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Old English Dialects

Kingdom Kent Wessex Mercia Northumbria
Dialect Kentish West Saxon Mercian Northumbrian
Spoken in Kent, Surrey, the Isle of Wight along the Thames and the Bristol Channel between the Thames and the Humber between the Humber and the Forth
Origin from the tongues of Jutes/ Frisians a Saxon dialect a dialect of north Angles a dialect of south Angles
Remarks   9th c. Wessex was the centre of the English culture and politics. West Saxon the bookish type of language (Alfred the Great the patron of culture and learning)   8th c. Northumbria was the centre of the English culture

The most important was the WEST SAXON DIALECT.

In the 8th 9th c. Britain was raided and attacked by the Scandinavians/Vikings.And as soon as the Scandinavian dialects also belonged to the Germanic group, the Danes soon linguistically merged into the local Old English dialects leaving some Scandinavian elements in them.

After the Norman Conquest:

Frenchbecame the official language of administration. It was also used as a language of writing and teaching as well as Latin.

Englishwas the language of common people in the Midlands and in the north of England.

Celtic Dialects were still used by the Celtic population in the remote areas of the country.

Actually, during the presence of the Normans the country experienced the period of bilingualism (French and English were both used in the country).

The Norman and the English drew together in the course of time and intermixed. French lost its popularity due to the fact that it was not the language of the majority and could not be used to communicate with local people. English regained its leading position with time and became accepted as the official language. The proofs are:

The Parliamentary Proclamation of 1258 in French, Latin and English.

In the 14th 15th c. legal documents started to be issued in English.

1364 Parliament was opened with an address in English.

1399 Henry the 4th accepted the throne and made a speech in English.

Translations of the documents written in French into English.

Thus in the 14th c. English becomes the language of literature and administration.

Middle English Dialects

OE Dialects Kentish West Saxon Mercian Northumbrian
  ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
ME Dialects Kentish Dialect South-Western Dialects Midland Dialects Northern Dialects
Examples - East Saxon Dialect London Dialect Gloucester Dialect West Midland Dialect East Midland Dialect Yorkshire Dialect Lancashire Dialect
           

The most important dialect in the Middle English period was the LONDON DIALECT.

London Dialect

In the 12th -13th c.the London Dialect became the literary language and the standard,both in written and spoken form. The reasons why this happened:



The capital of the country was transferred from Winchester, Wesses, to London

The East Saxon Dialect (the basis of the London Dialect) became prominent in that period.

Most authors of the Middle English period used the London Dialect in their works.

Features of the London Dialect:

The basis of the London Dialect was the East Saxon Dialect

The East Saxon Dialect mixed with the East Midland Dialect and formed the London Dialect.

Thus the London Dialect became more Anglican than Saxon in character à The London Dialect is an Anglican dialect.


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1197


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Norman Conquest and its effect on English | The formation of the national E language. The London dialect.
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