-
2FJ.RU

English Language

English Language

Ural Scientific Centre (LYCEUM).

Ural Gorky University

Scientific work

Performed by:

Pupil of 11e form of LYCEUM

Pokrovsky Pavel

Director:

Stolyarova Nelli Aleksandrovna

Teacher of English language of LYCEUM.

Yekaterinburg.

1998.

Table of contents.

1.English

Language..................................................................

..................................3

2.Vocabulary..............................................................

.................................................3

3.Spelling................................................................

....................................................4

4.Role of

Phonemes..................................................................

.................................4

5.Stress, Pitches and

Juncture..................................................................

................5

6.Inflection..............................................................

....................................................5

7.Parts of

speech....................................................................

...................................5

8.Development of the

language..................................................................

...............6

8.1.Old English

Period....................................................................

...........................6

8.2.Middle English

Period....................................................................

......................7

8.3.The Great Vowel

Shift.....................................................................

.................... 8

8.4.Modern English

Period....................................................................

....................9

8.5.20-th century

English...................................................................

.......................10

8.6.American

English...................................................................

.............................10

8.7.Basic

English...................................................................

....................................11

8.8.Pidgin

English...................................................................

...................................11

8.9.Future Of English

Language..................................................................

..............12

1.English Language.

English Language, chief medium of communication of people in the United

Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa,

and numerous other countries. It is the official language of many nations

in the Commonwealth of Nations and is widely understood and used in all of

them. It is spoken in more parts of the world than any other language and

by more people than any other tongue except Chinese.

English belongs to the Anglo-Frisian group within the western branch of the

Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages. It is

related most closely to the Frisian language, to a lesser extent to

Netherlandic (Dutch-Flemish) and the Low German (Plattdeutsch) dialects,

and more distantly to Modern High German. Its parent, Proto-Indo-European,

was spoken around 5,000 years ago by nomads who are thought to have roamed

the south-east European plains.

2.Vocabulary

The English vocabulary has increased greatly in more than 1,500 years of

development. The most nearly complete dictionary of the language, the

Oxford English Dictionary (13 vols., 1933), a revised edition of A New

English Dictionary on Historical Principles (10 vols., 1884-1933;

supplements), contains 500,000 words. It has been estimated, however, that

the present English vocabulary consists of more than 1 million words,

including slang and dialect expressions and scientific and technical terms,

many of which only came into use after the middle of the 20th century. The

English vocabulary is more extensive than that of any other language in the

world, although some other languagesChinese, for examplehave a word-

building capacity equal to that of English. It is, approximately half

Germanic (Old English and Scandinavian) and half Italic or Romance (French

and Latin) and extensive, constant borrowing from every major language,

especially from Latin, Greek, French, and the Scandinavian languages, and

from numerous minor languages, accounts for the great number of words in

the English vocabulary. From Old English have come cardinal and ordinal

numbers, personal pronouns, and numerous nouns and adjectives: from French

have come intellectual and abstract terms, as well as terms of rank and

status, such as duke, marquis, and baron. In addition, certain processes

have led to the creation of many new words as well as to the establishment

of patterns for further expansion. Among these processes are onomatopoeia,

or the imitation of natural sounds, which has created such words as burp

and clink; affixation, or the addition of prefixes and suffixes, either

native, such as mis- and -ness, or borrowed, such as ex- and -ist; the

combination of parts of words, such as in brunch, composed of parts of

breakfast and lunch; the free formation of compounds, such as bonehead and

downpour; back formation, or the formation of words from previously

existing words, the forms of which suggest that the later words were

derived from the earlier onesfor example, to jell, formed from jelly; and

functional change, or the use of one part of speech as if it were another,

for example, the noun shower used as a verb, to shower. The processes that

have probably added the largest number of words are affixation and

especially functional change, which is facilitated by the peculiarities of

English syntactical structure.

3.Spelling

English is said to have one of the most difficult spelling systems in the

world. The written representation of English is not phonetically exact for

two main reasons. First, the spelling of words has changed to a lesser

extent than their sounds; for example, the k in knife and the gh in right

were formerly pronounced (see Middle English Period below). Second, certain

spelling conventions acquired from foreign sources have been perpetuated;

for example, during the 16th century the b was inserted in doubt (formerly

spelled doute) on the authority of dubitare, the Latin source of the word.

Outstanding examples of discrepancies between spelling and pronunciation

are the six different pronunciations of ough, as in bough, cough, thorough,

thought, through, and rough; the spellings are kept from a time when the gh

represented a back fricative consonant that was pronounced in these words.

Other obvious discrepancies are the 14 different spellings of the sh sound,

for example, as in anxious, fission, fuchsia, and ocean.

4.Role of Phonemes

Theoretically, the spelling of phonemes, the simplest sound elements used

to distinguish one word from another, should indicate precisely the sound

characteristics of the language. For example, in English, at contains two

phonemes, mat three, and mast four. Very frequently, however, the spelling

of English words does not conform to the number of phonemes. Enough, for

example, which has four phonemes (enuf), is spelled with six letters, as is

breath, which also has four phonemes (breu) and six letters. See Phonetics.

The main vowel phonemes in English include those represented by the

italicized letters in the following words: bit, beat, bet, bate, bat, but,

botany, bought, boat, boot, book, and burr. These phonemes are

distinguished from one another by the position of articulation in the

mouth. Four vowel sounds, or complex nuclei, of English are diphthongs

formed by gliding from a low position of articulation to a higher one.

These diphthongs are the i of bite (a glide from o of botany to ea of

beat), the ou of bout (from o of botany to oo of boot), the oy of boy (from

ou of bought to ea of beat), and the u of butte (from ea of beat to oo of

boot). The exact starting point and ending point of the glide varies within

the English-speaking world.

5.Stress, Pitches, and Juncture

Other means to phonemic differentiation in English, apart from the

pronunciation of distinct vowels and consonants, are stress, pitch, and

juncture. Stress is the sound difference achieved by pronouncing one

syllable more forcefully than another, for example, the difference between

' record (noun) and re' cord (verb). Pitch is, for example, the difference

between the pronunciation of John and John? Juncture or disjuncture of

words causes such differences in sound as that created by the pronunciation

of blackbird (one word) and black bird (two words). English employs four

degrees of stress and four kinds of juncture for differentiating words and

phrases.

6.Inflection

Modern English is a relatively uninflected language. Nouns have separate

endings only in the possessive case and the plural number. Verbs have both

a strong conjugationshown in older wordswith internal vowel change, for

example, sing, sang, sung, and a weak conjugation with dental suffixes

indicating past tense, as in play, played. The latter is the predominant

type. Only 66 verbs of the strong type are in use; newer verbs invariably

follow the weak pattern. The third person singular has an -s ending, as in

does. The structure of English verbs is thus fairly simple, compared with

that of verbs in similar languages, and includes only a few other endings,

such as -ing or -en; but verb structure does involve the use of numerous

auxiliaries such as have, can, may, or must. Monosyllabic and some

disyllabic adjectives are inflected for degree of comparison, such as

larger or happiest; other adjectives express the same distinction by

compounding with more and most. Pronouns, the most heavily inflected parts

of speech in English, have objective case forms, such as me or her, in

addition to the nominative (I, he, we) and possessive forms (my, his, hers,

our).

7.Parts of Speech

Although many grammarians still cling to the Graeco-Latin tradition of

dividing words into eight parts of speech, efforts have recently been made

to reclassify English words on a different basis. The American linguist

Charles Carpenter Fries, in his work The Structure of English (1952),

divided most English words into four great form classes that generally

correspond to the noun, verb, adjective, and adverb in the standard

classification. He classified 154 other words as function words, or words

that connect the main words of a sentence and show their relations to one

another. In the standard classification, many of these function words are

considered pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions; others are considered

adverbs, adjectives, or verbs.

8.Development of the Language

Three main stages are usually recognized in the history of the development

of the English language. Old English, known formerly as Anglo-Saxon, dates

from AD 449 to 1066 or 1100. Middle English dates from 1066 or 1100 to 1450

or 1500. Modern English dates from about 1450 or 1500 and is subdivided

into Early Modern English, from about 1500 to 1660, and Late Modern

English, from about 1660 to the present time.

8.1.Old English Period

Old English, a variant of West Germanic, was spoken by certain Germanic

peoples (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes) of the regions comprising present-day

southern Denmark and northern Germany who invaded Britain in the 5th

century AD; the Jutes were the first to arrive, in 449, according to

tradition. Settling in Britain (the Jutes in Kent, southern Hampshire, and

the Isle of Wight; the Saxons in the part of England south of the Thames;

and the Angles in the rest of England as far north as the Firth of Forth),

the invaders drove the indigenous Celtic-speaking peoples, notably the

Britons, to the north and west. As time went on, Old English evolved

further from the original Continental form, and regional dialects

developed. The four major dialects recognized in Old English are Kentish,

originally the dialect spoken by the Jutes; West Saxon, a branch of the

dialect spoken by the Saxons; and Northumbrian and Mercian, subdivisions of

the dialects spoken by the Angles. By the 9th century, partly through the

influence of Alfred, king of the West Saxons and the first ruler of all

England, West Saxon became prevalent in prose literature. The Latin works

of St Augustine, St Gregory, and the Venerable Bede were translated, and

the native poetry of Northumbria and Mercia were transcribed in the West

Saxon dialect. A Mercian mixed dialect, however, was preserved for the

greatest poetry, such as the anonymous 8th-century epic poem Beowulf and

the contemporary elegiac poems.

Old English was an inflected language characterized by strong and weak

verbs; a dual number for pronouns (for example, a form for we two as well

as we), two different declensions of adjectives, four declensions of

nouns, and grammatical distinctions of gender. These inflections meant that

word order was much freer than in the language today. There were two

tenses: present-future and past. Although rich in word-building

possibilities, Old English was sparse in vocabulary. It borrowed few proper

nouns from the language of the conquered Celts, primarily those such as

Aberdeen (mouth of the Dee) and Inchcape (island cape) that describe

geographical features. Scholars believe that ten common nouns in Old

English are of Celtic origin; among these are bannock, cart, down, and

mattock. Although other Celtic words not preserved in literature may have

been in use during the Old English period, most Modern English words of

Celtic origin, that is, those derived from Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, or

Irish, are comparatively recent borrowings.

The number of Latin words, many of them derived from the Greek, that were

introduced during the Old English period has been estimated at 140. Typical

of these words are altar, mass, priest, psalm, temple, kitchen, palm, and

pear. A few were probably introduced through the Celtic; others were

brought to Britain by the Germanic invaders, who previously had come into

contact with Roman culture. By far the largest number of Latin words was

introduced as a result of the spread of Christianity. Such words included

not only ecclesiastical terms but many others of less specialized

significance.

About 40 Scandinavian (Old Norse) words were introduced into Old English by

the Norsemen, or Vikings, who invaded Britain periodically from the late

8th century on. Introduced first were words pertaining to the sea and

battle, but shortly after the initial invasions other words used in the

Scandinavian social and administrative systemfor example, the word

lawentered the language, as well as the verb form are and such widely used

words as take, cut, both, ill, and ugly.

8.2.Middle English Period

At the beginning of the Middle English period, which dates from the Norman

Conquest of 1066, the language was still inflectional; at the end of the

period the relationship between the elements of the sentence depended

basically on word order. As early as 1200 the three or four grammatical

case forms of nouns in the singular had been reduced to two, and to denote

the plural the noun ending -es had been adopted.

The declension of the noun was simplified further by dropping the final n

from five cases of the fourth, or weak, declension; by neutralizing all

vowel endings to e (sounded like the a in Modern English sofa), and by

extending the masculine, nominative, and accusative plural ending -as,

later neutralized also to -es, to other declensions and other cases. Only

one example of a weak plural ending, oxen, survives in Modern English; kine

and brethren are later formations. Several representatives of the Old

English modification of the root vowel in the plural, such as man, men, and

foot, feet, also survive.

With the levelling of inflections, the distinctions of grammatical gender

in English were replaced by those of natural gender. During this period the

dual number fell into disuse, and the dative and accusative of pronouns

were reduced to a common form. Furthermore, the Scandinavian they, them

were substituted for the original hie, hem of the third person plural, and

who, which, and that acquired their present relative functions. The

conjugation of verbs was simplified by the omission of endings and by the

use of a common form for the singular and plural of the past tense of

strong verbs.

In the early period of Middle English, a number of utilitarian words, such

as egg, sky, sister, window, and get, came into the language from Old

Norse. The Normans brought other additions to the vocabulary. Before 1250

about 900 new words had appeared in English, mainly words, such as baron,

noble, and feast, that the Anglo-Saxon lower classes required in their

dealings with the Norman-French nobility. Eventually the Norman nobility

and clergy, although they had learned English, introduced from the French

words pertaining to the government, the church, the army, and the fashions

of the court, in addition to others proper to the arts, scholarship, and

medicine. Another effect of the Norman Conquest was the use of Carolingian

script and a change in spelling. Norman scribes write Old English y as u

and u as ou. Cw was changed to qu, hw to wh, and ht to ght.

Midland, the dialect of Middle English derived from the Mercian dialect of

Old English, became important during the 14th century, when the counties in

which it was spoken developed into centres of university, economic, and

courtly life. East Midland, one of the subdivisions of Midland, had by that

time become the speech of the entire metropolitan area of the capital,

London, and probably had spread south of the Thames River into Kent and

Surrey. The influence of East Midland was strengthened by its use in the

government offices of London, by its literary dissemination in the works of

the 14th-century poets Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and John Lydgate, and

ultimately by its adoption for printed works by William Caxton. These and

other circumstances gradually contributed to the direct development of the

East Midland dialect into the Modern English language.

During the period of this linguistic transformation the other Middle

English dialects continued to exist, and dialects descending from them are

still spoken in the 20th century. Lowland Scottish, for example, is a

development of the Northern dialect.

8.3The Great Vowel Shift

The transition from Middle English to Modern English was marked by a major

change in the pronunciation of vowels during the 15th and 16th centuries.

This change, termed the Great Vowel Shift by the Danish linguist Otto

Jespersen, consisted of a shift in the articulation of vowels with respect

to the positions assumed by the tongue and the lips. The Great Vowel Shift

changed the pronunciation of 18 of the 20 distinctive vowels and diphthongs

of Middle English. Spelling, however, remained unchanged and was preserved

from then on as a result of the advent of printing in England in about

1475, during the shift. (In general, Middle English orthography was much

more phonetic than Modern English; all consonants, for example, were

pronounced, whereas now letters such as the l preserved in walking are

silent).

All long vowels, with the exception of /i:/ (pronounced in Middle English

somewhat like ee in need) and /u:/ (pronounced in Middle English like oo in

food), came to be pronounced with the jaw position one degree higher.

Pronounced previously in the highest possible position, the/i:/ became

diphthongized to ah-ee, and the/u:/ to ee-oo. The Great Vowel Shift,

which is still in progress, caused the pronunciation in English of the

letters a, e, i, o, and u to differ from that used in most other languages

of Western Europe. The approximate date when words were borrowed from other

languages can be ascertained by means of these and other sound changes.

Thus it is known that the old French word dame was borrowed before the

shift, since its vowel shifted with the Middle English /e:/ from a

pronunciation like that of the vowel in calm to that of the vowel in name.

8.4.Modern English Period

In the early part of the Modern English period the vocabulary was enlarged

by the widespread use of one part of speech for another and by increased

borrowings from other languages. The revival of interest in Latin and Greek

during the Renaissance brought new words into English from those languages.

Other words were introduced by English travellers and merchants after their

return from journeys on the Continent. From Italian came cameo, stanza, and

violin; from Spanish and Portuguese, alligator, peccadillo, and sombrero.

During its development, Modern English borrowed words from more than 50

different languages.

In the late 17th century and during the 18th century, certain important

grammatical changes occurred. The formal rules of English grammar were

established during that period. The pronoun its came into use, replacing

the genitive form his, which was the only form used by the translators of

the King James Bible (1611). The progressive tenses developed from the use

of the participle as a noun preceded by the preposition on; the preposition

gradually weakened to a and finally disappeared. Thereafter only the simple

ing form of the verb remained in use. After the 18th century this process

of development culminated in the creation of the progressive passive form,

for example, The job is being done.

The most important development begun during this period and continued

without interruption throughout the 19th and 20th centuries concerned

vocabulary. As a result of colonial expansion, notably in North America but

also in other areas of the world, many new words entered the English

language. From the indigenous peoples of North America, the words raccoon

and wigwam were borrowed; from Peru, llama and quinine; from the West

Indies, barbecue and cannibal; from Africa, chimpanzee and zebra; from

India, bandanna, curry, and punch; and from Australia, kangaroo and

boomerang. In addition, thousands of scientific terms were developed to

denote new concepts, discoveries, and inventions. Many of these terms, such

as neutron, penicillin, and supersonic, were formed from Greek and Latin

roots; others were borrowed from modern languages, as with blitzkrieg from

German and sputnik from Russian.

8.5.20th-Century English

In Great Britain at present the speech of educated persons is known as

Received Pronunciation. A class dialect rather than a regional dialect, it

is based on the type of speech cultivated at public schools and at such of

the older universities as Oxford and Cambridge. Many English people who

speak regional dialects in their childhood acquire Received Pronunciation

while attending school and university. Its influence has become even

stronger in recent years because of its use by such public media as the

British Broadcasting Corporation.

RP is not intrinsically superior to other varieties of English, and is,

itself, only one particular dialect. It has just achieved more extensive

use than others.

Widely differing regional and local dialects are still employed in the

various counties of Great Britain. Other important regional dialects have

also developed; for example, the English language in Ireland has retained

certain individual peculiarities of pronunciation, such as the

pronunciation of lave for leave and fluther for flutter; certain

syntactical peculiarities, such as the use of after following forms of the

verb be; and certain differences in vocabulary, including the use of

archaic words such as adown (for down) and Celtic borrowings such as

banshee. The Lowland Scottish dialect, sometimes called Lallans, first made

known throughout the English-speaking world by the songs of the 18th-

century Scottish poet Robert Burns, contains differences in pronunciation

also, such as neebour (neighbour) and guid (good), and words of

Scandinavian origin peculiar to the dialect, such as braw and bairn. The

English spoken in Australia, with its marked diphthongization of vowels,

also makes use of special words, retained from English regional dialect

usages, or taken over from indigenous Australian terms.

8.6.American English

An important development of English outside Great Britain occurred with the

colonization of North America. American English may be considered to

include the English spoken in Canada, although the Canadian variety retains

some features of British pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary. The most

distinguishing differences between American English and British English are

in pronunciation and vocabulary. There are slighter differences in

spelling, pitch, and stress as well. Written American English also has a

tendency to be more rigid in matters of grammar and syntax, but at the same

time appears to be more tolerant of the use of neologisms. Despite these

differences, it is often difficult to determineapart from contextwhether

serious literary works have been written in Great Britain or the United

States/Canadaor, for that matter, in Australia, New Zealand, or South

Africa.

8.7.Basic English

A simplified form of the English language based on 850 key words was

developed in the late 1920s by the English psychologist Charles Kay Ogden

and publicized by the English educator I. A. Richards. Known as Basic

English, it was used mainly to teach English to non-English-speaking

persons and promoted as an international language. The complexities of

English spelling and grammar, however, were major hindrances to the

adoption of Basic English as a second language.

The fundamental principle of Basic English was that any idea, however

complex, may be reduced to simple units of thought and expressed clearly by

a limited number of everyday words. The 850-word primary vocabulary was

composed of 600 nouns (representing things or events), 150 adjectives (for

qualities and properties), and 100 general operational words, mainly

verbs and prepositions. Almost all the words were in common use in English-

speaking countries; more than 60 per cent were one-syllable words. The

abbreviated vocabulary was created in part by eliminating numerous synonyms

and by extending the use of 18 basic verbs, such as make, get, do, have,

and be. These verbs were generally combined with prepositions, such as up,

among, under, in, and forward. For example, a Basic English student would

use the expression go up instead of ascend.

8.8.Pidgin English

English also enters into a number of simplified languages that arose among

non-English-speaking peoples. Pidgin English, spoken in the Melanesian

islands, New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines, and Hawaii and on the

Asian shores of the Pacific Ocean, developed as a means of communication

between Chinese and English traders. The Chinese adopted many English words

and a few indispensable non-English words and created a means of discourse,

using a simple grammatical apparatus. Bche-de-Mer, a pidgin spoken in the

southern and western Pacific islands, is predominantly English in

structure, although it includes many Polynesian words. Chinook Jargon, used

as a lingua franca by the Native Americans, French, and English on the

North American Pacific coast, contains English, French, and Native American

words; its grammatical structure is based on that of the Chinook language.

The use of pidgin is growing in Africa, notably in Cameroon, Sierra Leone,

and East Africa.

9.Future of the English Language

The influence of the mass media appears likely to result in a more

standardized pronunciation, more uniform spelling, and eventually a

spelling closer to actual pronunciation. Despite the likelihood of such

standardization, a unique feature of the English language remains its

tendency to grow and change. Despite the warnings of linguistic purists,

new words are constantly being coined and usages modified to express new

concepts. Its vocabulary is constantly enriched by linguistic borrowings,

particularly by cross-fertilizations from American English. Because it is

capable of infinite possibilities of communication, the English language

has become the chief international language.[i]

-----------------------

 
 

:


       

   
       

.