English is a West Germanic language that is a member of the Indo-European language family. It was first spoken by the inhabitants of early mediaeval England. It was named after the Angles, an ancient Germanic race who settled in what is now known as England. Although English has connections to Frisian and Low Saxon, it has a significant lexicon influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Old Norse (a North Germanic language), as well as Old Norman, French, and Latin. Let us understand the development of English language in detail.
Some important phases of English Language development
Old (450-1100 AD)
The origins of the English language can be traced back to three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain in the fifth century AD. Angles, Saxons, and Jutes crossed the North Sea from Denmark and northern Germany. Britain at the time spoke a Celtic language. However, the invaders drove the majority of Celtic speakers west and north, primarily into what are now Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. "England" was the Angles' homeland, and their language was "Englisc," from where England and English words came.
Invading Germanic tribes spoke languages that became Old English in Britain. It is very different from modern English. Native English speakers today would struggle to grasp Old English. However, it is the source of many modern words such as be, powerful, and water.
Early Modern (1100-1500)
In 1066, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy (modern-day France), attacked England and conquered it. Therefore, French became the language of the Royal Court, as well as the ruling and business classes. English regained dominance in Britain in the 14th century, although with several French terms added.
Late Modern (1800-Present)
Vocabulary distinguishes Early Modern and Late Modern English. Late Modern English contains many more words as a result of two major factors: first, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for new words; second, at its peak, the British Empire covered a fourth of the earth's surface, and the English language incorporated words from many different countries.
The English colonisation of North America, beginning around 1600, led in the development of a distinct American form of English. When they arrived in America, several English pronunciations and words "froze." In several aspects, American English resembles Shakespearean English more than modern British English. Some terms that the British refer to as "Americanisms" are, in fact, genuine British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while being lost in Britain for a while. Terms such as canyon, ranch, stampede, etc. entered English as a result of the settlement of the American West. French vocabulary (through Louisiana) and West African words (via the slave trade) also had an impact on American English (and so, to an extent, British English).
Because of the United States' dominance in movies, television, popular music, trade, and technology, American English is especially significant today (including the Internet). However, there are many more types of English spoken around the world, such as Australian English, New Zealand English, Canadian English, South African English, Indian English, and Caribbean English.
#english #history #languagehistory #historyofenglishlanguage #whenwasenglishinvented #oldenglish #middleenglish #modernenglish #americanenglish #britishenglish