language covers the Early NE period (1475—
Two major external factors which favoured the
rise of the national language and the literary
standards: the unification of the country and the
progress of culture.
New economic relations began to take shape.
The villain was gradually superseded by the rentpaying tenant.
bourgeois relations and the capitalist
mode of production were developing
Britain began to export woolen cloth
produced by the first big enterprises, the
The new nobility, who traded in wool, fused
with the rich townspeople to form a new
class, the bourgeoisie.
accompanied by political unification. In the last
quarter of the 15th c. England became a
After Hundred Years' War there was even
more turbulent period for Britain.
Warlike nobles fought for power at the King's
Court - Wars of the Roses (1455—1485).
The 30-year contest for the possession of the
crown ended in the establishment of a strong
royal power under Henry VII, the founder of
the Tudor dynasty.
with the Pope, declared himself head of the
English Church and dissolved the
monasteries (the English Reformation,
The consolidation of people into nation, the
formation of national language and the
growth of superdialect forms of language
to be used as a national Standard.
brilliant scholars and artists.
The influence of classical languages on English
grew and was reflected in the enrichment of the
"Artificial writing" as printing was then called,
was invented in Germany in 1438 (by Johann
Gutenberg); the first printer of English books was
William Caxton (1422-1491).
The first English book, printed in Bruges in 1475,
was Caxton’s translation of the story of Troy
“RECUYELL OF THE HISTORYES OF TROYE
English book – William Caxton introduced the
printing press in England. By 1640 55.000 books
had been printed in England.
Both Caxton and his associates took a greater
interest in the works of medieval literature than
in the works of ancient authors or theological
and scientific treatises.
William Caxton and his successors edited
publications so as to bring them into conformity
with the London form of English used by their
birth to diphthongs and triphthongs.
[r] was vocalised at the end of the word in the
16th -17th c.
[j] disappeared as a result of palatalisation;
[j] remained only initially (e.g. year, yard, etc.);
[х, х’] were lost (e.g. ME taughte [‘tauхtə] – NE
taught [to:t], ME night [niх’t] – NE night [neit]
[kn] à [n] (e.g. ME know [knou] – NE know
[gn] à [n] (e.g. ME gnat [gnat] – NE gnat [næt]);
11. The great vowel shiftTHE GREAT VOWEL SHIFT
All Middle English long vowels underwent the Great
Vowel Shift (in early new English, 15th – 18th century).
They became more narrow and more front. Some of
them remained monophthongs, others developed into
e: → i:
[neim] a: → ei
take [ta:ka]–[teik]; beat [be:t]–[bi:t]; meet [me:t]–[mi;t];
like [li:ka]–[laik]; boat [bo:t]–[bout]; tool [to:l]–[tu:l];
The seven long, or tense, vowels of Middle English
underwent the following change.
long vowels underwent an increase in tongue height. In
addition, [ɛ ] was fronted to become [i:].
Both of the long (or tense) mid vowels of Middle English,
which can represent by /ē/ and /ō/ were raised and
diphthongized to yield the current high vowels /i/ and /u/
feet (once pronounced /fēt/, now pronounced /fit/) and
mood (once pronounced /mōd/, now pronounced
pronunciation in spellings such as five (once
pronounced /fīv/, now pronounced /faiv/). As for the
spelling of Old English tūne for “town”, the vowel had
been pronounced /ū/ before the diphthong /aʊ/ was
Two of the long low vowels, /æ/ and /ɔ/, were also
raised to yield a new set of mid vowels, /ei/ and /oʊ/,
mate /meit/ was formerly pronounced /mæt/
goat /goʊt/ was formerly pronounced /g ɔt/
please – pleasant; serene – serenity;
sane – sanity; crime – criminal; sign – signal.
Before the Great Vowel Shift, the vowels in each pair
were the same. The vowels in the second word of
each pair were shortened by the Early Middle English
Vowel Shortening rule.
16. Effect of vowel shift in modern englishEFFECT OF VOWEL SHIFT IN MODERN ENGLISH
Word with Word with
The system of stress
Native English words are short – a rhythmic
tendency of the language to have one
stressed syllable and one unstressed one → in
borrowed words there developed a system of
two stressed syllables: ‘conso’lation .
Sometimes the stress is used to differentiate
the words formed from the same root by the
process (to pro'duce – 'produce).
a) Loss of vowels at the end of the words. Some of
them were preserved for phonetic reasons only,
where the pronunciation without a vowel was
The plural forms of nouns:
Middle English New English
The strengthening of analytical features of the
language: in many more cases empty
grammatical words are used (form-words);
Analytical forms of the Middle English are
preserved, non-finite analytical forms appear
(in Middle English only finite forms could be
A fixed word order is established.
Ways of enriching the vocabulary:
inner means (conversion: hand → to hand);
outer means. direct and indirect contacts with
In the beginning of the Early New English (15th
– 16th century) – the epoch of the Renaissance
– there are many borrowings from Greek,
Significant developments in science, art and culture.
Revival of interest in the ancient civilizations of
Greece and Rome and other languages. Hence, there
occurred a considerable number of Latin and Greek
In contrast to the earliest Latin borrowings (1st c.
B.C.), the Renaissance ones were rarely concrete
names. They were mostly abstract words (e.g. major,
minor, filial, moderate, intelligent, permanent, to
elect, to create).
French known as Parisian borrowings.
Examples: regime, routine, police, machine,
Italian also contributed a considerable number
of words to English, e.g. piano, violin, opera,
England used many Greek and Latin words, and as
a result, many words of ancient Greek and Latin
entered the language.
From Greek came drama, comedy, tragedy,
Latin loan words in English are numerous. They
include: bonus, scientific, exit, aquarium,
e.g. Latin borrowings: facsimile, introvert,
radioactive, relativity, etc.;
Greek borrowings: allergy, antibiotic, hormone,
protein, stratosphere, etc.
Many of them increased the number synonyms
borrowings come to the English language from
In the 17th century the English appear in America
→ borrowings from the Indians’ languages are
registered. (moccasin, toboggan)
In the 18th century the English appear in India →
borrowings from this source come to the English
language (ex.: curry).
In the 19th century the English colonisers appear in
Australia and New Zealand → new borrowings
the English appear in Africa, coming to the regions
formerly colonized by the Dutch → borrowings from
Afrikaans and Dutch appear.
Russian borrowings appear in New English in the
20th century – soviet, kolkhoz, perestroika, etc.
The scientific and technological advances of the 20th
century brought a great number of new international
words: atomic, antibiotic, radio, television,
Distinction between auxiliary verbs and main verbs
reflected in questions (Can you leave?), negative
sentences (only auxiliary verbs can take the contracted
negative n’t, as in You can’t leave) and tag questions
You can leave, can’t you?).
NO syntactic distinctions between main verbs and
I deny it not. (I don’t deny it).
Forbid him not. (Do not forbid him).
Revolt our subjects? (Do our subjects revolt?)
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweater shade? (Does
the hawthorn-bush not give a sweeter shade?)