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328 Study Questions: Baugh Chapter Seven: "Middle English"

Vocabulary: Middle English, synthetic, analytic, anthimeria, declension, linguistic analogy, organic -e, scribal -e, conjugation, strong verb, weak verb, grammatical gender, loanwords, strong verb, weak verb, syntax, amelioration, pejoration, sumptuary laws, regional dialect, taboo

Identifications: William Caxton, Printing Press

7.111 What years does Baugh give for the Middle English period? How is that different than the years your teacher gives on his website entry for Middle English?

Summarize in one sentence the greatest change in English grammar during the Middle English period?
Summarize in one sentence the nature of the changes in English vocabulary during the Middle English period?

7.112 What happened to many of the inflectional endings found in Old English during the Middle English period?

What is the "indeterminate vowel"? Traces of this appear how early in Old English?

7.113 How did the -s ending on nouns come to dominate the plural in Middle and Modern English rather than an -en plural ending (like the plural form oxen)?

It was initially uncertain that -s would win out as a sign of plural nouns. What were the competing formations in the south?
When did the -s plural ending become the standard plural in the north and north Midland areas?
What similarity may have helped the spread of the -s plural ending when we consider the plural in Anglo-Norman?

7.114 What declension form and grammatical number wa extended to all cases of the singular?

Where does that silent -e come from in many modern words?

7.115 The decay of inflections that simplified nouns and pronouns brought along what change to syntax? (i.e., two things what became more important for conveying the relation of one word to another in a sentence?)

When did the dual pronouns drop out of English?
The pronoun heo was the Old English pronoun for the third person feminine pronoun. (Lecture Note: In Middle English dialects like the West Midlands, it survives in the Middle English pronoun hoh.) Where did our modern word she come from?

For the Old English third person plural pronouns, we would expect to find the Middle and Modern English pronouns hi (nominative), here (possessive), and hem (neuter)--so where do we get they, their, and them for these pronouns?

7.116 What "serious losses" were the principal changes in verbs during the Middle English period?

If a verb formed through anthimeria or if a word was borrowed from another language, was it usually conjugated as a strong verb or a weak verb?

7.117 How did the Norman Conquest affect the ranks of strong verbs?

Today, what percentage of the Old English strong verbs have disappeared completely from standard usage?

7.118 What is linguistic analogy? Explain how linguistic analogy played a part in the disappearance of many strong verbs.

How did printing possibly provide a "stabilizing effect" on verbs?

7.119 Which was more tenacious and tended to survive mor eoften in modern English--the past participles of strong verbs or the past tense of strong verbs?

7.120 Only sixty-eight Old English strong verbs survive today--but the surviving strong verbs rarely have come down to us in the form that would have been normal for Old English. Provide one example.

7.121 In addition to the decay of inflections in the Middle English period, another significant loss as an accompanying feature was what?

In what part of England did inflections and grammatical gender disappear first? In what part of England did inflections and grammatical gender disappear last? [Question for thought: why does this make sense, given what we read about Danish invasions in the last couple of chapters?]

7.122 What is syntax?

In the Peterborough Chronicle, we can clearly see rigid word order appearing to make clear the direction of cause and effect. What vocabulary term describes a language that requires specific word order in order to make meaning? What vocabulary term (as opposed to grammar) refers to the required word order?

7.123 What language provided the largest number of loanwords to English in the Middle English period?

According to Baugh, during the years 1066-1250, the largest two groups of French loanwords during after time of the Conquest were associated with what?

7.124 Why is it not surprising that so many French loanwords were adopted for governmental and administrative terms? Provide any three examples of such loanwords.

7.125 Provide an example of a clerical- or church-term introduced from French.

7.126 The greatest part of English legal vocabulary enters English as loanwords from what other language?

Even when an Old English word from law survives into modern English, it has typically lost what?
Give an example of a word adopted from Old French as a legal term.

7.127 Why did so many words for military and naval terms come to be adapted from the Normans?

7.128 Who set the standards in high fashion, dress, and luxury in England after 1066?

Lecture: What are sumptuary laws and how do they reveal the hierarchical nature of medieval life?

Lecture: Explain how linguistic pejoration and amelioration comes about through social distinctions. How does this knowledge explain the connotational and denotional difference between (a) veal and beef and (b) cow? Between (a) pork and (b) pig? Between (a) poultry and (b) chicken?

7.129 Why do so many words from art, learning, and medicine come from French or from Latin via French?

7.130 Which of the following parts of speech tended to be most readily adopted into English from Norman French: (a) nouns, (b) adjectives, (c) verbs, (d) idiomatic turns of phrase, or (e) all of these were readily adopted into English?

7.131 When a Norman-French word was adopted into English, the loanword often appears today to be quite different than the Modern French word in spelling or pronunciation. Why is that? (i.e., what did the native French continue to do in the native French language in later years long after English initially borrowed that term as a loanword?)

Explain how these differences in spelling originated: English forest, Mn. French forêt; English hostel, Mn. French hôstel.
What happened to the pronunciation of j and ch in Parisian French in the thirteenth century?

If a French loanword spelled with a <ch> grapheme was adapted before the thirteenth century, what sound will that grapheme <ch> have in Modern English? How about a similar loanword adapted after the thirteenth century--what sound will that word's grapheme <ch> have in that case?

If a French loanword spelled with a <j> was adapted before the thirteenth century, what sound will that grapheme <j> have in Modern English? How about a similar loanword adapted after the thirteenth century--what sound will that word's grapheme <j> have in that case?

The French loanwords nice and vine have a corresponding long vowel for the <i> grapheme. However, the French loanwords police and ravine have a different (/I/) vowel for the <i> grapheme. What explains this difference?

In Central French (i.e., Parisian French from the Ile-de-cité), certain words were spelled cha- or chie-. How were cognate words to these terms in Anglo-Norman French spelled? Think about this. How does this difference explain correspondences like the words cattle and chattel; or cavalry and chivalry; chief and chef?

7.132 In the fourteenth-century, most French loanwords were "popular" (i.e., used in everyday speech by a variety of people). In the fifteenth-century, what was the nature of most French loanwords? (i.e., how was the principal source of borrowings different in its principal source?)

7.133: According to statistical analysis, what is the period of the most intense adoptation of French loanwords into Middle English?

What percentage of French loanword adopted during the ME period are still in current use?

7.134 How does the speed at which new French words became the basis of derivatives indicate how rapidly a word is assimilated into English?

Lecture: The -ly ending on adjectives and adverbs comes from where? Why is it surprising to see that attached to French loan-words like gentle, courteous, or whatnot?

What does Baugh mean by a "hybrid form"?

7.135 What happened to a surprisingly large number of native (i.e., Anglo-Saxon words) that were formerly common in the Old English period during the Middle English period?

Sometimes, when an OE word died out in general use, it survives in what?

7.136 When both the English and French words for a concept survive, what generally happened to meaning of each word in the pair? What is the linguistic term for this (which Baugh does not use)

7.137 The OE process of deriving new words involved using prefixes, suffixes, and by compounding. In the centuries following the Norman Conquest, what changed about this?

7.138 What happened to the Old English prefix for- as an intensifier and to- as the Middle English period progressed?

What happened to the Old English prefixes with-, over-, under- and un- in later English periods?

7.139 The OE suffixes -ness, -ful, -less, -some, -ish, -dom, -hood, and -ship still thrive in Modern English. Others have become very rare. The OE suffix -lac (-lock) only survives in what single word? [Hint: It's not hemlock, which comes from a different root.] The OE suffix -red only survives in what two words?

7.140 Is compounding as common in Modern and Middle English as it used to be in Old English? Has compounding died out completely?

7.141 Why does Baugh claim that English is "still English" in spite of several thousand French loanwords, the decrease of compounding, and the radical simplification of the Old English inflections?

7.142 What period is known as the Third Period of Latin Influence?

The OED lists most examples of Latin words borrowed during the Third Period of Latin Influence as being borrowed directly from Latin. Why does Baugh think this is a little simplistic?

7.143 What are aureate terms?

7.144 What does Baugh make of the argument some scholars make that Old English words are much more "direct" or "concrete" "vivid" or "strong" than the abstract and generalized borrowings from French or Latin?

Of French, Latin, and native English words, which one does Baugh argue is "generally more bookish"?

7.145 The importance of Romance influences on English, according to Baugh, overshadows the influences of what other languages during the Middle English period?

7.146 Were the various dialects of Old English always mutually intelligible to one another?

7.147 What are the four principal dialects of Middle English listed on page 189 of your textbook? What is the fifth dialect labeled on your map as a distinct variety of Southern on page 191?

  • If you found a Middle English sentence that reads in the plural present indicative, "They loveth," what dialect is that sentence written in?
  • If you found a Middle English sentence that reads in the plural present indicative, "They loven," which of two dialects could that sentence be written in?
  • If you found a Middle English sentence that reads in the plural present indicative, "They loves," which of two dialects could that sentence be written in?

In southern dialects of Middle English, -ing is the suffix marking the present partiple. What was the equivalent suffix in the Northern dialect?

In the words fox and vixen, what does the /f/ and /v/ consonant sound of each word indicate about each word's origins?

7.148 Of the five various dialects, which one ultimately became the standard for all of England? What major metropolitan area is associated with this dialect or region?

Baugh gives three reasons why this dialect should win out over the other four. What are these reasons?

  • Geographically and linguistically, what is the East Midland's location in relation to the other geographic dialects of England?
  • What was the population like in the East Midlands--compared to the other regions of London?
  • Where are Oxford and Cambridge located in terms of their dialectical region?

What does Baugh think of some scholars' arguments that Chaucer was the most important influence in bringing about the East Midlands' status as England's standard dialect?

7.149 Where is London located, in terms of the five dialect-regions of Middle English? How did this play a part in forming English's standard dialect?

7.150 After 1450, it becomes impossible in surviving texts for scholars to do what?

After 1476, the introduction of what new technology to London also plays a part in disseminating London English as standardized English? Who introduced it?

7.151 Have dialectal differences in England been completely subsumed by standardized English? If so, to what degree? If not, why not, do you suppose?


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