Explore how and why the English Language has changed.

1232 Words Nov 11th, 2013 5 Pages
Explore how and why the English Language has changed.

The English Language has changed over a long period of time due to a number of different factors which have had different effects on how the Language has progressed. Language is seen to have progressed through different stages, from Old English (beginning in the 3rd century and including the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons, which led to the creation of Englisc) through to Middle English (which may have begun in the 11th century with the rule of the Vikings, which introduced variations on the previous Anglo-Saxon pronunciation and speech. The French invasions in 1066 also affected the language as the ruling classes spoke the ‘prestige’ form of French and those who had been defeated
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One such rule is that sentences should not end in a preposition, for example ‘the chair was sat on’, which is a result of Latin languages could not accommodate for this. This was their basis for the construction of English. Other rules include the usage of double negatives and split infinitives, in which an adverb is put in between the preposition ‘to’ and the base verb. For example ‘to boldly go’.
Descriptivism is the opposite view to that of the Grammarians. Descriptivism states that Language should be allowed to progress over time and that new words should be introduced as they appear, and old words should be allowed to disappear through lack of use. Descriptivism would allow the use of more modern American spellings such as ‘sulfur’ to replace their original English counterparts, simply because they are more widely used.
The change in syntax over time has shifted greatly, and language has been altered because of it. For example syntax used to be the Subject, Object, Verb order, as opposed to the Subject, Verb, Object order that we use nowadays. The complexity of sentences has also, changed, with Middle and Early Modern English writers using longer complex sentences with varied clauses and clause lengths, and Modern English writers using short, less complex sentences with less clauses and simpler, easier to read clause lengths and variations. The language has also become more simplified in terms of inflections. These were removed because the system for adding
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