Middle English 1100 To 1500

This essay sample on Middle English 1100 To 1500 provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.

The Middle English Period (1100-1500) Middle English (ME) was the dominant and traditional spoken language form in many parts of England during the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages are so called as the middle period between the decline of the Roman Empire and prior to the period called the Renaissance.

Brief History of the Middle English The Norman Conquest The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. The Norman Conquest was a pivotal event in English history and all subsequent developments in the English monarchy, government, society, language and outlook are coloured by it.

King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs, and William, Duke of Normandy, believed that he would become the next king. However, upon learning that Harold was crowned king, William invaded England, killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings.

Yet William spoke only French. As a result, the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. French became the language of law, administration, literature and government. English was banned from all polite and official usage, and practically ceased to be a written language.

The Rise of English in England But by 1250 CE, French began to lose its prestige. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE, and after him, King Edward I spoke only English.

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At this time, many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more “English” and so encouraged more use of the English language. The upper class tried to learn English, but they did still use French words sometimes, which was considered somewhat snobbish. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere, and the upper class did not want to lose it completely.

Writers Of Middle English Period

The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague, which increased the status of the peasants, who only spoke English. By 1362 CE, the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts. By 1385 CE, English was the language of instruction in schools. Although the popularity of French was decreasing, several words (around 10,000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE.

Many of the words were related to government, law ,social life fashion and learning . So, 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. The changes that occurred during this period may be noted in every aspect of the language : in its sounds, in the meanings of its words and in the nature of word stock, where many Old English words were replaced by French ones( like cafe and chef). Also, many of the grammatical distinctions of the Old English period disappeared.

Medieval Culture The Middle Ages saw the emergence of great changes in English culture. The violent times of the Dark Ages had led to a primitive society lacking in elegance or refinement . The Middle Ages saw society changing due to the influence from various foreign cultures . The Characteristics of the Medieval Culture The society was organized as a pyramid of sorts. The nobles were at the top, with a great many peasants at the bottom. Peasants worked on the land and lived in rough huts, which they often shared with their animals.

They slept on straw mattresses on the floor. In the middle were the scientists, merchants, craftsmen. Attitudes towards women changed. Now, women were treated with respect. But, women were seen as helpless, beautiful, and pure . In Europe during the Middle Ages the only recognized religion was Christianity, in the form of the Catholic religion. The lives of the Medieval people of the Middle Ages was dominated by the church. The Normans were tremendous builders of castles built much of what we now see as the surviving medieval look of England.

The Linguistic Features of the ME Middle English spelling Consonants Most of the Old English consonant sounds remained unchanged in Middle English. Important spelling differences occur, however, most of them due to Anglo-Norman influence Some of the apparent innovations in middle English spelling were ,in fact, a return to earlier conventions. For example the diagraph th that had been used in some of the earliest English text but was replaced in later Old English by writing by ? and ? ; during the Middle English period ,th was gradually reintroduced again .

Similarly, uu ,used for [w] in early manuscripts was brought back to England by Noman scribes in a ligatured form as w. The consonantal sound [v] did not occur initially in Old English . All Middle English words with initial v have been taken from Latin or French such as very, voice (French) ,vocal, vulgar (Latin). Ch was used in Middle English under French influence, to indicate the initial sound of child ,which in Old English had been spilled simply with c as in cild. The Old English hw (as in hw? t) was replaced by the Middle English wh (as in what) .

The Old English cw (as in cwen ) was replaced by the Middle English qu (queen). French language was responsible for the Middle English spelling qu. The old English cg (ecg “edge”) was replaced by French gg in Middle English as egge “edge”. Double consonants were lost in (OE mann ) Vowels To indicate vowel length ,Middle English writing frequently employed double letters( e. g ee or oo). Final unstressed e following a single consonant also indicated vowel length in Middle English, as in fode (food) and fede (to feed).

Short u in Old English was written o during the latter part of Middle English period if m,n,u were contiguous . The Middle English writings sone (son) and sonne (sun), thus indicate the same vowel sound [U] in old English respectively sunu and sunne. O for u servives in a number of Modern English words as son, come (OE cuman) and love (OE lufu). The French spelling ou was used to represent Old English long u(and sometimes short) as hous(OE hu? s) . In older inscriptions, documents, works and texts (nearer to Old English), you may find vowels with a macron (a bar) written above (like name).

The macron simply tells you that the vowel is long, and follows the pronunciation guides above for long vowels. Also, any vowel written double (aa, ee, oo, uu) is long Middle English Pronunciation Middle English Consonants Most consonant sounds act like English. Since consonants in most words are nearly identical to their Modern English counterparts, let’s focus on the differences. ?By default, the letters /th/ and /f/ are voiceless like in “thing” and “fish”. They are only voiced (like “this” and “of”) between two vowels: ferne, fowles, forward, oft VS. yfe, ofer, efer that, thoghte, thonder VS. bathen, sothe, fother ?The combination /wh/ represents the sound of “h” + “w” (like “h”) pronounced just before the start of the Modern English version of the word): whanne, what, who ? The letter /s/ sounds like “seem”, unless it’s between two vowels, then it’s like “please”:seyde, sothe VS. cosin. ?The sound of /r/ is typically “trilled”, like Spanish “r” :rood, ferne ? Initial stops in clusters gn- and kn- still pronounced: ME gnat, gnawen, knowen, knave ? Double consonants were lost in (OE mann ) Many words were borrowed from Old French (and much less frequently from Latin) beginning with[v] (for instance ,veal ,virtue ,visit) and later with [z]( for instance,zeal,zodiac). Middle English Vowels ?Long /a/ sounds like a lengthened version of “father” (pronounced for a slightly longer time). Short /a/ sounds more like “pat”:name (or naame) VS. bak ? Long /e/ sometimes sounds like the /e/ of “they” and other times like the /e/ of “let” (both sounds held out for a longer time). Short /e/ sounds like “let”:sweete, breeth, mete VS. tendre ?

Long /i/ or /y/ sounds like “seem”, while short /i/ or /y/ sounds like “sit” or “seem” pronounced for a shorter amount of time: my, ire VS. ynogh ? Long /o/ sometimes sounds like “boo” and other times like British “rock” (both for a slightly longer time). Short /o/ always sounds like the /o/ in British “rock”: good, wo VS. oft, holt ? Long /u/ sounds like “cue”, while short /u/ sounds like “full”:nature VS. unstraunge ? The final “e” on many words may be sounded if it helps the meter of an individual line. ?E. g. , When that Aprille with his shoures sote The droughte of Marche hath perced to the rote

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Middle English 1100 To 1500. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-the-middle-english-period-1100-1500-472/

Middle English 1100 To 1500
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