Changes in the English language



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Changes in the English language



Language is always changing, evolving, and adapting to the needs of its users. Why does language change? Language changes for several reasons. First, it changes because the needs of its speakers change. New technologies, new products, and new experiences require new words to refer to them clearly and efficiently. Consider the fax machine: originally it was called a facsimile machine, because it allowed one person to send another a copy, or facsimile, of a document. As the machines became more common, people began using the shorter form fax to refer to the machine.

Another reason for change is that no two people have had exactly the same language experience. We all know a slightly different set of words and constructions, depending on our age, job, education level, region of the country, and so on. We pick up new words and phrases from all the different people we talk with.

At the same time, various groups in society use language as a way of marking their group identity – showing who is and isn’t a member of the group. Many of the changes that occur in language begin with teens and young adults: as young people interact with others their own age, their language grows to include words, phrases, and constructions that are different from those of the older generation.

We get new words from many different places. We borrow them from other languages, we create them by shortening longer words or by combining words. Sometimes we even create a new word by being wrong about the analysis of an existing word. That’s how the word ‘pea’ was created: four hundred years ago, the word ‘pease’ was used to refer to either a single pea or a bunch of them. But over time, people assumed (thought wrongly) that ‘pease’ was a plural form, for which ‘pea’ must be the singular, and a new word ‘pea’ was born.

Word order also changes. Old English word order was much more ‘free’ than that of Modern English, and even comparing the Early Modern English of the King James Bible with today’s English shows differences in word order. For example, the King James Bible translates Matthew 6:28 as ‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not.’ In a more recent translation, the last phrase is translated as ‘they do not toil’. English no longer places ‘not’ after the verb in a sentence.

Finally, the sounds of a language change over time, too. About 500 years ago English began to undergo a major change in the way its vowels were pronounced. Before that, ‘geese’ would have rhymed with today’s pronunciation of ‘face’, while ‘mice’ would have rhymed with today’s ‘peace’. But then a ‘Great Vowel Shift’ began to occur, during which the ‘ay’ sound (as in pay) changed to ee (as in fee) in all the words containing it, while the ee sound changed to i (as in pie). In all, seven different vowel sounds were affected. If you’ve ever wondered why most other European languages spell the sound ay with an e (as in ‘fiancée’) and the sound ee with an i (as in aria), it’s because those languages didn’t undergo the Great Vowel Shift. Only English did.

 

2. Ask 6 questions about the text.

3. Write on the topic: “Cousin of my country”

 

 

2015-2016.

Spring Exam. Course 1. Intermediate level.

VARIANT-2

1. Render the text from English into Kazakh/Russian in a written form.

History of the English Language

 

The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark and northern Germany. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders - mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Angles came from "Englaland" and their language was called "Englisc" - from which the words "England" and "English" are derived.

Germanic invaders entered Britain on the east and south coasts in the 5th century.

Old English (450-1100 AD)

The invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages, which in Britain developed into what we now call Old English. Old English did not sound or look like English today. Native English speakers now would have great difficulty in understanding Old English. Nevertheless, about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The words be, strongand water, for example, derive from Old English. Old English was spoken until around 1100.

Middle English (1100-1500)

In 1066 William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy (part of modern France), invaded and conquered England. The new conquerors (called the Normans) brought with them a kind of French, which became the language of the Royal Court, and the ruling and business classes. For a period there was a kind of linguistic class division, where the lower classes spoke English and the upper classes spoke French. In the 14th century English became dominant in Britain again, but with many French words added. This language is called Middle English. It was the language of the great poet Chaucer (c1340-1400), but it would still be difficult for native English speakers to understand it today.

Modern English

Early Modern English (1500-1800)

Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation (the Great Vowel Shift) started, with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter. From the 16th century the British had contact with many peoples from around the world.

This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, meant that many new words and phrases entered the language. The invention of printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became cheaper and more people learned to read. Printing also brought standardization to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard. In 1604 the first English dictionary was published.

 

Late Modern English (1800-Present)

The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from two principal factors: firstly, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for new words; secondly, the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the earth's surface, and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries.

 

1. Ask 6 questions about the text.

2. Write on the topic: “Teenagers of the oriental country”

 

2015-2016.

Spring Exam. Course 1. Intermediate level.

VARIANT-3

1. Render the text from English into Kazakh/Russian in a written form.

Ancient Korea

 

This ancient painting shows Jinju Kisaeng, who were like an especially awesome combination of Ninja Assasin, seductress and entertainer. Why or why did Confucious have come to Korea and put a damper on things?

Ancient Korea was made of three warring kingdoms that pretty much all fought amonst themselves and occasionally looked to big daddy China in hopes that it would take their side. These kingdoms were Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje. Silla was in the southeast and basically kicked ass under the wise but ruthless leadership of the famous woman queen, Xena the Warrior Princess (선덕 Seondeok). Baekje was on the west coast and they were like, "Whatup bro, want a toke?" but then Silla kicked their asses. Goguryeo was huge and they were like, "Damn we're huge. Let's take over part of China. Oh shit! Here comes Xena! Aaah! She's so hot though..." Then there was the Tamna kingdom on what's now Jeju island. They basically hung out at the beach and ate abalone the whole time while the rest of the Koreans killed each other and ate kimchi. Oh yeah, lastly there was the tiny Gaya kingdom down on the southern tip of the peninsula, good friends with a close relationship with Japan. Treehuggers.

Although it sounds brutal, ancient Korea was really a pretty kick-ass place to be. Much of the reason why is that it was the original home of the Ninja Assasin, which later emigrated to Japan because it was a more happening place after Confucianism showed up in Korea. These first Ninja Assasins were called Geomgaek (검객, the name means "sword fighter") and ancient Korea was full of them. (There are reports that this ancient order has recently been revived in North Korea as The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Mystic Ninja Force, under Grand Master Kim).

The second thing that made ancient Korea pretty sweet were the Kisaeng (기생) women. Kisaeng were kind of like the Geisha of neighboring Japan, but without the goth white face paint. Kisaeng were skilled in the arts and most of Korean culture originated from their poems, dances, paintings and sex. These arts were lost in Korea after the introduction of Confucianism pretty much killed the party scene in Korea.

 

2. Ask 6 questions about the text.

3. Write on the topic: “Dwellings”

 

 

2015-2016.



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