Part One – Explain the meaning of the following terms, using examples from the U211 materials and any relevant examples of your own.

Inflection is the process of changing a word so that it denotes a specific grammatical function. This is normally the ending of words, and this is used to express a tense or mood such as the past tense. An example of this can be found in the story of Caedmon from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The use of ‘sing’ is changed by the word ending ‘an’ to create a new word ‘singan’, this is used to indicate the preposition ‘to’.This changes the meaning of the word from something that is being named, the act singing to identifying that Caedmon is unable to create the act being described. Inflections can be found in modern English to describe current and past tenses, i. e. , walking (present tense), walked (past tense).

English Planning is the process of controlling the use of a language so that it is the main national language for a country using government policy. The standardising process has four stages to it, Selection, Elaboration, codification and Implementation.The selection of a language is required to form a base for the standardisation, an accepted norm that everyone could use. The variety of language that was selected was normally from those social circles that were deemed influential or powerful. The process of elaboration was to ensure the use of this standardised language could be used by many functions such as science, government and education. There was then a need to codify this language usage with the use of grammars and dictionaries to find what was the correct use of grammar and vocabulary.

As Haugen stated the aim of a standardised language was ‘minimal variation in form, maximum variation in function’ (Haugen, 1972, p. 107). Part Two – In describing the history of the English Language, two kinds of evidence are used: the linguistic history (internal evidence) and the non-linguistic history (external evidence). Use examples to discuss the role of these two kinds of evidence in the development of the English Language. External evidence provides us with information about the historical account of the language.It also gives us information about the people who spoke the language and what circumstances effected the development of the language. External evidence takes the form of historical accounts, archaeological sites and scientific research.

External language can be problematic as there may not be much evidence available and are interpretation of that evidence may be coloured by the writer and their motivations for writing. If we look at Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which is an example of external evidence.This document was written over 300 years after the Angles came to Britain and in this Bede states that these foreigners made up three separate tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. Each of these tribes had their own distinct dialects that they brought with them from mainland Europe. This is something that has been challenged by scholars and Davd Decamp states’ ‘the origins of the English dialects lie not in pre-migrational tribal affiliations but in certain social, economic and cultural developments that occurred after migration was completed’ (DeCamp, 1958, p.

232). ) When looking at the external evidence, we also need to take into account the reasons the documents were originally written and who they were written by as this may impact on the evidence itself. Bede indicates that when the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain, they forced the existing Romano to the outskirts of Britain.

Again this view can be contradicted by other external evidence in the way of genetics ‘.


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