3rd Year, English Language and Literature
I have researched the gradual historical changes in word-endings from Old English to Middle English, and compared my findings with similar changes from Old Dutch to Middle Dutch. The results demonstrated that both languages developed a simplified system of word-endings, but English did so faster than Dutch. Recent theories about the sociological causes for language change suggest that language contact is an important feature, and thus the influence of Viking invasions in England has often been suggested as a reason for the extensive language change. Dutch, however, may not have had this influence, and yet underwent many of the same changes English did. Possible reasons are an English influence on Dutch, including the possibility that the whole Germanic-speaking world (which includes England) consisted of mutually intelligible dialects, or that there was a deeper cause for the English language change than the Viking invasions. The question then is whether the theories about language change as a result of language contact are supported by this evidence.