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NAME: MUHAMMAD ABDULLAH SULTAN

ROLL NUMBER: BY480634

COURSE CODE: 9052

COURSE: HISTORY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE

ASSIGNMENT: 02

SEMESTER: SPRING 2020

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Q1: What far reaching imapct did the loss of Normandy
in the region of King john had on the english language?
Ans:
Normans were descendent of Vikings from Scandinavia who
settled down in the northern region of France in the ninth and
tenth centuries. This region was known as Northmannia, the
land of the Northmen, later shortened to Normandy. The
Normans became Frenchmen culturally and linguistically soon
assimilating the French customs, marrying local women,
converting to Christianity, and giving up their own language and
acquiring French. England had had close ties with Normandy
long before the conquest in 1066. In 1002 Ethelred the
Unready, king of England between 78-1016, had married a
Norman woman and his son known as Edward the Confessor,
who was raised in France, was more French than English. During
the 24 years of his reign, Edward brought many of his Norman
friends over to England giving them important positions in the
government. When Edward the Confessor died childless,
William the Conqueror, who was a second cousin of the late
king, believed he was entitled to be Edward’s successor even
though he had no right to inherit the English throne. So when
the accession to the throne was denied to him, he attacked
England, and with his exceptional abilities he won the battle of
Hastings and on Christmas Day 1066, William was crowned king
of England . The rule of William the Conqueror brought with it
vast changes ‘to the social, political, religious and linguistic
structure of England.
By the end of the Old English period an event took place which
had a major impact on the English language. This event was the
Norman Conquest, in 1066, which marks the beginning of the
Middle English Period. The invasion is a milestone in the history
of England, and played a key role in the development of
Modern English. But another view sees the events of the
occupation as having a negative effect on English, and as a
national catastrophe that destroyed a ‘sophisticated native
Anglo-Saxon culture and disrupted the progression of the
English language. Short states that Higden Ranulf, an English
chronicler and Benedictine monk, saw French as one of the
principal reasons why the English language had degenerated in
Medieval England. Nevertheless, others claim that the Norman
Conquest contributed to ‘an enormous enrichment of the
English vocabulary. English would probably have pursued
another evolution had William the Conqueror not succeeded in
appropriating the English throne. It would most likely lack the
immense amount of French vocabulary that characterizes the
English language today, and that make English look, on the side
of lexicon, like a Romance language. No other previous event
had had such an impact on the language. The Scandinavian
invasion in the eighth century had affected English, but not as
profoundly as the Norman Conquest. This is because the
speakers of Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse could understand each
other, since they were communicating through similar
Germanic-root words. Whereas, Norman French was a foreign
Romance language which was completely alien to a population
speaking a Germanic language. The conquerors continued to
speak their own language in Britain. Watson argues that
Normans were ruthless people who had no interest in the
culture, literature and learning the language of the conquered
people. English, which had been the official and literary
language, was demoted to be ‘the language of the serfs. Since
the two languages, Norman French and English, were not
mutually understandable and French was the language of the
rulers, English speakers had to adapt to the newcomers and
learn some key expressions. Thus, the Norman invasion brought
bilingualism in the British Isles with French and English living
alongside each other for a long time. It is estimated that around
’10 000 French words poured into English during the Norman
rule. These words are found in every sphere: art, literature, law
and government. Modern English has retained a large number
of these words which have been completely assimilated into
English in their structure, pronunciation and spelling. The
Normans represented a small proportion of the population,
however, their language had a massive impact upon society,
since they were in position of power. According to Short, the
number of French speaking incomers at the start of the 12
century was around 15 000, which would represent less than
1% of the total population of some 1.75 million. This is the
reason why Norman French is not the spoken language of
England today, despite its dominance in Britain for almost three
centuries. Baugh & Cable claim that the Norman Conquest
changed the whole course of the English language. Thus, such a
consequential event deserves to be explored in detail.
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Q2: What factors contributed to the decline of


french usage in england in the thirteenth century?
Ans:
William’s possession of the English throne had far-
reaching consequences. One of the repercussions was the
introduction of a new nobility. The old English nobility was
virtually annihilated and replaced with Norman followers argue
that William also purged the English church gradually Norman
bishops and abbots occupied the cathedrals and monasteries,
and for many generations after the conquest, the great estates
and important positions were held by French-speaking
Normans. The most significant consequence, however, was the
dominion that the French language acquired in England. The
Norman Conquest brought not only a new way of life but also a
new way of speaking. The Norman incomers’ mother tongue
was French and it remained so until the second half of the 12th
century. French became the language of the ruling class and
their servants. It was adopted across the entire range of written
registers: literature, legal proceedings, commerce, government
businesses and private correspondence. The members of the
new commanding class continued to use their own language
once they settled in England. First, only those of Norman origin
would speak French, but soon through intermarriage and
relation with the supreme class, many English people found it
to their benefit to master the new language. Therefore French
became the ‘language of power and prestige. The status of
French in England from 1066 onwards is comparable to the
importance of English in the British Empire in the 19th and 20th
century. For almost three hundred years after the conquest
English ‘ceased to be the official language of the land, existing
only as language of the masses. Short claims that the survival of
French for three centuries, even after the loss of Normandy in
1204, is the result of a desire on the part of the Norman
descendants to retain and strengthen their sense of separate
identity. He believes that Anglo-Norman was a means of social
and political self-definition and self-preservation. All the kings
of England spoke French as their first language. Command of
French would also be found amongst the middle class. Knights
also had a tendency to using it, even if they were English
natives. Merchants and tradesmen spoke French, and also
clerks and bailiffs would use the language due to the fact that
different services were conducted in that language.
Nonetheless Latin remained the language of church and
scholarship. It was the language of records used for any
documents that were felt to be important to be left to posterity.
Though French had cultural and social prestige in this period,
both English and French were regarded as inferior to Latin. So
from 1066 there were three languages that pervaded medieval
England: Latin, French and English, and ‘literature, religion, law,
science were all conducted in languages other than English.
Short estimates that 80% of the population in Britain was
monolingual English speakers, 16.5% bilingual French speakers,
and 3.5% trilingual Latin, French and English. Latin was the
‘unifying European language’ par excellence. It was learned and
studied in the schools and universities in England. Latin was the
language of religion, culture and power and it was established
all over Europe. Nonetheless Latin was mainly used for written
purposes. The language was spoken by a tiny minority of the
English and it was employed only in the highest ecclesiastical
circles. Latin, however, was certainly not the spoken language
used in court. French was the language used in the king’s court.
Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that English was ousted by the
two prestigious languages, it was never wiped out. It had a low
status and it was reduced to an informal- colloquial vernacular,
but it was still used to a great extent by the lower classes.
Fennell states that there was diglossia in England for a long time
with French as the High language and English as the Low
language. However, Baugh & Cable maintain that if the
Normans did not appreciate English as a vernacular this should
not be interpreted as an oppressive language attitude towards
English. A few generations before they had themselves
renounced their own Germanic language in favour of Latin and
French. The perception that Normans were hostile to the
English language is without foundation. It is true that English
was considered to be an unsophisticated tongue, however there
is sufficient evidence of mutual respect and peaceful
cooperation between the English and the Normans. William the
Conqueror himself made an effort at the age of forty-three to
learn English without succeeding. In general, the upper classes
were indifferent towards the English language because their
activities in England did not require the use of it, and French
was for them more useful.
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Q3: How can a language characterized the social


class of its user? Explain with the help of
examples?
Ans:
Language pervades social life. It is the principal vehicle for
the transmission of cultural knowledge, and the primary means
by which we gain access to the contents of others' minds.
Language is implicated in most of the phenomena that lie at the
core of social psychology: attitude change, social perception,
personal identity, social interaction, intergroup bias and
stereotyping, attribution, and so on. Moreover, for social
psychologists, language typically is the medium by which
subjects' responses are elicited, and in which they respond: in
social psychological research, more often than not, language
plays a role in both stimulus and response.
Just as language use pervades social life, the elements of social
life constitute an intrinsic part of the way language is used.
Linguists regard language as an abstract structure that exists
independently of specific instances of usage (much as the
calculus is a logico-mathematical structure that is independent
of its application to concrete problems), but any communicative
exchange is situated in a social context that constrains the
linguistic forms participants use. How these participants define
the social situation, their perceptions of what others know,
think and believe, and the claims they make about their own
and others' identities will affect the form and content of their
acts of speaking.
Although this chapter focuses on language use, rather than
language structure, the ways languages can be used are
constrained by the way they are constructed,particularly the
linguistic rules that govern the permissible (i.e., grammatical)
usage forms. Language has been defined as an abstract set of
principles that specify the relations between a sequence of
sounds and a sequence of meanings. As often is the case with
pithy definitions of complex terms, this one is more
epigrammatic than informative. It omits much of what is
required to understand the concept, and even considered on its
own limited terms, it is technically deficient. For example, the
word sound in the definition is used in a narrow technical
sense, restricted to those sounds we identify as speech.
The sound of a door slamming may express the slammer's
exasperation eloquently, but language conveys meaning in an
importantly different fashion. Moreover, the definition of sound
must be expanded to allow consideration of languages that are
not spoken, such as sign languages used by the hearing-
impaired, and written language. Finally, of course, meaning is
hardly a self-defining term.
For present purposes, it may be more helpful to think about
language as a set of complex, organized systems that operate in
concert. A particular act of speaking can be examined with
respect to any of these systems and each level of analysis can
have significance for social behavior. For example languages are
made up of four systems the phonological, the morphological,
the syntactic, and the semantic which taken together,
constitute its grammar. The phonological system is concerned
with the analysis of an acoustic signal into a sequence of speech
sounds that are distinctive for a particular language or dialect.
Out of the bewildering variety of sounds the human vocal tract
is capable of producing each language selects a small subset
that constitute
that language's phonemes, or elementary units of sound. The
morphological system is concerned with the way words and
meaningful subwords are constructed out of these phonological
elements. The syntactic system is concerned with the
organization of these morphological elements into higher level
units phrases and sentences. The semantic system is concerned
with the meanings of these higher level units.
At another level of analysis, acts of speaking can be regarded as
actions intended to accomplish a specific purpose by verbal
means. Looked at this way, utterances can be thought of as
speech acts that can be identified in terms of their intended
purpose assertions, questions, requests, etc. At first glance it
might seem that the type of act an utterance represents will be
given by its grammatical sentence type, but languages are not
constructed in so simple a fashion. English, for example, has an
interrogative mode for asking questions, an imperative for
issuing commands, a declarative for making assertions, and so
on. However, the grammatical form does not determine the
speech act an utterance represents. "Can you tell me the time?"
(as typically used) and "Do you know how to drive a car with a
stickshift?" are both in the interrogative mode, but they
constitute quite different speech acts. "Yes" might be an
adequate response to the latter, but the former is intended to
be understood as a request rather than a question, and "Yes"
would be a defective answer.Considerations of this sort require
a distinction be drawn between the semantic or literal meaning
of an utterance and its intended meaning. Acts of speaking
typically are imbedded in a discourse made up of a coherently
related sequence of such acts.Conversation and narratives are
two types of discourse, and each has a formal structure that
constrains participants acts of speaking.
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Q4: How did the decay of inflectional endings


impact the prounounciation in the middle english?
Ans:
DECAY OF INFLECTIONAL ENDINGS

The changes in english grammar described as a general


reduction of inflectional endings of the noun Adjective marking
distictions of number, case and gender were altered
prounounciation as lose their distinctive form.
The loss of inflection also appeared in verbs. The reasons of loss
of inflectional endings are the following:
a. The phonetic changes
b. The operation of analogy
The earliest was the change of final m to n either for plural
nouns or adjectives
e.g (mouths) , godum
n of inflectional endings was later dropped. The vowel (a,i,o,u)
in inflectional endings were transfered to a sound called
interminate vowel which came to be written as "e" and rarely
(i,f,u).
As a result a number of originally distinct endings (a,u,e,an,um)
reduced to a uniform e
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Q5: The order of words were more fixed in middle
english Explain?
Ans:
It is undisputable that Middle English was a phase of
dramatic grammatical change. In the space of four centuries,
English was transformed from a "half-inflected" language,
retaining four of the eight original Indo-European cases
(Mitchell and Robinson, 1964), to a fairly analytic language,
heavily reliant on word order, prepositions and periphrastic
constructions. Middle English is traditionally taken to start with
the Norman Conquest or shortly thereafter, and with good
reason. The Conquest was a momentous event: under the new
rulers, the Court, administration, education, law and culture all
switched to Norman French. Even after the political links with
Normandy were severed in 1204, the Angevin dynasty made of
England a cultural colony, replacing Norman with Central
French. This takeover had a profound effect on the native
language: when English resurfaced in the 14th century, much of
the native Anglo-Saxon vocabulary had been lost, the spelling
had been reformed by French-speaking scribes to suit their own
conventions, and the pronunciation too had evolved away from
Old English. However, for what regards grammar, the main
developments had already started in the tenth century, and the
Conquest's contribution to these was merely an indirect one: by
ousting English from its official position, thus lifting the
conservative shackles of a written standard and educated upper
class, it allowed the transformations to take place unrestrained.
Like other Germanic languages, Old English had a case system
and genders. Its case system comprised nominative, accusative,
genitive and dative, plus an instrumental case that gradually
merged with the dative, and traces of an old locative case.
There were three genders, and vestiges of a dual number, in
addition to singular and plural. Determiners and adjectives
agreed in case, gender and number with the nouns they
modified. Verbs too were inflected for mood, tense, person and
number. As mentioned before, this inflectional system had
started to erode even before the Middle English period
(according to Baugh and Cable, evidence for the levelling of
inflections is visible in 10th century documents). Mitchell and
Robinson (1964) identify the antecedent for the loss of
inflections in the tendency of the Germanic languages to place
the stress on the first syllable of words, in contrast with the
variable stress pattern of Indo-European. This resulted in a
system of unstressed inflectional endings that was, as
Penhallurick (2003) points out, inherently vulnerable, as the
vowels they contained all tended to schwa in the spoken
language. Besides, not all cases had distinctive endings: Barber
(1993) observes that, while in early Middle English the four
cases were still distinct in the singular and plural, "in the course
of the period there is a tendency to reduce the total number of
forms to three: one for the nominative and accusative singular
[.], one for the genitive singular, and one for all plural uses. In
the North, where -es rather than -en was used for the plural,
which was thus identical to the genitive, the paradigm was
further shrunk to just two forms. Word-initial stress cannot
completely explain a near-total demise of inflections, which
were retained in other Germanic initial-stress languages , but a
further event was instrumental in accelerating and
consolidating change. When, in the 9th century, the Vikings
settled in the Northeast, in what became known as the
Danelaw, the Scandinavian invaders and the native Anglo-Saxon
population found that their differing inflectional endings stood
in the way of otherwise mutually intelligible languages. Suffixes
thus started to be dispensed with altogether, leaving only the
roots for communication, in a process analogous to the creation
of a pidgin. The innovation gradually spread southwards,
together with a few more grammatical products of the contact
with the Danes, among which the third person plural pronouns
they-them-their (in place of the autoctonous hi-hem-here), the
plural conjugation of the present tense of "to be", are, which
replaced Old English sind/sint, and the preposition with
(originally indicating opposition, as in withstand) displacing mid.
Mitchell and Robinson (1964) also point out that in the same
period French was undergoing similar developments concerning
inflections and word order, and these may have acted as a
further reinforcement of the English trend. The levelling of
inflections was to have a knock-on effect on several aspects of
grammar and become the single most important factor in the
transformation of English from a fundamentally fusional to a
much more analytic language, as alternative means were
needed to specify the relations between words and
disambiguating meaning. These means were found in the
increased use of prepositions and a fixed word order. During the
course of the Middle English period, an increasingly consistent
Subject-Verb-Object order emerged, replacing the OE virtually
free order, usually tending to Subject-Object-Verb. As Closs
Traugott (1972) reminds us, the process was a gradual one:
especially in early Middle English "we can only speak of
tendencies, as documents such as the Peterborough Chronicle
show that all the older patterns are still available. In main
clauses the subject still often followed the verb, particularly
after a negative word, an indirect object or an adverb. The
transition between the two modalities is clearly visible from
instances of both inflections and word order overlapping within
one sentence to carry out the same function. Conversely, there
are passages in the Peterborough Chronicle where "the word
order looked much like that of Old English at a time when the
inflectional system looked much like that of Modern English or
in yet other cases, dative pronouns might be used without the
preposition to. It is interesting to note that the growing
preference for periphrases over inflections manifested itself
even within the only case that has survived into modern
english.
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