Development of English from Old to Modern

Development of English from Old to Modern

  • Submitted By: harmynet
  • Date Submitted: 05/25/2013 8:53 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 3130
  • Page: 13
  • Views: 169

The English language developed through time from Old English to Modern English in a gradual manner over the years. It changed from Old English into Middle English and from Middle English into Modern English, and people never perceived their language as having completely ruined with the language used a generation before (Baker, 2012).

This paper presents an analysis of short sections of texts from four different works from different periods during the history of the English language. The works include Wulfstan’s Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, Beowulf, Peterborough Chronicles and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The analysis talks about the different aspects of the language (vocabulary, morphology, syntax) used in the texts and its’ similarities or differences to modern English. It also discusses some of the interesting features of the English language during a certain period, and shows some of the changes in the English language through time.

It is clear that just by looking at Modern English texts and Old English texts, one can spot immediately the differences between the two. Spelling accounts for some of the difference between Modern and Old English. The rules for spelling Modern English are different from the rules of spelling in Old English. But there are more considerable transformations as well. A reduction in the inflectional endings was evident in the Middle English, where it was reduced from three vowels in Old English to one. Most inflectional endings are not being used now in Modern English. In addition to this, most case distinctions vanished and so were most of the endings added to verbs. The verb system, however, became more complex with additional features such as a perfect tense, a past perfect tense and a future tense. While the number of endings was trimmed down, the arrangement of elements within clauses and sentences became more stable, so that it does not sound as awkward as to put an object before a verb, as what had been often done in Old English....

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