Latin elements in the english vocabulary

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Referat despre Latin elements in the english vocabulary
The Latin influence of the First Period remains much the slightest of all the influences which Old English owed to contact with Roman civilization. The greatest influence of Latin upon Old English was occasioned by the introduction of Christianity into Britain in 597. The new faith was far from new in the island, but this date marks t[...]
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Referat despre Latin elements in the english vocabulary
The Latin influence of the First Period remains much the slightest of all the influences which Old English owed to contact with Roman civilization. The greatest influence of Latin upon Old English was occasioned by the introduction of Christianity into Britain in 597. The new faith was far from new in the island, but this date marks the beginning of a systematic attempt on the part of Rome to convert the inhabitants and make England a Christian country.

The religion which the Anglo-Saxons shared with the other Germanic tribes seems to have had but a slight hold on the people at the close of the sixth century; but their habits of mind, their ideals, and the action to which these gave rise were often in sharp contrast to the teachings of the New Testament. Germanic philosophy exalted physical courage, independence even to haughtiness, loyalty to one's family or leader that left no wrong unavenged. Christianity preached meekness and humility, patience under suffering, and said that if a man struck you on one cheek you should turn the other.

The introduction of Christianity meant the building of churches and the establishment of monasteries. Latin, the language of the services and of ecclesiastical learning, was once more heard in England. Schools were established in most of the monasteries and larger churches. Some of these became famous through their great teachers and from them trained men went out to set up other schools at other centers.

From the introduction of Christianity in 597 to the close of the Old English period is a stretch of over five hundred years. During all this time Latin words must have been making their way gradually into the English language. It is likely that the first wave of religious feeling which resulted from the missionary zeal of the seventh century, and which is reflected in intense activity in church building and the establishing of monasteries during this century, was responsible also for the rapid importation of Latin words into the vocabulary. Some words came in almost immediately, others only at the end of this period. In fact it is fairly easy to divide the Latin borrowings of the Second Period into two groups, more or less equal in size but quite different in character.

The one group represents words whose phonetic form shows that they were borrowed early and whose early adoption is attested also by the fact that they had found their way into literature by the time of Alfred. The other contains words of a more learned character first recorded in the tenth and eleventh centuries and owing their introduction clearly to the religious revival that accompanied the Benedictine Reform . It is obvious that the most typical as well as the most numerous class of words introduced by the new religion would have to do with that religion and the details of its external organization. Words are generally taken over by one language from another in answer to a definite need.

They are adopted because they express ideas that are new or because they are so intimately associated with an object or a concept that acceptance of the thing involves acceptance also of the word. A few words relating to Christianity such as church and bishop were, as we have seen, borrowed earlier. Since most of these words have survived in only slightly altered form in Modern English, the examples may be given in their modern form. The list includes abbot, alms, altar, angel, anthem, Arian, ark, candle, canon, chalice, cleric, cowl, deacon, disciple, epistle, hymn, litany, manna, martyr, mass, minster, noon, nun, offer, organ, pall, palm, pope, priest, provost, psalm, psalter, relic, rule, shrift, shrine, shrive, stole, subdeacon, synod, temple, and tunic. The church also exercised a profound influence on the domestic life of the people.

This is seen in the adoption of many words, such as the names of articles of clothing and household use—cap, sock, silk, purple, chest, mat, sack, words denoting foods, such as beet, caul (cabbage), lentil (O.E. lent), millet (O.E. mil), pear, radish, doe, oyster (O.E. ostre), lobster, mussel, to which we may add the noun cook, names of trees, plants, and herbs (often cultivated for their medicinal properties), such as box, pine and the general word plant.

A certain number of words having to do with education and learning reflect another aspect of the church's influence. Such are school, master, Latin (possibly an earlier borrowing), grammatical), verse, meter, gloss, notary (a scribe).The extent and variety of the borrowings from Latin in the early days of Christianity in England show how quickly the language reflected the broadened horizon which the English people owed to the church.

The flourishing state of the church which resulted in these significant additions to the English language unfortunately did not continue uninterrupted. One cause of the decline is to be attributed to the Danes, who at the end of the eighth century began their ravages upon the country. By the tenth century the decline had affected the moral fiber of the church. The work of education was neglected and learning decayed.

By the close of the century the monasteries were once more centers of literary activity. Works in English for the popularizing of knowledge were prepared by men who thus continued the example of King Alfred, and manuscripts both in Latin and the vernacular were copied and preserved. It is significant that the four great codices in which the bulk of Old English poetry is preserved date from this period.
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