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MLA
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Literature & Language
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English (U.S.)
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History of the English Language Research Assignment (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

you will prepare a 2,000-word (eight-pages, double-spaced, in Times Roman 12) about the value of studying the history of the English language.
you will discuss each of the forms of English we have studied: Old English, Middle English, Modern English, and Global English, focusing on the following:
What are the most important features of each form of English?
How does the literature of each of these forms illuminate our understanding of that form?
What does the study of the history of the English Language teach us about that is relevant to contemporary life and to that specific audience? Why is it important that we understand this history?
Organization: Your presentation should make a specific argument about the history of the English language (perhaps based on item #3 above) and should use both primary (such as the texts we’ve read) and secondary sources (books and articles) to support this argument. Be sure to state a clear thesis at the end of your introductory paragraph.
Graphics: Include at least one graphic, citing it appropriately.
All the sources must be of scholarly journals and be submitted in a works cited page in alphabetical order.

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History of the English Language
In attempting to understand any subject, it is critical to understand its history. An understanding of the subject requires an empirical examination of its roots. Questions are asked, and the answers to them critically examined. Often, the answers to these questions bring forth even more questions. In the process, of finding the answers we begin to unearth the history of a given subject. Thus, in our search for understanding of the history of the English language, we must determine its roots. The path that the language has taken prior to emerging as a global language utilised by billions of people. The paper, therefore, will look at the different forms of the English language. These include; Old English, Middle English, Modern English, and Global EnglishCITATION Ray05 \p 54 \l 1033 (Hickey 54). The paper in its dissection of these forms of the English language will concentrate on the following sub-topics. The most important feature in a particular form of language and literature contains its impact on our understanding of that form and other features. The paper, therefore, will examine the different forms of English with the aim of making a critical examination of their relevance to the modern age and to the specific audience of the time. The paper will attempt to determine if there is a correlation between the study of the history of language and any importance to humanity.
Old English
This form of English is the earliest form of English in recorded history. It was largely utilised by the Anglo-Saxons and had a heavy influence from Germanic tribesCITATION Rin14 \p 113 \l 1033 (Ringe and Taylor 113). As such, the language was similar to the German language. Inscriptions in the language were written using the runic system where the characters were referred to as futhorc. The Anglo-Saxon invasion of England and Scotland was instrumental in establishing Old English as the language of choice. It replaced Latin and Common Brittonic as the languages in use at the timeCITATION Ray05 \p 54 \l 1033 (Hickey 54).
Key features of Old English include; the phonology of Old English was such that the pronunciation of the language and writing were similar to a large extent. The diphthongs in Old English consisted of two short and long diphthongs that made up the sound. The language had a low level of arbitrariness due to the connection between the spoken language and written language. Old English was also a synthetic language typeCITATION Tim10 \p 231 \l 1033 (Timofeeva 231). This fact owing from its syntax where the grammatical properties of a word were expressed via its inflectional endingsCITATION Rin14 \p 114 \l 1033 (Ringe and Taylor 114). Old English was also transferrable in that non-native speakers who could learn to speak it frequently. Old English nouns had a component of gender similar to modern day French. As such, a noun was either masculine, feminine or neutralCITATION Rin14 \p 113 \l 1033 (Ringe and Taylor 113).
The literature in old English enables us to appreciate the communicative ability of the language. It enables us to see how the language was utilized to achieve its main purpose of communication. An analysis of literature in Old English allows us to appreciate the Morphology and Orthography of the language. We can understand their use of prose and to an extent, the nature of the people that used the language. An example of literature in Old English is the poem "Beowulf;CITATION Tim10 \p 232 \l 1033 (Timofeeva 232).
Middle English
This form of language followed immediately after Old English as a result of the Norman Conquest of the English Countries. Its utility lasted until the 15th century. Its writing customs were based on the Chancery standard. The period resulted in a dramatic decline in Middle English Literature. French a...
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