Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 600 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHRONOLOGICAL NOMENCLATURE, LITERARY DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEADING DIALECTS. Divisions. Subdivisions. Dates. Northern English. Midland English. Southern E n g l i s h. to O 500 • Ctedmon, 66o. p C7 O 600 Bella, 734. (Charter Glosses), 679-770. Z 700 Leiden Riddle. (CharterGlosses),736-800. (Charter Glosses),692-780. e-1 EARLY OLD ENGLISH. Cynewulf, c. 750. Beowulf (?) (Laws of Ire, 700). O V 860 . Charters, Soy-840. -°---... ° p t (Charter Glosses), 805-. Lorica Prayer. 900 a t 7 Vespasian Ps., c. 825. Charter, 847. Psalm 50, C. 86o. TYPICAL OLD ENGLISH, Charters, 836-84o. Alfred, 885. Or •, '< Judith, 900-910. ANGLO-SAXON. Lorica Glosses. Poems in O. E. Chron., a G 937-979• Durham Glosses, 950-975. g Battle of Maldon, 993• LindisfarneGospel Gloss. ' Rushwarth Gloss, St. Matthew, ? 975-1000. I000---; N iElfric, x000. LATE OLD ENGLISH P Wulfstan, lox 6. and OLD ENGLISH 1100 Peterborough Chronicle, O. E. Chron., Parker MS. TRANSITION. 1123-31. ends, 1070. r~i 5 Chronicle, 1154. N Colton Homilies, 116o. ' Hat/anGospels, 1170. EARLY MIDDLE ENGLISH .1200 v e n Layamon, 1203. m Z a. Ormulum, xsoo. g' a .+-i Ul M Ancren Riwle, N 1220. o 1250-- g Genesisb'Exodus, c.1250. C a Kentish Sermons, 1250. ,.a •}, o • Procl.of Henry III., 1258. ~, C7 u Cursor Mundi (?). a,Harrowing of Hell, xa80. P. Z C 1300 Bs Ps Robt. Gloucester, 13oo. W MIDDLE ENGLISH - Robt. of Brume, 1303-30. Shoreham, 1320. (typical). Ayenbite, 1340. Q ; Ham le, 1350. - Pearl, Sir C¢wa a Po ~. yne. y Barbour, 1375. Wycliffe. • Q O Chaucer, Gower. Trevisa, 1387. ,~ 140o- m Mandeville(Northern vet- . LATE MIDDLE ENGLISH Wyntoun, 1420. [sion). Lydgate. and MIDDLE ENGLISH Townley Mysteries. TRANSITION. Henryson, 1470. Caxton, 14 7-90. 1485 Dunbar, 1500-. tn .-. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH L ndesa Tyndal, 1525• i Cornishman in A. Boorde, (in sir. T. More.) (Tudor English). ? y y 5 161 I - 0 Archbp. Hamilton, 1552. 1547. r h] Homilies, 1547-63. Gammer Gurton, 1575. C . (Edgar in Lear, 16o5.) James VI., 1590. tie ea: (in Ben Janson.) 5. Montgomery, c. 1600. 7 Shakspere, 1590-1613. n Kentish Wooing Song, .. 1611. Somersetsh. Man's Com- playnt, C. 1645. King James's Bible, 1611. Sir W. Mure, 1617-57. co", Milton, 1626-71. 7 TRANSITIONAL MODERN, or ,•~ m 17TH CENTURY ENGLISH. YorkshireDialogue, 1673. 2 1689...7 Dryden, 1663-1700: ....................................... • -N airne, Ken/ash Tales, z a Addison, x71 1700. W Allan Ramsay, 1717. Johnson, 7 i Z ti 5750. Exmoor Scolding, 1746. o 8 C W/•~ CURRENT ENGLISH. 1800 ''• I-~I Burns, 1790. i--1 Q ~. o Coleridge, ISoS. Dick and Sal, 1821. Scott, 1815• ?7 Macaulay, 1825. Barnes, 1844. Tennyson, 183o. a 7 1900 h1 Ian Maclaren, Barrie, Elworthy, 1875-88. Is Crockett, etc. U The vertical lines represent the f our leading forms of English-Northern, Midland, Southern, and Kentish-and the names occurring down the course of each are those of writers and works in that form of English at the given date. The thickness of the line shows the comparative literary position of this form of speech at the time : thick indicating a literary language ; medium, a literary dialect ; thin, a popular dialect or patois ; a dotted line shows that this period is unrepresented by specimens. The horizontal lines divide the periods; these (after the first two) refer mainly to the Midland English ; in inflectional decay the Northern English was at least a century in advance of the Midland, and the Southern nearly as much behind it. it will be found that some of the lines of each intersect some of the lines of the other, and that the passing of one dialect into another is not effected by the formation of intermediate or blended forms of any one characteristic, but by the overlapping or intersecting of more or fewer of the features of each. Thus a definite border village or district may use to of the 20 features of dialect A and to of those of B, while a village on the one side has 12 of those of A with 8 of those of B, and one on the other side has 7 of those of A with 13 of those of B. Hence a dialect boundary line can at best indicate the line within which the dialect has, on the whole, more of the features of A than of B or C; and usually no single line can be drawn as a dialect boundary, but that without it there are some features of the same dialect, and within it some features of the contiguous dialects. Beyond the limits of the British Isles, English is the language of extensive regions, now or formerly colonies. In all these countries the presence of numerous new objects and new conditions of life has led to the supplementing of the vocabulary by the adoption of words from native languages, and special adaptation and extension of-the sense of English words. The use of a common literature, however, prevents the overgrowth of these local peculiarities, and also makes them more or less familiar to Englishmen at home. It is only in the older states of the American Union that anything like a local dialect has been produced; and even there many of the so-called Americanisms are quite as much archaic English forms which have been lost or have become dialectal in England as developments of the American soil. The steps by which English, from being the language of a few thousand invaders along the eastern and southern seaboard of Britain, has been diffused by conquest and colonization over its present area form a subject too large for the limits of this article. It need only be remarked that within the confines of Britain itself the process is not yet complete. Representatives of earlier languages survive in Wales and the Scottish Highlands, though in neither case can the substitution of English be very remote. In Ireland, where English was introduced by conquest much later, Irish is still spoken in patches all over the country; though English is understood, and probably spoken after a fashion, almost everywhere. At opposite extremities of Britain, the Cornish of Cornwall and the Norse dialects of Orkney and Shetland died out very gradually in the course of the 18th century. The Manx, or Celtic of Man, is even now in the last stage of dissolution; and in the Channel Isles the Norman patois of Jersey and Guernsey have largely yielded to English. The table on p. 599 (a revision of that brought before the Philological Society in Jan. 1876) graphically presents the chronological and dialectal development of English. Various names have been proposed for the different stages; it seems only necessary to add to those in the table the descriptive names of Dr Abbott, who has proposed (How to Parse, p. 298) to call the Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, the " Synthetical or Inflexional Period "; the Old English Transition (Late ,Anglo-Saxon of Dr Skeat), the " Period of Confusion "; the Early Middle English, " Analytical Period " (1250-1350); the normal Middle English, " National Period" (1350-1500); the Tudor English, "Period of Licence "; and the Modern English, " Period of Settlement." Grammar, by the same (London, 1874) ; The Sources of Standard English, by T. L. Kington Oliphant, M. A. (London, 1873) ; Modern English, by F. Hall (London, 1873) ; A Shakespearian Grammar, by E. A. Abbott, D.D. (London, 1872) ; How to Parse, by the same (London, 1875) ; Early English Pronunciation, &c., by A. J. Ellis (London, 1869) ; The History of English Sounds, by Henry Sweet (London, 1874, 2nd ed. 1888); as well as many separate papers by various authors in the Transactions of the Philological Society, and the publications of the Early English Text Society. Among more recent works are: M. Kaluza, Historische Grammatik der englischen Sprache (Berlin, 1890) ; Professor W. W. Skeat, Principles of English Etymology (Oxford, 1887–1891); Johan Storm, Englische Philologie (Leipzig, 1892–1896) ; L. Kellner, Historical Outlines of English Syntax (London, 1892) ; O. F. Emerson, History of the English Language (London and New York, 1894) ; Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, with special reference to English (London, 1894) ; Lorenz Morsbach, Mittelenglische Grammatik, part i. (Halle, 1896) ; Paul, " Geschichte der englischen Sprache," in Grundriss der german. Philologie (Strassburg, 1898) ; Eduard Sievers, Angelsachsische Grammatik (3rd ed., Halle, 1898) ; Eng. transl. of same (2nd ed.), by A. S. Cook (Boston, 1887) ; K. D. Bulbring, Altenglisches Elementarbuch (Heidelberg, 19(32); Greenough and Kittredge, Words and their Ways in English Speech (London and New York, 1902) ; Henry Bradley, The Making of English (London, 1904). Numerous contributions to the subject have also been made in Englische Studien (ed. Kolbing, later Hoops; Leipzig, 1877 onward); Anglia (ed. Wiilker, Flugel, &c.; Halle, 1878 onward); publications of Mod. Lang. Assoc. of America (J. W. Bright ; Baltimore, 1884 on-ward), and A. M. Elliott, Modern Language Notes (Baltimore, 1886 onward). (J. A. H. M.; H. M. R. M.)

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