Chronological Divisions in the History of English.

Origins of the English language.

Commonly accepted traditional periodisation. Early Old English and Anglo-Saxon. Early Middle English and Middle English. Early New English, Normalisation Period and Modern English. Henry Sweet’s phono-morphological periodisation.

Pre-Germanic Britain. The Celts on the British Isles. Celtic languages: the Gaelic and Chronological Divisions in the History of English. Britonnic branches. The Roman occupation in Britain.

Germanic settlement of Britain. Formation of Germanic states. The beginning of English. Economic, historic and cultural situation from the 5th till the 11th century. A transitional period from the tribal and slave-owning society to feudalism. Rise of Wessex. The role of Chronological Divisions in the History of English. the West Saxon dialect in IX - XI centuries. Scandinavian invadors. The introduction of Christianity.

Old English dialects. Kentish, West Saxon, Mercian, Northumbrian.

Writings in Old English. Runic inscriptions. Old English manuscripts.”Anglo-Saxon Chronicles”, King Alfrred’s translations, “Pastoral Care”, Aelfric’s works, Wulfstan’s homilies.. Old English poetry. “Beowulf”.

Old Chronological Divisions in the History of English. English alphabet and pronunciation.

Old English Phonetics


Word stress: dynamic and fixed. Accentuation in polysyllabic words and compounds. The position of stress in the words with prefixes.

Old English vowels. Changes of stressed vowels. Independent changes. Fronting or palatalisation of [a] and [a:]. Positional deviations or restrictions to this Chronological Divisions in the History of English. rule. Old English reflections of PG diphthongs. Assimilative vowel changes. Breaking and diphthongisation. Palatal mutation. Appearance of new vowels, growth of new vowel interchanges and increased variability of the root-morphemes. Changes of the unstressed vowels. Old English vowel system.

Old English consonants. Treatment of fricatives. Hardening. Rhotacism. Voicing and devoicing Chronological Divisions in the History of English. of fricatives. West Germanic gemination of consonants. Palatalisation of velar consonants in Old English. Loss of consonants in some positions. Metathesis. Old English consonant system.

Old English Grammar



Form-building. Parts of speech and grammatical categories.

The Noun. Its grammatical categories. The use of cases. Morphological classification of Chronological Divisions in the History of English. nouns. Declensions. Weak and strong declensions. Root stems. Types of plural forms.

The pronoun. Personal pronouns. Their categories. Demonstrative pronouns. Declensions of the demonstrative pronouns sē and þes. Other classes of pronouns.

The adjectives. Grammatical categories. Weak and strong declension. Degrees of comparison. Positive, comparative, superlative degrees. Means of forming the Chronological Divisions in the History of English. degrees of comparison: suffixation, suffixation plus vowel interchange, suppletion.

Numerals. Cardinal and ordinal numerals.

The verb. Grammatical categories of the finite verbs. Conjugation of verbs. Grammatical categories of the verbals. Participles. Morphological classifications of verbs.

Strong verbs. The classes of strong verbs.

Weak verbs. The classes Chronological Divisions in the History of English. of weak verbs. Class 1: regular, irregular verbs.

Preterite-present or past-present verbs. Anomalous verbs. Suppletive verbs.


Ways of expressing syntactical relations: agreement, government, joining.

The sentence. The simple sentence. The main parts, the secondary parts. Word order. Multiple negation. Compound and complex sentences. Connectives.

Old English Vocabulary


Etymological survey of the Old Chronological Divisions in the History of English. English Vocabulary. Native words. Common Indo-European words, common Germanic words, specifically English words. Foreign element in the Old English vocabulary. Borrowings from Celtic. Latin loan-words.


Historical Background from the 11th to 15th century


Economic and social conditions. Period of established feudalism Chronological Divisions in the History of English.. Natural economy. Tools, local feuds, travel restrictions.

Effect of the Scandinavian invasions. “Danelaw”. Political annexation of England by Denmark under Canute. The impact of the Scandinavian element on the linguistic situation. The increased regional differences.

The Norman conquest. The battle of Hastings (1066). Effect of the Norman conquest on the linguistic Chronological Divisions in the History of English. situation. The origin of the Normans. Norman domination in Britain. The decline of the written form of English. Official recognition of English.

Early Middle English dialects. Southern (Kentish and South-Western), Central (West Midland ahd East Midland) and Northern. Extension of the English territory.

Early Middle English written Chronological Divisions in the History of English. records. Peterborough Chronicles.

Late Middle English. Reestablishment of English as the language of state and literature. Dialects in Late Middle English. London dialect. The inhabitants of London throughout its history. The Age of Chaucer.

Development of the national literary language in the 16th – 19th centuries. Economic and political unification. Development of Chronological Divisions in the History of English. the capitalist mode of production. The end of the Hundred Year’s War. The War of Roses. Establishment of the absolute monarchy of Tudors. Conditions for linguistic unity. Consolidation of the English nation, formation of the national language. Progress of culture. Introduction of printing. W. Caxton and his Chronological Divisions in the History of English. spelling.

Expansion of English over the British Isles. Flourishing of literature in Early New English (Literary Renaissance). The age of Shakespeare. Establishment of the Written Standard. Normalising tendencies. Growing of the Spoken Standard. Varieties of English in Britain. Geographical Expansion of English outside the British Isles.

Spelling changes Chronological Divisions in the History of English. in Middle English. Rules of reading.