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Segment 4

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Word for Word Watch the segment and complete it word for word.


Certainly it is hard a)_________4____________ because of diversity and change of language.

_b)______6____________ will utter his communication in such terms c)_______3____________

shall understand them. But in my judgment the common d)____________6________________

have been lighter to be understood than the older and ancient English. Caxton tells _e)______5_________“Voyage” from a French version. _f)_____6___________ he is to use for ‘eggs’. He tells the story_g)________3______________ from Northumberland who are away from home _h)______5_____________ Kent to buy food. One asks a woman for ‘egges’. She tells him_i)__________4______________ . Another asks _j)_______5___________ a different plural ‘eyren’ which means ‘eggs’ in the dialect of Kent. And he gets them. _k)______4_____________

Caxton choose for his translation? He settles for ‘egges’ _l)________5___________ . So it’s printers as much as teachers and writers _m)____________7________________and their spelling.



Discussion Forum (power point presentation, role play, a study map, an essay)


Talking points:

1. Glory is a good word for Wycliff’s Bible.

2. Printing marks the beginning of the Information Age.

3. W. Caxton worried how to achieve a common standard that would be understood by all.

4. Linguistic battle of the 14th and 15th centuries.

5. It’s conquerors, printers, teachers and writers who decide on a lot of words and their spelling.


Section II Growth of Shakespeare English

“The Adventure of English” (2002), film 4 “The Earth, the Realm, the English”.

The greatest master of all time William Shakespeare wrote at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century. This was the period of English Renaissance (‘rebirth’ in English). This together with the development of England as a maritime power, and the growth of commerce and industry, science and literature, each in its way, contributed to make the English language what it is today.


Video off


Before you watch the film read about heroes of the film and events described in it.


The English Renaissance


The period from the time of W. Caxton until around 1650 is called the ‘Renaissance’ and Elizabeth Time, because it coincided with the reign of Elizabeth I. All the countries of Europe had such Renaissance periods in their art, philosophy, poetry and literature though not in the same centuries. The real reason is that all the European culture and science came to such periods when the work of their minds flourished. In England the Renaissance began somehow later than, for instance, in Italy, but, as in any land, it meant the whole change in art, thought and temper, which recreated the European mind. English vocabulary of the period is the focus of interest. There were no words in the language to talk accurately about the new concepts, techniques, inventions coming from Europe, and so writers began to borrow them. Most of the words were taken from Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. The increase in foreign borrowings is the most distinctive linguistic sign of the Renaissance in English.


Spanish Armada


Philip II of Spain had been co-monarch of England until the death of his wife Mari I executed by the order of Elizabeth in 1587. A Roman Catholic, he considered his Protestant half sister-in-law Elizabeth a heretic and illegitimate ruler of England. Philip planned an expedition to invade and conquer England, thereby to punish England, the Queen and to restrain English ambitions to rule the oceans. Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) patronized trade and navigation. A big fleet was built during her reign. The Queen supported the pirates and received part of their booty. The most successful of the pirates became admirals in the Royal Navy. In 1588 the whole world watched as Spain sent her Invincible Armada (34 warships and 163 armed merchant ships) up the English Channel. It saw how the world’s most powerful fleet was forced to leave the Channel by Elizabeth’s ships (22 ships of the royal fleet and 108 armed merchant ships), sail north around Scotland to shipwreck and disaster. The defeat of the Spanish Armada at Graveline (port in France) opened the way to English supremacy in trade and rule in the oceans.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


W. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, the son of John Shakespeare, a glover, and Mary Arden. Many uncertainties surround his life. He was the eldest of three sons, and there were four daughters. Educated at the local grammar school, in 1582 he married Ann Hathaway, from a local farming family. Their children were Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. In about 1591 he moved to London and became an actor. The first evidence of his association with the stage is in 1594, when he was acting with the company of players ‘the King’s Men ‘. When the company built the Globe theatre, he became a partner, devoting himself to his art, writing more than a million words of poetic drama of the highest quality, living modestly in a house in Silver Street, then moving near the Globe. He returned to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1610, living as country gentleman at his house, New Place. His will was made in March 1616, a few months before he died, and he was buried at Stratford.

All textbooks on the history of English agree that the works of W. Shakespeare influenced the development of the language during the final decades of the Renaissance. There are many words first recorded in Shakespeare which have survived into Modern English. Some examples: accommodation, eventful, countless, assassination. Many of hyphenated compounds are uniquely and recognizably his: faire-play, giant-world, smooth-faced. Some quotations from Shakespeare have become part of the idiomatic expressions of the modern English: what the dickens, beggars all description, it’s Greek to me, salad days, cold comfort, love is blind, to play fast and loose.

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