Language Change - Early Modern English

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  • Created by: mvolpe
  • Created on: 25-02-16 21:00

these notes arent in any kind of order, and bear in mind when reading/revising from this that im still a student too


- Shakespeare lived 1564-1613
- Co-owned the acting troupe Lord Chamberlain's Men
- Used repetition of structures and lexis as a decorative technique, purely for style and setting the mood
- Was influenced by Greek and Roman storytelling styles, but combined them with a modern style of his own
- Introduced iambic pentameter
- Also was a fan of a condensed form of English
- Heavy user of metaphors and similes, used common everyday objects to ensure that his meaning would be successfully transferred across to his peasant audience, who didnt have the firmest grasp of literature and literary techniques
- coined hundreds of words and phrases, such as: "in a pickle", "wild goose chase", "waited with bated breath"
- Innovated words by anglicising existing vocabulary and merging words
- Was a fan of nominalisation (turning verbs into nouns) and verbing (sometimes called conversion, turning nouns into verbs) eg "dog them at the heels"
- He created words by adding affixes, such as "attask'd" (to take to a task) and "co-mart" (joint bargains), which shows his understanding of the rules and conventions of language
- Reviving old words was another hobby of his, eg, he created the word "articulate" by taking the old latin "articulus" and applying modern rules of conjugation
- A short list of words Shakespeare is resposinsible for coining: bare-faced, critical, leapfrog, monumental, castigate, majestic, obscene, frugal, aerial, gnarled, homicide, brittle, radiance, dwindle, puking, countless, submerged, vast, lack-lustre, bump, cranny, fitful, premeditated, assassination, courtship, eyeballs, ill-tuned, hot-blooded, laughable, dislocate, accommodation, eventful, pell-mell, aggravate, excellent, fretful, fragrant, gust, hint, hurry, lonely, summit, pedant, gloom
- Shakespeare utilised the changing meanings of "you" and "thou", where "you" was used to speak up to higher classes, and "thou" was used to speak down to the lower classes. Referring to someone with the same rank as you as "thou" was considered an insult


- Sometimes known as the Age of Reason, The Enlightenment, The Augustan Age, and the Neoclassical Period
- This was a time when science was beginning to gain respect in the view of the English people (most likely just the educated classes: those with the knowledge to understand it, the money to finance it, and the spare time to pursue it), and some religious or cultural assumptions were being challenged
- People began to apply scientific reasoning to natural disasters like earthquakes or meteors, rather than writing them off as "acts of God"
- This lent itself to a bloom of scientific writings in newly founded journals (such as Philosophic Transactions of the Royal Society, abeit which was founded in 1665, but is a good example of one thats still around)
- Scientists nearly always wrote their works in Latin, but some began to write in English, like Sir Francis Bacon
- Hundreds of Latin words made their way into English during…


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