part 2 question 14

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part 2 question 14

Post  Admin on Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:47 am


14) What were the five major events that had an impact on Old English? Identify each and
describe their impact (aldie, Sandie)

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Re: part 2 question 14

Post  Sandie on Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:43 am

1. Invasion and dialectal diversity
2. Conversion to Christianity: Establishing a standard script
3. King Alfred and the production of Vernacular manuscripts
4. The Benedictine reform and the Regularizing of OE
5. The Conquest: A language in transition

A useful framework within which one might examine the development of the Old English languageis provided by five historical watersheds, each of which had significant linguistic implications:

1) The invasion of Britain (purportedly in the mid-fifth century) by the Germanic people whobecame the Anglo-Saxons can be linked to the ensuing dialectal diversity which came to be socharacteristic of this period of the language. P.33 last paragraph to p.34
2) The coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England in 579 AD made available the Romanalphabet for Old English writing, where previously only runes had been available.
3) The reign of king Alfred the Great in the West Saxon kingdom (871-899 AD) created a culture inwhich Old English became recognized as a language of prestige and status in its own right.
4) The Benedictine Reform of the second half of the 10th century led indirectly to the establishmentof an Old English ‘literary language’.
5) The Norman Conquest (1066 AD) precipitated developments in the language which would steerit ultimately towards what we now know as Middle English. (33-34)

The oxford p.33-58


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Re: part 2 question 14

Post  MARCO on Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:22 am

Most important (from the course notes)
A useful framework within which one might examine the development of the Old English language is provided by five historical watersheds, each of which had significant linguistic implications:

1) The invasion of Britain (purportedly in the mid-fifth century) by the Germanic peoples who became the Anglo-Saxons can be linked to the ensuing dialectal diversity which came to be so characteristic of this period of the language.

2) The coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England in 579 AD made available the Roman alphabet for Old English writing, where previously only runes had been available.

3) The reign of king Alfred the Great in the West Saxon kingdom (871-899 AD) created a culture in which Old English became recognized as a language of prestige and status in its own right.

4) The Benedictine Reform of the second half of the 10th century led indirectly to the establishment of an Old English ‘literary language’.

5) The Norman Conquest (1066 AD) precipitated developments in the language which would steer it ultimately towards what we now know as Middle English. (33-34)

From Oxford p.33 to 49 (summary)
• Invasion of Britain:The settlement of the various Germanic peoples in different regions of the country was, however, an important factor in the linguistic diversity which characterized Old English, since dialectal distinctiveness can be linked to geographical areas. The terms Kentish, West Saxon, and Anglian, which are used to describe the main dialects of Old English.

• The coming of Christianity is important because of the enormous boost that Christianity brought to the Anglo-Saxons with its huge Latin vocabulary in the year AD597. The country has been converted by missionaries. One of the most profound effects of the arrival of Christianity in Britain on the English language was the development of an Old English script based on the Roman alphabet.

• The reign of king Alfred the Great: He has been hailed as the Saviour of England. Alfred can, though, lay claim to saving the English language. It is one of own translations-in the preface to Gregory’s Pastoral Care-that one of the first appearances of the word ‘Englisc’ , describing the language, is recorded. But Alfred not only saved the language, he dug it even more deeply into the minds of his people by using English as a rallying force and even more importantly as the conduit for an intense programme of education.

In his determination to educate as many of his subjects as possible and to make England a centre of intellectual achievement, Alfred set up a scheme by which certain important Latin works were to be translated into English.

• The Benedictine Reform: In the second half of the tenth century, the English monasteries underwent a sweeping overhaul. Along with this monastic reform came a renewal of interest in the production of texts in the vernacular for didactic purposes. The production of these texts is marked by the considerable attention paid to the form which the vernacular should take.

• Norman conquest: Cultural, social, and political upheavals rocked Anglo-Saxon England in the wake of the Norman Conquest. The spoken language too was indubitably undergoing enormous changes as the impact of the invaders’ language infiltrated Old English usage, and such changes would eventually be reflected in the development of Middle English. There is little evidence of much new composition in English taking place in this period. Even those works which do seem to have been composed after the Conquest largely conform to the written conventions familiar from earlier Old English

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