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Лекции по истории английского языка - файл Practical Part.doc


Лекции по истории английского языка
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Practical Part.doc48kb.19.11.2009 22:53скачать
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The History of the English Language


Practical Part


  1. Explain why there is an alternation of vowels [i:] – [e] in the following verbs:

to keep – kept

to sleep – slept

to creep – crept

The Answer:

It is shortening of vowels in close syllables, which took place in ME. These verbs formed Past Tense with the help of the dental suffix “t” without changing of the root-vowel, e.g. NE keep - kept, creep – crept. So long ē was shortened to e.


  1. Explain why the sound [u] began to be spelt with the letter [o] in ME lufu – love, sum – some, sunu – sone.

The Answer:

In ME some replacements were probably made to avoid confusion of resembling letters: thus o was employed not only for [o] but also to indicate short [u] alongside the letter u; it happened when u stood close to n, m, or v, for they were all made up of down strokes and were hard to distinguish in a hand-written text. That is how OE lufu became ME love [‘luve]


  1. Explain why the digraph [ou] (ow) is read differently in Mod E [ou] in soul, low, etc., [au] in out, house, how.

^ The Answer:

In ME the digraphs ou and ow were interchangeable. Their sound value can be determined either by tracing the words to OE prototypes or by taking into account the modern pronunciation. They indicate [u:] in the words which contained [u:] in OE, since the OE [u:] had not changed, and which have [au] in NE, e.g. OE hūs > ME hous [hu:s] > NE house. If the modern word has [ou], the corresponding ME word should be pronounced with the same diphthong [ou], e.g. ME snow [snou], NE snow, as ME [ou] has not altered.


  1. Explain why in Mod E the vowels a, e, o, i, u in an open syllable are pronounced as in the alphabet.

^ The Answer:

According to Professor Brunner (p.200) it is concerned with ME period where the so called lengthening of short vowels in the open syllables took place. About the first half of 13 c. in disyllabic words short a, e, o have been lengthened before simple consonants, which were situated in the beginning of the next syllable (that is “st” or “noise + nasal”). At first i and u have not been lengthened, but later this happened though in limiting proportions, because in time the final -e has been dropped. Moreover, the process of i and u lengthening took place only on a small territory, firstly it is characteristic of Northumbrian dialect.


  1. Explain why the combination “al” is pronounced as [o:] in chalk, talk, fall, hall and as [a:] in calm, palm, half.

^ The Answer:

The Process is Development of glides after a, o (u) before l.

First in 15 c. there appeared glide “u” between the vowel “a” and the consonant “l”. According to Professor Brunner (p. 239, 241-242, 243-244) it is concerned with the ME process of monophthongisation of the digraph au which happened not simultaneously. Hence in national language this au is reflected as:1) ei; 2) [a:]; 3) [æ] and [o:]. The latter two sounds also coincide with the result of long ā or short a development respectively which appeared at different times in Early New English period. This discrepancy could be explained partly by the influence of neighboring sounds, and partly by different origin of ME au. (According to the origin of this digraph one should distinguish: 1) Common ME au from a + w and a + 3; 2) Northumbrian au from OE ā + w or 3; 3) Common ME au from Early ME a before Х;

4) Anglo-Norman and Common French au from Latin a before “l + group of consonants” (which then was vocalized); 5) Anglo-Norman au before nasal; 6) And finally Later ME or Early NE au which was developed as a result of glides appearance before “l”). Thus in Mod E the sound [a:] correspond to ME “al” before labial, such as in: half, calf, palm. In all other cases ME au corresponds to [o:].


  1. Explain why the letter “u” is pronounced as [Λ] in cup, but; and as [u] in put, bull.

^ The Answer:

According to Professor Brunner (p. 232–233) it is concerned with the ME process of gradual delabialization of u (since 16 c.). Firstly there appears sound resembling to o. As a result of further tongue rising in Mod E this sound turned to [Λ], e.g. cup, nut, lust, etc. In a number of words after labial, esp. if after u comes l or , the sound u has not been delabialized, e.g. full, bull, pull, push, etc.


  1. Explain why [a:] in “far, farm” is spelt with “ar” and why it is spelt with “er” in clerk, sergeant, derby. Why is “er” pronounced as [3:] in certainly, university, perfect?

^ The Answer:
According to Professor Brunner (p. 246) it is concerned with special development of vowels before “r”. These changes took place in Late ME. One of these changes is transition of “er” to “ar” before consonants and in the end of words. The way of writing “ar” instead of “er” was presented in North English since 14 c. In 15 c. the amount of such writings grows up also in the south. In Mod E “ar” is preferable, e.g. dark, dwarf, far, harvest. The way of writing “er” was left without changing in words clerk, sergeant, derby. In all these cases the stressed vowel sometimes is pronounced like [ə:], according to its graphic, such as in USA in the words clerk, sergeant and so on. In those cases when in Mod E “er” is employed, in national language it is pronounced as [ə:]. Here we have words, pronunciation and writing of which were approached to French and Latin or new English borrowings from that languages, e.g. perfect, university, certain, person.


  1. Explain why in ME the following words have the same pronunciation and different spelling:

maid – made

plain – plane

tail – tale

sail – sale

^ The Answer:

According to Professor Brunner (p. 238) it is concerned with alteration of ME diphthongs, which was connected partly with alteration of long vowels and partly with alteration of short ones. ME “ai” was monophthongised to long “ā” in Scotland and in some north regions in 14 c. Later “ai” and “ā” coincided in most parts of central region and also in national language. When this coincidence took place, which was caused by monophthongisation of “ai”, is unknown. In national language and in those dialects where ME “ai” and “ā” coincided such words as tail – tale, ail – ale, sail – sale are rhymed.


  1. Explain in what form the word “whale” is preserved in Mod E. With what process is this connected?

^ The Answer:

The process is exception. The word “whale” is preserved in the Dat. case. It is exception of Dat. case. In OE Nom. case – “hwæl”, Dat. case – “hwæle”. In ME “æ” > “a” – “whale”. That is because this word had final “e” in Dat. case in OE, so the syllable is open, due to further lengthening of short vowels in open syllables “a” becomes “a:”. Thus in Mod E we have “whale”. The result of instability of case form.


  1. Explain the origin of the following words with similar meaning:

shade – shadow

mead – meadow

What process in grammar is this connected?

^ The Answer:

In OE shade and shadow had two different case forms of one word. In OE there were sceadu and scadwe. And in ME they turned into shade and shadwe. As in ME there came two cases instead of 4 in OE, so these words were treated as synonyms, because they denoted 2 forms of one case (Common case).


  1. Explain the origin of the word “week”.

^ The Answer:

The word “week” originates from OE “wicu”. By the time this word turned to “wice” and then to “weke”. In ME due to the process of lengthening of short vowels in open syllables, the stressed “e” turned into “e:”, and then the final “e” was dropped. Thus we have “week” today, the same way the word “wudu” had been changed into “wood”.


  1. Explain why there is an alternation of vowels [ai] and [i] in the following verbs:

write – written

ride – ridden

drive – driven

rise – risen

^ The Answer:

It is process of vowel alteration. In ME in present tense of strong verbs long “i” changed into short “i” in Participle II.


  1. Explain why in Mod E there is an alternation of voiceless consonant – voiced consonant in the following words: to use [z] – use [s].

^ The Answer:

Usually between two vowels the voiceless consonant is sounded voiced, like in the verb “to use”. But the noun “use” was formed in other way. First, in OE there was a noun “us”, and then in ME the mute “e” was added to show that it is not a plural form of a noun, that’s why in Mod E it sounds voiceless between two vowels.


  1. Explain why in ME the infinitive of many verbs coincides with the substantives:

to answer (v) – answer (n)

to hand (v) – hand (n)

^ The Answer:

It is conversion.

Conversion was a new method of word derivation which arose in Late ME and grew into a most productive, specifically English way of creating new words. Conversion is effected through a change in the meaning, the grammatical paradigm and the syntactic use of the word in the sentence. The word is transformed into another part of speech with an identical initial form, e.g. answer – to answer.


  1. Explain why these words have the same pronunciation but different spelling:

see – sea

meet – meat

hill – heal
^ The Answer:

It is Great Vowel Shift.

In ME “sea”, the digraph “ea” denoted [ə:], and in the word “see” double “ee” denoted “e:”. By the time when Great Vowel Shift happened, they both turned into long “i”, but the spelling remained unchanged.


  1. Explain why the combination “wa” is pronounced as [wo:] in watch, wash, and water, and as [wæ] in wagon and wax.

^ The Answer:

When the letter “a” is preceded by “w”, this combination of letters sounds like [o:] in all cases unless there are k, g, n after “a”.

Practical Part - -



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