The factor of Scandinavian Influence in the History of English

Research output

Abstract

Scandinavian influence in the history of English caused by the Old Norse and Old Danish invasions of the 8th — early 11th centuries is a popular topic in historical studies. The specific nature of the English-Scandinavian contacts explains the fact that the results were registered in the Middle English period. Traditionally attributed to Scandinavian influence are numerous loan words, certain elements of consonantal system, reduction and loss of unstressed inflexions and the change of the morphological type. The paper aims at reconsidering the Scandinavian impact and argues that the evolution of systemic linguistic levels (phonology and morphology) followed inherent English or Germanic regularities, with Scandinavian only fleshing out the existing skeleton. Lexical borrowings, though numerous, were for the Old English period cognitively redundant, parallel to the existing Anglo-Saxon vocabulary. Phonologically, [g], [k] before front vowels and [sk] instead of [ʃ], are considered indication of Scandinavian loans but do not introduce anything new in the phonological system as inherent English phonemes are to be found in similar positions, cf. keen, geese, ask. Scandinavian words fill existing patterns, thus merely increasing the functional load. Morphologically, the reduction and loss of unstressed endings were due to the general Germanic typological transition of the root morpheme from free quantity to syllabic cut and syllabo-morphemic root structure. Language contacts may have only accelerated the process
Translated title of the contributionФАКТОР СКАНДИНАВСКОГО ВЛИЯНИЯ В ИСТОРИИ АНГЛИЙСКОГО ЯЗЫКА
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-35
JournalСКАНДИНАВСКАЯ ФИЛОЛОГИЯ (SCANDINAVICA)
Volume 17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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