Parliament began its gradual evolution into the democratic body which isit today. The word “parliament”, which comes from the French word parler(to speak), was first used in England in the thirteenth century to describe anassembly of nobles called together by the king. In 1295, the Model Parliamentset the pattern for the future by including elected representatives from urbanand rural areas.

Many food names inEnglish are French borrowings. After the Norman Conquest under William theConqueror (1066) French words began to enter the English language increasing innumber for more than tree centuries. Among them were different names of dishes.The Norman barons brought to Britain their professional cooks who showed toEnglish their skill.

Learners of the Englishlanguage notice that there is one name for a live beast grazing in the fieldand another for the same beast when it is killed and coked. The matter is thatEnglish peasants preserved Anglo-Saxon names for the animals they used to bringto Norman castles to sell. But the dishes made of the meat got French names.That is why now we have native English names of animals: ox, cow, calf,sheep, swine, and French names of meals from whose meat they are cooked: beef,veal, mutton, pork. (By the way “lamb” is an exception, it is a nativeAnglo-Saxon word). A historian writes that an English peasant who had spent ahard day tending his oxen, calves, sheep and swine probably saw little enoughof the beef, veal, mutton and pork, which were gobbled at night by his Normanmasters.

The French enrichedEnglish vocabulary with such food words as bacon, sausage, gravy; then:toast, biscuit, cream, sugar. They taught the English to have for dessertsuch fruits as: fig, grape, orange, lemon, pomegranate, peach and thenames of these fruits became known to the English due the French. The Englishlearned from them how to make pastry, tart, jelly, treacle. From theFrench the English came to know about mustard and vinegard. TheEnglish borrowed from the French verbs to describe various culinary processes: toboil, to roast, to stew, to fry.

One famous English linguistexclaimed: “It is melancholy to think what the English dinner would have beenlike, had there been no Norman Conquest!”

The period of MiddleEnglish is the time of the fast development of English literature. The greatestpoet of the 14th century was Geoffrey Chaucer. He is often calledthe father of English poetry, although, as we know, there were many Englishpoets before him. As we should expect, the language had changed a great deal inthe seven hundred years since the time Beowulf and it is much easier toread Chaucer than to read anything written in Old English. Here are the openinglines of The Canterbury Tales (about 1387), his greatest work:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures swote

The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote

When April with his sweet showers has stuck to the roots the

dryness of March…

There are five main beats in each line, and thereader will notice that rhyme has taken the place of Old English alliteration.Chaucer was a well-educated man who read Latin, and studied French and Italianpoetry; but he was not interested only in books. He traveled and made good useof his eyes; and the people whom he describes are just like living people.

The Canterbury Talestotal altogether about 17,000 lines – about halfof Chaucer’s literary production. A party of pilgrims agree to tell stories topass the time on their journey from London to Canterbury with its great churchand the grave of Thomas a Becket. There are more than twenty of these stories,mostly in verse, and in the stories we get to know the pilgrims themselves.Most of them, like the merchant, the lawyer, the cook, the sailor, theploughman, and the miller, are ordinary people, but each of them can berecognized as a real person with his or her own character. One of the most enjoyablecharacters, for example, is the Wife of Bath. By the time she tells her storywe know her as a woman of very strong opinions who believes firmly in marriage(she has had five husbands, one after the other) and equally firmly in the needto manage husbands strictly. In her story one of King Arthur’s knights mustgive within a year the correct answer to the question “What do women lovemost?” in order to save his life. An ugly old which knows the answer (“torule”) and agrees to tell him if he marries her. At last he agrees, and at themarriage she becomes young again and beautiful.

A good deal of Middle English prose is religious. The Ancren Riwle teaches proper rules oflife for anchoresses (religious women) how they ought to dress, what work theymay do, when they ought not to speak, and so on. It was probably written in thethirteenth century. Another work, TheForm of Perfect Living, was written by richardrolle with the same sort of aim. His prose style has been highlypraised, and his work is important in the history of our prose.

john wycliffe, a priest, attacked many of the religious ideas of his time. He was atOxford, but had to leave because his attacks on the Church could no longer beborne. One of his beliefs was that anyone who wanted to read the Bible ought tobe allowed to do so;

but how could this be done by uneducated people when the Bible was inLatin? Some parts had indeed been put into Old English long ago, but Wycliffearranged the production of the whole Bible in English. He himself translatedpart of it. There were two trans­lations! 1382and1388), of which the second is thebetter.

It is surprising that Wycliffe was not burnt alive for his attacks onreligious practices. After he was dead and buried, his bones were dug up againand thrown into a stream which flows into the River Avon (which itself flowsinto the River Severn):

The Avon to the Severn runs,

The Severn to the sea,

And Wycliffe's dust shall spread abroad,

Wide as the waters be.

An important Middle English prose work, Morte D'Arthur[= Arthur'sDeath], was written by sir thomas malory.Even for the violent years just before and during the Wars of the Roses,Malory was a violent character. He was several times in prison, and it has beensuggested that he wrote at least part of MorteD'Arthur there to pass the time.

Malory wrote eight separate tales of King Arthur and his knights butwhen Caxton printed the book in1485(after Malory's death) he joined them into one long story. Caxton's was theonly copy of Malory's work that we had until, quite recently f1933-4;. a hand­written copy of it was found inWinchester College.

The stories of Arthur and his knights have attracted many British andother writers. Arthur is a shadowy figure of the past. but probably reallylived. Many tales gathered round him and his knights. One of the main subjectswas the search for the cup used by Christ at the East Supper. (This cup isknown as The Holy Grail. Another subject was Arthur's battles against hisenemies, including the Romans. Malory's fine prose can tell a direct storywell, but can also express deep feelings in musical sentences. Here is part ofthe book in modern form. King Arthur is badly wounded:

ThenSir Bedivere took the king on his back and so went with him to the water's edge.And when they were there. close by the bank, there came a little ship with manybeautiful ladies in it; and among them all there was a queen. And they all hadblack head-dresses, and all wept and cried when they saw King Arthur.

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<span Arial",«sans-serif»;color:red; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">III. Modern English (1500-to the present day)

By the beginning of 20th century, Britainwas no longer the world's richest country. Perhaps this caused Victorianconfidence in gradual reform to weaken. Whatever the reason, the first twentyyears of the century were a period of extremism in Britain. The Suffragettes,women demanding the right to vote, were prepared both to damage property and todie for their beliefs; the problem of Ulster in the north of Ireland led to asituation in which some sections of the army appeared ready to disobey thegovernment; and the government's introduction of new types and levels oftaxation was opposed so absolutely by the House of Lords that even Parliament,the founda­tion of the political system, seemed to have an uncertain future inits traditional form. But by the end of the First World War, two of theseissues had been resolved to most people's satisfaction (the Irish problemremained) and the rather un-British climate of extremism died out.

The significant changes that have taken place in thiscentury are dealt with elsewhere in this book. Just one thing should be notedhere. It was from the beginning of this century that the urban working class(the majority of the population) finally began to make its voice heard. InParliament, the Labour party gradually replaced the Liberals (the 'descendants'of the Whigs) as the main opposition to the Conservatives (the 'descendants' ofthe Tories). In addition, trade unions managed to organize themselves. In1926, they were powerful enough to hold aGeneral Strike, and from the 1930s until the 1980s the Trades Union Congress(see chapter 14) was probably the singlemost powerful political force outside the institutions of government andParliament.

From about 1600, explorers,adventurers, settlers and soldiers went out from Britain to found settlementsand colonies overseas. They took the English language with them.  At the height of their power, during the 19thcentury, the British could claim that the sun never set on their Empire.  Today almost all the countries of the oldEmpire have become independent.  However,most of them are now members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and Englishcontinues to be an important language for them.

After the Second World War theUnited States became what Britain had been in the 19th century:  politically and economically one of the mostpowerful nations in the world. As its power spread, so the English languagespread.

Five hundred years ago they didn't speak English inNorth America. The American Indians had their own languages. So did the Inuit(often called 'Eskimos') and Aleuts in Canada. So did the Aborigines inAustralia, and the Maoris in New Zealand.

The English arrived and set up their colonies. Andthen other people came from all over the world, bringing many differentlanguages and cultures.

The USA has the biggest mixture of all: it is oftencalled a 'melting pot' of cultures. In1619 asmall ship arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, with twenty slaves from Africa. Forover two hundred years, the Americans imported, bought and sold African slaves.Today there are over 29 million blackAmericans living in the USA.

In1848 thepopulation of the United States was still very small. Then two important thingshappened: they discovered gold in California and a new law, the Homestead Act,gave free land to farmers. Suddenly millions of

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