The role played by the german and scandinavian tribes on english language — страница 10

  • Просмотров 435
  • Скачиваний 6
  • Размер файла 62

Celts to the English. These will be discussed later. It is natural that Celtic place-names should be commoner in the west than in the east and southeast, but the evidence of these names shows that the Celts impressed themselves upon the Teutonic con­sciousness at least to the extent of causing the newcomers to adopt many of the local names current in Celtic speech and to make them a permanent part of their vocabulary. Celtic Loan-words. Outside of place-names, Jiow-ever, the influence of Celtic upon the English language js almost negligible. Not over a score of words in Old English can be traced with reasonable probability to a Celtic source. Within this small number it is possible to distinguish twogroups: (1) those which the Anglo-Saxons learned through everyday contact

with the natives, and (2) those which were introduced by the Irish missionaries in the north. The former were transmitted orally and were of popular character; the latter were connected with religious activities and were more or less learned. The popular words include binn (basket, crib), bratt (cloak), and brocc as these suggest better than any explanation the familiar, every­day character of the words which the Scandinavian invasions and subsequent settlement brought into English. The Relation of Borrowed and Native Words. It will be seen from the words in the above lists that in many cases the new words could have supplied no real need in the English vocabulary. They made their way into English simply as the result of the mixture of the two races. The Scandinavian and the

English words were being used side by side, and the survival of one or the other must often have been a matter of chance. Under such circumstances a number of things might happen. Where words in the two languages coincided more or less in form and meaning the modern word stands at the same time for both its English and its Scandinavian ancestors. Examples of such words are burn, cole, drag, fast, gang, murk(y), scrape, Ilick. Where there were differences of form the English word often survived. Beside such English words as bench, goat, heathen, yarn, few, grey, loath, leap, flay corresponding Scandinavian forms are found quite often in Middle English literature and in some cases still exist in dialectal use. We find scrcdc, skcllc, skcrc with the hard pronunciation of the initial

consonant group beside the standard English shred, shell, sheer, wae beside woe, the surviving form except in welaway, Mgg the Old Norse equivalent of O.E, treowe (true). Again where the same idea was expressed by different words in the two languages it was often, as we should expect, the English word that lived on. We must remember that the area in which the two languages existed for a time side by side was confined to the northern and eastern half of England. Examples are the Scandinavian words attlen beside English think (in the sense of purpose, intend), bolnen beside swell, f men (O.N. tyna) beside lose, site beside sorrow, roke (fog) beside mist, reike beside path. (3) In other cases the Scandinavian word replaced the native word, often after the two had long remained in

use concurrently. Our word awe from Scandinavian, and its cognate eye (aye) from Old English are both found in the Ormulum (c. 1200). In the earlier part of the Middle English period the English word is commoner, but by 1300 the Scandinavian form begins to appear with increasing frequency, and finally replaces the Old English word. The two forms must have been current in the everyday speech of the northeast for several centuries, until finally the pronunciation awe prevailed. The Old English form is not found after the fourteenth century. The same thing happened with the two words for egg, ey (English) and egg (Scandinavian). Caxton complains at the close of the fifteenth century (see the passage quoted below, p. 236) that it was hard even then to know which to use. In the words

sister (O.N. syster, O.E. swcostor), boon (O.N. bön, O.E. ben), loan (O.N. Ian, O.E. ten), weak (O.N. veikr, O.E. tvâc) the Scandinavian form lived. Often a good Old English word was lost, since it expressed the same idea as the foreign word. Thus the verb take replaced the O.E. niman;1 cast superseded the O.E. weorpan, while it has itself been largely displaced now by throw; cut took the place of O.E. snîÖan and ceorfan. Old English had several words for anger (O.N. angr), including torn, grama, and irre, but the Old Norse word prevailed. In the same way the Scandinavian word bark replaced O.E. rind, wing replaced O.E. jehra, sky took the place of iiprodor and wolccn (the latter now being preserved only in the poetical word welkin), and window (= wind-eye) drove out the