Language of Robinson Crusoe Essay


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Daniel Dafoe’s popular novel, originally titled The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With an Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates (iii), like most classics underwent many editions through the years. However nothing but the first edition, which is the basis of this essay, can give us the look and feel of the time as intended to be shown by the author. Early Modern English . According to Volume 14 of The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes, Early Modern English period marked the expansion of the use of the English language outside England. But since English was spread at various times it has been subjected to different influences and additional variations caused by attempts at etymological spelling (Ward et al ch 15 sec 3 par 1). These were evident in the novel in two aspects of language: grammar and vocabulary (Ward et al ch 15 sec 1 par 1-2). Among the inflectional changes during the early modern English was the dropping of the weak vowel in verbs ending in –ed (Ward et al.


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It may be noted that shoar was only used in the part of Robinson Crusoe’s mishaps. That is to say, from the part of his captivity at Sallee until before his wreck on the island. These mishaps, Crusoe later reflected on, were results of his ignorance in the Providence of God and malcontent thus the use of the spelling shoar. While his solitary life in the island described the learning process he underwent to survive and finally live harmoniously with his surroundings; hence the renewed use of the spelling shore. In this regard, one may interpret that the use of the word was intentional to show the need and difficulty in creating a standard for the English language. The use of foreign language in novels is quite common throughout the ages. As such, we came to attention on the use of the Latin word viz. Oxford English Dictionary defines viz. as the abbreviation of videlicet which generally means namely or that is to say (1033).


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uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With an Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. London: printed for W. Taylor, 1719. Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Ward, Aldolphus William, Sir, et al. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. Putnam’s Sons, 1907-21; New York: Bartleby.com, 2000 (Web) April 1, 2009. .


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