Lectures in history of the English language and method-guides for seminars

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Lectures in history of the English language
Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, The Bee & the Crown - The Road to Ascension in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath

Lectures and seminar topics
Lecture 1.

Plan: Introduction.
The English Language as a chief medium of communication

West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family that is closely related to Frisian, German, and Netherlandic languages. English originated in England and is now widely spoken on six continents. It is the primary language of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and various small island nations in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is also an official language of India, the Philippines, and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.
Origins and basic characteristics
English belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and is therefore related to most other languages spoken in Europe and western Asia from Iceland to India. The parent tongue, called Proto-Indo-European, was spoken about 5,000 years ago by nomads believed to have roamed the southeast European plains. Germanic, one of the language groups descended from this ancestral speech, is usually divided by scholars into three regional groups East Burgundian, Vandal, and Gothic, all extinct, North (Icelandic, Faeroese, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and West (German, Netherlandic Dutch and Flemish, Frisian, English. Though closely related to English, German remains far more conservative than English in its retention of a fairly elaborate system of inflections. Frisian, spoken by the inhabitants of the Dutch province of Friesland and the islands off the west coast of Schleswig, is the language most nearly related to Modern English. Icelandic, which has changed little over the last thousand years, is the living language most nearly resembling Old English in grammatical structure. Modern English is analytic (i.e., relatively uninflected), whereas Proto-Indo-European, the ancestral tongue of most of the modern European languages (e.g., German, French, Russian, Greek, was synthetic, or inflected. During the course of thousands of years, English words have been slowly simplified from the inflected variable forms found in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Russian, and German, toward invariable forms, as in Chinese and Vietnamese. The German and Chinese words for man are exemplary. German has five forms Mann, Mannes, Manne,
Männer, Männern. Chinese has one form jen. English stands in between, with four forms

10 man, mans, men, men's. In English only nouns, pronouns, and verbs are inflected. Adjectives have no inflections aside from the determiners this, these and that, those (The endings - er, -est, denoting degrees of comparison, are better regarded as non inflectional suffixes) English is the only European language to employ uninflected adjectives e.g., the tall man the tall woman compared to Spanish el hombre alto and la mujer alta. As for verbs, if the Modern English word ride is compared with the corresponding words in Old English and Modern German, it will be found that English now has only five forms (ride, rides, rode, riding, ridden, whereas Old English ridan had 13, and Modern German reiten has 16 forms. In addition to this simplicity of inflections, English has two other basic characteristics flexibility of function and openness of vocabulary.

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