The Early Modern English 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.