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8 - English in North America

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Edward Finegan
Affiliation:
Professor of Linguistics and Law, University of Southern California
Richard Hogg
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
David Denison
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
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Summary

The colonial period: 1607–1776

In 1607, following several failed attempts, the English succeeded at Jamestown, Virginia, with their first permanent settlement in the New World. In the decades to follow, other English settlements were made at Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Providence and elsewhere.

Explorers and settlers meet Native Americans

Along the Atlantic seaboard, explorers and settlers met, mixed with and sometimes married Native Americans and used Native American names for many artifacts in American life and culture, as well as for places and for unfamiliar plants and animals in the new environment. For other places and things English speakers invented new names or invoked familiar ones. Even before 1607, scores of Algonquian words already peppered English. In A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, first published in 1588, Thomas Harriot, an astronomer working for Sir Walter Raleigh, described openauk as ‘a kind of roots of round forme, some of the bignes of walnuts, some far greater’, and sacquenummener as ‘a kinde of berries almost like vnto capres but somewhat greater which grow together in clusters vpon a plant or herb that is found in shallow waters’; the berries would later be called cranberries. For various acorns, Harriot used their Algonquian names (sagatemener, osamener, pummuckoner, sapummener, mangummenauk), as he did for many New World plants, but these names did not survive in English.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • English in North America
    • By Edward Finegan, Professor of Linguistics and Law, University of Southern California
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.009
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  • English in North America
    • By Edward Finegan, Professor of Linguistics and Law, University of Southern California
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • English in North America
    • By Edward Finegan, Professor of Linguistics and Law, University of Southern California
  • Edited by Richard Hogg, University of Manchester, David Denison, University of Manchester
  • Book: A History of the English Language
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791154.009
Available formats
×