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The chronological divisions in the history of English: the Old English period

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According to English scientists Henry Sweet the periods of the English development may be classified with the development of English endings: 1.The Period of Full Endings 2.The Period of Levelled Endings in reality contains the levelled vowel in the ending, but at the same time lots of endings were already lost; 3.The Period of Lost Endings. Generally held classification is as follows:1)Early Old English (5th cent-7th cent.) 2)Old English or Anglo-Saxon(8th cent. – 11th cent.) 3)Early Middle English(1066(Norman Conquest) - middle oh 14th cent.) 4)Late or classical Middle English (2nd half of 14th cent. -15th cent.) 5)Early New English (1475 (introducing of printing) – 1660(Age of Shakespeare)) 6)The age of normalization&correctness(mid 17th cent. – end 18th) 7)New English(from 19th cent.)

1. The Old English period (449-1066), Early Old English may be taken separately, as the period of pre-written functioning of the language. The formation of kingdoms on the British territory transformed the tribal dialects into regional (local) dialects that took place during the later, Written Old English (or Anglo-Saxon period). Old Englishor Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southern and eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. What survives through writing represents primarily the literary register of Anglo-Saxon. It is a West Germanic language closely related to Old Frisian and Old Saxon. Old English had a grammar similar in many ways to Classical Latin. In most respects, including its grammar, it was much closer to modern German and Icelandic than to modern English. It was fully inflected with five grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and instrumental), three grammatical numbers (singular, plural, and dual) and three grammatical genders(masculine, feminine, and neuter). The dual forms occurred in the first and second persons only and referred to groups of two. Adjectives, pronouns and (sometimes) participles agreed with their antecedent nouns in case, number and gender. Finite verbs agreed with their subject in person and number.Nouns came in numerous. Verbs came in nine main conjugations (seven strong and two weak), each with numerous subtypes, as well as a few additional smaller conjugations and a handful of irregular verbs. The main difference from other ancient Indo-European languages, such as Latin, is that verbs can be conjugated in only two tenses, and have no synthetic passive voice (although it did still exist in Gothic). Gender in nouns was grammatical.



 


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