The Great Vowel Shift Essay

1512 words - 7 pages

It is one of the main languages in the world and it is the international language these days. English language is the language that faced many changes that affects in several things. For example, some changes occur in writing system, phonological system and other changes during many centuries. English language is about four stages: Old English, Middle English, Modern English, and Early Modern English. In each era, there is an affection of other tribe’s languages on English language. As an example, Germanic tribes who moved into Britain and have an impact on Old English language are (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes). In the same way, the effects of the tribes lead to have ...view middle of the document...

How the change happens:
The Great Vowel Shift happened during the movement of English language from Middle English language to Modern English. It happened because of the multiple tribes movements from different areas into Britain .As an example, Germanic tribes (Angles Saxons and Jutes) affects in old English however; French language affected on Middle English language and from French language, English has their long vowels. Moreover, Language changes were affecting on the producing of the words in language. For example, the (i) in Middle English changed into (I), (e) changed into (), and (a) changed into (). In addition, the changes make the pronunciation system different and spelling system change too. Some linguist said" The great vowel shift affecting the ME long vowels and merging of some ME long vowels with ME long vowels with ME diphthongs by the time of Shakespeare have been treated by various scholars since the last decades of 19 century"(Kurth,1960). From this quote, it is clear that the Great Vowel Shift affects on the long vowel in Middle English and diphthongs too.
Why does the Great Vowel Shift occur? /Causes
There are many reasons that lead to have the Great Vowel Shift in English; some of them belong to the society and social classes. The Great Vowel Shift happens in the language with different reasons .There are many theories that describe the reasons and the causes that leads to have Great Vowel Shift. First reason, Mass migration to England because of the Black Death and the differences in accents leads some groups to varying speech to allow for three standard pronunciation of vowel sound. Second reason, the raise of standardizes and standardization process which happened in Middle English. Actually, Standardization had some benefits on the language. Standardization makes the language easy and people can understand each other’s. As well, Standardization hurts the language, local dialects and dialogue will lose too. In the same way, the loan words that English language took from French language are one of the reasons that lead to have The Great Vowel shift. As an example of the loan words from French language are, beef, mutton venison, fashion, state ,government, and others In the same way, the influence of the French language in the pronunciation of high class people who speaks French language at old English era while English language is the language of the lower class.
The Started of the Great Vowel Shift:
(1) (2)
The beginning of the Great Vowel Shift was started by several linguists’ studies. Although, each linguist describes the changes depends on his point of view and according to the studies that he makes. Picture number (1) shows the description of The Great Vowel Shift by Jespersen and the changes that he describes. Firstly, the shift was cause a chain which started with diphthongization of: \i\ and \u\ changed into ₔI and ₔᶷ. Secondly,\e:\ and\o:\ were caused up...

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