The Diary Of Henry Machyn Essay

The Diary Of Henry Machyn Essay

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For my essay I will be analysing the grammatical aspects that are shown in Machyn’s diary. I will specifically look at the present day translation of the diary and focus on the changes that are within the extract and whether they show forms and structures that have now disappeared. The Diary of Henry Machyn is an eyewitness account of proceedings in London in the 17th century, in the form of a diary entry.
The Middle English period is characterised by the difference in grammar and vocabulary. The term Middle English describes the stage in the progression of the English language between 1100 and 1500. However, critics differ with regards to the actual time in which the Middle English period began and ended. The Middle English period falls between Old English (also known as Anglo-Saxon) and the beginnings of Modern English in the sixteenth century. The Middle English period was one of great language change that has influenced forms and constructs that are still present today. This was evident when I was translating the diary.
One main feature of Machyn’s diary was how English became less dependent on inflectional endings and more on word order to express the grammatical information within the text. In other words, Middle English became less synthetic and more analytic. This is shown through the ways in which the diary is written. Diaries that are written in Present Day English are usually personal, but this diary doesn’t show any elements of the diary being distinctive. When writing an account of events that took place you would add subjective proceedings that may have affected you. This is something that I would do if I were to change the entire diary into Standard English. Even though the text was written in the Early Middle Eng...


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...English to Middle English was huge. When we talk about the features of Middle English that differ it from Old English, we must recognise that none of them appeared as an overnight. Language takes time to advance and become something that people can relate to and understand. Language develops gradually and not instantly. There are indeed many features of change in Old English. But the Norman Conquest had concerns that enhanced a vast amount of these changes. The diary entry shows how the oppositions have influenced the vocabulary of surviving documents. It’s also influenced the orthography. And changes in the shape of words and sentences doubtless took place more rapidly in speech than in formal writing.
All these discrepancies are to be seen, in a way, in the present-day gulf between official and literary writing on the one hand and our ordinary speech on the other.

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