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The present volume consists of so much of a larger work
recently published on the same subject as seemed sufficient to
make a convenient and comprehensive text-book for schools and
colleges, and to supply all the information needed by students
in preparing themselves for the Civil Service and other com-
petitive examinations. The concluding section is nearly all

that has been added.

The reader will do well to keep in mind, or under his eye,
the four following Schemes, or Synoptical Views, according to
which the history of the English Language in its entire extent

may be methodized :-

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1. Original, Pure, Simple, or First English (commonly called

Saxon, or Anglo-Saxon); Synthetic, or Inflectional, in its
Grammar, and Homogeneous in its Vocabulary;

2. Broken, or Second English (commonly called Semi-Saxon),

—from soon after the middle of the eleventh century to about
the middle of the thirteenth-when its ancient Grammatical
System had been destroyed, and it had been converted from
an Inflectional into a Non-Inflectional and Analytic lan-
guage, by the first action upon it of the Norman Conquest ;

3. Mixed, or Compound, or Composite, or Third English,--since

the middle of the thirteenth century—about which date its
Vocabulary also began to be changed by the combination of
its original Gothic with a French (Romance or Neo-Latin)
element, under the second action upon it of the Norman



1. The Original form, in which the three vowel-endings a, e, and

u are employed in the declension of nouns and the conjugation of verbs;

2. The Second form, in which the single termination e repre

sents indiscriminately the three ancient vowel-endings, but still constitutes a distinct syllable ;

3. The Third form, in which this termination e of nouns and

verbs, though still written, is no longer syllabically pronounced.


1. Saxon, or Anglo-Saxon ; throughout the period before the Nor

man Conquest;

2. Semi-Saxon ; from about the middle of the eleventh to the

middle of the thirteenth century; the period of the Infancy and Childhood of our existing national speech ;

3. Old, or rather Early, English ; from the middle of the thirteenth

to the middle of the fourteenth century; the period of the Boyhood of our existing speech;

4. Middle English ; from the middle of the fourteenth to the

middle of the sixteenth century; the Youth, or Adolescence of our existing speech ;

5. Modern English ; since the middle of the sixteenth century ;

the Manhood of our existing speech.



450. Commencement of the conquest and occupation of South

Britain by the Angles and Saxons, bringing with them their ancestral Gothic speech;

1066. Conquest of England by the Normans; Establishment of

French as the courtly and literary language of the country; Commencement of the reduction of the ancient vernacular tongue to the condition of a patois, and of its conversion from a synthetic to an analytic tongue ;

1154. End of the reign of the four Norman kings and accession

of the Plantagenet dynasty ; Beginning of the connexion with Southern France through the marriage of Henry II. with Eleanor of Poitou ; Termination of the National Chronicle, the latest considerable composition in the regular form of the ancient language; Full commencement of the intermixture of the two races ;

1272. New age of the Edwards ; Commencement of the con

nexion of the English royal family with that of France by the second marriage of Edward I. with a daughter of Philip III. ; Employment, at first occasionally, afterwards habitually, of French instead of English as the language of the Statutes; Commencement of its active intermixture with the vernacular tongue ;

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