a handbook of english literature

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER HI. ntOM CHAUCER TO SURREY. 1350-1550. 15. PROGRESS OF TRE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.—16. LANOLAND, GOWER, RARROUR, —17. CHAUCER.—18. MANDEVILLE, WICUT, TREVISA.—19. OCCLEVE, LTD- GATE.— 20. JAMES OF SCOTLAND. — 21. PECOCE, FORTESCUE.—22. THE 'PASTON LETTERS.'—23. THE INTRODUCTION OP PRINTING.—24. HAWES, EARKr.AY, SKELTON.—25. THE SCOTCH POETS.—26. TRANSLATIONS OP TRE RIELE.—27. RRRNEHS, MORE.—28. ELTOT, LATIMER, CHEEE.— 29. WTATT, SURREY.—30. EARLY DRAMATIC WRITERS.—31. RALLAD POETRY. 15. Progress of the Enpllsh language.—In the preceding chapter (eee p. 17, s. 9) the progress of the Trritten vernacular tongue was traced from the Norman Conquest to the middle of the fourteenth century. During that period it had undergone what has been styled its First Great Revolution, i.e. the change of its structure by its conversion from an inflected into an un-inflected language; and commenced its Second Great Revolution: i.e. the change of its substance by the admission into its vocabulary of numberless Norman-French words. During the period embraced in the present chapter—from the middle of the fourteenth to the middle of the sixteenth century—this second revolution proceeded with accelerated vigour. It will be remembered that a prominent cause of the further alteration in the language was the gradual disuse of French. To this a new motive was now given by the Gallic wars of Edward III. By 1350 English had taken the place of French as a medium for teaching Latin in schools; and, in 1362, it was enacted that all trials at law should henceforth be conducted in English, upon the ploa that French was become unknown in the realm (est trap desconue en le dit rcalme). As the supremacy of Norman-French declined, the reviving English made amends for its long period of suppression and stagna...
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