The Early Modern English Period

4. What subsystems of English (such as e.g. spelling) were most strongly affected by the process of standardisation in this period?

5. The Great Vowel Shift [1]

  • mismatch between spelling and pronunciation: begun in ME, spelling fixed by early XVI century, but the sound kept changing).
  • change of quality of all long vowels (stressed syllables)
  • standardization of the language: synthetic -> analytic
  • most significant of all phonological developments in English
  • change in pronunciaion of verb tense[2]350px-GVS.jpg

6. What kind of social relationship does the usage of singular you and thou reflect in Elizabethan society?

  • used to express power relations
  • thou becoming an exceptional form
  • you used in order to show respect (everyone regarded due to his/her social status)
    • children addressing their parent as you and being addressed as thou
  • Bruti: use of you/thou based on social distance and emotional attitude
    • inferiors addressed as thou, equals as you/thou and superiors as you
    • anger/contempt or familiarity/intimacy expressed by the use of thou, neutrality/indifference with you
  • GRAMLEY STEPHAN. The history of English: an introduction. New York: Routledge, 2012, xxv, 123-154 pp.