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История английского языка

  1. Old Enlgish lexical system

Native Words Most Old English words are native. They are of three types:

  1. Words of common Indo-European stock (origin):

  1. nouns: faeder (father), modor (mother, мати), nama (name, ім”я), tun3e (tongue), fot (foot), niht (night, ніч), heorte (heart)

  2. adjectives: neowe (new, новий), 3eon3 (young, юнак), riht (right), lon3 (long)

  3. verbs: sittan (sit, сидіти), lic3an (lie, лежати), beran (bear), teran (tear)

  1. Words of common Germanic stock (origin). They can be met in Germanic languages only:

  1. nouns: eorpe (earth), land (land), sae (sea), heall (hall), sand (sand), earm (arm)

  2. adjectives: earm (poor), eald (old), ceald (cold)

  3. verbs: bindan (bind), findan (find), sin3an (sing), steorfan (die), slaepan (sleep)

  1. Words which can be met in English only. On Old English such words were not numerous:OE clipian –MnE to call; MnE lady, lord.

Ways of Word-Building

In Old English there were such ways of word-building.

  1. Morphological

  1. affixation

  2. compounding

  1. Syntactical (the development of new words from syntactic complexes)

  2. Semantic (the use of old words with a different meaning) Borrowings in Old English were scarce. The main sources of them were Latin and Celtic languages.

2.Phonetic processes in Middle English (system of consonants)

English consonants were on the whole far more stable than vowels. A large number of consonants have probably remained unchanged through all historical periods. Thus we can assume that the sonorants [m, n, l], plosives [p, b, t, d] and also [k, g] in most positions have not been subjected to any noticeable changes. The most important developments in the history of English consonants were the growth of new sets of sounds, - affricates and sibilants.

Growth of sibilants and affricates (see table)

In OE there were no affricates and no sibilants, except [s, z]. the new type of consonants developed from OE palatal plosives [k’, g’], which had split from the corresponding velar plosives [k] and [g], and also from the consonant cluster [sk’]. The three new phonemes which arose from these sources were [t∫], [dз] and [∫]. In Early ME they began to be indicated by special letters and digraphs, which came into use mainly under the influence of the French scribal tradition – ch, tch, g, dg, sh, ssh, sch. As a result of these changes – and also as a result of the vocalization of [γ] – the consonant system in Late ME was in some respects different from the OE system.

phonetic changes in Modern English


  • a: – ei name [namэ ] – name [neim]

  • i: – ai tide [tidэ ] - tide [taid]

  • u: - au now [nu:] - now [nau]


  • e: - i: deep {de:p] – deep [di:p]

  • o: – u: doo(n) [do:n] – do {du:]

  • o,: - ou home [ho:mэ ] – home [houm]

  • e,: - e: see {sє: ] – see [se:]

  • ee [i:] - ME e: OE deop [deo:p] – ME deep [de:p] – XVI deep [di:p]

  • ea [e:] - MEe,: OE daelan [dae:lan] – ME deelen [dє:len] – XVI deal [de:l]

  • XVII see [si:], sea [se:] – MnE see, sea [si:], ee, ea – [i:]

  • e:r – i:r – iэ [be:r – bi:r – biэ] beer

  • o:r – ur – uэ [po:r – pu:r – puэ] poor

  • e,:r – e:r -єэ [ tє:r – te:r – tєэ] tear

  • e,:r – e:r – i:r – iэ [klє:r – kle:r – kli:r – kliэ] clear

  • ir – air – aiэ [fi:r – fair – faiэ] fire

  • u:r – aur – auэ [our – aur – auэ] our

  • a:r – eir - єэ [ka:re – keir – kєэ] care

  • o:r – our – oэ - o: [mo:re – mour – moэ - mo:]

  • ar – a: [far – fa:] far

  • or – o: [for – fo:] for

  • ir - э: fir [fэ:]

  • er – э: her [hэ:]

  • ur - э: fur [fэ:]

1. [a] – [ae] that [ 0at] – that [0aet]

but: after w or before r [a] – [a] (washen, sharpen)

2. [e] – [a] (before r) sterre – star It’s reflected in spelling.

But: ME herte – MnE hearte [hart] (compromised writing)

But: ME , MnE clerk [kla:rk] (the pronunciation isn’t reflected in spelling)

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