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The history of English - Реферат

School Research Paper

Student:

Jakoubson Julia

Grade: 9 "A"

School №9

Teacher Gorbacheva M.V.

Kolomna 2003.

Contents

Pages

Introduction......................................................................3

I. Old English.....................................................................3-17

a). Celtic Tribes..................................................................3-4

b). The Romans..................................................................4-10

c). Germanic Tribes.............................................................10-15

d). The Norman French........................................................15-16

II. Middle English................................................................16-19

III. Mordent English............................................................20-22

Conclusion.........................................................................22-24

List of Literature.................................................................26

Supplement........................................................................27

Introduction.

Why do people all over the world learn foreign languages? Perhaps because the world is getting smaller, in a way: nations are more closely linked with each other than ever before, companies operate world-wide, scientists of different nationalities co-operate, and tourists travel practically everywhere. The ability to communicate with people from other countries is getting more and more important. And learning foreign languages broadens your horizons, too!

Before learners of a foreign language are able to communicate, they have to acquire many skills. They must learn to produce unfamiliar sounds. They must build up a vocabulary. They must learn grammar rules and how to use them. And, last but not least, they must develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and learn how to react in a variety of situations.

All people like to travel. Some travel around their own country, others travel abroad. Some like to travel into the future, others prefer to travel into the past. While I was working out my research paper and reading many books on English history, I had an exciting trip into a remote past. It was a fantastical journey our Imaginary Time Machine and a Magic Wand. The Time Machine took me into the depth of the centuries, into the very early history of Britain. I waved the Magic Wand and the words began to talk, they disclosed to me their mysteries, I discovered secrets hidden in familiar things. In other words, you will be a witness of making of English.

  1. Old English. (450-1100)

a). Celtic tribes.

Make a first turn of the Time Machine and you will find yourself on the British Isles in the time of the ancient inhabitants, the Celts. The Celts were natives of the British Isles long before the English. The Celts had their language, which is still spoken by the people living in the part of Britain known as Wales. And though many changes happened on the British Isles, some Celtic words are still used in the English language.

Two thousand years ago there was an Iron Age Celtic culture throughout the British Isles. It seems that the Celts, who had been arriving from Europe from the eighth century BC onwards, intermingled with the peoples who were already there. We know that religious sites that had been built long before the arrival of the Celts continued to be used in the Celtic period.

For people in Britain today, the chief significance of the prehistoric period (for which no written records exist) is its sense of mystery. This sense finds its focus most easily in the astonishing monumental architecture of this period, the remains of which exist throughout the country. Wiltshire, in south-western England, has two spectacular examples: Silbury Hill, the largest burial mound in Europe, and Stonehenge. Such places have a special importance for anyone interested in the cultural and religious practices of prehistoric Britain. We know very little about these practices, but there are some organizations today (for example, the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids – a small group of eccentric intellectuals and mystics) who base their beliefs on them.

The Celts preserved their language in some parts of Britain, but they did not add many words to the English vocabulary. Those, that are in use now, are mostly place-names: names of regions, towns, rivers. The Celts had a number of similar words to name rivers, like: Exe, Esk, Usk. All of them come from a word meaning water (uisge). Later this word was used to name a strong alcoholic drink made from barley or rye. It was first called "water of life". The word changed its from and pronunciation, and today at restaurants in the West one can see on the menu among other spirits whisky, a Celtic word formerly meaning water.

b). The Romans.

One more turn of our Time Machine and it took me into the 1st century of our era. At that time Romans came into Britain, they ruled the country for 400 years. So, you can guess that many Latin words came later into the English language through Celts, because, as you know, Romans spoke Latin.

The Roman province of Britannia most of present-day England and Wales. The Romans imposed their own way of life and culture, making use of the existing Celtic aristocracy to govern and encouraging this ruling class to adopt Roman dress and Roman language. The Romans never went to Ireland and exerted an influence, without actually governing there, over only the southern part of Scotland. It was during this time that a Celtic tribe called the Scots migrated from Ireland to Scotland, where they became allies of the Picts (another Celtic tribe) and opponents of the Romans. This division of the Celts into those who experienced Roman rule (the Britons in England and Wales) and those who did not (the Gaels in Ireland and Scotland) may help to explain the development of two distinct branches of the Celtic group of languages.

The remarkable thing about the Romans is that, despite their long occupation of Britain, they left very little behind. To many other parts of Europe they bequeathed a system of law and administration which forms the basis of the modern system and a language which developed into the modern Romance family of languages. In Britain, they left neither. Moreover, most of their villas, baths and temples, their impressive network of roads, and the cities they founded, including Londinium (London), were soon destroyed or fell into disrepair. Almost the only lasting reminder of their presence are place-names like Chester, Lancaster and Gloucester, which include variants of the Roman word castra (a military camp).

Roman rule lasted for 4 centuries. There are many things in Britain today to remind of the Romans: wells, roads, walls.

To defend their province the Romans stationed their legions in Britain. Straight roads were built so that the legions might march quickly. Whenever they were needed, to any part of the country. These roads were made of several layers of stones, lime, mortar and gravel. They were made so well that they lasted a long time and still exist today. Thomas Hardy dedicated his poem to Roman roads. Here is the beginning.

THE ROMAN ROAD

The Roman road runs straight and bare

As the pale parting line in hair

Across the health. And thoughtful men

Contrast its days of now and then,

And delve, and measure, and compare,

Visioning on the vacant air

Helmed legionaries who proudly rear
The eagle as they pace again the Roman road...

One of the roads has a name "KATLING STREET". It is a great Roman road extending east and west across Britain. Beginning at Dover, it ran through Canterbury to London, thence through St.Albans, Dunstable, along the boundary of Leicester and Warwick to Wroxeter on the Severn. The origin of the name is not known and there are several other sections of the road so called. In the late 9th century it became the boundary between English and Danish territory.

To guard their province against the Picts and Scots who lived in the hills of Scotland the Romans built a high wall, a military barrier seventy-three miles long. It was called "Hadrian's Wall" because it was built by command of the Emperor Hadrian. Long stretches of "HADRIAN'S WALL" have remained to this day.

In the capital of Britain you can see the fragments of the old London wall built by the Romans.

What really happened in AD 61? In AD 61 the king of the Celtic tribe Iceni died. Before he died he had named Roman Emperor Nero as his heir. He hoped that this would put his family and kingdom under the Emperor's protection. But the result was the exact opposite of his hopes. His kingdom was plundered by centurions, his private property was taken away, his widow Boadicea was flogged, his daughters were deprived of any rights, his relatives were turned into slaves. Boadicea's tribe rose to rebellion. Boadicea stood at the head of a numerous army. More than 70,000 Romans were killed during the revolt. But the Britons had little chance against an experienced, well-armed Roman army. The rising was crushed, Boadicea took poison to avoid capture.

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