Click PLAY to watch the lecture.  Alternatively, you may view or download it from Google Video.                   



Scroll down to see the visual aids discussed in this lecture.


This lecture traces the evolution of the English language by focusing on political and cultural events in Europe (and, particularly, in the British Isles) from 500 BC to the present. The talk covers basic facts about the Indo-European family of languages; the Celtic migrations at the dawn of history; the insinuation of Roman culture during the late Republic and early Empire; the invasions of Germanic speakers from Denmark which brought Old English to Britain; the Viking invasions; the Norman invasion which initiated the evolution to Middle English; and cultural circumstances which affected the language in the Middle Ages. We discuss Grimm's Law and other linguistic features characteristic of Germanic languages.  

In addition to the general historical and linguistic commentary, we discuss Julius Caesar, the Emperor Claudius, Boudicca, Artemesia of Caria, Tomyris, Tacitus, Constantine I, Charles II of France, Hrolf the Walker, Harold II, William the Conqueror, King John of England, and Geoffrey Chaucer.



Below are the visual aids discussed in Symposion a.
English Family Tree

______________________________________________________________________

Map

______________________________________________________________________

 

INDO-EUROPEAN COGNATES

English

Sanskrit

Avestan

Greek

Latin

Gothic

father

pita

 

patêr

pater

fadar

foot

padam

 

poda

pedem

fotu

brother

bhratar

 

phrater

frater

broþar

bear = I carry

bharami

barami

phero

fero

baira

quick = living

jivah

jivo

 

vivus

qius

were(wolf) = man

virah

viro

 

vir

wair

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

THE EVOLUTION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER (OUR FATHER)

Old English 

Fæder ure þuþe eart on heofonum 

si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on                     

            heofonum 

urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg 
and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum 
and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice.

(c. 1000)

 

NOTE: þ and ð = th

 

 

Middle English

Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name; 
þi reume or kyngdom come to be. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. 
yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. 
And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to

            men þat han synned in us. 

And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl.

(1384)

 

 

Elizabethan/Early Modern English 

Our father which art in heauen, hallowed be thy name. 
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. 
Giue us this day our daily bread. 
And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. 
And lead us not into temptation, but deliuer us from euill. Amen.

(1611)

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

A CHRONOLOGY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

55 BC

Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar

43 AD

Roman invasion and occupation under Emperor Claudius. Beginning of Roman rule of Britain

436

Roman withdrawal from Britain complete

449

Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain begins

450-480

Earliest Old English inscriptions date from this period

597

St. Augustine arrives in Britain. Beginning of Christian conversion of the Anglo-Saxons

731

The Venerable Bede publishes The Ecclesiastical History of the English People in Latin

793

Viking raids and settlements begin

865

The Danes occupy Northumbria

871

Alfred becomes king of Wessex. He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun

911

Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. The beginning of Norman French

c.1000

The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period

1066

The Norman conquest

c.1150

The oldest surviving manuscripts in Middle English date from this period

1204

King John loses the province of Normandy to France

1348

English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools, other than Oxford and Cambridge which retain Latin

1349-50

The Black Death kills one third of the British population

1362

The Statute of Pleading replaces French with English as the language of law. Records continue to be kept in Latin. English is used in Parliament for the first time

1384

Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible

c.1388

Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales

c.1400

The Great Vowel Shift begins

1476

William Caxton establishes the first English printing press

1525

William Tyndale translates the New Testament

1549

First version of The Book of Common Prayer

1564

Shakespeare born

1604

Robert Cawdrey publishes the first English dictionary, Table Alphabeticall

1611

The Authorized, or King James Version, of the Bible is published

1616

Death of Shakespeare

1623

Shakespeare's First Folio is published

1702

Publication of the first daily, English-language newspaper, The Daily Courant, in London

1755

Samuel Johnson publishes his dictionary

1828

Noah Webster publishes his dictionary

1928

The Oxford English Dictionary is published