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half belong the rich and varied productions of Geoffrey Chaucer, our first great poet and always one of our greatest writers; the alliterative poems of William Langley or Langlande; the more learned poems of John Gower; and the translation of the Bible and theological works of the reformer John Wyclif.
7. Tudor English, 1485-1603.—Before the end of the sixteenth century almost all our inflexions had disappeared. The great dramatist Ben Jonson (1574-1637) laments the loss of the plural ending en for verbs, because wenten and hopen were much more musical and more useful. in verse than went or hope; but its recovery was already past praying for. This period is remarkable for the introduction of an enormous number of Latin words, and this was due to the new interest taken in the literature of the Romans—an interest produced by what is called the Revival of Letters. But the most striking, as it is also the most important fact relating to this period, is the appearance of a group of dramatic writers, the greatest the world has ever Chief among these was William Shakespeare. Of pure poetry perhaps the greatest writer was Edmund Spenser. The greatest prose-writer was Richard Hooker, and the pithiest Francis Bacon.
8. Modern English, 1603-1900.-The grammar of the language was fixed before this period, most of the accidence having entirely vanished. The vocabulary of the language, however, has gone on increasing, and is still increasing; for the English language, like the English people, is always ready to offer hospitality to all peaceful foreigners-words or human beingsthat will land and settle within her coasts. And the tendency at the present time is not only to give a hearty welcome to newcomers from other lands, but to call back old words and old phrases that had been allowed to drop out of existence. Tennyson has been one of the chief agents in this happy restoration.
THE HISTORY OF THE VOCABULARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
1. The English Nation.-The English people have for many centuries been the greatest travellers in the world. It was an Englishman-Francis Drake-who first went round the globe; and the English have colonised more foreign lands in every part of the world than any other people that ever existed. The English in this way have been influenced by the world without. But they have also been subjected to manifold influences from within they have been exposed to greater political changes, and profounder though quieter political revolutions, than any other nation. In 1066 they were conquered by the Norman - French; and for several centuries they had French kings. Seeing and talking with many different peoples, they learned to adopt foreign words with ease, and to give them a home among the native-born words of the language. Trade is always a kindly and useful influence; and the trade of Great Britain has for many centuries been larger than that of any other nation. It has spread into every part of the world; it gives and receives from all tribes and nations, from every speech and tongue.
2. The English Element in English.-When the English came to this island in the fifth century, the number of words in the language they spoke was probably not over two thousand. Now, however, we possess a vocabulary of perhaps more than one hundred thousand words. And so eager and willing
have we been to welcome foreign words, that it may be said with truth that: The majority of words in the English Tongue are not English. In fact, if we take the Latin language by itself, there are in our language more Latin words than English. But the grammar is distinctly English, and not Latin at all.
3. The Spoken Language and the Written Languagea Caution.—We must not forget what has been said about a language, that it is not a printed thing-not a set of black marks upon paper, but that it is in truest truth a tongue or a speech. Hence we must be careful to distinguish between the spoken language and the written or printed language; between the language of the ear and the language of the eye; between the language of the mouth and the language of the dictionary; between the moving vocabulary of the market and the street, and the fixed vocabulary that has been catalogued and imprisoned in our dictionaries. If we can only keep this in view, we shall find that, though there are more Latin words in our vocabulary than English, the English words we possess are used in speaking a hundred times, or even a thousand times, oftener than the Latin words. It is the genuine English words that have life and movement; it is they that fly about in houses, in streets, and in markets; it is they that express with greatest force our truest and most usual sentiments-our inmost thoughts and our deepest feelings. Latin words are found often enough in books; but, when an English man or woman is deeply moved, he speaks pure English and nothing else. Words are the coin of human intercourse; and it is the native coin of pure English with the native stamp that is in daily circulation.
4. A Diagram of English.—If we were to try to represent to the eye the proportions of the different elements in our vocabulary, as it is found in the dictionary, the diagram would take something like the following form :
DIAGRAM OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
(including Norman-French, which are also Latin).
Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hebrew, Arabic, Hindustani,
5. The Foreign Elements in our English Vocabulary.— The different peoples and the different circumstances with which we have come in contact, have had many results—one among others, that of presenting us with contributions to our vocabulary. We found Kelts here; and hence we have a number of Keltic words in our vocabulary. The Romans held this island for several hundred years; and when they had to go in the year 410, they left behind them six Latin words, which we have inherited. In the seventh century, Augustine and his missionary monks from Rome brought over to us a larger number of Latin words; and the Church which they founded introduced ever more and more words from Rome. The Danes began to come over to this island in the eighth century; we had for some time a Danish dynasty seated on the throne of England: and hence we possess many Danish words. The Norman-French invasion in the eleventh century brought us many hundreds of Latin words; for French is in reality a branch of the Latin tongue. The Revival of Learning in the sixteenth century gave us several thousands of Latin words. And wherever our sailors and merchants have gone, they have brought back with them foreign words as well as foreign things -Arabic words from Arabia and Africa, Hindustani words from India, Persian words from Persia, Chinese words from China, and even Malay words from the peninsula of Malacca. Let us look a little more closely at these foreign elements.
6. The Keltic Element in English. This element is of
three kinds: (i) Those words which we received direct from the ancient Britons whom we found in the island; (ii) those which the Norman-French brought with them from Gaul; (iii) those which have lately come into the language from the Highlands of Scotland, or from Ireland, or from the writings of Sir Walter Scott.
7. The First Keltic Element. This first contribution contains the following words: Breeches, clout, crock, cradle, darn, . dainty, mop, pillow; barrow (a funeral mound), glen, havoc, kiln, mattock, pool. It is worthy of note that the first eight in the list are the names of domestic-some even of kitchen -things and utensils. It may, perhaps, be permitted us to conjecture that in many cases the Saxon invader married a British wife, who spoke her own language, taught her children to speak their mother tongue, and whose words took firm root in the kitchen of the new English household. The names of most rivers, mountains, lakes, and hills are, of course, Keltic; for these names would not be likely to be changed by the English new-comers. There are two names for rivers which are found-in one form or another-in every part of Great Britain. These are the names Avon and Ex. The word Avon means simply water. We can conceive the children on a farm near a river speaking of it simply as "the water"; and hence we find fourteen Avons in this island. Ex also means water; and there are perhaps more than twenty streams in Great Britain with this name. The word appears as Ex in Exeter (the older and fuller form being Exanceaster—the camp on the Exe); as Ax in Axminster; as Ox in Oxford; as Ux in Uxbridge; and as Ouse in Yorkshire and other eastern counties. In Wales and Scotland, the hidden k changes its place and comes at the end. Thus in Wales we find Usk; and in Scotland, Esk. There are at least eight Esks in the kingdom of Scotland alone. The commonest Keltic name for a mountain is Pen or Ben (in Wales it is Pen; in Scotland the flatter form Ben is used). We find this word in England also under the form of Pennine; and, in Italy, as Apennine.
8. The Second Keltic Element. The Normans came from