Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 34

Modern English

The Modern-English Period is dated

from A.D. 1500 to the Present

The Modern English period began in 1500
and lasts until the present day.

The complex inflectional system of Old

English had been simplified during the ME

Modern English is often called the period

of lost inflections.

Invention of the Printing
The invention of the printing press expanded
education, communications, and the awareness of
social problems which resulted in new universal
knowledge and interests.
The invention of the printing press also marked the
division from Old English to Modern English as books
became more widespread and literacy increased.
Soon publishing became a marketable occupation
and books written in English were often more
popular than books in Latin.
The printing press also served to standardize

The written and spoken language of London
already influenced the entire country, and
with the influence of the printing press,
London English soon began to dominate.

Indeed, London standard became widely

accepted, especially in more formal context.

Soon English spelling and grammar were fixed

and the first English dictionary was
published in 1604.

Development from Middle
 The change from Middle English to Early Modern
English was not just a matter of vocabulary or
pronunciation changing: it was the beginning of a new
era in the history of English.

 An era of linguistic change in a language with large

variations in dialect was replaced by a new era of a
more standardized language with a richer lexicon and
an established (and lasting) literature.

 Shakespeare’s plays are familiar and comprehensible

today, 400 years after they were written, but the works
of Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland, written only
200 years earlier, are considerably more difficult for
the average reader.

The Renaissance, 1500-1650

The next wave of innovation
in English came with the

 The revival of classical

scholarship brought
many classical Latin
and Greek words into
the Language.
character Holofernes
 These borrowings were in Loves Labor Lost is
deliberate and many a satire of an over
bemoaned the adoption enthusiastic
of these "inkhorn" schoolmaster who is
terms, but many
survive to this day. too fond of Latinisms.

Early Modern
 The Renaissance brought with it
widespread innovation in the English

 The rediscovery of classical scholarship

created an influx of classical Latin and
Greek words into the language.

 While Latin and Greek borrowings

diversified the language, some
scholars adopted Latin terms
awkwardly and excessively, leading to
the derogatory term “inkhorn.”

 It was from the beginning a term of
"gentlemanly abuse", referring to words which
were being used by scholarly writers but which
were unknown or uncommon in ordinary

 The word derives from the then standard name

for the container in which ink was stored,
originally made from a real horn; later, when
this term had itself become obsolete, it was
sometimes rendered as "inkpot term".

Inkhorn Terms
 A great invasion of  The phrase “inkhorn
England was accomplished
term” came into
by Greek and Latin words
which have become a English in the early
permanent part of the to middle sixteenth
English language. Some century, with the
English "purists" called
first attested usage
this classical invasion
"Inkhorn Terms". dating from 1543
 In fact, some of them and referred to
strongly expressed: "Down "invented words"
with inkhorn terms, up almost exclusively
with good old Anglo-Saxon
from classical Latin
and Greek origins

The Renaissance
 The Renaissance was a
revival of classical
literature; the purifying
of Latin diction and
grammar, the revival of
Greek, and a return
from Middle Age
compilation to the old
classical texts.
 Italian humanists from
1393 onward went to
Constantinople to learn
Greek and brought
Greek manuscripts
back with them.

 Many students having difficulty understanding
Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in
"modern English

 Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first

recorded by Shakespeare, some 2,000 words and
countless catch-phrases are his.

Two other major factors influenced the
language and served to separate Middle
and Modern English

The first was the Great Vowel Shift.

This was a change in pronunciation that began

around 1400.

In the fifteenth century, the Great Vowel Shift--a

series of changes in English pronunciation--further
changed the English language.

These purely linguistic sound changes moved the

spoken language away from the so-called “pure”
vowel sounds which still characterize many
Continental languages today.

Great Vowel Shift
An important phonological change of
English vowels took place between 1450
and 1650, when all long vowels changed
their quality to a great extent.

This development is called the Great

English Vowel Shift.

Great Vowel Shift
 Each long vowel came to be pronounced with a
greater elevation of the tongue and closing of the

 Those vowels that could be raised were raised and

those that could not be raised became diphtongs.

 Diphtongs are sounds where two vowels are

pronounced after another so closely that they
become one acoustic phenomenon, like in
German "Eule" or "Auto". "Raising" here refers to
the position of the tongue in the mouth.

While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with
some difficulty, Chaucer's pronunciation would have
been completely unintelligible to the modern ear.

Shakespeare, on the other hand, would be accented,

but understandable.

Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the

mouth and the letter "e" at the end of words became

Chaucer's Lyf (pronounced "leef") became the modern


In Middle English "name" was pronounced
nam-a, "five" was pronounced feef, and
"down" was pronounced doon.

In linguistic terms, the shift was rather sudden,

the major changes occurring within a century.

The shift is still not over, however, vowel

sounds are still shortening although the
change has become considerably more

Great Vowel Shift
This movement is
commonly illustrated
with the help of the
following graphic,
which shows where the
vowels are produced in
the mouth.
The top left corner, for
example, corresponds
to the upper front
space in the mouth,
where the tongue
moves when you
pronounce the i.

 Consequently, the
phonetic pairings of
most long and short The Great Vowel
vowel sounds were Shift was rather
lost, resulting in the sudden and the
oddities of English major changes
pronunciation and occurred within a
obscuring the century, though the
relationship of many shift is still in
English words and process and vowel
their foreign roots. sounds are still
shortening, albeit
much more
The Great Vowel Shift
The causes of the shift are highly debated.

Some scholars argue that such a shift

occurred due to the “massive intake of
Romance loanwords so that English vowels
started to sound more like French loanwords.

Other scholars suggest it was the loss of

inflectional morphology that started the
shift” (Bragg 2003).

Development to Modern
 The 17th century was a time of political and social
upheaval in England, particularly the period from
about 1640 to 1660.

 The increase in trade around the world meant that the

English port towns (and their forms of speech) would
have gained in influence over the old county towns.

 England experienced a new period of internal peace

and relative stability, encouraging the arts including
literature, from around the 1690s onwards.

 Another important episode in the development of the

English language started around 1607: the British
settlement of America. By 1750 a distinct American
dialect of English had developed.

The second was the Renaissance which
resulted in a demand for translations of
Greek and Latin literature.

The translators could not find sufficient

words in English to express the deeper
literary and philosophical concepts of the
classical writers.

Late-Modern English

The pronunciation, grammar, and spelling

of Late-Modern English are essentially the
same as Early-Modern English, but Late-
Modern English has significantly more
words due to several factors.

First, discoveries during the scientific and
industrial revolutions created a need for a
new vocabulary.

Scholars drew on Latin and Greek words to

create new words such as “oxygen,”
“nuclear,” and “protein.”

Scientific and technological discoveries are
still ongoing and neologisms continue to
this day, especially in the field of
electronics and computers.

Just as the printing press revolutionized
both spoken and written English, the new
language of technology and the Internet
places English in a transition period
between Modern and Postmodern.

Second, the English language has always
been a colonizing force.

During the medieval and early modern

periods, the influence of English quickly
spread throughout Britain, and from the
beginning of the seventeenth century on,
English began to spread throughout the

Britain’s maritime empire and military
influence on language (especially after
WWII) has consequently been significant.

Britain’s complex colonization, exploration,

and overseas trade both imported loanwords
from all over the world (such as “shampoo,”
“pajamas,” and “yogurt”) and also led to the
development of new varieties of English,
each with its own nuances of vocabulary,
grammar, and pronunciation.

Significantly, one of England’s colonies,
America, created what is known as
American English and, in some respects,
American English is closer to the English of
Shakespeare than the modern Standard
British English(or the modern Queen’s
English) because many Americanisms are
originally British expressions that were
preserved in the colonies while lost at
home (e.g., “trash” for “rubbish”).

Global English
Recently, English has become a lingua franca,
a global language that is regularly used and
understood by many countries where English
is not the first/native language.

In fact, when Pope John Paul II went to the

Middle East to retrace Christ’s footsteps and
addressed Christians, Muslims, and Jews, the
Pope didn’t speak Arabic, Italian, Hebrew, or
his native Polish; instead, he spoke in English.

In fact, English is used in over 90 countries,
and it is the working language of the Asian
trade group ASEAN and of 98 percent of
international research physicists and chemists.

It is also the language of computing,

international communication, diplomacy, and

Over one billion people worldwide are

currently learning English, making it
unarguably a global language.

 According to the Ethnologue, there are over 508 million
speakers of English as a first or second language as of 1999, a
number dwarfed only by the Chinese language in terms of the
number of speakers.

 However, Chinese has a smaller geographical range and is

spoken primarily in mainland China and Taiwan and also by a
sizable immigrant community in North America.

 In contrast, English is spoken in a vast number of territories

including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, the United
States of America, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and
Southern Africa.

 Its large number of speakers, plus its worldwide presence,

have made English a common language for use in such diverse
applications as controlling airplanes, developing software,
conducting international diplomacy, and business relations.

The End!!!