Foreign Influences on Old English

1686 Words Jul 8th, 2018 7 Pages
Reading of Chapter four in the textbook titled " Foreign Influences on Old English,” the followings are the terms that came across as interesting and necessary for the understanding of the extent of foreign influence on the old English language:
• Continental borrowing: This is the first period of Latin borrowing that happened through the Germanic contact with the Romans before their invasion and settlement in Britain. It is also described as the Latin influence of the Zero period (Baugh & Cable, 2001).
• Palatal Diphthongization: This is the change in the pronunciation of diphthongs. By this sound-change, an “ae” and e in early Old English was changed to a diphthong (“ea” and “ie” respectively) when preceded by certain palatal
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Celts hardly got any chance to communicate with the Anglo-Saxons and thus Old English hardly has any Celtic influence apart from the place-names. On the other hand, with the advent of Christianity, Latin words got accepted in the Old English like never before with words adopted from every aspect of life. However, the most powerful influence seems to be that exerted by the Scandinavians who not only introduced new words, but also changed the pronunciation of words and the syntax of the language. This, as pointed out by the author, was due to the interaction and social mingling between the natives and the new settlers.
Studies suggest that over centuries, English as a language developed and adopted new words from different languages like Latin and French. It is obvious from the fact that the language as we know it today bears very little similarity to the Old English spoken or written during the first ten centuries. Many are of the opinion that the language, due to extensive borrowing, has many words that mean exactly the same. This leads us to think whether the language is still developing? or has it reached a point of saturation? However, as pointed out by Robert Le Page, we are on the "threshold" of a great change in the English language. His study suggests that English as a language is still developing. There are too many factors influencing the language presently and,
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