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dropped after the Norman Conquest, auxiliary words, prepositions, etc., taking their places. Modern English, however, is by no means an uninflected language. The following sentences will illustrate more fully the way in which English has changed in the last thousand years :
Most of the words that have been introduced into the English language from foreign languages have come from the Keltic, the Scandinavian, Latin, Greek, and Norman-French. Our language has also naturalized a few words from other sources.
Not many words were taken directly from the Kelts by their AngloSaxon conquerors. Those that were taken consist mainly of geographical names; as, Avon, Don, Kent, Pen, Wight, etc , and of names referring to articles connected with common affairs ; as, basket, breeches, clout, cradle, crock, darn, mop, pillow, rug, etc.
The Norman-French belonged to the Keltic race, and naturally adopted many Keltic words, some of which were introduced into English by them. Among these words are: bag, barrel, basin, basket, bonnet, bucket, button, car, cart, gown, pot, ribbon, rogue, etc.
The Scandinavians made a number of incursions into England, and established themselves in the eastern part of the island. As a consequence a number of Danish or Scandinavian terms found their way into English. Among the words thus introduced are: cake, call, fellow, scold, sly, and such endings as by, meaning town (as in Derby, etc.), ey, meaning island (as in Orkney), etc.
The Norman Conquest (1066) naturally introduced a number of i words into Anglo-Saxon. Norman-French was made the language of the country, and schools taught it. French words, however, were introduced very slowly, until the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
In 1362 an act of Parliament directed that all pleadings in courts should be in English. This act caused English to be used by those familiar with Norman-French, and brought a larger number of NormanFrench words into the language. A few French military terms were introduced in the eighteenth century.
Latin words were introduced into Britain at different periods.
First Period (A.D. 43-426). — A few words came from the Romans who invaded the island, and were adopted by the Angles and Saxons from the Britains, e.g. from castra, Gloucester, Chester, etc., Stratford (strata), Lincoln (colonia), etc.
Second Period (596–1200). The introduction of Christianity brought with it a number of religious terms, e.g. altar, bishop, candle, preach, priest, mass, and a few other terms; e.g. camel, fig, pound, ounce, inch, etc.
Third Period (1200-1400). — A large number of Latin words were introduced through the Norman-French. Most of the words in English which relate to law, war, and hunting were introduced in this way. During this period the many grammatical inflections of old English dropped out of the language, prepositions and other words taking their places. A few of the words introduced during this period are: sovereign, scepter, throne, royalty, homage, prince, duke, chancellor, treasurer, palace, castle, hall, etc.
What can you infer concerning the relative condition of the NormanFrench and Anglo-Saxons from studying the following words?
Norman-French: palace, castle ; Anglo-Saxon : house, home, hearth; NF.: table; AS.: board; NF.: beef; AS.: 0x, steer, cow; NF.: mutton; AS.: sheep.
Fourth Period (1500-1600). — The revival of the study of Latin and Greek brought into English many words taken directly from these languages. Some of these words have changed their original meaning, as influence, extravagant, etc., but many have undergone but little alteration. A few of the words introduced during this period are: common, envy, malice, virtue, steady, justice, pity, mercy, compassion, profit, commodity, color, grace, favor, acceptance, etc.
Greek words have also found their way into our language, but in much smaller numbers than Latin. To this language we are indebted for a great many scientific terms; as, totany, physics, ethics, music, didactic, logic, etc.
Nearly every language has contributed to modern English. The following lists show the origin of many common words:
American: canoe, hammock, maize, potato, skunk, squaw, tobacco, tomahawk, wigwam, etc.
Arabic: admiral, alchemy, alkali, alcohol, alcove, almanac, amulet, arsenal, artichoke. assassin, atlas, azure, bazaar, chemistry, cotton, cipher, elixir, gazelle, giraffe, shrub, sirup, sofa, talisman, tariff zenith, zero.
Chinese: nankeen, satin, tea.
Dutch : block, boom, boor, cruise, loiter, ogle, ravel, ruffle, scamper, schooner, sloop, stiver, yacht.
French: Aid-de-camp, attaché, au fait, belle, bivouac, belles-lettres, billet-doux, blasé, bouquet, brochure, blonde, brusque, coup, début, débris, depot, eclat, Elite, ennui, etiquette, façade, foible, fricassee, gout, omelet, naïve, penchant, nonchalance, outre, passé, personnel, prestige, programme, protégé, renaissance, soirée, trousseau.
German: landgrave, loafer, waltz, cobalt, nickel, quartz, zinc.
Italian : balustrade, bandit, bust, canto, carnival, charlatan, ditto, folio, gazette, grotto, motto, portico, stanza, stiletto, studio, te..or, umbrella, volcano, etc.
Malay: bantam, orang-outang, rattan, veranda, gingham (Java).
Persian : caravan, chess, dervish, emerald, indigo, lilac, orange, pasha, sash, shawl, turban.
Portuguese : caste, commodore, palaver, porcelain, etc.
Spanish: alligator, armada, cargo, cigar, desperado, embargo, flotilla, gala, mosquito, tornado, etc.
Turkish : divan, fakir, etc.
The historical development of the English language is divided by writers into five or six periods, somewhat as follows:
Opinions differ with respect to the proportion of pure English words in our language to-day. Morris states that “words of classical origin are calculated to be about twice as numerous as pure English words." Salmon says, “It has been estimated that, taking all the words in the dictionary, sixty out of every hundred are of native origin, thirty of Latin, five of Greek, while the remaining five come from some of the many other languages whence we have taken scattered words.”
The percentage of pure English used in certain books (counting each word as often as it is used) is said to be:
St. John, ch. 1, 4, 17, 96%; Shakspere's “Othello,” Act V., 89%; Milton's “Paradise Lost," bk. VI., 80%; Tennyson's “ In Memoriam," first twenty poems, 89%; Longfellow's “ Miles Standish,” 87 %.
It must be remembered that while modern English has borrowed a great many words from other languages, its grammar is not borrowed. English grammar is now a grammar of modern English, and not Latin or Greek. It is largely controlled by the grammar of Anglo-Saxon, but it should nevertheless be regarded as a grammar of English as it is used to-day by the best writers. English is a growing language, and consequently cannot altogether be bound by grammatical rules. A German writer (Mætzner) says: “English has preserved from its Anglo-Saxon stage the suffixes that it still possesses in nouns and pronouns; the conjugation of its verbs; the articles, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, and numerals; the comparative and superlative suffixes of adjectives, and the formation of adverbs; the flexibility and variety which it has in the formation of compounds; the most important part of the suffixes and prefixes by which derivatives are formed ; the predominant principles of accentuation ; and the compactness and straightforwardness of the syntactical arrangement of its periods. To French we owe a considerable modification of the sounds of the language, the suppression of the sound of l before other consonants, such as f, v, k, m, etc.; the softening or disuse of the hard, guttural sounds of h and gh, the change of hard c into ch, and the use of e mute at the end of words; the introduction of the sibilant sounds of j, g, ch, and c; the use of the letter 2, and the consonantal sound of v, and a great deal of change and confusion in the vowel sounds. French influence assisted in the recognition of s as the general sign of the plural in nouns. To French we also owe a considerable number of the suffixes and prefixes by which derivatives are formed, and are probably indebted for our deliverance from that stiff and involved arrangement of sentences under which modern German still labors."
Specimens of English at various stages of its growth may be found in any unabridged dictionary. The student is also referred to the dictionary for a detailed explanation of infectional changes, etc., in the language as it progressed from the oldest Anglo-Saxon to the virile language used by the most progressive peoples of the world.
PREFIXES, SUFFIXES, AND ROOTS
PREFIXES OF ANGLO-SAXON ORIGIN
Out (beyond or more than); as, out
A (on, in, to, at); as, afoot, abed.
as, engrave, enchant. Mis (wrong); as, unbelief.
Un (the reverse of not); as, unbind,
unholy. With (from, against); as, withstand.
PREFIXES OF LATIN ORIGIN
A, ab, abs (away, from); as, avert,
adhere, ascend, attract.
as, confer, collect.
nouns); as, invade, illuminate.
nouns); as, inaction, illegal.
Inter ( between, among); as, intercede.
survive. Trans, tra (beyond, over); as, trans
port, tradition, Ultra (beyond); as, ultramundane.