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The decay of the case system in the English language
2008 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this essay is to investigate when and why the English language changed from being an inflectional language to being an analytic one. The language spoken by the first Germanic people that settled on the British Isles had four cases, and quite a free word order, whereas Modern English has a very strict word order, and only traces of the Old English case system are left. The method used has been to compare texts from five centuries (the 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 14th centuries), and look at the case endings in nouns and in demonstrative and personal pronouns. Word order and the use of prepositions have also been studied. The conclusions drawn in this essay are that the written language was very conservative until the Norman invasion in 1066. Traces of the decay of the case system may have been found in written sources before this, although not in the texts analysed in this essay. Here the change in the use of cases is only clearly evident when the Normans arrive and start writing the English language as they hear it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Humanities Theology, English, Old English, Middle English
Keyword [sv]
Humaniora, Teologi
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-54796ISRN: LTU-CUPP--08/141--SELocal ID: bb952e5e-b6d6-4118-aec5-f536feae8c7fOAI: diva2:1028178
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
English, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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