A2 Language Change

Language change revision cards

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  • Created by: amy
  • Created on: 05-06-12 18:01

Old + Middle English

Old English - Spoken from around 450 AD - 1150 AD
The grammar of old english relied heavily of inflections, prefixes and suffixes
After the Normans conquered England in 1066, French became the language of aristocracy, law and goverment.
A lot of words associated with these areas derived from the French Language 'accuse', and 'parliament'

Middle English - Spoken from around 1150 AD - 1500 AD
Loss of inflections, this led to word order becoming much more important
Middle English needed a basic word order, which became subject-verb-object

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Early Modern English

Early Modern English - Spoken between 1500 AD - 1700 AD

William Caxton established the first printing press
Caxton chose the East Midlands dialect of Middle English - The form being used within courts and universities

The first guidelines to spelling were published in 1582 by Richard Mulcaster

Three basic punctuation marks during the earlier texts of this period - Punctus, Virgule and Colon

The Great Vowel Shift - A phonological change where long vowels shifted their place eg - hoos became house

Richard Mulcaster suggested that a superfluous 'e' (extra 'e' placed at the end of a word) was used at the end of words with long vowel sounds.

People started to use primary auxillary verbs to form a interrogative

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Late Modern English

Late Modern English - Spoken from 1700 AD - Present

Samuel Johnson's 'A dictionary of the English Language' (1755)
Helped to standardise spelling and meaning

Advances in science and medicine led to the invention of words such as 'centigrade', 'biology' and 'bulimia'

New inventions such as the 'typewriter' and 'videogame' also broadened the English Language

Improved comunication meant that people became exposed to a wide range of accents and dialects

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Lexical Change

The creation of new words in known as coinage
New words are called neologisms

Borrowing - 'Borrowing' a word from another language
Scientific Progress - Advances in science and technology cause new words and phrases to be invented
Affixation - New prefixes or suffixes are added to existing words
Compounding - Combining new existing words to create one
Blending - When two seperate words merge together
Clipping - A word drops one or more syllables
Initialism -First letter of a word stands for the word itself. Pronouned letter by letter
Acronyms - Initial letters combining to create a new word
Back formation - A suffix is removed to create a new term
Eponym - Word deriving from people's names

Archaisms - Words that have become obselete and no longer used in the english language

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Semantic Change

Words which stay part of a language for many years often change their meaning

Slang and colloquialisms give new meanings to established word eg 'cool', 'buzzing' and 'mint' all can now be used to express approval

Amelioration - When a word develops a more positive meaning

Pejoration - When a word develops a more negative meaning

Broadening - A word with a specific meaning develops a broader meaning over time

Narrowing - A word with a more general meaning can develop a more tighter meaning

Weakening - A word making less of an impact than it once used too

Political correctness -To remove all words and phrases that carry negative connotations

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Grammatical Change

There were a large number of inflections within old english

They gradually disappeared as they were often unstressed when pronounced
The system of inflections was complicated so moving to a simpler system could have been a natural development
The loss of inflections made it easier for people with different dialects to understand each other

Before the reduced number of inflections in was possible to have different subject, object and word orders. The inflection on each component would show who was doing what

Middle English had a very complex system of second person pronouns, derivating from the French terms tu/vous
thou/thee for people of a similar or lower social standing
ye/your/you to address someone of a higher social status

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Overview of terms

Active Voice - Subject, verb, object structure

Passive Voice - Object, verb, subject structure (more formal)

Auxillary Verbs - Verbs used to support a main verb

Antithesis - Contrasting ideas or words balanced against each other

Descriptivism - The attitude that no use of language is incorrect and that variation should be described rather than corrected

Prescriptivism - The attitude that language should have a strict set of rules

Capitalisation -Due to limited standardisation, during the 18th century writers were using capitals for any noun they felt to be important

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Really helpful...thank you :)

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