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Language Change
The word 'robot' was first used in 1922!

Language Change

All languages change over time. If you've ever seen an example of Middle English, you will know how difficult it can be to read. And if you've ever seen Old English, it might have seemed impossible to decipher. Language change reflects and is influenced by changes in culture. New experiences will always require new words and ways to describe them.

This quiz is an overview of language change. Challenge yourself and see how much you know about the fascinating, ever-changing English language.

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1.
'A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap, and mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'd: "Give me," quoth I: -- "Aroint thee, witch!" the rump-fed ronyon cries. Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger: But in a sieve I'll thither sail...' These lines from Macbeth are an example of...
Old English
Middle English
Early Modern English
Modern English
2.
Which of the following is an example of gender-neutral language?
Everyone should put his books under the table
All men were created to be equal
A good driver learns to recognise when he is too tired to drive safely
Studying law will equip students with the skills necessary for a future legal career
In the past, 'men' was taken to mean 'people' sometimes and '(only) men' at other times. In the last half-century, language has responded to social change, including that brought about by feminism, and 'men' is not often used to mean 'people' any longer. Other examples of gendered language appear frequently (such as always choosing 'him' and 'his'), making it important to learn to recognise them
3.
Which of the following words has come into the English language from the world of I.T.?
App
Robot
Virus
Automaton
The word 'robot' was first used in 1922! 'App' is short for 'application' and originally meant a computer function - the abbreviation was first used in 1985
4.
Which of these is NOT a reason why language changes over time?
New inventions and technologies require new words
Language changes through contact with other cultures
Changes in social conventions over time influence changes in language
Language changes because the government controls the 'official' version of a language
Governments often do try to control language, such as when Welsh was banned from use in courts and schools, but language change is a natural process which cannot be controlled by anyone - it can only be influenced
5.
In the 18th century, this writer compiled his famous dictionary.
Samuel Johnson
William Shakespeare
William Caxton
Charles Dickens
6.
Which one of the following English words comes from French, rather than Old English?
Who
Justice
How
What
In Old English, ‘who’ was ‘hwā’, ‘how’ was ‘hú’ and ‘what’ was ‘hwæt’. Of the 100 most commonly used words in the English language, the majority are from Old English
7.
Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is written in...
Old English
Middle English
Early Modern English
Modern English
8.
Which of the following is written in Old English?
The Canterbury Tales
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Beowulf
The Lord of the Rings
Beowulf was written at least a thousand years ago
9.
Words which are no longer commonly used are referred to as...
jargon
slang
archaic
pointless
10.
Which would be the modern equivalent of 'thine'?
You
You're
Your
Yours
Over time, 'thou', 'thee', 'thy' and 'thine' have fallen out of use. If you have studied French or German, you will know that these languages distinguish between the formal 'you' and the familiar 'you'. In the past, an English speaker would call friends and family members 'thou', rather than 'you' ('you' was formal)
Author:  Sheri Smith

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