The Development of the Dialectal Map of the English Language

September 25th, 20114:48 am


The Development of the Dialectal Map of the English Language

Old English: the first writing of the OE period were glosses; most writings were of religious character influenced by Latin. Original writings are represented by numerous laws, wills and some literary works (see below). West Saxon dialect is considered the dominant dialect due to the rise of Wessex and King Alfred’s contribution.
To the OE period belongs the most prominent monument of the time – the poem of Beowulf. We may say that it was composed somewhere between about 521 AD and 1026 AD).

Literary works

The original dialect in which the poem was written is traditionally said to be one of Anglian (possibly Northumbrian, in other sources Mercian); it was copied by West Saxon scribes who introduced West Saxon forms; the result is a mixture of the forms of Anglian and West Saxon. Actually, the only manuscript that survived till nowadays (which dates back to 1000 AD) is written mainly in Wessex dialect with several insertions of Anglian forms.

As the manuscript is written down by two scribes the difference in the language of two parts can be noted. The first scribe finishes with the 1939th line. In the part written by the second scribe some forms of the Kentish dialect are found. The orthography of both parts also differs greatly.

Middle English:


Middle English:

Here we also speak of Chancery Standard, which was a written form of English used by government bureaucracy and for other official purposes from the late 14th century. It is believed to have contributed in a significant way to the development of the English language as spoken and written today.

Because of the differing dialects of English spoken and written across the country at the time, the government required a clear and unambiguous form for use in its official documents. Chancery Standard was developed to meet this need.

Modern English:

Modern English

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