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Flashcards in Subtest II - Language History Deck (23)
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1

What branch and family of languages is the English language part of?

The Germanic branch of the Indo-European family (includes Danish, Dutch, German, and others).

2

What are the 3 periods of English's historical development?

Old English (including Anglo-Saxon), Middle English, and Modern English (split into Early Modern English and Late Modern English).

3

Most scholars see the origins of English in what now-lost language?

Indo-European: originated probably in northeastern Europe or around the Black Sea between 3000 and 2000 BCE.

4

Describe the history of Old English.

A.k.a. Anglo-Saxon, developed from Germanic dialects spoken by tribes from northern Europe about 500 CE. The West Saxon dialect became the literary standard. When Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity their scribes began writing in a Latin alphabet that combined runes and Latin letters. Viking invasion of the 9th century led to development between Old Norse and Old English.

5

Describe the history of Middle English.

The advent of Middle English is dated from the Norman Conquest of 1066 when William the Conqueror brought in French influence. By 1400 English had been changed from a Germanic-based language to a combination Germanic-Romance language hybrid.

6

Describe the history of Modern English.

Early Modern English = 1500-1800, beginning with Renaissance which brought in Greek and Latin words. The Great Vowel Shift also changed phonology (sound patterns) so that common spellings of words now no longer correspond to their sounds. Influence also from printed books.
Late Modern English = 1800-present, influenced by Industrial Revolution (scientific terminology), military and global trade.

7

Dialect

A variation of a language that is spoken by inhabitants of a particular geographical area. Can have its own grammar and vocabulary. (English dialects: Spanglish, African American English, Hawaiian English, Southern American, Appalachian English)

8

Pidgin

Another name for a contact language made up of two or more languages. Originally employed by traders and Europeans in their contact with various indigenous peoples.

9

Creolization

When a simple code like pidgin continues to develop over time and acquires native speakers. New vocabulary is added to the code and adopts new, more complicated linguistic principles until finally it has a complexity similar to other languages. (Ex: Creole of French and African languages in Louisiana)

10

Linguistics

The systematic study of language in order to find general principles and structures that link human languages.

11

Morphology

The study of the composition of words

12

Syntax

The composition of sentences

13

Phonology

The sound patterns of words and phrases

14

Phonetics

The actual properties of speech sounds and non-speech sounds

15

Semantics

The meaning of words

16

Pragmatics

Language usage in context

17

Sociolinguistics

Language and society

18

What three things are part of the grammar of a language?

Morphology, syntax, and phonology

19

Atomistic view of language

Language is a collection of speech sounds, words, and grammatical endings

20

Structuralist view of language

Language is a system in which each element of sound and meaning is mainly defined by how it relates to other elements

21

Noam Chomsky's theory of generative grammar

Emphasizes that people share an innate and universal set of linguistic structures, which accounts for why children can lean a new language so easily. Chomsky insisted that people have a genetic predisposition to language.

22

Chomsky's Universal Grammar

A set of principles that apply to all languages and are unconsciously accessible to every human language user. Includes the fundamental qualities shared by all languages. Similarities between languages may be due to a common aspect of human experience (such as need for water and therefore a word that means water). Similarities may also be due to common patterns of descent, and from contact between cultures and the borrowing of words and sentence sructures.

23

Chomsky's transformational grammar

Languages have a shared deep structure and a variable surface structure.