Discussion:
Transition between Old English and Middle English
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s***@gmail.com
2017-06-01 04:24:50 UTC
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How clear is the evidence detailing the transition between Old English and Middle English? Are there on-line texts showing the language during this transition?
DKleinecke
2017-06-01 16:27:38 UTC
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Post by s***@gmail.com
How clear is the evidence detailing the transition between Old English and Middle English? Are there on-line texts showing the language during this transition?
As I understand the situation there is no transition in
the usual sense of transition. But in part it is a matter
of nomenclature. Old English is usually used in the sense
of the Wessex dialect and that dialect stopped being used
about the time of William the Conqueror. Middle English
descends from other poorly documented dialects that were
spoken in England at the same time as "Old English".
b***@ihug.co.nz
2017-06-01 23:29:21 UTC
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Post by s***@gmail.com
How clear is the evidence detailing the transition between Old English and Middle English? Are there on-line texts showing the language during this transition?
Many Middle English texts are available online, e.g. at:

http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text-online
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/
http://faculty.winthrop.edu/kosterj/archives/LitClasses/midengres.htm

There's a period of a century or two after the Conquest when not much
was written in English,though the Peterborough Chronicle continued until
the mid-1100s. After about 1200 things get more interesting.

Various theories have been put forward to explain what some see as an
"abrupt" change from OE to ME, including English-French creolization.
Hildegard Tristram (what a great name) has argued that the apparent
abruptness results from a sociolinguistic shift. The structural changes
were underway in OE, but masked by a conservative literary dialect.
Post-1066, lower-class innovative varieties became the new norm.

I'm not a specialist in the history of English, but every time I dip into
it, I learn something interesting.
Yusuf B Gursey
2017-06-02 10:14:02 UTC
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On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 2:29:25 AM UTC+3, ***@ihug.co.nz wrote:

Middle English is thought to descend in areas under or near Danish rule. One theory has it that the vocabulary was similar to Old Norse but the inflections made mutual intelligibility more difficult. Doing away with them in communication with the Danes led to their being dropped as a regular feature later. Old English texts came from independent Wessex which used a conservative idom for writting.
Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Post by s***@gmail.com
How clear is the evidence detailing the transition between Old English and Middle English? Are there on-line texts showing the language during this transition?
http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text-online
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/
http://faculty.winthrop.edu/kosterj/archives/LitClasses/midengres.htm
There's a period of a century or two after the Conquest when not much
was written in English,though the Peterborough Chronicle continued until
the mid-1100s. After about 1200 things get more interesting.
Various theories have been put forward to explain what some see as an
"abrupt" change from OE to ME, including English-French creolization.
Hildegard Tristram (what a great name) has argued that the apparent
abruptness results from a sociolinguistic shift. The structural changes
were underway in OE, but masked by a conservative literary dialect.
Post-1066, lower-class innovative varieties became the new norm.
I'm not a specialist in the history of English, but every time I dip into
it, I learn something interesting.
Christian Weisgerber
2017-06-02 14:33:44 UTC
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Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Hildegard Tristram (what a great name) has argued that the apparent
abruptness results from a sociolinguistic shift. The structural changes
were underway in OE, but masked by a conservative literary dialect.
Post-1066, lower-class innovative varieties became the new norm.
It's not all that different from the Romance languages, is it?

(Except that in England the abandonment of the old literary standard
and the emergence of a new one can be tied to a specific historical
event.)

People kept writing in their best approximation of Classical Latin,
pretending that this was the same language as the increasingly
divergent spoken vernacular. Eventually this fiction became untenable
and when the dam broke, the Romance languages popped up nearly out
of nowhere. Much of their development has to be inferred and pieced
together from subtle clues.

For the development of French, everybody refers to the same three
meagre sources:
* Reichenau Glosses (8th century)
* Oaths of Strasbourg (842)
* Sequence of Saint Eulalia (~880)
Then in the 11th century people suddenly started writing a lot in
Old French.
--
Christian "naddy" Weisgerber ***@mips.inka.de
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