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This introduction to some exciting aspects in the field of social linguistics is designed to encourage you to read further. There are many fascinating and odd phenomena that occur in the social aspects of language.
WHAT IS SOCIOLINGUISTICS?
Sociolinguistics is a term including the aspects of linguistics applied toward the connections between language and society, and the way we use it in different social situations. It ranges from the study of the wide variety of dialects across a given region down to the analysis between the way men and women speak to one another. Sociolinguistics often shows us the humorous realities of human speech and how a dialect of a given language can often describe the age, sex, and social class of the speaker; it codes the social function of a language.
SOCIAL FACTORS PIDGINS AND CREOLES POLITENESS STRATEGIES POLITENESS AND GENDER WHO TALKS MORE, MEN OR WOMEN? DO MEN AND WOMEN SPEAK DIFFERENTLY?
INTRODUCTION When two people speak with one another, there is always more going on than just conveying a message. The language used by the participants is always influenced by a number of social factors which define the relationship between the participants. Consider, for example, a professor making a simple request of a student to close a classroom door to shut off the noise from the corridor. There are a number of ways this request can be made: a. Politely, in a moderate tone "Could you please close the door?" b. In a confused manner while shaking his/her head "Why aren't
you shutting the door?" c. Shouting and pointing, "SHUT THE DOOR!"
The most appropriate utterance for the situation would be a. The most inappropriate would be c. This statement humiliates the student, and provides no effort by the professor to respect him/her. Utterance b is awkward because it implies that the teacher automatically assumes that the student should know better than to leave the door open when there is noise in the hallway. The inappropriateness is a social decision tied to the social factors which shape the relationship between speaker ( the professor), and the listener (the student). When choosing an appropriate utterance for the situation, there are factors that you must consider in order to effectively convey the message to the other participant.
1. Participants- how well do they know each other? 2. Social setting- formal or informal 3. Who is talking- status relationship/social roles ( student vs. professor) 4. Aim or purpose of conversation 5. Topic
Do you notice that there is a difference in the way you speak to your friends and the way you speak to your relatives, teachers, or others of professional status?
When telling your friend that you like his/her shirt, you say: "Hey, cool shirt, I like that!" When telling the President of the company your parents work for that you like his/her shirt, you say: "You look very nice today, I really like that shirt." This is called choosing your variety or code. This can also be seen on a larger scale, diglossia, where multilingual nations include a variety of accents, language styles, dialects and languages. Each of these factors is a reflection of the region and socio-economics background from which you come from. In monolingual societies, the region and socio-economic factors are determined by dialect and language style.
It is not uncommon in our nation to see that languages other than English are spoken inside the home with friends and family. However when these bilingual or even trilingual families interact socially outside of their home, they will communicate in English. Even church services may use a variation of the language, one that you would only hear in side the church or in school. An example of the difference in the use of a language can be seen in the following example from Janet Holmes, "An Introduction to Sociolinguistics," of the two
main languages used in Paraguay; Spanish and Guarani:
Domain Family Friendship Religion Education Education Addres see Parent Friend Priest Setting Topic Home Cafe Church Planning a party Humorous ancedote Choosing the Sunday liturgy Langua ge Guarani Guarani Spanish Guarani Spanish
Teacher Primary Telling a story Lecturer Universi Solving math problem ty Office Getting an important license
Administrati Official on
Diglossia Diglossia: In a bilingual community, in which two languages or dialects are used differently according to different social situations.
Janet Holmes defines diglossia as having three crucial features:
1. In the same language, used in the same community, there are two distinct varieties. One is regarded as high (H) and the other low (L). 2. Each is used for distinct functions. 3. No one uses the high (H) in everyday conversation.
In the following example it is easy to tell which variety you will use given the social situations:
• • • • • •
Telling a joke Interviewing for a job Giving a speech for a charity event Giving a speech for a friend for his/her birthday Church Cafeteria
PIDGINS AND CREOLES
INTRODUCTION Can you guess what language this is? These lines are taken from a famous comic strip in Papua New Guinea: "Sapos yu kaikai planti pinat, bai yu kamap strong olsem phantom." "Fantom, yu pren tru bilong mi. Inap yu ken helpim mi nau?" "Fantom, em i go we?"
'If you eat plenty of peanuts, you will come up strong like the phantom.' 'Phantom, you are a true friend of mine. Are you able to help me now?' 1Where did he go?'
A simplified language derived from two or more languages is called a pidgin. It is a contact language developed and used by people who do not share a common language in a given geographical area. It is used in a limited way and the structure is very simplistic. Since they serve a single simplistic purpose, they usually die out. However, if the pidgin is used long enough, it begins to evolve into a more rich language with a more complex structure and richer vocabulary. Once the pidgin has evolved and has acquired native speakers ( the children learn the pidgin as their first language), it is then called a Creole. An example of this is the Creole above from Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin, which has become a National language.
Reasons for the development of Pidgins In the nineteenth century, when slaves from Africa were brought over to North America to work on the plantations, they were separated from the people of their community and mixed with people of various other communities, therefore they were unable to communicate with each other. The strategy behind this was so they couldn't come up with a plot to escape back to their land. Therefore, in order to finally communicate with their peers on the plantations, and with their bosses, they needed to form a language in which they could communicate. Pidgins also arose because of colonization. Prominent languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and Dutch were the languages of the coloni zers. They traveled, and set up ports in coastal towns where shipping and trading routes were accessible.
There is always a dominant language which contributes most of the vocabulary of the pidgin, this is called the superstrate language. The superstrate language from the Papua New Guinea Creole example above is English. The other minority languages that contribute to the pidgin are called the substrate
languages. In the United States, there is a very well known Creole, Louisiana Creole, which is derived from French and African Languages. You most likely have heard of "Cajun" which is a developed dialect of this Creole. Can you guess what major language (the superstrate) contributed to the vocabulary in each of these Creoles? This table is taken from Janet Holmes, " An Introduction to Sociolinguistics":
a. mo pe aste sa banan b. de bin alde luk dat big tri c. a waka go a wosu d. olmaan i kas-im chek e. li pote sa bay mo f. ja fruher wir bleiben g. dis smol swain i bin go fo maket I am buying the banana they always looked for a big tree he walked home the old man is cashing a check he brought that for me Yes at first we remained this little pig went to market
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a. French based Seychelles Creole b. English based Roper River Creole c. English based Saran d. English based Cape York Creole e. French based Guyanais
"I'm sorry to bother you but. if you don't mind?" and "I'm sorry. In this situation you recognize that your teacher has a desire to be respected. we are obligated to adjust our use of words to fit the occasion." If you answered B. Indirectly say. Some other examples would be to say. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem. described by Brown and Levinson. say. "So. say. "Ooh. Negative Politeness. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity. I want to use one of those!" b. or "Shut-up!" However. It would seem socially unacceptable if the phrases above were reversed. I don't mean to interrupt. is it O." There are four types of politeness strategies." Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself. "I don't want to bother you but. "Could you please pass me that plate. When we are with a group of friends. English based Cameroon Pidgin POLITENESS In everyday conversation. or making them feel uncomfortable. I just wanted to ask you if I could use one of those pens?" d." or "I was . there are ways to go about getting the things we want." I different social situations. and be respected.. What would you do if you saw a cup of pens on your teacher's desk. if I use one of those pens?" c.K. "Hmm. you used the Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that you recognize that they want to be respected however. we must say.f. but I am not able to hear the speaker in the front of the room. and Off-Record-indirect strategy. you used what is called the Bald On-Record strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to your teachers' "face. we can say to them. According to Brown and Levinson. in which our parents are attending. that sum up human "politeness" behavior: Bald On Record. you used the Positive Politeness strategy. Positive Politeness. German based Papua New Guinea Pidgin German g. when we are surrounded by a group of adults at a formal function. Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these FTA's. and you wanted to use one. If you answered A. would you a. you also assume that you are in some way imposing on them. and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations. "Go get me that plate!".. Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person. say. politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face. If you answered C. I sure could use a blue pen right now.
even encouraged. and Communication" she notes that." If you answered D. characterized by a high frequency of honorific (showing respect for the person to whom you are talking to. . In Frank and Anshen's "Language and the Sexes". well "boys will be boys." This page was last updated on Tuesday. it has appeared that women have had a secondary role in society relative to that of the male. "are permitted. 1997 Politeness and Gender Are Women More Polite Than Men? Politeness is defined by the concern for the feelings of others. You are trying not to directly impose by asking for a pen. cultivate a deep "masculine" voice and. decided not to return someone's phone call. "women typically use more polite speech than do men. if they violate the norms of correct usage or of polite speech. In our society it is socially acceptable for a man to be forward and direct his assertiveness to control the actions of others. and you are looking to find one. it has been (historically) expected from a women to "act like a lady" and "respect those around you. However. the trend of expected polite speech from the female continues to remain. This is a prime example of how society plays an important part on the social function of the language." although. Therefore. but there was never any answer.. formal stylistic markers)." Sociolinguists try to explain why there is a greater frequency of the use of polite speech from women than from men. A great example of this strategy is somethin g that almost everyone has done or will do when you have. From historical recurrence.. these roles are becoming more of a stereotype and less of a reality. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once the teacher realizes you need one. on purpose.wondering if . they note that boys. society has devalued these speech patterns when it is utilized by women. The main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you. From Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. to talk rough. However. therefore you say. and softening devices such as hedges and questions. February 25. peculiarly. it is much less common that "girls will be girls" Fortunately. " I tried to call a hundred times. Culture." It reflects the role of the inferior status being expected to respect the superior. you used Off-Record indirect strategies.
" "I think that." Hedges: "loosely speaking". and fix my jacket?" In Japanese. soften the impact of your words or phrases such as " I was sort-of-wondering. Well. " I sort-of-think that Hank is a bit of a mean person." "maybe if. this is probably true. yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda yamada son dinner enjoyed "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. however. do women do it more than men? No! In fact an experiment designed to measure the amount of speech produced suggested that men are more prone to use up more talking time than women..Honorifics: linguistic markers that signal respect to the person you are speaking to: "Hey ma." 2.. and entities or activities associated with either. and Communication.." "HANK is SO MEAN!" vs.. always speaking and expressing their feelings. having a sense of "fuzziness" they take away assertiveness in your statements. Culture. An experiment b y Marjorie Swacker entailed using three pictures by a .. fix my jacket" Mom. Without Honorific." More Gender Speech Issues Who Talks More. With Honorific. the appropriate choice of honorifics is based on complex rules evaluating addressee.. Men or Women? A common cultural stereotype describes women as being talkative. referent. could you please do me a favor. yamada-san ga musuko-san to o-syokuzi o tanosim-are-ta yamada-HON son-HON HON-dinner enjoyed-HON "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son. according to Masa-aki Yamanashi.." 1.
17 minutes. "An Introduction to Sociolinguistics" Women Men ba yaa ba-na yaa-na "dear" "person" Sapir found that the male form of speech is used by men when talking . Albrecht Durer which were presented to men and women separately.fifteenth century Flemish artist. and the average time for women 3. be a man. however. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. I like them. Men have tended to take on a more dominant role not only in the household. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. however it is less acceptable for a women to do so. It is more acceptable for a man to be talkative. Since childhood. However . an American Indian language. the trend is still prominent in some societies across the world. The average time for males: 13. or a give a long wordy speech. In English we laugh at these utterances. Example taken from Janet Holmes." Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. It has been more of a historical trend for men have more rights to talk. carry on long conversation." "This is a super cool shirt. they have been told to "keep their cool" and "remain calm. They were told to take as much time as they wanted to describe the pictures. most likely. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. but in the business world. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively.0 minutes. Why is this? Sociolinguists try to make the connection between our society and our language in a way that suggests that women talk less because it has not always been as culturally acceptable as it has been for men. I love it. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. it is common for men to be more silent in situations that require them to express emotion. This ever-changing concept is becoming le ss applicable in our society." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that." "This shirt is cool.
Culture. an American Indian language. "Language. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. and Communication" Women Men ohiya onaka oisii taberu mizu hara umai kuu "water" "stomach" "delicious" "eat" Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who." "This shirt is cool. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. Example taken from Janet Holmes. I like them. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. Culture. "Language. I love it.to other men. most likely. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. Therefore. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana." "This is a super cool shirt." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. and Communication" Women Men ohiya mizu "water" . is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. "An Introduction to Sociolinguistics" Women Men ba yaa ba-na yaa-na "dear" "person" Sapir found that the male form of speech is used by men when talking to other men." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. or by men talking to women. Therefore. In English we laugh at these utterances. or by men talking to women. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. There are also some examples of this in Japanese.
and when literary English rose anew in the 13th century. Latin and Ancient Greek supplanted French as the main source of new words. and Modern English is usually dated from 1500. Jutes and possibly the Franks. reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. Its history began with the migration of the Jutes. Written Old English of 1000 AD is similar in vocabulary and grammar to other old Germanic languages such as Old High German and Old Norse. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066. The primary language of the U. and Dutch. English changed enormously in the Middle Ages. Australia. Frisii. the second by the French Normans in the 11th century. Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English. and many sub-Saharan African countries.com/topic/english-language#ixzz1YEUAUOLF English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands. and Saxons from Germany and Denmark to Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. The languages of Germanic peoples gave rise to the English language (the Angles. the Philippines. Thus. Britain. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought many French words into English. Saxons. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old French. it was based on the speech of London. who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. who traded and fought with the Latin-speaking Roman Empire in the centuries-long process of the Germanic peoples' expansion into Western Europe during the . Written in the Latin alphabet. where Old English was developed into a full-fledged literary language. much closer to the center of Scandinavian settlement. One of these dialects. English easily borrows words from other languages and has coined many new words to reflect advances in technology. New Zealand. it is also an official language of India. Angles. Read more: http://www. and completely unintelligible to modern speakers. who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. Initially. widely spoken on six continents. With the coming of the Renaissance..5 billion speakers). Greek and Latin words began to enter it in the 15th century. English relies mainly on word order (usually subject-verb-object) to indicate relationships between words (see syntax). Ireland. Canada. English developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary. Late West Saxon. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (approximately 1. this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD."stomach" onaka hara "delicious" oisii umai "eat" taberu kuu Language belonging to the Germanic languages branch of the Indo-European language family.S. while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle English of 1400 AD. it is most closely related to Frisian. German. However. and the most widely taught foreign language.answers. with heavy influence from Norman French in the courts and government. the mother tongue of more than 350 million people. as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch. and various Caribbean and Pacific island nations. eventually came to dominate. A large proportion of the modern English vocabulary comes directly from Old French. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family.
Further aid was sought. The Chronicle talks of a subsequent influx of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms. Angles and Jutes). written around 100 AD.  Old English The first page of the Beowulf manuscript Main article: Old English language The invaders' Germanic language displaced the indigenous Brythonic languages in most of the areas of Great Britain that were later to become England. invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help him in conflicts with the Picts. around the year 449. and in response "came men of Ald Seaxum of Anglum of Iotum" (Saxons. independent of Roman control. they retained political independence. Wales and Cornwall (where Cornish was spoken into the 19th century). What is now called Old English emerged over time out of the many dialects and languages of the colonising tribes. who ultimately stem from the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. including serving in the Roman military. known as the heptarchy. However. modern scholars view the figures of Hengist and Horsa as Euhemerized deities from Anglo-Saxon paganism. It is unlikely that Germanic settlement in Britain was intensified (except for Frisians) until the arrival of mercenaries in the 5th century as described by Gildas. The original Celtic languages remained in parts of Scotland. In return. it continued to exhibit local language variation. the Angles. the remnants of which continue . The main source of information for the culture of the Germanic peoples (the ancestors of the English) in ancient times is Tacitus' Germania. the Angles were granted lands in the southeast of Britain. Even then. As it was. While remaining conversant with Roman civilisation and its economy. Some Latin words for common objects entered the vocabulary of these Germanic peoples before their arrival in Britain and their subsequent formation of England.Migration Period). Some Germanic troops served in Britannia under the Romans. Vortigern. Saxons and Jutes arrived as Germanic pagans. King of the Britons. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
 Later. sky. who spoke a French dialect called Old Norman. The Old English period formally ended sometime after the Norman conquest (starting in 1066 AD). including the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (with the notable exception of the pronouns). Another example is the very unusual construction of the words for animals being separate from the words for their meat: e. English words of Old Norse origin include anger. many of their lexical roots were the same or similar. Old English did not sound or look like the Standard English of today. that we call Anglo-Norman.. The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem Beowulf composed by an unknown poet. The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was influenced by contact with Norse invaders. which was a variety of Old Norman used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the AngloNorman period and originating from a northern dialect of Old French. and many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have retained many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation. the Norman kings and their high nobility spoke only one of the French langues d'oïl. The introduction of Christianity added another wave of Latin and some Greek words. which might have been responsible for some of the morphological simplification of Old English. The words be. Nevertheless. English was strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Old Norse. animals with Germanic names. beef and pork (from the French bœuf and porc) being the products of 'cows' and 'pigs'.to be found in dialects of Modern English. bag. about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. possibly even including the pronoun they. Any native English speaker of today would find Old English unintelligible without studying it as a separate language. Old English was spoken until sometime in the 12th or 13th century. . whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. both. derive from Old English.g. and many others. strong and water. hit. which is visible in Modern English today (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). when the language was influenced to an even greater extent by the Normans. law. take. spoken by the Norsemen who invaded and settled mainly in the north-east of England (see Jórvík and Danelaw). same. leg. later. most modern English speakers would consider a "cordial reception" (from French) to be more formal than a "hearty welcome" (Germanic). standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language .and had a significant influence on the language. skill. Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language).  Middle English Main article: Middle English Further information: Middle English creole hypothesis For about 300 years following the Norman Conquest in 1066. Even after the decline of Norman-French. The use of Anglo-Saxon to describe a merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. for example. A tendency for French-derived words to have more formal connotations has continued to the present day.as with most of Europe during the period . The new and the earlier settlers spoke languages from different branches of the Germanic family. although their grammars were more distinct. Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman and.
Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer. but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects. English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period. producing what is now referred to as Middle English. A large number of Norman words were taken into Old English. released in 1258. the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. even the royal court had switched to English. his Dictionary of the English Language. English was further transformed by the spread of a standardised London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardising effect of printing. These letters remain in the modern Icelandic alphabet. By the end of that century. English has continuously adopted foreign words. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 15th . (In the 17th century. The Norman influence is the hallmark of the linguistic shifts in English over the period of time following the invasion. The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary.early 16th century). most notably in the West Country. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable. the Table Alphabeticall.  Modern English Main article: Modern English In 1755. arising from two principal factors: firstly. English literature started to reappear around 1200. Late Modern English has many more words. the Industrial . In 1604. the risk of mispronunciation is high. The Provisions of Oxford. most notably with the introduction of the continuous aspect—a feature found in many modern languages but developed earlier and more thoroughly in English. While the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle continued until 1154. Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary. with many doubling for Old English words. In 1362. which is descended from the alphabet of Old Norse. which took place mainly during the 15th century. and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work. was the first English government document to be published in the English language since the Conquest. which did not exist in Norman. especially the Brittonic substrate. but it had ceased to be a living language. since the Renaissance. with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth). when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable.  Early Modern English Main article: Early Modern English Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift. Latin words were often used with the original inflections. but these eventually disappeared). the first English dictionary was published. The most famous writer from the Middle English period was Geoffrey Chaucer. especially from Latin and Greek. most other literature from this period was in Old Norman or Latin.English was also influenced by the Celtic languages it was displacing.
This collapse of the separate case pronouns into the same word is one of the reasons grammarians consider the dative and accusative cases to be extinct in English — neither is an ideal term for the role played by "whom". The information formerly conveyed by having distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order. the term objective is often used. In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples. the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's surface. the possessive case — which some linguists argue is not a case at all. With only a few pronominal exceptions. are remnants of both the old nominative versus accusative and also of nominative versus dative. "he" and "him".  Interrogative pronouns Case Old English Middle English who Modern English who Nominativ hwā e Accusativ hwone / e hwæne Masculine/Feminine (Person) Dative Instrumen tal Genitive Neuter (Thing) hwæs hwām / hwǣm whom who / whom1 whos what whose Nominativ hwæt e Accusativ hwæt e Dative hwām / hwǣm what / whom what Instrumen hwȳ / hwon why why . but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information). The nominative case. these cases had distinct pronouns. In other words. Modern English morphologically distinguishes only one case. etc. the objective and subjective always have the same form. Evolution of English pronouns "Who" and "whom". "her" (for example) serves as both the dative and accusative version of the nominative pronoun "she". secondly. "who". "she" and "her".Revolution and technology created a need for new words. is called simply the subjective. Instead. and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries. that is. "whom" is a generic objective pronoun which can describe either a direct or an indirect object.
Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned). thine .  First person personal pronouns Old Middle Modern Case English English English Nominati iċ ve I / ich / ik I Singul Accusativ mē / meċ e ar me Dative mē min / mi we me Genitive mīn Nominati wē ve my.)  Second person personal pronouns Old and Middle English singular to the Modern English archaic informal Case Old English Middle English þu / thou Modern English thou (you) Singul Nominati þū ar ve Accusativ þē / þeċ e Dative þē þé / thee thee (you) Genitive þīn þi / þīn / þīne / thy /thin / thy. mine we Accusativ ūs / ūsiċ Plural e us Dative Genitive ūs ūser / ūre ure / our us our. though variation among dialects must be taken into account. 2 .tal Genitive 1 hwæs whos whose2 . ours (Old English also had a separate dual.In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom. however. no later forms derive from it. wit ("we two") etcetera.
)  Third person personal pronouns Old Case Middle English English Nominati hē ve Masculine Singular Accusativ hine e Dative him his he Modern English he him him Genitive his his . Formal and informal forms of the second person singular and plural Old English Singular Case Plural Middle English Singular Plural Modern English Singular Plural For Infor For Infor For Infor For Infor For Infor For Infor mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal ġē ēow / ēowiċ ēow ēower your. yours your. thy. yours Note that the ye/you distinction still existed. yours you thee thou you you ye you Nominati þū ve Accusati þē / þeċ ve Dative þē Genitive þīn (Old English also had a separate dual. in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible. ya Genitive ēower your. Here the letter þ (interchangeable with ð in manuscripts) corresponds to th.thine Nominati ġē ve Accusativ ēow / Plural e ēowiċ Dative ēow your ye / ȝe / you (your) you you. yours thine your. no later forms derive from it. ȝit ("ye two") etcetera. however. at least optionally.
 it has been widely dispersed around the world. although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em. Historically. The .Nominati hēo ve Feminine Singular Accusativ hīe e Dative hire heo / sche / ho / he / ȝho she hire / hure / her / heore her Genitive hire Nominati hit ve Accusativ hit Neuter Singular e Dative him hir / hire / heore / her / here hit / it her. scientific. Following the economic. þæira. English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects. Cf. hers it hit / it / him Genitive his Nominati hīe ve Accusativ hīe e Dative him his / its he / hi / ho / hie / þai / þei its they Plural hem / ham / heom / þaim / þem them / þam Genitive hira here / heore / hore / þair / þar their. cultural. and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). now collectively termed Old English. theirs (The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir. and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) settlers by the 5th century – with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles. military. A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin. and of the United States since the mid-20th century. because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world. It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. þæim. become the leading language of international discourse. The two different roots co-existed for some time. as well as in many world organizations. alsoEnglish is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria. political. via the British Empire. and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century.
  Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Significance 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Geographical distribution o 4. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250.1 Tone groups 5.3.2 Old Norse origins 7.2.2 Characteristics of intonation—stress 6 Grammar 7 Vocabulary o 7.2. and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the superficial appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages to what had now become Middle English.2 Word origins 7.2 Written accents 9 Formal written English 10 Basic and simplified versions 11 See also 12 References .1 Basic consonant sound-letter correspondence o 8.000 distinct words.2. or words that belong to multiple word classes. modern English contains a very large vocabulary.1.3 Supra-segmental features 5.1 Notes for vowels o 5.3 English as a global language o 4.1 Countries in order of total speakers o 4.1 Number of words in English o 7.1 French origins 7. Owing to the significant assimilation of various European languages throughout history.language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.1 Notes for consonants 5. not including many technical or slang terms.5 Constructed varieties of English 5 Phonology o 5.2 Countries where English is a major language o 4.2.3 Dutch and Low German origins 8 Writing system o 8.3.2 Consonants 5. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from NormanFrench.1 Vowels 5. The Great Vowel Shift that began in the south of England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that mark the emergence of Modern English from Middle English.2.4 Dialects and regional varieties o 4.2 Voicing and aspiration o 5.
 is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications. as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). Its influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields. Jutland and Southern Sweden also moved to Britain in this era. Denmark and the Netherlands. The names 'England' (from Engla land "Land of the Angles") and English (Old English Englisc) are derived from the name of this tribe—but Saxons. Up to that point.1 Bibliographic 13 External links Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English. and it is in this that the poem Beowulf is written. aviation. Conversely. business. science. it became the dominant language in the United States. radio and diplomacy. seafaring. entertainment. eventually came to dominate. in Roman Britain the native population is assumed to have spoken the Celtic language Brythonic alongside the acrolectal influence of Latin. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations. from the 400-year Roman occupation. One of these incoming Germanic tribes was the Angles. information technology. occupations and professions such as medicine and computing. English replaced German as the dominant language of science Nobel Prize laureates during the second half of the 20th century (compare the Evolution of Nobel Prizes by country). and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global . Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire. The growing economic and cultural influence of the US and its status as a global superpower since World War II have significantly accelerated the language's spread across the planet. . the natural internal variety of English along with creoles and pidgins have the potential to produce new distinct languages from English over time. Lower Saxony. Late West Saxon. Australia and New Zealand. reflecting the varied origins of the AngloSaxon kingdoms of Great Britain but one of these dialects.o • 12. Initially. whom Bede believed to have relocated entirely to Britain. sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. Jutes and a range of Germanic peoples from the coasts of Frisia. History Main article: History of the English language English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian and Old Saxon dialects brought to Britain by Germanic settlers from various parts of what is now northwest Germany. Canada. Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries.
with Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales being the best known work. lexical differences between English and other Germanic languages exist due to heavy borrowing in English of words from Latin and French. Danish. Norman developed into Anglo-Norman. is generally dated from about 1550. Afrikaans. and Faroese). although some. After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages that are more distantly related: the nonAnglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Dutch. and phonology. Modern English. English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the British Empire. Low German. the division of verbs into strong and weak classes. For example.Old English was later transformed by two waves of invasion. such as Dutch. English was adopted in North America. and Germany). Classification and related languages The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family. The closest living relatives of English are the Scots language (spoken primarily in Scotland and parts of Ireland) and Frisian (spoken on the southern fringes of the North Sea in Denmark. Africa. a descendant of ProtoGermanic. Icelandic. As a result of the growth of the British Empire. Isolation has allowed English and Scots (as well as Icelandic and Faroese) to develop independently of the Continental Germanic languages and their influences over time. and when the United Kingdom became a colonial power. and common sound shifts from Proto-IndoEuropean known as Grimm's Law. especially to earlier stages of the language. Australia and many other regions. and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles. High German). Norwegian. compare "exit" (Latin). which includes the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible. English is characterised by the use of modal verbs. The first was by speakers of the North Germanic language branch when Halfdan Ragnarsson and Ivar the Boneless started the conquering and colonisation of northern parts of the British Isles in the 8th and 9th centuries (see Danelaw). owing in part to the divergences in lexis. but later the humanist Renaissance Latin. first the Medieval Latin of the Christian Church. and the North Germanic languages (Swedish. Modern English is the direct descendant of Middle English. none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English. semantics. In addition to isolation. The linguistic shifts in English following the Norman invasion produced what is now referred to as Middle English. With the (partial) exception of Scots. The second was by speakers of the Romance language Old Norman in the 11th century with the Norman conquest of England. a trend extended with the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the mid-20th century. syntax. a member of the Indo-European languages. do show strong affinities with English. In the post-colonial period. As well as extending the lexicon with Scandinavian and Norman words these two events also simplified the grammar and transformed English into a borrowing language—more than normally open to accept new words from other languages. the Netherlands. and those that wrote or copied texts in Latin commonly coined new terms from Latin to refer to things or concepts for which there was no existing native English word. Typical of most Germanic languages. . Throughout all this period Latin in some form was the lingua franca of European intellectual life. India. itself a direct descendant of Old English. and then Anglo-French – and introduced a layer of words especially via the courts and government. some of the newly created nations which had multiple indigenous languages opted to continue using English as the lingua franca to avoid the political difficulties inherent in promoting any one indigenous language above the others.
English send. "proceeding along the way"). fast/faster/fastest). Dutch uitgang. that later weakened to -e. these include the third person present ending -s/-es (e. verbs. Dutch zenden. classroom). and the formation of the English infinitive using to (e. declension. Even the lack or absence of affixes. Dutch vallen/viel/gevallen/zullen vallen. German fallen/fiell/gefallen/werden fallen). The kinship with other Germanic languages can also be seen in the tensing of English verbs (e. however. English retains its classification as a Germanic language due to its structure and grammar. Adverbs generally receive an -ly ending. these include the normal plural marker -s/-es. and the Dutch Ik heb nooit iets op het plein gezien.g. bizarrely) and all derive from Old English. the comparatives of adjectives and adverbs (e.vs.g. German Bewegung ("be-way-ing". and adjectives and adverbs are inflected for the comparative and superlative using -er and -est (e. German gut/besser/best). -o. Dutch.). English fall/fell/fallen/will or shall fall. skomakere. "to drive". as in English care vs. and have since ceased to be pronounced and spelt (e. English time vs Norwegian time. literally "out-going" (though outgang survives dialectally in restricted usage) and "change" (French) vs.I will reduce" rather than "redūcō . shoemaker's. traits inherited from Old English (See also Kenning). skomakere). Swedish skomaker. i.redūxī . even when the adjective is of Latinate origin (e. during. Dutch goed/beter/best. shoemakers.e. schoenmakers. West Frisian wiet. -a.g. streetcar. Modern English "I sing" = I sing-Ø < I singe < Old English ic singe. shoemakers'. the word reduce is borrowed from Latin redūcere. As in most Germanic languages.g. where the participle is placed at the end). Old English tō drīfenne).. English wet. meaning . life insurance company). English gift vs German Gift. Both words descend from Proto-Germanic *karō and *surgō respectively. Dutch schoenmaker. but *karō has become the dominant word in English for "care" while in German. known as zero or null (-Ø) affixes. as sorrow. -an.g. schoenmakeren. It also gives rise to false friends (e. Despite lexical borrowing.). and adverbs are Germanic. For verbs. Danish Jeg har aldrig set noget på torvet. in English. the *surgō root prevailed. Non-native words are incorporated into a Germanic system of conjugation. "I have never seen anything in the square" = German Ich habe nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen. likewise. medical emergency.g. in English we say "I reduce . Also. English meaning. however. schoenmakers. othering"). Preference of one synonym over another also causes differentiation in lexis. German Sorge. adjectives. even where both words are Germanic.g. Icelandic meining. all basic grammatical particles added to nouns. the present participle ending -ing. *Surgō still survives in English. Swedish våt.g. "we thought" = we thought-Ø < we thoughte(n) < Old English wē þōhton). meaning "hour".redūcam". he stands/he reaches ). and the possessive markers -'s and -s' .g. and syntax (For example. skomakers. English continues to make extensive use of self-explaining compounds (e. Swedish mening. These particles append freely to all English words regardless of origin (tsunamis. For nouns. "movement" (French) vs. English adjectives usually come before the noun they modify. -u.g.I reduced .g. English syntax continues to adhere closely to that of the North Germanic languages. etc. German senden. and Scandinavian languages. the treatment of nouns (English shoemaker. West Frisian goed/better/best. to buccaneer. cf. Although the syntax of English is somewhat different from that of other West Germanic languages with regards to the placement and order of verbs (for example. lamp post. etc. West Frisian fal/foel/fallen/sil falle. we say: "John's life insurance company" rather than "the company of insurance life of John". cf. English good/better/best. communicates. etc. derive from endings which previously existed in Old English (usually -e. and nouns which serve as modifiers (e. calmer.g. which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e. or through a combination with more and most. national treasure). and the large amount of cognates (e. the French: la compagnie d'assurance-vie de John). Furthermore. German Änderung (literally "alteration. the simple past tense and past participle ending -ed. Scots weet. Icelandic Ég hef aldrei séð neitt á torginu).
via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest. with some minor spelling differences (e. "-ship".) has become largely anglicised and follows a typically English phonology and pattern of stress (compare English "nature" vs. or phrases like coup d’état. as German "Freiheit" vs. "hour" vs. French nature. German Zahn. Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker. though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide. in French. as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example. For instance. which means bookstore. As a result. Geographical distribution See also: List of countries by English-speaking population . heure. etc.). the word for "library" is bibliothèque. genre. café."poison"). Many of these words are common words. contributing common everyday terms and many nautical and trading terms (See below: Dutch and Low German origins). "-dom" and "-ness". résider. Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit ("time") is related to English "tide". table. bouton. but their usage patterns have diverged. since. compare also Danish tand). All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages. The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with the exception of a handful of more recently borrowed words such as mirage. through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval". rendez-vous. while differences in phonology can obscure words that really are related (tooth vs. The Germanic languages Icelandic and Faroese also follow English in this respect. use of old French spellings. etc. they developed independent of German influences. because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French. "reside" vs. but the English word. "button" vs. Many North Germanic words entered English due to the settlement of Viking raiders and Danish invasions which began around the 9th century (see Danelaw). and directly from French in subsequent centuries. especially when they are seen in writing (as pronunciations are often quite different). English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood". "table" vs. abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "-hood". and phrases such as to tide over). a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French. while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum").). like English. often mistaken for being native. Finally. English has been forming compound words and affixing existing words separately from the other Germanic languages for over 1500 years and has different habits in that regard. etc. which shows how close-knit the relations between the English and the Scandinavian settlers were (See below: Old Norse origins). has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon.g. Dutch and Low German also had a considerable influence on English vocabulary. compare "library" with the French librairie. inflectional endings. lack of diacritics.
 and New Zealand (3. India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world. However. in descending order: United States (215 million). Nigeria (4 million). Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well".375. when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world.Pie chart showing the relative numbers of native English speakers in the major English-speaking countries of the world Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language.7 million). Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly from 470 million to over a billion depending on how literacy or mastery is defined and measured.2 million).6 million) 2006 Census.744 262. Australia (15. Ireland (3.964. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are.557 35. United Kingdom (61 million). though possibly second to a combination of the Chinese languages (depending on whether or not distinctions in the latter are classified as "languages" or "dialects").8 million). Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language. South Africa (3. Countries such as the Philippines. English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers. combining native and non-native speakers. Canada (18.423. Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. Table 1.152 First language Comment Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000. Jamaica and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from an English-based creole to a more standard version of English. Crystal claims that.5 million). Countries in order of total speakers Country Total Percent of population 96% As an additional Population language 215.301 States of America . India has the most such speakers ('Indian English').388. Note: United 251.
Ethnologue lists 3. Philippines 48. 148. the midpoint of the range is used in the table.000 Kingdom 98% 58.028. 487–525. 2006.974.000 43.000. an Englishbased pidgin or creole.000 Source: Crystal (2005).436 language.000. 38.125.India 125. Native speakers: Census 1995. Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers. Ihemere.000 53% 4." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296– 313. text above Figure 7.000 >75. 2001 figures.000 58% 3.066 third language speakers Nigeria 79. (1998).800.000 1. but not English users.100.600.737. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.000.000 figures are for population age 5 and older Figures include both those who speak English as a second language and those who speak it as a third 1.344.000 Kelechukwu Uchechukwu. 109.736 12% 226. p.71% of the 66.7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English.500.000. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin.000 60.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as an additional language. 63. as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines.993.427. Total speakers: Census 2000.000.221 second language speakers.566. The figures include English speakers.000 84. 19 (5&6).000 .449 86. United 59.
Malta.989 92% 15.830 7. the Solomon Islands. and Zimbabwe. . Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Liberia.660 19. Kenya. New Zealand. Pitcairn Islands. Rwanda. the Bahamas. Gambia. Ghana. Saint Lucia. Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency. Dominica. Kiribati. the British Virgin Islands. Singapore. Nigeria. Cameroon. Australia. Tanzania. it is an official language. English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island. Zambia. the Falkland Islands. the British Indian Ocean Territory. Sri Lanka. In some countries where English is not the most spoken language. Fiji. South Sudan.288 shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well". these countries include Botswana.170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue. Mauritius.220 85% 17. Note: Total = First language + Other language. Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa. the Marshall Islands. Guyana.030 both French and English as a mother tongue. Samoa. Lesotho. The native speakers figure comprises 122. Sierra Leone. Antigua and Barbuda. Jersey.639.  The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home. Gibraltar. the Cayman Islands.390 29. Papua New Guinea. Grenada. Barbados. the Isle of Man. Saint Kitts and Nevis.591.246. Sudan. Canada.660 people with 25. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Saint Helena.Canada Australia Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue. the Federated States of Micronesia. Ireland. plus 17. The additional language column 18. Guernsey. Namibia. Montserrat. Madagascar.172. Swaziland. India. It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English). the United Kingdom and the United States. Jamaica. Seychelles. the Turks and Caicos Islands. Trinidad and Tobago.551. Source: 2006 Census.855. Guam.581. Guam. Percentage = Total / Population Countries where English is a major language English is the primary language in Anguilla.694.329 2. Nauru. Palau. the Philippines (Philippine English). Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Bermuda. Uganda. Belize.572. Pakistan.
English as a global language See also: English in computing. Because of that global spread. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations. Among some nonEnglish speaking EU countries. English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union. English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins.Northern Mariana Islands. Several educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world. Bangladesh. Brunei. and while it is not an official language in most countries. English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole.. It is. and English as a foreign or second language Because English is so widely spoken. a large percentage of the adult population can converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden. (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details. English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom. even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries. International English. an educated dialect of South East England. and the United Arab Emirates. magazines. In the United Kingdom much emphasis is placed on Received Pronunciation. 83% in Denmark. which is spread over most of the United States and much of . ahead of French at 32%. Dialects and regional varieties Main article: List of dialects of the English language The expansion of the British Empire and—since World War II—the influence of the United States have spread English around the world. This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages. Austria. by international treaty. by 89% of schoolchildren. while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French. Although falling short of official status. and Germany. including the International Olympic Committee. leading to language shift and even language death. Books.) English is not an official language in the United States. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. the official language for aerial and maritime communications. and the former British colony of Hong Kong. Belgium. World language. and to claims of linguistic imperialism. Puerto Rico. and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. the lingua franca of the modern era. Cyprus. but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. Although the United States federal government has no official languages. it has often been referred to as a "world language". it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. and English is the most commonly used language in the sciences with Science Citation Index reporting as early as 1997 that 95% of its articles were written in English. General American. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers". such as Bahrain. Malaysia. Slovenia. 79% in the Netherlands. 66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland. and the US Virgin Islands).
in most cases. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects. Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners. but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out. There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words. English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world. Aside from these major dialects. and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language. sometimes substantially. . Nigerian Pidgin. The English of neighbouring New Zealand as well as that of South Africa have to a lesser degree been influential native varieties of the language. E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be. variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. or a desire to be so identified. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began. Newfoundland English within Canadian English. grammar and vocabulary differed across the country. Within England. English speakers have many different accents. Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources. designed primarily for use in deaf education. and pronunciation. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language. English is a pluricentric language. Scouse and Geordie within British English. there are numerous other varieties of English. without a central language authority like France's Académie française. causing dialectalisation. Constructed varieties of English • • • • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. with General Australian serving as the standard accent. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries. indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers. and Tok Pisin. several subvarieties. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base. from other varieties of English. is more typically the model for the American continents and areas (such as the Philippines) that have had either close association with the United States. such as Cockney. the major native dialect of Australian English is spoken as a first language by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent. There are a number of regional dialects of Scots. and for a complete list of regional dialects. although the UK government now accepts Scots as a regional language and has recognised it as such under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. such as Jamaican Patois. see List of dialects of the English language. and therefore no one variety is considered "correct" or "incorrect" except in terms of the expectations of the particular audience to which the language is directed.Canada. Manually Coded English constitutes a variety of systems that have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals. whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English. see Regional accents of English. which include. For the most distinctive characteristics of regional accents. grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ. which are independent and not based on English. In Oceania.
The history of English begins a little after A. When Anglo-Saxons became Christian in 597 they learned Latin. including the epic poem Beowulf. kettle.) We speak English but do we know where it comes from? I didn’t know until I started to study on this subject and I learned where it comes from and how it has developed. all based on restricted vocabularies. Simplified Technical English was historically developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals and is now used in various industries. He founded and established schools. the history of the language divided in to three. OLD ENGLISH When England was established there were several kingdoms and the most advanced one was Nurthumbria. Norse wasn’t so different from English and English people could understand Norseman. Norse language effected the English considerably. During Roma Empire Latin wasn’t the native language of the kingdom because people in the country were talking Celtic. There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel.D. In the 8th century Nurthumbrian power declined .wine.cheese. At the end in 410 the last roman emperor left the island to Celtic and AngloSaxons. In 550 Anglo –Saxons established England. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words. The most famous king of the West Saxons was Alfred the Great. The people talking this language spread to the northern coast of Europe in the time of Roman Empire. According to the effects to English . Celtic and Anglo-Saxons fought for 100 years and Anglo-Saxons killed all the Celtics. Modern English (1500-now). were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. In some books Modern English is divided in to two Early modern (1500-1700) . translated or caused to be translated many books from Latin in to English. 600. butter.Jutes which is called Anglo-Saxons come to England. Some of the words taken from Latin are. On the other hand the Celtic tribes in Scotland and Wales developed. cheap. the demonstrative pronouns.• • • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak. It was this period that the best of the Old English literature was written .Late Modern (1700-now). The ancestors of the language were wandering in the forests of northern Europe. After many years of hit-and-run raids between the European kingdoms. There . The first Latin effect was in that period. Middle English(1100-1450/1500). Among this people the tribes called Angels.Saxons. West Saxons became the leading power. Latin effected the language with the merchants traveling the tribes. Their language was a part of Germanic branch of Indo-European Family. Also in the 14th century Rome Empire weakened because Goths attacked to Mediterranean countries of Roman Empire and Anglo-Saxons attacked to empire. the Norseman landed in the year of 866 and later the east coast of the island was Norseman’s. Old English(7th century-1100). Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America.
A.tax. literary words: story romance.P. On the other hand French couldn’t become the national language because it became the language of the court . sermon.sure. colors: blue. People started to rely more on word order and structure words to express their meaning rather than the use of case system. These two changes produced the basic differences . V.towel. Old English had some sound which we don’t know have now. fault. Languages don’t become simpler . In vocabulary Old English is quiet different from Middle English.F. There were word related with goverment:parliment.surgeon.majesty. surprise.622 ) Middle English was still a Germanic language but it is different from Old English in many ways..gentel. stomach. literature. words for food: veal.chess. 1994. more person and number endings of words and a more complicated pronoun systems.. The political event which effected the administration system and language was the Norman Conquest. &Rose .them. flower. “This can be called as a simplification but it is not exactly. 1994. vermilion. mutton. goverment. P.cream. church word: religion.were considerable interchanges and word borrowings (sky. scarlet. poet.biscuit. It is supposed also that the Norseman influenced the sound structure and the grammar of English.second. move. anatomy.bucket. play words: dance. This was a systematic shifting of half a dozen vowels and diphthongs in stressed syllables. chair.law. V.F. The sound system&grammar wasn’t so effected but vocabulary was effected much. beef. (Clark. Old English was much more highly inflected that Middle English because there were case endings for nouns.A. Most of the Old English words are native English which weren’t borrowed from other languages. But it didn’t replace as the language of the people. MIDDLE ENGLISH Between 1100-1200 many important changes took place in the structure of English and Old English became Middle English.age.talk). English continued to be the national language but it changed too much after the conquest. final.622 ) For us Middle English is simpler that Old English because it is closer to Modern English.lemon. For example the word name had in Middle English a vowel something like that in the modern word father.& Eschholz. For the next several next years .very. literary.leg.give. peach. various endings for adjectives.conversation.blanket.outlaw.ugly.A. The change was important because it effected thousands of words and gave a different aspect to the whole language. nobility.their.A. In grammar .leisure. On the other hand Old English contains borrowed words coming from Norse and Latin. logic grammar. learned words: study. The other change is what is called the Great Vowel Shift.. P.England was ruled by the kings whose native language was French. household words: curtain. One change was the elimination of a vowel sound in certain unstressed positions at the end of the words.& Eschholz. they merely exchange one kind of complexity for another”( (Clark. polite society.etc. Grammar and the sound system changed a good deal. plain. &Rose .egg. In 1066 they crossed the Channel and they became the master of England.P. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH Between 1400-1600 English underwent a couple of sound changes.count. ordinary words for all sorts: nice. Also borrowed pronouns like they.music. The shift effected all the words in which these vowels sounds occurred.noun.lamp.. parson..
the language of ancient Rome. is vater in German. This group began as a common language in the Elbe river region about 3. English is in the Germanic group of languages. The Indo-European family includes several major branches: • • • • • • • Latin and the modern Romance languages.Latin. of paramount importance. The greatest writer of the Early Modern English period is Shakespeare and the best known book is the King Jones version of the BIBLE. What will happen in the future? It’ll continue to grow . Of these branches of the Indo-European family. The word for father. New ideas increased. This broad family includes most of the European languages spoken today. similar words in different languages that share the same root. The Celtic languages. pater in Latin. Monday. After this books became cheaper and cheaper.000 years ago. Greek. Around the second century BC. In that period the people speaking that language increased too much. can be seen today. two are. One was the invention of printing. English is the greatest language of the world spoken natively and as a second language.between Middle English and Modern English. more people learned to read and write and advanced in communication. not because of any bodice-ripping literary genre). and pitr in Sanskrit. may be it will be the universal language. this Common Germanic language split into three distinct sub-groups: . for example. The Indo-Iranian languages. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In order to establish the language they develop a dictionary. These words are all cognates. including Hindi and Sanskrit. The influence of the original Indo-European language. which means the development of the people. it was felt to control the language. designated proto-Indo-European. Another product of the 18th century was the invention of English Grammar. the Germanic and the Romance (called that because the Romance languages derive from Latin. The first English Dictionary was published in 1603. As English is replaced with Latin as the language of scholarship. The Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian). 2001 Indo-European and Germanic Influences English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. It was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1475. English language had grown as a result of borrowing words from French . The Slavic languages. even though no written record of it exists. The period where English developed most in the Modern English. A (Very) Brief History of the English Language Dave Wilton. for our purposes of studying the development of English. The period of Early Modern English was also a period of English Renaissance. Now. and Greek. January 15. But there are several other developments that effected the language. The Germanic languages.
and Icelandic (but not Finnish. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. beginning around 850. West Saxon in the south and west. and Ireland. Wales. Old English (500-1100 AD) West Germanic invaders from Jutland and southern Denmark: the Angles (whose name is the source of the words England and English). Dolly Pentreath. similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English. but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language. for example. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland.) The new overlords spoke a . Norwegian. Saxons. derive from Old English roots. only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today. This last date is rather arbitrary. The majority of words in modern English come from foreign. Flemish. and skirt.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. But this statistic is deceptive. and strong. (The Bayeux Tapestry. In fact. West Germanic is the ancestor of modern German. The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500) William the Conqueror. Old English is much more important than this number would indicate. the Norman Conquest. lasted until about 1100. Norse invasions. details of which form the navigation buttons on this site. They spoke a mutually intelligible language. the Duke of Normandy. began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. water. leaving behind a few Celtic words. died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole. is now a dead language.• • • East Germanic was spoken by peoples who migrated back to southeastern Europe. These invaders pushed the original. Danish. Mercian in the Midlands. and English. particularly in the north of England. Old English. and the only written East Germanic language that survives is Gothic. Cornwall. Words like be. Cornwall. Some examples are dream. Northumbrian in the north of England. which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt. Dutch. (The last native Cornish speaker. Frisian. brought many North Germanic words into the language. is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest. which had meant joy until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr. and Jutes. not Old English roots. Cornish. No East Germanic language is spoken today. invaded and conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD. whose best known surviving example is the poem Beowulf. which is related to Estonian and is not an Indo-European language). unfortunately. North Germanic evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages of Swedish. Four major dialects of Old English emerged. and Kentish in the Southeast.
1611) the same text is completely intelligible: Our father which art in heauen. This split. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. Other times. the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name. Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language. Giue us this day our daily bread.1000) sample from the Bible: Fæder ure þuþe eart on heofonum si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice. crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam. but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words. Many legal terms. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment. vicar. who tended the cattle. and Modern English. Take for instance this Old English (c. Middle. derives from the Anglo-Norman. The Normans were also of Germanic stock (Norman comes from Norseman) and Anglo-Norman was a French dialect that had considerable Germanic influences in addition to the basic Latin roots. Sometimes French words replaced Old English words. Other times. To get a feel for Old English pronunciation. hallowed be thy name. And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us. It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old. Thy kingdom come. jury. þi reume or kyngdom come to be. 1384). and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. Beef. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words. and mass came into the language this way). or wish and desire. two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English. play a wav file of this Old English text (518Kb). Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. in Early Modern English (King James Version. such as indict.dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. . Prior to the Norman Conquest. Finally. where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots. as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. read by Catherine Ball of Georgetown University. commonly eaten by the aristocracy. Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif. retained the Germanic cow. beef and cow. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. can be seen in many instances. mainly through vestiges of the Roman occupation and from the conversion of Britain to Christianity in the seventh century (ecclesiastical terms such as priest. while the Anglo-Saxon commoners. French and Old English components combined to form a new word.
which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. Shakespeare’s character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms. This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays. About 150 years later. Early Modern English (1500-1800) The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare’s. Amen. Words he bequeathed to the language include critical. and pedant. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare. The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English. England became the chief concern of the nobility. King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France. but many survive to this day. and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman. And lead us not into temptation. as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord’s Prayer. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance. majestic. In that year. the Statute of Pleading was adopted. dwindle. Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. vanish into thin air. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins.000 words and countless catchphrases are his. In 1204 AD. Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. the Black Death (1349-50) killed about one third of the English population. until they realize that he coined them and they became cliches afterwards. and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. Unlike Old English. But. The first was the Great Vowel Shift. The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. by modern English-speaking people. Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. but deliuer us from euill. rather than their estates in France. One fell swoop. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some . leapfrog. By 1362. These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these inkhorn terms. albeit with difficulty. some 2. Middle English can be read.And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters.
The British Empire was a maritime empire. Books became cheaper and as a result. military service for English-speaking persons was rare. and microchip are good examples. Blockbuster. but Late-Modern English has many more words. vowel sounds are still shortening. on the other hand. literacy became more common. five was pronounced /feef/. Hindi. both Britain and the United States maintained small. became more common. and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. but understandable. volunteer militaries. as opposed to Latin. from the Finnish sauna and the Japanese tycoon. Military slang entered the language like never before. the shift was rather sudden. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though. Finally. During the mid-20th century. nuclear. perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. cyber-. airplane. and spelling are largely the same. rarely influenced standard English. but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. In Middle English name was pronounced /nam-a/. The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society. Spelling and grammar became fixed. . would be accented. The shift is still not over. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. nose dive. shampoo. English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. For this. English roots were used for such terms as horsepower. radar. The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. Words like oxygen. hard-drive. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter e at the end of words became silent. provided many words. however. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English. Pronunciation. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. grammar. and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. and juggernaut. and the first English dictionary was published in 1604. became the standard. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships. Also. but to introduce words into English. At its height.difficulty. Late-Modern English (1800-Present) The principal distinction between early. and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages. and down was pronounced /doon/. and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent. Byte. The second was the British Empire. Military slang existed. In linguistic terms. Britain ruled one quarter of the earth’s surface. protein.and late-modern English is vocabulary. however. These words are the result of two historical factors. although the change has become considerably more gradual. Finally. to the vast contributions of French and Latin. This burst of neologisms continues today. the major changes occurring within a century. Shakespeare. and works in English. where most publishing houses were located. virtually all British and American men served in the military. such as pundit. Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. the printing press brought standardization to English. The dialect of London. bios. The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. Chaucer’s Lyf (pronounced /leef/) became the modern word life. the 20th century saw two world wars. and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise. Before the Great War. the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world. pajamas. and typewriter. but with the exception of nautical terms. camouflage.
these were place names like Mississippi. Roanoke. To a lesser extent French. Indian-sounding names like Idaho were sometimes created that had no native-American roots. canoe. bayou. and West African. Most often. spearhead. stampede. Beginning of Christian conversion of the Anglo-Saxons 731: The Venerable Bede publishes The Ecclesiastical History of the English People in Latin 792: Viking raids and settlements begin 865: The Danes occupy Northumbria 871: Alfred becomes king of Wessex. although in many cases the original Indian words were mangled almost beyond recognition. Augustine arrives in Britain. Goober. mustang. and tote are West African borrowings first used in America by slaves. Raccoon. The American dialect also served as the route of introduction for many native American words into the English language. Armadillo. gumbo. and use of loan as a verb instead of lend). and hickory have native American roots.. and vigilante are all examples of Spanish words that made their way into English through the settlement of the American West. and jambalaya came into the language via New Orleans. fall as a synonym for autumn. In certain respects. Beginning of Roman rule of Britain 436: Roman withdrawal from Britain complete 449: Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain begins 450-480: Earliest Old English inscriptions date from this period 597: St. Armoire. trash for rubbish. words have influenced American English.1000: The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period 1066: The Norman conquest c. Some Americanisms that the British decry are actually originally British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost at home (e. ranch. But.g. tomato. American English Also significant beginning around 1600 AD was the English colonization of North America and the subsequent creation of a distinct American dialect. and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun 911: Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. The beginning of Norman French c. He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. savanna. American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. mainly via Louisiana. through the importation of slaves. names for other things besides places were also common. barbecue. Some pronunciations and usages “froze” when they reached the American shore.1150: The oldest surviving manuscripts in Middle English date from this period 1171: Henry II conquers Ireland 1204: King John loses the province of Normandy to France . canyon. frame-up which was reintroduced to Britain through Hollywood gangster movies. A Chronology of the English Language 55 BCE: Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar 43 CE: Roman invasion and occupation under Emperor Claudius. and Iowa.roadblock. Spanish has also been great influence on American English.
1400: The Great Vowel Shift begins 1476: William Caxton establishes the first English printing press 1485: Caxton publishes Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur 1492: Columbus discovers the New World 1525: William Tyndale translates the New Testament 1536: The first Act of Union unites England and Wales 1549: First version of The Book of Common Prayer 1564: Shakespeare born 1603: Union of the English and Scottish crowns under James the I (VI of Scotland) 1604: Robert Cawdrey publishes the first English dictionary.1348: English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools. in London 1755: Samuel Johnson publishes his dictionary 1770: Cook discovers Australia 1776: Thomas Jefferson writes the Declaration of Independence 1782: Washington defeats Cornwallis at Yorktown. established 1611: The Authorized. Britain abandons the American colonies 1788: British penal colony established in Australia 1803: Act of Union unites Britain and Ireland 1828: Noah Webster publishes his dictionary 1851: Herman Melville publishes Moby Dick 1922: British Broadcasting Corporation founded 1928: The Oxford English Dictionary is published Filed un Origins of the English Language . End of The Great Plague 1702: Publication of the first daily. of the Bible is published 1616: Death of Shakespeare 1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is published 1666: The Great Fire of London. other than Oxford and Cambridge which retain Latin 1349-50: The Black Death kills one third of the British population 1362: The Statute of Pleading replaces French with English as the language of law. the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Table Alphabeticall 1607: Jamestown. Records continue to be kept in Latin. or King James Version. The Daily Courant. English-language newspaper.1388: Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales c. English is used in Parliament for the first time 1384: Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible c.
from “The Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History”. The proper beginning for us. Williams. is to view the place of English in perspective. The Indo-European Family of Languages Our English vocabulary is not something to be studied in isolation but is related in one way or another to many of the other languages of the world. likewise. the German Wasser and English water. Brot and bread. Those German Dutch Danish students who have studied German undoubt edly have noticed a remarka ble similarity between that language and their own. amid the many tongues of mankind. not to mention a great many additiona l . therefore. Fleisch and flesh closely resemble each other. by Joseph M. The German word Milch is very close in sound to the English milk.
English mother father brother Mutter Vater Bruder moeder vader broeder moder fader broder History of English (Source: A History of English by Barbara A. English. Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit contained many cognates to Greek and Latin. Afrikaans. He conjectured a Proto-Indo-European language had existed many years before.example s. The early history of the Germanic languages is based on reconstruction of a ProtoGermanic language that evolved into German. Fennell) The English language is spoken by 750 million people in the world as either the official language of a nation. Yiddish. the United States has no official language. Indo-European language and people English is classified genetically as a Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. In 1786. Although there . Perhaps we can see this similarity best if we place side by side in systemat ic form the words for mother. however. as they appear in various tongues. father.) English is the (or an) official language in England. or in a mixture with other languages (such as pidgins and creoles. Australia and New Zealand. and brother. and the Scandinavian languages. Dutch. a second language. Canada.
Weak and Strong Adjectives: Each adjective had a different form whether it was preceded by a determiner or no determiner. They belonged to a patriarchal society where the lineage was determined through males only (because of a lack of words referring to the female's side of the family. Weak Past Tense: Used a dental or alveolar suffix to express the past (such as -ed in English. k became f. it is believed that many languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia are all derived from a common language.) 3.000 to 5. the language spread to many areas with the advancement of the people. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) lived in Southwest Russia around 4. Estonian and Hungarian. of which the last three belong to the Finno-Ugric language family. -te in German.) They also had domesticated animals. This PIE language was also highly inflectional as words had many endings corresponding to cases. t. Grimm's Law (or the First Sound Shift) helps to explain the consonant changes from P-I-E to Germanic. θ. 2. 6. 1. The I-E people either wanted to conquer their neighbors or look for better farming land.) They also made use of a decimal counting system by 10's. dʰ.is no concrete proof to support this one language had existed. indicating they did not live in a warm climate. They had words for animals such as bear or wolf (as evidenced in the similarity of the words for these animals in the modern I-E languages.) 4. and used horse-drawn wheeled carts. • • • a. and not wine. Vowel Changes (Proto Germanic) . Either way. d. Voiceless stops became Voiceless fricatives (P. Fixed Stress: The stress of words was fixed on the first syllable. Finnish. x (h)) Verner's Law explains other exceptions that Grimm's law does not include. Germanic Languages The subgroup of Germanic languages contains many differences that set them apart from the other I-E languages. Two Tense Verbal System: There is a past tense marker (-ed) and a present tense marker (-s) on the verb (without using auxiliary verbs. g) b. Aspirated voiced stops became Unaspirated voiced stops (Bʰ. They drank alcohol made from grain.000 BCE. A few languages that are not included in the Indo-European branch of languages include Basque. gʰ became b. d. g became p. k) c. or -de in Swedish. t. Voiced stops became Voiceless stops (B. and formed words by compounding. This rapid and vast spread of the I-E people is attributed to their use of horses for transportation. 5. The spread of the language can be attributed to two theories.
The Tribal Hidage. The four main tribes were the Angles. Saxons. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded. In 731 CE. Four dialects were spoken in these kingdoms: West Saxon. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia. called the Futhorc. They had destroyed the Roman civilization in England and built their own.• Short o to short a (Latin: hortus. The Insular Hand was the name of the writing system used in England. English: garden) • Long a to long o (Latin: mater. OE: modor) 7. Then the Germanic tribes from the present-day area of Denmark arrived. loaf. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings who repeatedly invaded the area. Kent. It detailed the sophisticated society of the Germanic tribes. Although they invaded twice. Essex. Sussex. because the languages were so similar. Kentish. a list of subjects who owed tribute to the king. meat and fowl. Although the Danes brought their own writing system with them. thorn. The Celts moved north to Scotland. Common Vocabulary: Words developed that hadn't been used before. Jutes and Frisians. and it contained many symbols that are no longer found in Modern English: the aesc. was written during the Mercian period of power. edh. as well the macron for distinguishing long vowels. Laws and contracts were written down for a sense of permanence and control. earth. while dominance shifted among the kingdoms beginning with Kent and Northumbria. Bede wrote the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" in Latin. Northumbria. Mercian and Northumbrian. leaving the main area of Britain. they did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE and Latin never overtook the Celtic language. Wessex. and East Anglia.1066 CE) The Old English language (also called Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. Characteristics of the Old English language . They aligned with the Celtic clergy and converted to Christianity. Others include rain. yogh and wynn. such as nautical terms (sea). Old English (449 . The Romans finally left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing. he united the kingdoms together and commissioned the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. During his reign. It is commonly referred to as Runes. leaving the Celts defenseless. a historical record of important events in England that continued 200 years after his death. it was not used in England. wife. The Treaty of Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this "Danelaw" gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. However. Alfred the Great was the king of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom. the Danes quickly assimilated and intermarried into the English society. west to Ireland and south to France.
When a sentence begins with an adverb. Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective. 2.object. The verb often comes at the end of a subordinate clause. and there were four cases: nominative. When an object is a pronoun. The i-mutation occurred if there was a front vowel in the ending. Instead we use prepositions. If preceded by a determiner. or -lic. the latter which still remains in modern English as -like. Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first syllable. The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English becase of the declensions of the nouns. then the root vowel became fronted. The weak past tense added -de. but it did vary in a few instances: 1. all verbs had markers for number and person. Celtic did not have a large impact on English. but Danish (Old Scandinavian) did contribute many vocabulary words. while the superlative had many endings: -ost. Numbers could be either singular or plural. Eventually the -ost and -m endings combined to form the word "most" which is still used before adjectives in the superlative today. so the languages they spoke did have some Latin influence. it often precedes the verb. but these were assigned arbitrarily. Latin had more influence.The Germanic tribes were exposed to Latin before they invaded England. After converting to Christianity. [i:] and [ɪ:]. Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English.) Pronunciation of consonants: . dative. accusative. The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short vowels. then the strong endings were used. the endings were not pronounced as clearly and began to diminish from the language. there were seven groups of declensions for nouns. as evidenced in words pertaining to the church. case and number with the nouns they described. For example. word order is very important because we no longer have declensions to show case distinctions. -est. while the strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. as only a few place names are of Celtic origin. fot becomes fot+i = fet (This helps to explain why feet is the plural of foot. The case endings told the function of the word in the sentence. 3. They also agreed in gender. There were also two front rounded vowels that are no longer used in modern English. The infinitive of verbs ended in -an. The comparative was formed by adding -ra to the adjective. In all. and -m. the subject often follows the verb. In the present tense. The general word order was subject . the weak ending was added to the adjective. Adjectives could be weak or strong. But as the stress began to move to the first syllable of words. If no determiner preceded the adjective. So in modern English. feminine or neuter. and genitive. Nouns could be of three genders: masculine.verb . so word order was not very important. -ist.
justice. the legal system retained parts of . Many of the words were related to government (sovereign. physician). By 1385 CE. The upper class tried to learn English. embroidery. several words (around 10. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE. jury. the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. who only spoke English. social life (fashion. the Hundred Year's War (1337-1453 CE) intensified hatred of all things French. attorney. logic. At this time. By 1362 CE. Although the popularity of French was decreasing. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague.000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE (though most of these words were Parisian rather than Norman French). and the upper class did not want to lose it completely. The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class. As a result. French began to lose its prestige. appetite) and learning (poet. Chaucer). which increased the status of the peasants. larceny). King Edward I spoke only English. but their works included an apology for writing in English. Nevertheless. cuisine. many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more "English" and so encouraged more use of the English language. Yet William spoke only French. Duke of Normandy. law (judge.1500 CE) The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. 1350 to 1400 CE is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (most famously. and after him. ç z s ð θ trilled š ǰ between voiced vowels elsewhere next to a front vowel elsewhere next to a front vowel between other vowels elsewhere at beginning of word elsewhere between voiced vowels elsewhere between voiced vowels elsewhere Middle English (1066 . but they did still use French words sometimes. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere. William invaded England. upon learning that Harold was crowned king. However. believed that he would become the next king. and William. empire). King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs. But by 1250 CE. killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. Furthermore. the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts. English was the language of instruction in schools.f c g h s ð r sc cg v f č k j ɣ g h x. felony. which was considered somewhat snobbish.
and the dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. herb. and some consonants dropped off while some vowels became əand dropped off too. The comparative form became -er and the superlative became -est. however.latter). but the weak ending -e still remained. attorney general and accounts payable. front. some. won. them. heir. Characteristics of Middle English The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: • • • • • • • • • • • þ and ð were replaced by th (and sometimes y. hard. come. The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th. and c before i and e became s in some cases a historical h (usually not pronounced) was added to some words (it was assumed that these words had once begun with an h): honor. but the singular also competed with -(e)s from the Northern dialect. one. money. And the adverb ending -lič became -ly. of Because of the stress shift to the beginning of the word. ʒ became j. The third person plural pronouns replaced the old pronouns with thwords (they. but short in the comparative form (late . and used "to" before the verb to signify the infinitival form. Vowels tended to be long in the adjective form. some "flat" adverbs did not add the -ly: fast. g before i or e was pronounced ǰ. and u was used everywhere else k was used much more often (cyning became king) new values were given to old symbols too. as in ye meaning the) c before i or e became ch sc became sh an internal h was added after g hw became wh cw became qu the new symbols v and u were added. their) borrowed from Scandinavian. Phonological erosion also occurred because of this. ton. Adjectives lost agreement with the noun. The generalized plural marker became -s. honest. Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. . She started being used for the feminine singular subject pronoun and you (plural form) was used in the singular as a status marker for the formal. The dual number disappeared in the pronouns. v was used word initially. wonder. but it still competed with -n. late. Verb infinitives dropped the -an ending. The demonstratives these and those were added during this period.French word order (the adjective following the noun) in such terms as fee simple. honey. from. habit sometimes words were written with o but pronounced as [ʊ] but later were pronounced [ʌ]: son. More strong (irregular) verbs became weak (regular) as well.
there were dialectal differences in the north and south. and h. New compound tenses were used.for the third person plural pronouns. and there was more use of the progressive and passive voice.I) [v] lost in middle of words (heofod . The use of the verbs will and shall for the future tense were first used too. The printing press led the path for the laser printer many. an open syllable with no consonant following it contained a long vowel. The use of double negation also increased as did impersonal constructions.an uncle) Voiced fricatives became phonemic with their voiceless counterparts [ž] phoneme was borrowed from French as the voiced counterpart for [š] Front rounded vowels merged with their unrounded counterparts Vowel length became predictable (lost phonemic status). such as the perfect tenses. while a closed syllable with at least one consonant following it contained a short vowel In addition. -(e)th for the third person singular. Eventually. The neuter pronoun it was first used as well as who as a relative pronoun. HP and Brother toner. hnutu .had) Loss of final -n in possessive pronouns (min fæder .hut) [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two. but several words were also borrowed from other languages as well as from Chaucer's works. Ten thousand words were added to English as writers created new words by using Greek and Latin affixes.Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used. answer) [č] lost in unstressed syllable (ič . but the southern pronunciation of [o] and [č] would also remain. Richard Mulcaster proposed in his treatise "Elementaire" a compromise on spelling and by 1623.to leap. The north used -(e)s for the plural marker as well as for the third person singular. attemptate and dispraise. are no longer used in English. Some words. The south used -(e)n for the plural. many years later in 1969 which lead to Canon.an apron. In 1582. Early Modern English (1500 . Henry Cockrum published his English dictionary.1650/1700 CE) William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English. such as devulgate. hæfde . The printing press helped to standardize the spelling of English in its modern stages.mi fæder) and the addition of -n to some words beginning with a vowel (a napron . the northern dialect would become the standard for modern English regarding the grammatical endings.(borrowed from Scandinavian). Formerly. sword. The north used [a] and [k] while the south used [o] and [č] for certain words. will meant want and shall meant obliged to. The class distinctions between . a nuncle . Characteristics of Early Modern English Adjectives lost all endings except for in the comparative and superlative forms. and the third person plural pronouns began with th. Pronunciation changes: • • • • • • • • • Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan .head.
and [z] preceded the palatal glide [j]. gnat) [g] in -ing endings (more commonly pronounced [ɪn]) Finally. part of speech. walk. meanings in chronological order and illustrative quotations. as the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation. The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1600) changed the pronunciation of all the vowels. and all the verbs moved up. therefore. the double negative was considered incorrect (two negatives equal one positive) and should not be used. so that today there is no difference between them. knight. several grammarians wrote dictionaries and grammar books in a prescriptive manner . The first edition was published in 1928. The second edition was published in 1989 and it recognized American and Australian English. The project was begun in 1879 under its first editor. with supplements in 1933 and 1972-6. so they are still written in English today. Early grammarians felt that language should be logical. James AH Murray. [t].formal and informal you were decreasing. but the spelling system was in place before the consonant loss. talk. or prepositions at the end of the sentence. They also didn't like shortened or redundant words. Several consonants were no longer pronounced. producing the palatal consonants: [š]. borrowing words from other languages (except Latin and Greek). folk) [r] sometimes before s (Worcestershire) initial clusters beginning with k and g (knee. comb) [l] between a or o and consonant (half. [ž] Early Grammarians (18th Century) A proposal for an Academy of the English Language was first brought forth by Jonathan Swift in 1712. but the Parliament voted against it. A more scientifically minded attitude took hold by the 19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary was proposed in 1859. pronounced as f in laugh [b] in final -mb cluster (dumb. More strong verbs became weak and the third person singular form became -(e)s instead of (e)th. [ǰ]. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and Robert Lowth's Introduction to English Grammar appeared in 1762. Nevertheless. The consonants lost include: • • • • • • Voiceless velar fricative lost in night. however. etymology. split infinitives. assibilation occurred when the alveolars [s]. pronunciation. The tongue was placed higher in the mouth. It was to be a factual account of every word in the English language since 1000 including its main form. [d]. Vowels that were already high ([i] and [u]) added the dipthongs [aj] and [aw] to the vowels of English. [č]. There was a more limited use of the progressive and auxiliary verbs than there is now.telling people what to do or not to do with the language. spelling variations. Negatives followed the verb and multiple negatives were still used. Beginnings of Modern English .
S." suit is "whistle and flute" and trouble is "Barney Rubble. Because many of the English speakers who originally inhabited Canada came from the US. New Zealanders were more attached to the Received Pronunciation of the upper class in England. sometimes the second word (which rhymes with the word being referred to) is omitted. Similarly. there is little difference in the American and Canadian dialects of English. The majority of these words are related to science and technology. and Canada. the United States does not have an official language. By the mid-1800's. though it is mostly spoken in the province of Quebec.) In 1828. Cockney (and its Ryhming Slang) is an interesting dialect of English spoken in London's east end. etc. which had a profound impact on African American English. English around the World Although the United Kingdom. He wrote an American spelling book. in 1788 and changed several spellings from British English (colour became color. the last of which rhymes with what is being referred to. and a rise in class consciousness about speech (Received Pronunciation.) Since 1900. The American English language is characterized by archaisms (words that changed meaning in Britain. except Australia was originally settled as a penal colony and New Zealand was not. 3. A dialectal study was done in 1920 and the findings are published in the Linguistics Atlas of the U.In England. Canada also has French as an official language. The Blueback Speller. Canada. contact with other languages. Ireland. glottal stops are used frequently and labiodentals are used in place of interdentals. so that money is called just "bees. For examples. a very large amount of vocabulary words has been added to English in a relatively short period." Even more confusing. The Rhyming Slang refers to a word by referring to two things. several changes to English had occurred since 1700. an increase in the use of the progressive tenses. This is how it's possible to become a US citizen without speaking English. The initial h of words is dropped. Australian and New Zealand English have few differences. so their dialect is considered closer to British English.5 million immigrants left the British Isles for the United States. These include a loss of the postvocalic r (so that the r is only pronounced before a vowel and not after). he published his famous American Dictionary of the English Language. Noah Webster was the most vocal about the need for an American national identity with regards to the American English language." gloves is "turtle doves." . Australia and New Zealand have English as an official language. money is "bees and honey. Dialects in the United States resulted from different waves of immigration of English speakers. theatre became theater. but remained in the colonies) and innovations in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also settling in North America). and use Greek and Latin roots. American English Immigrants from Southeastern England began arriving on the North American continent in the early 1600's. and the slave trade.
"use to" means usually. Twenty percent are descendants of Dutch farmers who speak Afrikaans. and Singapore. By 1948. However. the Africans wanted English as the official language. In South Africa. Hence the compromise of 11 official languages. . in the 1996 constitution. Britain still promised the Boers self-government under the Union of South Africa. India. they became the native languages of the children and evolved into creoles. and on islands of the Pacific and Caribbean (especially the West Indies. India became an independent from Britian in 1947. and a different use of prepositions. Over time. today English and Hindi are the official languages.) Originally. frequent use of the "isn't it?" tag. English became an official language. China. among other nations. Apartheid (which segregated the Afrikaners and Africans) officially ended under Nelson Mandela's reign. these Afrikaners won state elections and remained in power through the 1990's.British colonialism has spread English all over the world. and no articles are used before occupations. and the rest are native Africans. Indian English is characterized by treating mass nouns as count nouns. and although Afrikaans was the language used more often. Creoles of English can be found on the coast of West Africa. along with Afrikaans and 9 African languages. In Singapore. these creoles were pidgins so that English-speaking traders could conduct business. use of more compounds. However. Malay and Indian languages have an impact on the form of English spoken. only 3% of the country's 30 million people are native English speakers. Although the British won the Boer Wars of 1899-1901 against the Dutch farmers (the Boers). Everyone is taught English in the school system. and the English language was supposed to be phased out by 1965. Mass nouns are treated as count nouns. Chinese. but there are a few differences from British English as well. and it still holds prestige in South Africa.
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