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A2 ENGLISH LANGUAGE VARIETIES, EDITORIAL WRITING
ENGLISH LANG/LIT GENRE STUDIES
Four major changes affected English in period between 1500 (you won't
get anything earlier than this) and the present:
Continuing loss of inflections
Standardisation of spelling and syntax
Acquisition of thousands of Latin, Greek and other foreign terms
Movement towards greater simplicity, clarity and flexibility of
When you are analysing a historical text, note anything which is different
from Modern Standard English. Remember it's not wrong, just
different! Also notice that the genre of the text has a bearing an 18th
century poem reflects not only the historical context but also the genre
of the text, and the use of archaic language (for example) may be a
poetic convention of the time.
When commenting on the differences between historical texts and
modern texts, always think about standardisation (or lack of it).
The texts you will get will NOT be in Old English or even Middle English
they will be Early Modern English or later. Do NOT refer to Old English
this is pre 1150, and would be a real gaffe!
Examples are given with each bullet point, but they are obviously not
exhaustive they are just examples.
HISTORICAL TEXTS CHECKLIST.doc
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CHECKLIST OF POINTS FOR HISTORICAL TEXTS
Spelling reflecting pronunciation and lack of standarisation
The spelling of the same word in different ways in the same text
Interchangeable u / v, i / y, s / f
Redundant final e in singulars (reflecting pronunciation)
Variant spellings of final e in plural endings (es / us / is / ys)
Variant spellings of non for no or not oo or on for one
Abbreviations of the, that and them to ye, yt and ym purely…read more