English Language A2- Language change: Grammar

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  • Language Change: Grammar
    • Most drastic changes happened before the end of the Middle Ages. Language has been stable over the last 300 years.
    • Use of primary verbs (be, have, do)
      • Modern usages
        • Used to create the perfect tense (I have walked)
        • Used for creating negations (Did I walk?)
      • Previously
        • Verbs were used to create the perfect tense instead of the primary verb (My life is run its course)
        • Wasn't always used when negating "thou seest not" - "Seest thou?". 'Do' is not being used.
    • Verb endings / Inflections
      • Modern usages
        • Not a large variety of inflections.
        • We use '-ed' for past tense. We use '-ing' for continuous and '-s' for third person singular present tense (he walks)
      • Previously
        • Use of '-eth', '-est' '-en' instead of the modern third person e.g 'pleaseth' 'gotten' 'think'st'
      • Link in economy principle
    • Second person pronouns
      • Modern usages
        • 'You' is used for both singular and plural
      • Previously
        • "Thou", "Thee", "Thine" and "Thy"
          • "thou" and "thee" were used for similar use
            • used for a range of different things e.g. endearing, intimacy and rudeness.
            • Only survive in poetry and religion
          • "you" and "ye" were formal. "You" was used in the singular to signify politeness and respect"
            • The politer form drove out all other uses
              • Link in competition theory
    • Relative pronouns
      • Modern usages
        • We now use 'who' or 'which' for both objects and things.
      • Previously
        • Which was used for both objects and things. 'Who' was not used  e.g. 'our father which art in Heaven'
    • Double Negatives
      • Modern usages
        • Double negatives are not acceptable in standard English
        • Still used within regional dialects.
      • Previously
        • They were created by Dr Lowth.
        • Died out in the 1700s.
    • Formation of plurals
      • Previously
        • Words were pluralised by adding '-en' to the end e..g 'shoen'. Still used now but is rare e.g. 'children'
    • The use of prepositions
      • 'While' used instead of 'since' - e..g 'I've been wating while six o'clock'
        • Link in the competition theory.


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