The Modern English Period extends from the beginning of the 16th century to the present day. This long period can be subdivided into the “Early Modern English Period” and “Later Modern English Period”. The early period extends from 1601 to 1700 and the latter from 1701 to the present day. Today English occupies an enviable position as the official language in the world. In India too, we are greatly dependent on English for official, social, and commercial purposes. Globalization has further strengthened the requirement of learning and using English for everyday activities.
The fall of Constantinople into the hands of Turks and the consequent spread of Greek scholars in the continent, the Renaissance, the reformation, the invention of the printing press by Caxton in 1476, and the discovery of America by Columbus had far-reaching effects and shook the very of Middle English.
English is a cosmopolitan language. Its global appeal originated not only from certain but the qualities and characteristics of the language also helped much in its worldwide extension. The most significant characteristic of Modern English is its extraordinarily receptive and adaptable heterogeneousness. The ease and readiness with which English borrowed words from French, Latin, Scandinavian, Greek, Indian and other sources is really striking. The development of science and technology, and the two world wars also brought a fairly large number of words into modern English.
Modern English differs from Old English and Middle English in many aspects. Old English was a highly inflected language. But during the Middle English period, there was a gradual loss in the use of inflections. There are a few inflections in Modern English. The middle ages had been a keen interest in matters of philosophy and religion whereas man has now drifted towards science and agnosticism. Science has awakened a new sense in him. The Modern English language also reflects this growing love of science by becoming analytic more and more.
Illogical Spelling and Pronunciation:
In Modern English, one finds numerous changes in sound which became responsible for changes in pronunciation. During the old English period, the pronunciation of words was completely based on phonetics.
Modern English is distinguished from old English and Middle English for its illogical system of spelling and the frequent lack of correlation between the spelling of words and their pronunciation. For Example, ‘sun’ and ‘son’ are pronounced almost without any variation in sound. Similarly, ‘U’ is pronounced quite differently in words such as but, put, university, etc. In this context “AC Bough remarks:
“The situation is confusing in the treatment of the consonants”.
Another feature of Modern English is its most varied and vast treasure of words. Many people and tongues come to England from time to time and left their indelible impact on the language of the island. English being, progressive and digestive continued to abson so many words from these people and these tongues.
Another characteristic of Modern English is its freedom from dry lexicography and literal pedantry. It has become how a day is comparatively flexible and soft. In it, one part of speech can function for other. Nouns are being used as adjectives as in ‘Bus Station’ and ‘boyfriend’. In the same way, verbs are employed as nouns as in “a wash”, a cut.
The Sum up, English has the brightest prospect of becoming an international language in near future. In recent years Modern English has been influenced by American English. Therefore, it should be prepared to undergo any changes in its spelling and pronunciation, and grammar as may be necessary to bridge the long-felt gap of the entire world.
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