How did the English language come about
Do you know the origin of the English language?
Hello ABA family! We know that you have always wondered how the English language came about and where its origins lie. Well, the guessing is over now! Today we're going to take a little time travel through the past and take a closer look at the factors that have influenced the development of the English language.
So what were the most important influences on the English language?
There is no doubt at all that a great many languages have had a huge impact on the English language over the years, but to make it short, it can be narrowed down to 3 ages of history. These 3 "phases" of the English language are known as "Old English" (450-1100 BC), "Middle English" (1100-1500) and Modern English (1500-present).
More than 1,500 years ago, three different ethnic groups, each with their three very different dialects, came to Great Britain. They were the Jutes, the Angles and the Saxons. They came from neighboring Denmark and Germany, and supplanted the local Celtic languages along with Latin, which were then spoken in southern England. Today, the Celtic languages can still be found in parts of Wales, north-west Scotland and Ireland.
For many years these Germanic dialects mixed and adopted the words from the other dialects. In fact, the term "Anglo-Saxon", which refers to a native English speaker, comes from the influence of these ethnic groups on the language.
Before 900 BC The Vikings landed on the northern coasts of the British Isles and with them their mother tongue Old Norse came to Great Britain. This had a profound impact on the English language and many of the words they introduced are still used today. A few examples are:
(Strange / strange)
For example, when you say "take a look at that ugly window", you are actually speaking like a Viking! These northern warriors also introduced pronouns such as “their” (their) and “them” (them), which still exist in modern English today.
When we refer to the period known as "Middle English" we are speaking of the time when William the Conqueror became king and introduced the old-style French language to the kingdom. Suddenly French was “in” and English was “out” and was considered the language of the lower classes and was eventually banned.
Since English was no longer "popular," it barely developed at all until 1200, when it made a comeback full of French words. For example, some of these words that we still use today are:
(Houses of Parliament)
It's also important to mention that during the Middle English period, certain vowels in words were pronounced excessively. What we mean by this is that when you said a particular sound in certain words, the way you formed your mouth, and that sound was pronounced very differently, because you raised your tongue when you spoke. This had a significant effect on the sound of words for over three hundred years.
This period of the English language is often referred to as the Shakespeare era thanks to the great playwright William Shakespeare. Did you know that he invented over 1700 words? He made verbs out of nouns, adjectives out of verbs, and combined words that had never been used together.
The introduction of the first printing press in Westminster Abbey in the 1470s had a very significant impact on this period. Why? Quite simply because it introduced standardization of the language and helped many people to become literate. Books were expensive and therefore reserved only for the richer classes.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the British were just beginning and the development of the English language was in full swing. The British industrial revolution was felt everywhere and the pace of development of the English language could no longer be stopped. During this time many words were invented and still others were adapted to the technical advances of the time. The words from that period are still used today. For example:
At this time, in addition to all the new word creations and further developments of words, the British began their journey into colonization. This brought even more new words to the UK, for example: did you know that the word “shampoo” comes from the Hindi word “champna” which means “to massage”? Or that the word “boomerang” is Australian? And the word “zombie” comes from Africa.
Is there anything else you would like to know?
But of course! If we had put the whole history of the English language into this article, it would be a book now! In summary, what is so fascinating about this wonderful language is that it never stops developing, so we are well advised to never stop learning either.
If you want to learn more about this wonderful language, just take the first step and join the millions of students who study with us every day.
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