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Doctor In The House Essay

737 words - 3 pages

History of the English language is a complicated one, mainly because it is inevitably linked with the history of Britain and its inhabitants. Languages, like populations, are influenced by wars, invasions, immigration, trade and many other factors. But in order to simplify the story of English, we often divide its history into three main phases.
During the fifth century, Britain was invaded by Germanic tribes from mainland Europe: the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. They displaced the existing population - and their Celtic languages - to the fringes of the country: Wales, Cornwall and the North. The languages of the invading tribes formed the basis of the English language. Today, we ...view middle of the document...

But in Middle English, there are very few inflections. To avoid this resulting in ambiguity, the word order becomes more rigid. In other words, we can tell which noun is the subject of a verb and which is the object not by the endings of the nouns, but by the fact that the subject comes before the verb and the object comes after. This is of course a feature of Modern English, too. As well as the grammar, the vocabulary of Middle English is different from Old English. For example, it contains a lot of French words. This is because Britain was conquered by the Normans from Northern France in 1066. For the next three hundred years or so, Britain was ruled by the French, and the Anglo-Saxon population were mainly deprived of power and wealth. The superior social position of the French during that time is reflected even today in some of the words we use. For example, the words for the meats beef and mutton come from the French words boeuf and mouton, while the words cow and sheep originally come from Anglo-Saxon. This reflects the fact that the Anglo-Saxon peasants had to look after the animals so that...

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