Part 4: Question 3

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Part 4: Question 3

Post  MARCO on Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:03 am

In the Early Modern English period we see the term to “fix a language” appear. Explain whatthis term means, why the language had to be “fixed” and explain what efforts were made tofix the language.

I didn't find anything concerning 'to fix a language'. However, I think it's because there were so many dialectal differences among England as well as so many neologisms that something had to be done in order to understand each other. With the help of the printing press, Grammars and vernacular dictionaries were spread among the country.


Oxford p.231

• The first English dictionaries are
predicated on the idea that the nation was cursed by a linguistic confusion which
only translation to plain or ‘usuall’ English might remedy.

• The English dictionary that is generally recognized as the first of its kind,
Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall (1604), advertises itself on the title page as
conteyning and teaching the true writing, and vnderstanding of hard vsuall English
wordes, borrowed from the Hebrew, Greeke, Latine, or French &c., with the interpretation
thereof by plaine English words, gathered for the beneWt & helpe of Ladies,
Gentlewomen, or any other vnskilfull persons.

• Cawdrey’s dictionary aims to level the ‘difference of English’ that had arisen in
the age of new words. By distributing the wealth of new words to the disadvantaged
(entries under the letter A include aberration, adulterate, aVranchise,
alienate, anarchie, anathema, and animaduersion), Cawdrey hoped to advance
the use of ‘one manner of language’ in Renaissance England

• It is therefore no coincidence that the Renaissance also saw the rise of what we
might call ‘technical’ dictionaries, opening the signification of words which
pertained to specific fields of early modern knowledge. The proliferation of
foreign loanwords and neologisms in the period owes a great deal, in fact, to the
effort to translate Latin, Greek, French, Arabic, and other foreign terms in
disciplines which had long been dominated by those languages. Many ‘hard
words’ dictionaries of the seventeenth century include terms of specialized trades.

• Although no full-scale dictionaries of the ‘poetic’ dialect of early modern
English were produced in the period, several poets compiled glossaries of the
‘hard words’ that appeared in their works

MARCO

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