— [https://goo.gl/No4i4t] A look at how_______________________the articles "a" and "an" affected the pronunciation of certain words in Middle English. The 'n' sound sometimes switched sides from the article to the noun, and vice versa.

:: RT: The articles "a" and "an" ▶ https://goo.gl/aYS3mW ◀ We try to make sense out of those changes in this bonus episode since there were no articles in Old English. | #English #Language #EnglishHistory #OldEnglish #Podcast #History #Articles

We cannot understand what a language is until we know its history. More than for most subjects, history is the key to language, because the very fabric of a language – its vocabulary, its grammar, its spelling, and so on – is a living record of its past. From the middle of the fifth century (450AD) and for the next 100 years or so waves of migrating tribes from beyond the North Sea brought their Germanic dialects to Britain. These tribes are traditionally identified as Angles, Saxons and Jutes.

English is said to be a Germanic language, but why is it that more than half of its words are of Latin or Romance origin? Why do we sometimes have a wide choice of words to express more or less the same thing? And what is to blame for the chaotic English spelling? We can point to some crucial events, such as the coming of Christianity or the Norman invasion, and study texts from these and other periods to find a pattern in the weave of the language. So where do we begin? Long before any Roman legions sailed across what we now know as the Straits of Dover, the British Isles were inhabited by various Celtic tribes.


MP3 — «The History of the English Language» :: Switching Sides.

"The Adventure of English" is a British television series (ITV) on the history of the English language presented by Melvyn Bragg. The series ran in 2003. "Birth of a Language", "English Goes Underground", "The Battle for the Language of the Bible", This Earth, This Realm, This England", "English in America", "Speaking Proper", "The Language of Empire", "Many Tongues Called English, One World Language" ::

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  1. The modern articles a/an/the all emerged in early Middle English. In fact, the original indefinite article was simply "an." The 'n' was later dropped, and "an" was shortened to "a" before consonants. I should also note that "my" was originally "min" and "your" was originally "thine." So those possessive pronouns also lost their 'n' and they became "my" and "thy." That happened at the same time that "an" lost its 'n' and became "a". It appears that all of these influences converged to make the pronunciation of the initial 'n' sound highly variable in certain Middle English words. That might help to explain why some of these changes occurred.

  2. My favorite quote about English, from James Nicoll: "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."


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