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History of English

In: English and Literature

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Lecture ( 4 ) The Formation of the National Literary English language

1. Some effects of the Renaissance. The introduction of printing and the fixation of the written standard.

2. Growth of Literature in the Early English Language.

3. The formation of the spoken standard.

4. New sources of information about Language History in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

The formation of the national English language, or Standard English, is considered to date from the period between the 15th and the 17th centuries. After that time the language continued to change, so one can speak of the evolution of Standard English instead of tracing the similar or different trends in the history of its dialects.

We must mention at least two of the external factors that led to this development: the unification of the country and the progress of culture. Other historical events, such as the increased foreign contacts, produced a more specific kind of influence on the language: they affected the wordstock.

The changes in the economic and social conditions were accompanied by the intermixture of people coming from different regions, the growth of towns with a mixed population, and the strengthening of social ties between the various regions. All these processes played an important role in the unification of the English language.

All over the world the victory of capitalism over feudalism was linked up with the consolidation of people into nations and the unification of the regional dialects into a nation language or rather the formation of a superdialect form of language used as a standard form of speech by the nation.

These conditions were formed in Britain in the 15th and 16th centuries. England needed a uniform standard language, for linguistic disunity stood in the way of further progress. The making of the English nation went hand in…...

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