By Gerry Knowles

This e-book offers a brand new interpretation of the historical past of English. entry to massive corpuses of English has allowed students to evaluate the trivia of linguistic swap with a lot better precision than earlier than, usually pinpointing the beginnings of linguistic ideas in position and time. the writer makes use of the findings from this examine to narrate significant historic occasions to alter within the language, particularly to parts of linguistic inquiry which were of specific value in recent times, comparable to discourse research, stylistics and paintings on pidgins and creoles. The ebook doesn't try and chronicle alterations in syntax or pronunciation and spelling, yet is designed to enrich a corpus-based learn of formal adjustments. the tale of English is pointed out to the overdue Nineties to incorporate, among different issues, discussions of Estuary English and the results of the data superhighway.

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Extra resources for A Cultural History of the English Language (The English Language Series)

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Other words like egg were made to conform to the Danish pronunciation. Pronunciation There is a common sound change according to which the consonants [k, g] are modified when they are followed by the vowel sounds [i] or [e]. In popular usage, the original sounds are described as 'hard' and the new modified sounds as 'soft'. Modern German retains the hard [k, g] in words such as Kinn ('chin'), geben ('give') and gelb ('yellow'). These sounds were softened in most other Germanic dialects, including southern English and some varieties of Norse.

In reality they must have been very similar to the English raiders who had come to Britain a few generations before. The early raiders seem to have come from Norway rather than Denmark (Geipel, 1971: 34). 1 under Language contact in Europe), and they later expanded from their settlements in Ireland to the north west of England and south-west Scotland. Their later language was influenced by Irish, and Irish word order is reflected in some of their placenames, for example, Aspatria ('Patrick's ash').

The Germanic peoples learned about new forms of food and drink, and the Germanic words wine, beer and cheese are all of Latin origin. Apart from trade there were military contacts. Germanic mercenaries, including Alemanns and Saxons, were recruited into the Roman army, and these must have provided useful intelligence about life in the empire for the economic migrants who in the succeeding centuries crossed the frontier of the empire known as limes and settled. Most of these eventually gave up their own language and adopted Latin.

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