His latest book, The Fight for English published by OUP assesses the debate over rights and wrongs in English usage, with examples from early modern English via Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson to our modern developments such as email and texting, and explains why he believes that when it comes to spelling and grammar, we should say no to zero tolerance. He chooses his favourite books on the English language. The Oxford English Dictionary If I were ever asked which book I would to take to a desert island, I would opt immediately for the second edition of the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary - or OED, as it is popularly called - and hope that the island had an electricity supply so that I could download the online version or use the CD. It is without doubt the most comprehensive and detailed account of the history of English vocabulary ever.
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Shows how vocabulary grows. Introduction The English language was first brought to Britain in the fifth century A. This stage of the language is usually known as Old English OE. In the following centuries, it was subjected to various influences which made it the language it is today. These can most clearly be seen in the vocabulary of the language, which reflects the influence of a range of other languages.
The first of these external influences, and probably the most important, was the Norman conquest of A. Words were also borrowed from Latin, the language of European scholarship, and their number grew during the Renaissance period in the 16th and 17th centuries.
From about this time, through trade and colonisation, words were borrowed from other European languages, such as Spanish and Portuguese, and from languages in far-flung places such as Africa, India and the Americas. This process has continued up to the present day, and at the same time words from English-speaking areas, especially the United States, have been added to our vocabulary. The words below are taken from the Historical Thesaurus of English HT project at Glasgow University, which lists words from Old English to the modern period according to the concepts they express.
Like many basic words, the general adjective red goes back to an OE word, which had the slightly different form read. Thereafter, many new words were added to the language. The date after each one is the date when it was first recorded in the language. What can we learn from such a list? Colour words often refer to objects in the natural world, such as plants and animals. You can find out about the origins of words by looking in a dictionary which gives their etymologies.
For an online etymological dictionary, see www. The rather unusual words miniaceous and miniatous describe the colour of minium, red lead.
They may come into the language as colour terms some time after the object itself becomes well-known, as in the case of camellia or nasturtium. If the object stops being significant in society, the word may cease to be used, since speakers no longer make the connexion between object and colour. This may well happen to sealing-wax as a shade of red, since sealing-wax is a commodity not much used nowadays.
Words can become well-established in a language, as in the case of scarlet, borrowed from French in the 14th century. Others may never pass into general use, and may eventually disappear. Puniceous, for example, is recorded only once, and apparently refers to an ancient people with reddish skins. Miniaceous and miniatous are also rare, occurring only in specialized contexts. Words can change their meanings or develop new meanings.
Earlier, pink could also refer to a greenish-yellow dye. In addition to borrowing words from other languages, English can express new ideas by forming compound words, such as wax-red or cherry-coloured. Activities a Speakers often disagree about what colour words mean.
Are there any words in the above list which surprise you? Are there any words you would like to add? Do words like nasturtium-red or cherry-red mean the same to your friends, or to people of a different generation, as they do to you? Have a look at a source such as a fashion magazine and see if you can find any interesting words for colours and trace their origins.
An Outline History of the English Language
Akinokazahn Poetry also appears in the stirring battle pieces, Brunanburh and Maldon, and the less excellent poetic dialogue, Salomon and Saturn. Through this not only was French literature more intimately known, but many books of other Romance nations were first translated into English. The older Irish forms of the Roman letters were changed to French forms, like those in use at present. Bede had classed English as simply one of the five languages of Britain, the others being British, Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. Wood : Lamguage the first time, all usage other than that of the great writers was of histiry account. But by uncon- scious process the language of the Midland district gradually approached national use in literature.
HISTORY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE BY F.T.WOOD PDF
The closest undoubted living relatives of English are Scots and Frisian. Frisian is a language spoken by approximately half a million people in the Dutch province of Friesland, in nearby areas of Germany, and on a few islands in the North Sea. Over the centuries, the English language has been influenced by a number of other languages. These tribes were warlike and pushed out most of the original, Celtic-speaking inhabitants from England into Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall.
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An Outline History Of The English Language