Poetics of Beowulf.pdf - Beowulf Language and Poetics Quick Reference Sheet Language English is divided into three periods Old English(ca 449-1100

Poetics of Beowulf.pdf - Beowulf Language and Poetics Quick...

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Beowulf : Language and Poetics Quick Reference Sheet Language English is divided into three periods: Old English (ca. 449-1100), Middle English (ca. 1100-1500), and Modern English (ca. 1500-). While many people think of Shakespeare's English as old, Shakespeare wrote and spoke Modern English, albeit, an early form of it. Chaucer's poetry, including his most famous work, The Canterbury Tales , are a good examples of Middle English poetry. Beowulf , which probably dates to some time between 700 – 1000 CE, is an Old English poem. Old English is sometimes known as Anglo- Saxon . It would be wrong to believe that the English language just changed from Old English to Middle English in 1100 and from Middle English to Modern English in 1500. These shifts took place over hundreds of years. It is important to realize that the wide-spread notion of a standard language or even of standardized spelling are modern notions only made possible by the printing press. Not only did the printing press made wide-scale distribution possible, it provided the ability to fix language in time on a grand scale, thereby slowing down the process of language change. However, while English was always changing, the dates 1100 CE and 1500 CE, while approximate, are significant for the English language. Although major grammatical and phonetic changes took place throughout the Old English period, the Norman invasion of 1066 and its resulting influx of French words into the language meant that the English of 1100 was much more different from the English of 1000 than the differences between the English of 900 and the English of 1000. Likewise, while English underwent a number of grammatical and phonetic changes throughout the Middle English period, the fifteenth century saw such a radical change in the pronunciation of English that 1500 serves as a useful date for the shift from Middle to Modern English. Old English makes use of unfamiliar letters, most of which derive from the runic alphabet, an alphabet used by the Germanic peoples. These letters are " " (thorn) and " " (eth) (often used interchangeably to represent the "th" sound of "that" and "thin"), " " (ash) (the vowel sound in cat), and wyn , which represents "w" and is rarely used in modern editions of Old English texts. If you look at a picture of the first page of
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