Characteristics of Modern English Language


Characteristics of Modern English Language
English as a Masculine Language

Characteristics of the Modern English Language

Characteristics of Modern English Language

Characteristics of Modern English Language

English as a Masculine Language

English is a language of world-wide extension. It is spoken and read not only in England and America but also in many countries of the world as a second language. By the term ‘the English language’ we mean the Modern Standard English language. Here to remind that Modern Standard English both written and spoken has not been derived from Old English (i.e. West-Saxon dialect) but from another dialect called the East Midland Dialect, particularly the dialect of the Metropolis London.  The period of Modern Standard English began with some peculiar characteristics in the early sixteenth century.  The most outstanding characteristics (which are basically masculine) of Modern English are receptive and adaptable heterogeneousness, clear and precise phonetic system, brevity and terseness, grammatical word order, logical, grave and sober, free from narrow-minded pedantry and free from any word complication.

First of all, English is characterized by Extraordinary Receptive and Adaptable Heterogeneousness. It borrows any foreign elements without any hesitation when the occasion needs it. From its origin to modern time it has been borrowing elements from Greek, Latin, French etc. and has been accepting and adapting the elements to its vocabulary as its integral part. This general heterogeneous receptiveness helps make the English language to be an attractive language in the world.

Secondly, the English language is characterized by a Clear and Precise Phonetic System that is masculine in character. The English consonants are distinctively separated from each other and they are clearly and precisely pronounced. There are no indistinctive consonants in English that are abounding in Danish or any other language. For the most part, the English vowels are more independent than in other languages as English consonant is seldom changed by the vowels on either side. Moreover, English abounds in two or more consonant sounds in such words as– prompt, tempt, weather, feast etc.

Thirdly, the English language is characterized by Briefness, Terseness and Conciseness, which are the characteristics of a man. From the viewpoint of its grammar, English has got rid of a great many superfluities that are found in Old English and other Teutonic group of languages. In the sentence, “All the good students passed who appeared in the examination”. Here ‘all’ and ‘who’ (pronouns); ‘the’ (article); ‘good’ (adjective); have not received any mark of plural except only the noun “students”. This example shows how brief concise and terse the English language is!

The fourth outstanding characteristic of the English language is its Grammatical Word Order. Other words in English do not play hide and seek as they often do in Latin and other languages. In English, the helping verb (auxiliary verb) does not stand far from the principal verb. For example, ‘Corbett had killed a tiger’. Here the auxiliary verb ‘had’ stands just before the main verb ‘killed’. Thus negative words generally stand in the immediate neighborhood of the main verb as- ”He did not like the book.’’ Here the negative word ‘not’ has stood just before the main verb ‘like’. Again, in the same manner, an adjective also stands before the word it qualifies. For example, “Ram was a good king”. Here the adjective ‘good’ has stood just before the word ‘king’ which is qualified by the adjective ‘good’.

Fifthly, like a man, the English language is a Highly Logical language. In English the difference between the past ‘he went’ and the past perfect ‘he had gone’ are maintained with great logical force. In this respect, it seems that it is one of the most logical languages in the world.

The sixth feature of the English language is that, as a grown-up man, it is Sober and Grave. Any speaker of English does not like to use more words or words of more syllables than are strictly necessary for conveying his sense or ideas. For example, we generally say – ”Raman has taken the photo of the sight”, instead of saying “Raman has taken the photograph of the sight”.

The seventh feature of the English language is that it is Free from Narrow-minded Pedantries, like a man, not like a woman. This freedom from pedantry appears most clearly in number. Thus the word- clergy, family, committee, etc. are grammatically singular in number though they can denote more than one person. Most other languages can treat these words only as singular but in English, they can take a singular verb if the idea of singularity is predominant.  For example- ”The existing clergy is better than the previous one”.

On the other hand, they can take a plural verb when the idea of plurality is predominant. For example- “The clergy were not unanimous to maintain a new order”.

The last but not the least characteristic of the English language is that a speaker of the English language is free from the complication of words and their meanings. A speaker determines the choice of words, but not the words that determine the choice of purpose.

All these characteristics discussed above show that the English language bears all the characteristics of a man. And hence Otto Jesperson has rightly said: “English is more masculine than most languages”. Again he says more, “English is positively and expressively masculine, it is the language of a grown-up man and has very little childish or feminine about it”. 0 0 0

Characteristics of Modern English Language

Read More: Characteristics of  (Old) English Language

N. B. This article entitled ‘Characteristics of the Modern English Language’ originally belongs to the book ‘A Brief History of the English Language‘ by Menonim Menonimus. Characteristics of Modern English Language

Books on Linguistics by M. Menonimus:

  1. A Brief History of the English Language
  2. Essays on Linguistics
  3. My Imageries
  4. Felicitous Expression: Some Examples
  5. Learners’ English Dictionary

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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