VARIOUS TEXTS: 14th Century English

The following text, written in the 1380s by John Trevisa, describes one man's view of the linguistic situation at that time. It is a reminder to us of the historical origins of English and its dialects. He blames the deterioration of the language on the fashion of speaking French. He is writing in the South-West dialect of Middle English.

All except one of the function words (perpositions, determiners, pronouns and conjunctions) are of Old English origin. Such words form the framework of sentences, and are a closed class of words which cjhange very slowly, if at all. The only sign of French influence is the complex preposition 'bycause of', the origin of Modern English 'because' - 'by cause of', being an English version of the French 'par cause de'.


amazon.de From Old English to Standard English
Dennis Freeborn

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