The Development of the English Literary Language Essay

8280 Words Apr 18th, 2013 34 Pages
A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENGLISH LITERARY
(STANDARD) LANGUAGE
( From: I.R.Galperin. Stylistics. Moscow: Higher School, 1977. pp. 41-57)

Up till now we have done little more than mention the literary (standard) language, which is one of the most important notions in stylistics and general linguistics. It is now necessary to elucidate this linguistic notion by going a little deeper into what constitutes the concept and to trace the stages in the development of the English standard language. This is necessary in order to avoid occasional confusion of terms differently used in works on the history, literature and style of the English language. Confusion between the terms "literary language" and "language of
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In this connection it will not come amiss to note that there are two conflicting tendencies in the process of establishing the norm: 1) preservation of the already existing norm, sometimes with attempts to re-establish old forms of the language;
1 Горький М. О литературе. M., 1937, с. 220. 2. For the definition of the norm and its variants see pp. 18—19. 2) introduction of new norms not yet firmly established. In this connection it will be interesting to quote the following lines from H. C. Wyld's "A History of Modern Colloquial English." "If it were necessary to attempt to formulate the general tendencies which have been discernible in Received Standard English during the last three centuries and a half, and which have been increasingly potent during the last hundred and fifty years, we should name two, which are to some extent opposed, but both of which are attributable to social causes. The first is the gradual decay of ceremoniousness and formality which has overtaken the speech and modes of address, no less than the manners, of good society. The second of the effort—sometimes conscious and deliberate, sometimes unconscious—after 'correctness' or correctitude, which, on the one hand, has almost eliminated the use of oaths and has softened away many coarsenesses and crudities of expression—as we

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