THE PROCESS OF STANDARDIZATION : ENGLISH LANGUAGE
(c) Elaboration of functions
At this stage, there was an attempt to achieve one of the two main objectives of standardization: the maximum use in the function. The new standard had to work in the domains of law, government, literature, religion, scholarship and education, where previously only Latin and French were used. Therefore, the standard had to develop new structures and new meanings, appropriate for use in different domains. Each a group of specialist lawyers, religious writers, administrators, cultivated their own records within the standard. Therefore, it would be a mistake to assume that the standard is monolithic. He had to develop variations in the registry to adapt to its wide range of functions.
The main source of variation, therefore, was not more regional, since the different styles developed their own particularities. Often, these were influenced by the use in Latin and French. For example, Englishmen of religion and law were greatly influenced by these foreign uses. In all styles, the words developed additional technical meanings as they were used in certain contexts, and these technical meanings often influenced spoken use. In short, the vocabulary in English was differentiated to a previously unknown point, in the sense that words can be identified as “literary” or “legal” or “technical” in one sphere or another.
Let’s see some elaboration of the functions of the standard, as it was developed in the domains previously associated with French and Latin:
(i) In 1362, English was used for the first time in the domains of both government and law. But now, the use of French in written documents continued until the eighteenth century and today legal English still uses the French and Latin terminology as simple fee and habeas corpus.
(ii) Although the use of English as a literary medium was evident at the end of the sixteenth century, the acceptance of its potential in this respect was won after great controversy. A debate followed on the suitability of English as a language of composition and, although some scholars considered that English was not suitable for composing great literary works such as “bored”, “sing-song” and “barbarian”, others felt that there was nothing. It is worth saying that you could not say in English.
A commitment view argued that English could achieve the eloquence of classical languages by injecting thousands of words of Latino loanwords into the language. But by 1580 the controversy had diminished and a balance had been struck between native use and foreign importation. It was stated that English had reached a state of eloquence. In addition, the suitability of English as a literary medium was no more doubtful because poets such as Spenser, Sidney and Shakespeare had composed works that many considered compatible with any literature. And with this newfound confidence, the writers were able to carry out stylistic experiments.