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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
and Off-Record-indirect strategy.K. you also assume that you are in some way imposing on them. In this situation you recognize that your teacher has a desire to be respected. Some other examples would be to say. politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face." There are four types of politeness strategies. there are ways to go about getting the things we want. would you a. you used the Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that you recognize that they want to be respected however. It would seem socially unacceptable if the phrases above were reversed. Negative Politeness. I want to use one of those!" b. you used the Positive Politeness strategy. or "Shut-up!" However. Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem.. When we are with a group of friends." or "I was ." Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself. but I am not able to hear the speaker in the front of the room. If you answered C. say. "Ooh. I just wanted to ask you if I could use one of those pens?" d. "I'm sorry to bother you but. What would you do if you saw a cup of pens on your teacher's desk. Positive Politeness. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity. "Hmm." I different social situations. Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these FTA's. you used what is called the Bald On-Record strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to your teachers' "face. Indirectly say. we are obligated to adjust our use of words to fit the occasion. if you don't mind?" and "I'm sorry. If you answered A. and you wanted to use one. and be respected. "So. "Go get me that plate!". we can say to them. I don't mean to interrupt. and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations. or making them feel uncomfortable..f. I sure could use a blue pen right now. say. when we are surrounded by a group of adults at a formal function. in which our parents are attending. English based Cameroon Pidgin POLITENESS In everyday conversation. say. we must say. described by Brown and Levinson." If you answered B. According to Brown and Levinson. German based Papua New Guinea Pidgin German g. "I don't want to bother you but. that sum up human "politeness" behavior: Bald On Record. is it O. if I use one of those pens?" c. "Could you please pass me that plate.
it is much less common that "girls will be girls" Fortunately." although. the trend of expected polite speech from the female continues to remain. they note that boys. you used Off-Record indirect strategies." If you answered D. but there was never any answer. From Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. February 25.. However. and softening devices such as hedges and questions. peculiarly. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once the teacher realizes you need one. "are permitted. In Frank and Anshen's "Language and the Sexes". and Communication" she notes that. You are trying not to directly impose by asking for a pen. " I tried to call a hundred times. it has appeared that women have had a secondary role in society relative to that of the male. to talk rough. This is a prime example of how society plays an important part on the social function of the language. cultivate a deep "masculine" voice and.. In our society it is socially acceptable for a man to be forward and direct his assertiveness to control the actions of others. "women typically use more polite speech than do men.wondering if . Therefore. on purpose." It reflects the role of the inferior status being expected to respect the superior. 1997 Politeness and Gender Are Women More Polite Than Men? Politeness is defined by the concern for the feelings of others. it has been (historically) expected from a women to "act like a lady" and "respect those around you. The main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you. From historical recurrence." This page was last updated on Tuesday. even encouraged. society has devalued these speech patterns when it is utilized by women. A great example of this strategy is somethin g that almost everyone has done or will do when you have. decided not to return someone's phone call." Sociolinguists try to explain why there is a greater frequency of the use of polite speech from women than from men. these roles are becoming more of a stereotype and less of a reality. and you are looking to find one. . characterized by a high frequency of honorific (showing respect for the person to whom you are talking to. if they violate the norms of correct usage or of polite speech. Culture. However. therefore you say. formal stylistic markers). well "boys will be boys.
" "maybe if." "HANK is SO MEAN!" vs. always speaking and expressing their feelings.." More Gender Speech Issues Who Talks More." 1. " I sort-of-think that Hank is a bit of a mean person. With Honorific.. and entities or activities associated with either." Hedges: "loosely speaking". according to Masa-aki Yamanashi. 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.. fix my jacket" Mom. having a sense of "fuzziness" they take away assertiveness in your statements. however." 2.. the appropriate choice of honorifics is based on complex rules evaluating addressee." "I think that. could you please do me a favor. yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda yamada son dinner enjoyed "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son.Honorifics: linguistic markers that signal respect to the person you are speaking to: "Hey ma. and Communication. Men or Women? A common cultural stereotype describes women as being talkative... Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. Without Honorific.. referent. 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. Culture. this is probably true. Well. An experiment b y Marjorie Swacker entailed using three pictures by a . soften the impact of your words or phrases such as " I was sort-of-wondering. and fix my jacket?" In Japanese.
but in the business world. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. They were told to take as much time as they wanted to describe the pictures. The average time for males: 13. they have been told to "keep their cool" and "remain calm. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. This ever-changing concept is becoming le ss applicable in our society. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. most likely. be a man. it is common for men to be more silent in situations that require them to express emotion.17 minutes. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat.fifteenth century Flemish artist.0 minutes. Men have tended to take on a more dominant role not only in the household." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. "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 . or a give a long wordy speech. carry on long conversation. 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. In English we laugh at these utterances." Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. It is more acceptable for a man to be talkative. Albrecht Durer which were presented to men and women separately." "This is a super cool shirt. I like them. and the average time for women 3. Since childhood. It has been more of a historical trend for men have more rights to talk." "This shirt is cool. an American Indian language. However . I love it. however it is less acceptable for a women to do so. the trend is still prominent in some societies across the world. however. Example taken from Janet Holmes." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical.
is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat.to other men." "This shirt is cool. Therefore. 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. Therefore. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. Culture. Culture. Example taken from Janet Holmes. or by men talking to women. "Language. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. In English we laugh at these utterances. "Language. an American Indian language. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker." "This is a super cool shirt. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. "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. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. I like them. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. I love it. and Communication" Women Men ohiya mizu "water" . Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. most likely. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. or by men talking to women. There are also some examples of this in Japanese." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is.
Jutes and possibly the Franks. Its history began with the migration of the Jutes. it was based on the speech of London. Written in the Latin alphabet. 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 . widely spoken on six continents. Canada. However. The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought many French words into English. Late West Saxon. English easily borrows words from other languages and has coined many new words to reflect advances in technology. the mother tongue of more than 350 million people.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. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066. Ireland. A large proportion of the modern English vocabulary comes directly from Old French. eventually came to dominate. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family. Saxons. 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.answers. the Philippines.. as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch. English developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary. the second by the French Normans in the 11th century. Thus. reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. English relies mainly on word order (usually subject-verb-object) to indicate relationships between words (see syntax). who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. and the most widely taught foreign language. The primary language of the U."stomach" onaka hara "delicious" oisii umai "eat" taberu kuu Language belonging to the Germanic languages branch of the Indo-European language family. while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle English of 1400 AD. Australia. One of these dialects. and Saxons from Germany and Denmark to Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. Frisii. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (approximately 1. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. 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. Initially. Angles. much closer to the center of Scandinavian settlement. Britain. and when literary English rose anew in the 13th century. With the coming of the Renaissance. and Modern English is usually dated from 1500. Read more: http://www. it is also an official language of India. German. New Zealand. and Dutch. Latin and Ancient Greek supplanted French as the main source of new words. and completely unintelligible to modern speakers. where Old English was developed into a full-fledged literary language. who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD. and various Caribbean and Pacific island nations. it is most closely related to Frisian. The languages of Germanic peoples gave rise to the English language (the Angles. with heavy influence from Norman French in the courts and government. Greek and Latin words began to enter it in the 15th century.5 billion speakers). English changed enormously in the Middle Ages. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old French.S.
King of the Britons. Wales and Cornwall (where Cornish was spoken into the 19th century). In return. As it was. The original Celtic languages remained in parts of Scotland. they retained political independence. Some Latin words for common objects entered the vocabulary of these Germanic peoples before their arrival in Britain and their subsequent formation of England. including serving in the Roman military. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Angles and Jutes). around the year 449. What is now called Old English emerged over time out of the many dialects and languages of the colonising tribes. 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. Further aid was sought. known as the heptarchy. and in response "came men of Ald Seaxum of Anglum of Iotum" (Saxons. written around 100 AD. invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help him in conflicts with the Picts. modern scholars view the figures of Hengist and Horsa as Euhemerized deities from Anglo-Saxon paganism.Migration Period). independent of Roman control. the Angles were granted lands in the southeast of Britain. the Angles. The Chronicle talks of a subsequent influx of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms. While remaining conversant with Roman civilisation and its economy. The main source of information for the culture of the Germanic peoples (the ancestors of the English) in ancient times is Tacitus' Germania.  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. who ultimately stem from the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Saxons and Jutes arrived as Germanic pagans. the remnants of which continue . Vortigern. However. Even then. it continued to exhibit local language variation. Some Germanic troops served in Britannia under the Romans.
Nevertheless. although their grammars were more distinct. Even after the decline of Norman-French. English was strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Old Norse. The introduction of Christianity added another wave of Latin and some Greek words.  Middle English Main article: Middle English Further information: Middle English creole hypothesis For about 300 years following the Norman Conquest in 1066. whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. and many others. later. animals with Germanic names. both. Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language). and many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have retained many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation. . Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman and. beef and pork (from the French bœuf and porc) being the products of 'cows' and 'pigs'. including the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (with the notable exception of the pronouns). sky. standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language . The use of Anglo-Saxon to describe a merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. bag. many of their lexical roots were the same or similar. The new and the earlier settlers spoke languages from different branches of the Germanic family. who spoke a French dialect called Old Norman. 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. The Old English period formally ended sometime after the Norman conquest (starting in 1066 AD).as with most of Europe during the period . most modern English speakers would consider a "cordial reception" (from French) to be more formal than a "hearty welcome" (Germanic). The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem Beowulf composed by an unknown poet. same. spoken by the Norsemen who invaded and settled mainly in the north-east of England (see Jórvík and Danelaw). Later. strong and water.and had a significant influence on the language. The words be. A tendency for French-derived words to have more formal connotations has continued to the present day. when the language was influenced to an even greater extent by the Normans. possibly even including the pronoun they. English words of Old Norse origin include anger. law. derive from Old English. Old English did not sound or look like the Standard English of today.g. Another example is the very unusual construction of the words for animals being separate from the words for their meat: e. Any native English speaker of today would find Old English unintelligible without studying it as a separate language. leg. about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. which might have been responsible for some of the morphological simplification of Old English. skill. which is visible in Modern English today (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). hit.to be found in dialects of Modern English. the Norman kings and their high nobility spoke only one of the French langues d'oïl. Old English was spoken until sometime in the 12th or 13th century. take. that we call Anglo-Norman.. The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was influenced by contact with Norse invaders. for example.
English has continuously adopted foreign words. Late Modern English has many more words.English was also influenced by the Celtic languages it was displacing. arising from two principal factors: firstly. Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer. A large number of Norman words were taken into Old English. the Table Alphabeticall. was the first English government document to be published in the English language since the Conquest. but it had ceased to be a living language. Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. English literature started to reappear around 1200. his Dictionary of the English Language. which took place mainly during the 15th century. (In the 17th century. most other literature from this period was in Old Norman or Latin. Latin words were often used with the original inflections. which did not exist in Norman. producing what is now referred to as Middle English. with many doubling for Old English words.  Early Modern English Main article: Early Modern English Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift. In 1604. even the royal court had switched to English. but these eventually disappeared). especially from Latin and Greek. most notably in the West Country. the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period. The Provisions of Oxford. In 1362. when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable.early 16th century). released in 1258. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable. which is descended from the alphabet of Old Norse.  Modern English Main article: Modern English In 1755. the Industrial . These letters remain in the modern Icelandic alphabet. the risk of mispronunciation is high. The Norman influence is the hallmark of the linguistic shifts in English over the period of time following the invasion. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 15th . The most famous writer from the Middle English period was Geoffrey Chaucer. and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work. English was further transformed by the spread of a standardised London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardising effect of printing. with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth). The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. especially the Brittonic substrate. the first English dictionary was published. most notably with the introduction of the continuous aspect—a feature found in many modern languages but developed earlier and more thoroughly in English. By the end of that century. but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects. since the Renaissance. While the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle continued until 1154.
but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information). is called simply the subjective. that is. are remnants of both the old nominative versus accusative and also of nominative versus dative. Evolution of English pronouns "Who" and "whom". the possessive case — which some linguists argue is not a case at all. The nominative case. the objective and subjective always have the same form. these cases had distinct pronouns.Revolution and technology created a need for new words. and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries. the term objective is often used. "she" and "her". The information formerly conveyed by having distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order. With only a few pronominal exceptions. In other words. etc. Instead. Modern English morphologically distinguishes only one case. "her" (for example) serves as both the dative and accusative version of the nominative pronoun "she". secondly. "whom" is a generic objective pronoun which can describe either a direct or an indirect object.  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 . "he" and "him". the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's surface. "who". 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". In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples.
In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom. though variation among dialects must be taken into account. no later forms derive from it. wit ("we two") etcetera. ours (Old English also had a separate dual.  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. thine . 2 . however. mine we Accusativ ūs / ūsiċ Plural e us Dative Genitive ūs ūser / ūre ure / our us our.tal Genitive 1 hwæs whos whose2 .Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned).
)  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 . however. ya Genitive ēower your. 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. thy. 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. ȝit ("ye two") etcetera. yours your. no later forms derive from it. yours thine your. in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible. at least optionally. 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 Note that the ye/you distinction still existed.
because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. Following the economic. and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em. theirs (The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir. A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin. as well as in many world organizations. political. 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. now collectively termed Old English.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. Cf. English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects. become the leading language of international discourse. Historically. and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). The . and of the United States since the mid-20th century. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world. The two different roots co-existed for some time. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. it has been widely dispersed around the world. þæim. and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century. It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries. 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. via the British Empire. military. 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. þæira.
3 English as a global language o 4.1 Tone groups 5.1 Countries in order of total speakers o 4.3.1 French origins 7.2. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from NormanFrench. 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.000 distinct words.2 Old Norse origins 7.2. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250.2 Characteristics of intonation—stress 6 Grammar 7 Vocabulary o 7.  Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Significance 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Geographical distribution o 4. modern English contains a very large vocabulary.language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.1 Vowels 5. or words that belong to multiple word classes. not including many technical or slang terms.2 Word origins 7.1 Basic consonant sound-letter correspondence o 8.4 Dialects and regional varieties o 4.2 Countries where English is a major language o 4.3.1 Notes for consonants 5.2 Voicing and aspiration o 5.3 Supra-segmental features 5.1 Notes for vowels o 5.2 Written accents 9 Formal written English 10 Basic and simplified versions 11 See also 12 References . Owing to the significant assimilation of various European languages throughout history.1 Number of words in English o 7.5 Constructed varieties of English 5 Phonology o 184.108.40.206.1.2 Consonants 5.3 Dutch and Low German origins 8 Writing system o 8. 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.
Its influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. Jutes and a range of Germanic peoples from the coasts of Frisia. science. 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). Old English was a diverse group of dialects. Up to that point. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations. and it is in this that the poem Beowulf is written. One of these incoming Germanic tribes was the Angles. entertainment. Australia and New Zealand. the natural internal variety of English along with creoles and pidgins have the potential to produce new distinct languages from English over time. is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications. Canada. .o • 12. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire. 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.1 Bibliographic 13 External links Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English. Conversely. in Roman Britain the native population is assumed to have spoken the Celtic language Brythonic alongside the acrolectal influence of Latin. reflecting the varied origins of the AngloSaxon kingdoms of Great Britain but one of these dialects. information technology. business. as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). 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. One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. Jutland and Southern Sweden also moved to Britain in this era. 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. aviation. from the 400-year Roman occupation. Denmark and the Netherlands. eventually came to dominate. seafaring. and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global . radio and diplomacy. it became the dominant language in the United States. Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries. occupations and professions such as medicine and computing. Lower Saxony. whom Bede believed to have relocated entirely to Britain. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields. Initially. sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. Late West Saxon.
The linguistic shifts in English following the Norman invasion produced what is now referred to as Middle English. none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English. and phonology.Old English was later transformed by two waves of invasion. and when the United Kingdom became a colonial power. 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. and Germany). 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. and the North Germanic languages (Swedish. semantics. Norwegian. English was adopted in North America. which includes the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible. As a result of the growth of the British Empire. and common sound shifts from Proto-IndoEuropean known as Grimm's Law. and Faroese). do show strong affinities with English. compare "exit" (Latin). English is characterised by the use of modal verbs. with Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales being the best known work. Australia and many other regions. Throughout all this period Latin in some form was the lingua franca of European intellectual life. Africa. 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. and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles. After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages that are more distantly related: the nonAnglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Dutch. For example. In the post-colonial period. 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). the Netherlands. . lexical differences between English and other Germanic languages exist due to heavy borrowing in English of words from Latin and French. India. itself a direct descendant of Old English. Modern English is the direct descendant of Middle English. the division of verbs into strong and weak classes. 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. but later the humanist Renaissance Latin. especially to earlier stages of the language. Afrikaans. first the Medieval Latin of the Christian Church. Low German. High German). Classification and related languages The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family. owing in part to the divergences in lexis. and then Anglo-French – and introduced a layer of words especially via the courts and government. is generally dated from about 1550. Danish. Modern English. such as Dutch. 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. Typical of most Germanic languages. a member of the Indo-European languages. although some. a descendant of ProtoGermanic. English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the British Empire. Norman developed into Anglo-Norman. a trend extended with the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the mid-20th century. Icelandic. 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. syntax. In addition to isolation.
Despite lexical borrowing. and adverbs are Germanic. -an.. For nouns. and syntax (For example. English meaning. to buccaneer. Non-native words are incorporated into a Germanic system of conjugation. German senden. and the formation of the English infinitive using to (e. "proceeding along the way"). where the participle is placed at the end). communicates. skomakere). medical emergency. and the large amount of cognates (e. Swedish våt.vs. skomakere. and the Dutch Ik heb nooit iets op het plein gezien. as sorrow.g. Also. Scots weet. adjectives. all basic grammatical particles added to nouns.g. the simple past tense and past participle ending -ed.I reduced . however. streetcar. bizarrely) and all derive from Old English. i. West Frisian fal/foel/fallen/sil falle.g. as in English care vs. It also gives rise to false friends (e. As in most Germanic languages. Furthermore. etc.e. literally "out-going" (though outgang survives dialectally in restricted usage) and "change" (French) vs. and the possessive markers -'s and -s' . English syntax continues to adhere closely to that of the North Germanic languages. English adjectives usually come before the noun they modify. national treasure). For verbs. German Bewegung ("be-way-ing".). The kinship with other Germanic languages can also be seen in the tensing of English verbs (e. English send. in English. Danish Jeg har aldrig set noget på torvet. in English we say "I reduce . Both words descend from Proto-Germanic *karō and *surgō respectively. German gut/besser/best).g. Adverbs generally receive an -ly ending. -o. the word reduce is borrowed from Latin redūcere.redūcam". Dutch uitgang. derive from endings which previously existed in Old English (usually -e. -a. Modern English "I sing" = I sing-Ø < I singe < Old English ic singe. the present participle ending -ing. lamp post. West Frisian goed/better/best. Swedish skomaker.g. schoenmakers. English time vs Norwegian time. declension. these include the third person present ending -s/-es (e. he stands/he reaches ).g. fast/faster/fastest). English retains its classification as a Germanic language due to its structure and grammar. the *surgō root prevailed. shoemaker's. Icelandic Ég hef aldrei séð neitt á torginu). during. 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. and nouns which serve as modifiers (e. meaning "hour". *Surgō still survives in English. even when the adjective is of Latinate origin (e. or through a combination with more and most.g. verbs. the comparatives of adjectives and adverbs (e. Even the lack or absence of affixes. "movement" (French) vs. Dutch. cf. which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e. these include the normal plural marker -s/-es.). West Frisian wiet. English fall/fell/fallen/will or shall fall. cf. and have since ceased to be pronounced and spelt (e. traits inherited from Old English (See also Kenning).redūxī .g. -u. Dutch vallen/viel/gevallen/zullen vallen. "to drive". schoenmakers. calmer.g. Dutch goed/beter/best. meaning .g. shoemakers. however. the French: la compagnie d'assurance-vie de John). othering"). These particles append freely to all English words regardless of origin (tsunamis. the treatment of nouns (English shoemaker.g. but *karō has become the dominant word in English for "care" while in German. German Sorge. and Scandinavian languages. skomakers. life insurance company). "I have never seen anything in the square" = German Ich habe nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen. Swedish mening. English continues to make extensive use of self-explaining compounds (e. schoenmakeren. etc. even where both words are Germanic. known as zero or null (-Ø) affixes. Icelandic meining. "we thought" = we thought-Ø < we thoughte(n) < Old English wē þōhton). English wet. Dutch zenden. and adjectives and adverbs are inflected for the comparative and superlative using -er and -est (e. classroom). English good/better/best. etc.g. we say: "John's life insurance company" rather than "the company of insurance life of John". Dutch schoenmaker. likewise. shoemakers'. Old English tō drīfenne).I will reduce" rather than "redūcō . Preference of one synonym over another also causes differentiation in lexis. German fallen/fiell/gefallen/werden fallen). that later weakened to -e. German Änderung (literally "alteration. English gift vs German Gift.
contributing common everyday terms and many nautical and trading terms (See below: Dutch and Low German origins). Many of these words are common words. rendez-vous. bouton. "-ship". heure. 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. in French. Dutch and Low German also had a considerable influence on English vocabulary. Many North Germanic words entered English due to the settlement of Viking raiders and Danish invasions which began around the 9th century (see Danelaw). has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon. they developed independent of German influences. but their usage patterns have diverged. résider. inflectional endings. use of old French spellings. Geographical distribution See also: List of countries by English-speaking population . through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval". etc. which means bookstore. because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French. though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide. The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with the exception of a handful of more recently borrowed words such as mirage. English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood". genre. as German "Freiheit" vs. often mistaken for being native. All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages. Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit ("time") is related to English "tide". As a result. Finally.g. Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker. but the English word. French nature. a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French. the word for "library" is bibliothèque. as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example. "button" vs. or phrases like coup d’état. and directly from French in subsequent centuries. since. especially when they are seen in writing (as pronunciations are often quite different). For instance. lack of diacritics. compare "library" with the French librairie. café. via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest."poison"). German Zahn. etc. "reside" vs.). while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum"). "hour" vs. compare also Danish tand). The Germanic languages Icelandic and Faroese also follow English in this respect.) has become largely anglicised and follows a typically English phonology and pattern of stress (compare English "nature" vs. while differences in phonology can obscure words that really are related (tooth vs. "table" vs. etc.). with some minor spelling differences (e. which shows how close-knit the relations between the English and the Scandinavian settlers were (See below: Old Norse origins). like English. and phrases such as to tide over). abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "-hood". "-dom" and "-ness". table.
 Countries in order of total speakers Country Total Percent of population 96% As an additional Population language 215. 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.152 First language Comment Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000.5 million). Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well". combining native and non-native speakers.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. 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.388. Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language. India has the most such speakers ('Indian English'). Canada (18. Table 1. Crystal claims that. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.375. Note: United 251.8 million). United Kingdom (61 million). Nigeria (4 million). and New Zealand (3. 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"). when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world. South Africa (3.423. Countries such as the Philippines.964. Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.301 States of America .7 million). Ireland (3.557 35. English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers. Australia (15. in descending order: United States (215 million). India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world. The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are.744 262.2 million).6 million) 2006 Census. However.
487–525. text above Figure 7.India 125.000.000 Kingdom 98% 58. the midpoint of the range is used in the table.000.000 Source: Crystal (2005).993. an Englishbased pidgin or creole. 38.000 58% 3.028. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin. Philippines 48. Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin.344.000 60. 19 (5&6).500. 148. Ethnologue lists 3.736 12% 226. (1998). Native speakers: Census 1995.000 1. United 59.000.436 language.000 Kelechukwu Uchechukwu. 2001 figures. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers.000 43.221 second language speakers.71% of the 66. but not English users.066 third language speakers Nigeria 79. 109.600.125.427. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.974. as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines.000 53% 4.000 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 1.800.449 86. Total speakers: Census 2000." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296– 313.000 84.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as an additional language.566. 2006. Ihemere. p.000 .000.000.000 >75. 63.100. The figures include English speakers.7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English.737.
Palau. The additional language column 18. Guernsey. Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency.329 2. Cameroon. it is an official language. Liberia. Ghana.694. Guam. English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island. Sierra Leone. Saint Lucia. Belize. In some countries where English is not the most spoken language.591. Namibia. Sudan. Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa. Kenya. Trinidad and Tobago. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Fiji.390 29.551. Grenada. Ireland.246.  The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home. these countries include Botswana. Percentage = Total / Population Countries where English is a major language English is the primary language in Anguilla. . Pitcairn Islands. Montserrat. The native speakers figure comprises 122. Gibraltar. Saint Helena. Source: 2006 Census. New Zealand.172. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Guam.660 19.572. Note: Total = First language + Other language. Lesotho. Papua New Guinea. Gambia. the Federated States of Micronesia. and Zimbabwe. Zambia.989 92% 15. Antigua and Barbuda. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.660 people with 25. Jersey.Canada Australia Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue. Dominica. Seychelles. the Cayman Islands. Nigeria.170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue. Pakistan. Samoa. Kiribati. South Sudan.830 7. the Philippines (Philippine English). the Falkland Islands.220 85% 17. the Turks and Caicos Islands.030 both French and English as a mother tongue. the United Kingdom and the United States. Australia. Swaziland. plus 17. the Isle of Man. India. Uganda. Tanzania. the British Indian Ocean Territory.855. Rwanda. Nauru.639. Canada. Saint Kitts and Nevis. Jamaica. Sri Lanka.581. the Marshall Islands. Guyana. the Bahamas. Malta. Bermuda. Madagascar. Mauritius. It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English).288 shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well". Singapore. Barbados. the British Virgin Islands. the Solomon Islands.
 Among some nonEnglish speaking EU countries. it has often been referred to as a "world language". Several educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world. even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries. and the US Virgin Islands). 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. Malaysia. English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom. and English as a foreign or second language Because English is so widely spoken. Puerto Rico. Brunei. by international treaty. This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages. ahead of French at 32%. Belgium. and the former British colony of Hong Kong. by 89% of schoolchildren. an educated dialect of South East England. Although the United States federal government has no official languages. English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union. and while it is not an official language in most countries. 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. In the United Kingdom much emphasis is placed on Received Pronunciation.. the lingua franca of the modern era.Northern Mariana Islands. and the United Arab Emirates. 79% in the Netherlands. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers". and to claims of linguistic imperialism. Austria. a large percentage of the adult population can converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden. and Germany. General American. while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French. including the International Olympic Committee. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. Cyprus. Slovenia. 83% in Denmark. Books. It is. but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. which is spread over most of the United States and much of . (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details. Bangladesh. English as a global language See also: English in computing. Because of that global spread. and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. such as Bahrain. magazines. 66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland. World language.) English is not an official language in the United States. Although falling short of official status. English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins. the official language for aerial and maritime communications. leading to language shift and even language death. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations. International English. it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole.
Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. see List of dialects of the English language. with General Australian serving as the standard accent. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base. 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. several subvarieties. which are independent and not based on English. E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be. grammar and vocabulary differed across the country. whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English. Nigerian Pidgin. but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began. Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources. such as Jamaican Patois. from other varieties of English. designed primarily for use in deaf education. grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ. English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language. Newfoundland English within Canadian English. variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language. 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 speakers have many different accents. 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. causing dialectalisation. which include. 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. Manually Coded English constitutes a variety of systems that have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals. in most cases. . Scouse and Geordie within British English. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners. such as Cockney. For the most distinctive characteristics of regional accents. see Regional accents of English. Constructed varieties of English • • • • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world. and pronunciation. English is a pluricentric language. there are numerous other varieties of English. There are a number of regional dialects of Scots. sometimes substantially. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects. indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers. Aside from these major dialects. Within England. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. the major native dialect of Australian English is spoken as a first language by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent. and for a complete list of regional dialects. and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history. In Oceania. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries. and Tok Pisin. or a desire to be so identified. but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out.Canada. 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. without a central language authority like France's Académie française.
In the 8th century Nurthumbrian power declined .Late Modern (1700-now). The people talking this language spread to the northern coast of Europe in the time of Roman Empire.• • • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak. Norse language effected the English considerably. The most famous king of the West Saxons was Alfred the Great. translated or caused to be translated many books from Latin in to English.Saxons. The ancestors of the language were wandering in the forests of northern Europe. Their language was a part of Germanic branch of Indo-European Family. Middle English(1100-1450/1500). It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words. Norse wasn’t so different from English and English people could understand Norseman. including the epic poem Beowulf.cheese. the demonstrative pronouns. Among this people the tribes called Angels. In some books Modern English is divided in to two Early modern (1500-1700) . On the other hand the Celtic tribes in Scotland and Wales developed. It was this period that the best of the Old English literature was written . Modern English (1500-now). 600. were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. According to the effects to English . When Anglo-Saxons became Christian in 597 they learned Latin. Celtic and Anglo-Saxons fought for 100 years and Anglo-Saxons killed all the Celtics. In 550 Anglo –Saxons established England. butter. At the end in 410 the last roman emperor left the island to Celtic and AngloSaxons. Simplified Technical English was historically developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals and is now used in various industries. There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel. During Roma Empire Latin wasn’t the native language of the kingdom because people in the country were talking Celtic. Latin effected the language with the merchants traveling the tribes.) 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. Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America.wine. OLD ENGLISH When England was established there were several kingdoms and the most advanced one was Nurthumbria. The history of English begins a little after A. West Saxons became the leading power. He founded and established schools. Some of the words taken from Latin are.D. Old English(7th century-1100). There . cheap. all based on restricted vocabularies. Also in the 14th century Rome Empire weakened because Goths attacked to Mediterranean countries of Roman Empire and Anglo-Saxons attacked to empire. After many years of hit-and-run raids between the European kingdoms. the history of the language divided in to three. the Norseman landed in the year of 866 and later the east coast of the island was Norseman’s. The first Latin effect was in that period.Jutes which is called Anglo-Saxons come to England. kettle.
sure. &Rose . literary. fault. The shift effected all the words in which these vowels sounds occurred. On the other hand French couldn’t become the national language because it became the language of the court . MIDDLE ENGLISH Between 1100-1200 many important changes took place in the structure of English and Old English became Middle English.cream.ugly. goverment. surprise.were considerable interchanges and word borrowings (sky.outlaw. It is supposed also that the Norseman influenced the sound structure and the grammar of English. P. These two changes produced the basic differences . final. nobility.& Eschholz. For the next several next years .egg.talk). V. learned words: study.towel. Languages don’t become simpler .chess. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH Between 1400-1600 English underwent a couple of sound changes. scarlet.P.F.surgeon.. they merely exchange one kind of complexity for another”( (Clark. The sound system&grammar wasn’t so effected but vocabulary was effected much.music. English continued to be the national language but it changed too much after the conquest.& Eschholz. V. flower. church word: religion. P.them. Old English was much more highly inflected that Middle English because there were case endings for nouns.leisure.A.gentel.lamp.majesty. stomach. more person and number endings of words and a more complicated pronoun systems.age.lemon. Old English had some sound which we don’t know have now.A. 1994. The change was important because it effected thousands of words and gave a different aspect to the whole language.bucket. words for food: veal.622 ) For us Middle English is simpler that Old English because it is closer to Modern English. various endings for adjectives. People started to rely more on word order and structure words to express their meaning rather than the use of case system.P. plain.very.tax.count. beef. household words: curtain.second. Most of the Old English words are native English which weren’t borrowed from other languages. colors: blue. Also borrowed pronouns like they. On the other hand Old English contains borrowed words coming from Norse and Latin. literary words: story romance. literature.A. peach.England was ruled by the kings whose native language was French. ordinary words for all sorts: nice. polite society. This was a systematic shifting of half a dozen vowels and diphthongs in stressed syllables. The political event which effected the administration system and language was the Norman Conquest. One change was the elimination of a vowel sound in certain unstressed positions at the end of the words. Grammar and the sound system changed a good deal. (Clark..A. mutton. logic grammar.give. play words: dance. 1994. &Rose . poet. “This can be called as a simplification but it is not exactly. In grammar .law. In vocabulary Old English is quiet different from Middle English. chair.blanket.biscuit. move. For example the word name had in Middle English a vowel something like that in the modern word father. parson.leg. In 1066 they crossed the Channel and they became the master of England.622 ) Middle English was still a Germanic language but it is different from Old English in many ways. anatomy. There were word related with goverment:parliment.their.noun. sermon.. The other change is what is called the Great Vowel Shift.F..etc. vermilion. But it didn’t replace as the language of the people.conversation..
pater in Latin. January 15. can be seen today. The word for father. of paramount importance. The period of Early Modern English was also a period of English Renaissance. and pitr in Sanskrit. These words are all cognates. After this books became cheaper and cheaper. Another product of the 18th century was the invention of English Grammar. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In order to establish the language they develop a dictionary. It was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1475. One was the invention of printing. What will happen in the future? It’ll continue to grow . The period where English developed most in the Modern English. The Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian). it was felt to control the language. Now.between Middle English and Modern English. which means the development of the people. the Germanic and the Romance (called that because the Romance languages derive from Latin. In that period the people speaking that language increased too much. Around the second century BC. The Germanic languages. two are. this Common Germanic language split into three distinct sub-groups: . But there are several other developments that effected the language.000 years ago. more people learned to read and write and advanced in communication. The Indo-Iranian languages. may be it will be the universal language. is vater in German. The Slavic languages. The Celtic languages. similar words in different languages that share the same root. and Greek. the language of ancient Rome. This group began as a common language in the Elbe river region about 3. As English is replaced with Latin as the language of scholarship. Monday. 2001 Indo-European and Germanic Influences English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. The greatest writer of the Early Modern English period is Shakespeare and the best known book is the King Jones version of the BIBLE. The influence of the original Indo-European language. not because of any bodice-ripping literary genre). The Indo-European family includes several major branches: • • • • • • • Latin and the modern Romance languages. English is in the Germanic group of languages. for example. English is the greatest language of the world spoken natively and as a second language. Of these branches of the Indo-European family. even though no written record of it exists. A (Very) Brief History of the English Language Dave Wilton. designated proto-Indo-European. for our purposes of studying the development of English. This broad family includes most of the European languages spoken today. Greek. English language had grown as a result of borrowing words from French . The first English Dictionary was published in 1603. New ideas increased. including Hindi and Sanskrit.Latin.
derive from Old English roots. and Kentish in the Southeast. but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language. only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today. Mercian in the Midlands. not Old English roots. leaving behind a few Celtic words. which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. whose best known surviving example is the poem Beowulf. This last date is rather arbitrary. Old English. North Germanic evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages of Swedish. unfortunately. died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole. Norwegian. (The Bayeux Tapestry. No East Germanic language is spoken today. Frisian. and Ireland. In fact. But this statistic is deceptive. invaded and conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD. The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500) William the Conqueror. details of which form the navigation buttons on this site. which is related to Estonian and is not an Indo-European language). Dolly Pentreath. and the only written East Germanic language that survives is Gothic. beginning around 850.) The new overlords spoke a . Dutch. and skirt. Wales. Cornwall. West Saxon in the south and west. These invaders pushed the original. similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English. Cornish. Flemish. Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland. and strong. water. (The last native Cornish speaker. Words like be. Northumbrian in the north of England. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. and Icelandic (but not Finnish. West Germanic is the ancestor of modern German. is now a dead language. lasted until about 1100. Cornwall. for example. Norse invasions. the Norman Conquest. particularly in the north of England. began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. which had meant joy until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr. brought many North Germanic words into the language. and English. They spoke a mutually intelligible language. The majority of words in modern English come from foreign. 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). the Duke of Normandy. Some examples are dream. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest. Saxons.• • • East Germanic was spoken by peoples who migrated back to southeastern Europe. Old English is much more important than this number would indicate. Danish. and Jutes. Four major dialects of Old English emerged.
It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old. French and Old English components combined to form a new word. Finally. play a wav file of this Old English text (518Kb). Thy kingdom come. crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam. in Early Modern English (King James Version. Other times. Giue us this day our daily bread. or wish and desire. and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. read by Catherine Ball of Georgetown University. commonly eaten by the aristocracy. 1611) the same text is completely intelligible: Our father which art in heauen. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment. vicar. Sometimes French words replaced Old English words. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words. and Modern English. To get a feel for Old English pronunciation. jury. beef and cow. such as indict. the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. and mass came into the language this way). derives from the Anglo-Norman. Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif. as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. This split. Middle. Beef. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. Other times. who tended the cattle. . hallowed be thy name. where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots.dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. retained the Germanic cow. 1384). Prior to the Norman Conquest. Take for instance this Old English (c. two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English. The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words. þi reume or kyngdom come to be. 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.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. Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language. 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. can be seen in many instances. 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. Many legal terms.
Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays. but deliuer us from euill. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. rather than their estates in France. Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare.000 words and countless catchphrases are his. some 2. But. and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman. and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare’s. dwindle. majestic. Words he bequeathed to the language include critical. In that year. Early Modern English (1500-1800) The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English. This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins. the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. 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. albeit with difficulty. leapfrog. which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. The first was the Great Vowel Shift. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some . In 1204 AD.And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. England became the chief concern of the nobility. Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. Amen. as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord’s Prayer. the Statute of Pleading was adopted. One fell swoop. vanish into thin air. Middle English can be read. About 150 years later. by modern English-speaking people. and pedant. And lead us not into temptation. By 1362. but many survive to this day. The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Unlike Old English. Shakespeare’s character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms. These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these inkhorn terms. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France.
as opposed to Latin. In linguistic terms. but understandable. vowel sounds are still shortening. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships. Blockbuster. The British Empire was a maritime empire. bios. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. to the vast contributions of French and Latin. Pronunciation. The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. pajamas. such as pundit. would be accented.difficulty. volunteer militaries. Before the Great War. rarely influenced standard English. Finally. protein. Words like oxygen. and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. Military slang existed. English roots were used for such terms as horsepower. radar. and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent. provided many words. literacy became more common. Also. The second was the British Empire. At its height. the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world. the 20th century saw two world wars. but Late-Modern English has many more words. and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages. shampoo. Chaucer’s Lyf (pronounced /leef/) became the modern word life. Military slang entered the language like never before. the shift was rather sudden. however. Spelling and grammar became fixed. camouflage. but to introduce words into English. and juggernaut. In Middle English name was pronounced /nam-a/. although the change has become considerably more gradual. Hindi. on the other hand. however. perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. but with the exception of nautical terms. Shakespeare. five was pronounced /feef/. airplane. nuclear. cyber-. virtually all British and American men served in the military. the printing press brought standardization to English. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. Finally. from the Finnish sauna and the Japanese tycoon. . Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise. and typewriter. and the first English dictionary was published in 1604. English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. For this. These words are the result of two historical factors. Britain ruled one quarter of the earth’s surface. and microchip are good examples. where most publishing houses were located. Late-Modern English (1800-Present) The principal distinction between early. The shift is still not over. This burst of neologisms continues today. became more common. During the mid-20th century. and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own. nose dive. and works in English. The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society. military service for English-speaking persons was rare. Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. grammar. hard-drive. but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. Books became cheaper and as a result. and spelling are largely the same. and down was pronounced /doon/. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English. both Britain and the United States maintained small. became the standard. and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter e at the end of words became silent. the major changes occurring within a century. Byte. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though. The dialect of London.and late-modern English is vocabulary.
canoe. and jambalaya came into the language via New Orleans. Augustine arrives in Britain. The beginning of Norman French c. trash for rubbish. names for other things besides places were also common. Raccoon. Armoire. savanna. bayou. words have influenced American English. Spanish has also been great influence on American English. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun 911: Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. frame-up which was reintroduced to Britain through Hollywood gangster movies. these were place names like Mississippi. Roanoke.1000: The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period 1066: The Norman conquest c. stampede.roadblock. and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English. Indian-sounding names like Idaho were sometimes created that had no native-American roots. tomato. Some Americanisms that the British decry are actually originally British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost at home (e. A Chronology of the English Language 55 BCE: Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar 43 CE: Roman invasion and occupation under Emperor Claudius. To a lesser extent French. and West African. The American dialect also served as the route of introduction for many native American words into the English language. Most often. mainly via Louisiana.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 . and Iowa. spearhead. Goober. American English Also significant beginning around 1600 AD was the English colonization of North America and the subsequent creation of a distinct American dialect. canyon. mustang. although in many cases the original Indian words were mangled almost beyond recognition. through the importation of slaves. In certain respects. barbecue. 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. fall as a synonym for autumn. gumbo. ranch. Armadillo. But. and tote are West African borrowings first used in America by slaves. and hickory have native American roots. He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. Some pronunciations and usages “froze” when they reached the American shore.g. American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. 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. and use of loan as a verb instead of lend).. and vigilante are all examples of Spanish words that made their way into English through the settlement of the American West.
the first permanent English settlement in the New World. End of The Great Plague 1702: Publication of the first daily. The Daily Courant. Records continue to be kept in Latin.1348: English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools.1388: Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales c. English-language newspaper. of the Bible is published 1616: Death of Shakespeare 1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is published 1666: The Great Fire of London. Table Alphabeticall 1607: Jamestown. 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. 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. 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 . established 1611: The Authorized.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. English is used in Parliament for the first time 1384: Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible c. or King James Version.
by Joseph M. not to mention a great many additiona l . The proper beginning for us. Fleisch and flesh closely resemble each other. likewise. 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. Brot and bread. Williams. the German Wasser and English water. The German word Milch is very close in sound to the English milk. therefore. amid the many tongues of mankind. Those German Dutch Danish students who have studied German undoubt edly have noticed a remarka ble similarity between that language and their own.from “The Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History”.
Australia and New Zealand. The early history of the Germanic languages is based on reconstruction of a ProtoGermanic language that evolved into German. Dutch. or in a mixture with other languages (such as pidgins and creoles. Fennell) The English language is spoken by 750 million people in the world as either the official language of a nation. and brother. Afrikaans. Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit contained many cognates to Greek and Latin. however.) English is the (or an) official language in England. In 1786. and the Scandinavian languages. English. father. the United States has no official language. as they appear in various tongues. Canada. a second language. Perhaps we can see this similarity best if we place side by side in systemat ic form the words for mother. He conjectured a Proto-Indo-European language had existed many years before.example s. Indo-European language and people English is classified genetically as a Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. Although there . Yiddish. English mother father brother Mutter Vater Bruder moeder vader broeder moder fader broder History of English (Source: A History of English by Barbara A.
indicating they did not live in a warm climate.000 to 5. Voiceless stops became Voiceless fricatives (P. of which the last three belong to the Finno-Ugric language family. dʰ.000 BCE. gʰ became b. and not wine. Finnish. or -de in Swedish. A few languages that are not included in the Indo-European branch of languages include Basque. Weak Past Tense: Used a dental or alveolar suffix to express the past (such as -ed in English.) 3. it is believed that many languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia are all derived from a common language. Voiced stops became Voiceless stops (B. 5.is no concrete proof to support this one language had existed. and formed words by compounding. Two Tense Verbal System: There is a past tense marker (-ed) and a present tense marker (-s) on the verb (without using auxiliary verbs. This PIE language was also highly inflectional as words had many endings corresponding to cases.) They also had domesticated animals. t. The I-E people either wanted to conquer their neighbors or look for better farming land. 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. -te in German. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) lived in Southwest Russia around 4. They drank alcohol made from grain. k became f. Aspirated voiced stops became Unaspirated voiced stops (Bʰ. d.) 4. Fixed Stress: The stress of words was fixed on the first syllable. θ. g became p. Germanic Languages The subgroup of Germanic languages contains many differences that set them apart from the other I-E languages. Grimm's Law (or the First Sound Shift) helps to explain the consonant changes from P-I-E to Germanic. Weak and Strong Adjectives: Each adjective had a different form whether it was preceded by a determiner or no determiner. and used horse-drawn wheeled carts. Either way. k) c. d. x (h)) Verner's Law explains other exceptions that Grimm's law does not include. t. 6. The spread of the language can be attributed to two theories. 2. 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.) They also made use of a decimal counting system by 10's. Vowel Changes (Proto Germanic) . This rapid and vast spread of the I-E people is attributed to their use of horses for transportation. • • • a. Estonian and Hungarian. g) b. 1. the language spread to many areas with the advancement of the people.
Although they invaded twice. Northumbria. the Danes quickly assimilated and intermarried into the English society. It is commonly referred to as Runes. while dominance shifted among the kingdoms beginning with Kent and Northumbria. Characteristics of the Old English language . a list of subjects who owed tribute to the king. they did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE and Latin never overtook the Celtic language. called the Futhorc. Saxons. Mercian and Northumbrian. wife. edh. he united the kingdoms together and commissioned the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. The Tribal Hidage. During his reign. earth. and it contained many symbols that are no longer found in Modern English: the aesc. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded. a historical record of important events in England that continued 200 years after his death. west to Ireland and south to France. Laws and contracts were written down for a sense of permanence and control. such as nautical terms (sea). Kentish. It detailed the sophisticated society of the Germanic tribes. Others include rain. They aligned with the Celtic clergy and converted to Christianity. OE: modor) 7. was written during the Mercian period of power. thorn. Jutes and Frisians. However. Kent. as well the macron for distinguishing long vowels. and East Anglia. English: garden) • Long a to long o (Latin: mater. Bede wrote the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" in Latin. it was not used in England. Essex. They had destroyed the Roman civilization in England and built their own. The Celts moved north to Scotland. loaf. Sussex. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia. yogh and wynn. The Treaty of Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this "Danelaw" gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. Common Vocabulary: Words developed that hadn't been used before. The four main tribes were the Angles. Old English (449 . Then the Germanic tribes from the present-day area of Denmark arrived.1066 CE) The Old English language (also called Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. meat and fowl. The Romans finally left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing. leaving the Celts defenseless. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings who repeatedly invaded the area. Although the Danes brought their own writing system with them. In 731 CE. because the languages were so similar. Alfred the Great was the king of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom.• Short o to short a (Latin: hortus. Four dialects were spoken in these kingdoms: West Saxon. The Insular Hand was the name of the writing system used in England. Wessex. leaving the main area of Britain.
while the strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. After converting to Christianity. and genitive. case and number with the nouns they described. then the strong endings were used. accusative. the endings were not pronounced as clearly and began to diminish from the language. as evidenced in words pertaining to the church. word order is very important because we no longer have declensions to show case distinctions. In all. or -lic. The i-mutation occurred if there was a front vowel in the ending. and -m. Numbers could be either singular or plural. If preceded by a determiner. but it did vary in a few instances: 1. In the present tense. 3. so word order was not very important. the latter which still remains in modern English as -like.The Germanic tribes were exposed to Latin before they invaded England.) Pronunciation of consonants: . The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short vowels.object. They also agreed in gender. -ist. but these were assigned arbitrarily. So in modern English. there were seven groups of declensions for nouns. There were also two front rounded vowels that are no longer used in modern English. The verb often comes at the end of a subordinate clause. For example. Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English. Instead we use prepositions. and there were four cases: nominative. but Danish (Old Scandinavian) did contribute many vocabulary words. 2. -est. the weak ending was added to the adjective. The weak past tense added -de. while the superlative had many endings: -ost. The infinitive of verbs ended in -an. the subject often follows the verb. Eventually the -ost and -m endings combined to form the word "most" which is still used before adjectives in the superlative today. If no determiner preceded the adjective. The comparative was formed by adding -ra to the adjective. so the languages they spoke did have some Latin influence. it often precedes the verb. Latin had more influence.verb . Adjectives could be weak or strong. The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English becase of the declensions of the nouns. [i:] and [ɪ:]. Celtic did not have a large impact on English. The case endings told the function of the word in the sentence. When a sentence begins with an adverb. Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective. all verbs had markers for number and person. Nouns could be of three genders: masculine. fot becomes fot+i = fet (This helps to explain why feet is the plural of foot. When an object is a pronoun. Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first syllable. feminine or neuter. The general word order was subject . But as the stress began to move to the first syllable of words. then the root vowel became fronted. as only a few place names are of Celtic origin. dative.
justice. The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class. Yet William spoke only French. the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts. cuisine. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE. Duke of Normandy. felony. embroidery. attorney. 1350 to 1400 CE is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (most famously.f c g h s ð r sc cg v f č k j ɣ g h x.000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE (though most of these words were Parisian rather than Norman French). upon learning that Harold was crowned king. the legal system retained parts of . the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. But by 1250 CE. appetite) and learning (poet. and after him. several words (around 10. William invaded England. killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. believed that he would become the next king. empire). which was considered somewhat snobbish. who only spoke English. French began to lose its prestige. King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs. Furthermore. and the upper class did not want to lose it completely. logic. many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more "English" and so encouraged more use of the English language. English was the language of instruction in schools.1500 CE) The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. law (judge. Although the popularity of French was decreasing. The upper class tried to learn English. jury. By 1362 CE. but they did still use French words sometimes. By 1385 CE. larceny). and William. 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 their works included an apology for writing in English. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague. Nevertheless. As a result. King Edward I spoke only English. Many of the words were related to government (sovereign. social life (fashion. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere. Chaucer). At this time. However. physician). which increased the status of the peasants. the Hundred Year's War (1337-1453 CE) intensified hatred of all things French.
ton. from. and some consonants dropped off while some vowels became əand dropped off too. wonder. 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. The demonstratives these and those were added during this period. 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. hard. attorney general and accounts payable. of Because of the stress shift to the beginning of the word. The third person plural pronouns replaced the old pronouns with thwords (they. habit sometimes words were written with o but pronounced as [ʊ] but later were pronounced [ʌ]: son. and used "to" before the verb to signify the infinitival form. v was used word initially. and u was used everywhere else k was used much more often (cyning became king) new values were given to old symbols too. late. won. 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. herb. come. but short in the comparative form (late .French word order (the adjective following the noun) in such terms as fee simple. honest. Verb infinitives dropped the -an ending. but the singular also competed with -(e)s from the Northern dialect. The dual number disappeared in the pronouns. . More strong (irregular) verbs became weak (regular) as well. heir. Phonological erosion also occurred because of this. ʒ became j. Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th. Adjectives lost agreement with the noun. some. honey. Characteristics of Middle English The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: • • • • • • • • • • • þ and ð were replaced by th (and sometimes y. And the adverb ending -lič became -ly. some "flat" adverbs did not add the -ly: fast. The generalized plural marker became -s. however. g before i or e was pronounced ǰ. them. but the weak ending -e still remained. front. The comparative form became -er and the superlative became -est. but it still competed with -n. money. their) borrowed from Scandinavian.latter). one. and the dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. Vowels tended to be long in the adjective form.
sword. The use of the verbs will and shall for the future tense were first used too. HP and Brother toner.mi fæder) and the addition of -n to some words beginning with a vowel (a napron . answer) [č] lost in unstressed syllable (ič .1650/1700 CE) William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English. The neuter pronoun it was first used as well as who as a relative pronoun.Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used. Some words. New compound tenses were used. the northern dialect would become the standard for modern English regarding the grammatical endings. Characteristics of Early Modern English Adjectives lost all endings except for in the comparative and superlative forms.an apron. Ten thousand words were added to English as writers created new words by using Greek and Latin affixes. but several words were also borrowed from other languages as well as from Chaucer's works. an open syllable with no consonant following it contained a long vowel. The north used [a] and [k] while the south used [o] and [č] for certain words. The south used -(e)n for the plural. The use of double negation also increased as did impersonal constructions. Richard Mulcaster proposed in his treatise "Elementaire" a compromise on spelling and by 1623. The printing press led the path for the laser printer many. -(e)th for the third person singular. Eventually. and there was more use of the progressive and passive voice. The north used -(e)s for the plural marker as well as for the third person singular. hæfde . Formerly. and the third person plural pronouns began with th.had) Loss of final -n in possessive pronouns (min fæder . will meant want and shall meant obliged to. many years later in 1969 which lead to Canon. Pronunciation changes: • • • • • • • • • Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan .(borrowed from Scandinavian). The class distinctions between .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. and h.hut) [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two. hnutu .head.I) [v] lost in middle of words (heofod . there were dialectal differences in the north and south.for the third person plural pronouns.to leap. The printing press helped to standardize the spelling of English in its modern stages. but the southern pronunciation of [o] and [č] would also remain. while a closed syllable with at least one consonant following it contained a short vowel In addition. Henry Cockrum published his English dictionary. a nuncle . attemptate and dispraise. In 1582. such as devulgate. are no longer used in English. Early Modern English (1500 .
as the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation. with supplements in 1933 and 1972-6. but the spelling system was in place before the consonant loss. Nevertheless. split infinitives. etymology. so they are still written in English today. so that today there is no difference between them. The first edition was published in 1928. [ǰ]. talk. [č]. or prepositions at the end of the sentence.telling people what to do or not to do with the language. Negatives followed the verb and multiple negatives were still used. Early grammarians felt that language should be logical. The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1600) changed the pronunciation of all the vowels. comb) [l] between a or o and consonant (half. A more scientifically minded attitude took hold by the 19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary was proposed in 1859. meanings in chronological order and illustrative quotations. spelling variations. and all the verbs moved up. James AH Murray. part of speech. They also didn't like shortened or redundant words. Several consonants were no longer pronounced. the double negative was considered incorrect (two negatives equal one positive) and should not be used. therefore. however. [ž] Early Grammarians (18th Century) A proposal for an Academy of the English Language was first brought forth by Jonathan Swift in 1712. folk) [r] sometimes before s (Worcestershire) initial clusters beginning with k and g (knee. and [z] preceded the palatal glide [j]. Beginnings of Modern English . [d]. The second edition was published in 1989 and it recognized American and Australian English. pronunciation. It was to be a factual account of every word in the English language since 1000 including its main form. pronounced as f in laugh [b] in final -mb cluster (dumb. The tongue was placed higher in the mouth. several grammarians wrote dictionaries and grammar books in a prescriptive manner .formal and informal you were decreasing. assibilation occurred when the alveolars [s]. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and Robert Lowth's Introduction to English Grammar appeared in 1762. walk. knight. Vowels that were already high ([i] and [u]) added the dipthongs [aj] and [aw] to the vowels of English. gnat) [g] in -ing endings (more commonly pronounced [ɪn]) Finally. borrowing words from other languages (except Latin and Greek). [t]. but the Parliament voted against it. The project was begun in 1879 under its first editor. The consonants lost include: • • • • • • Voiceless velar fricative lost in night. More strong verbs became weak and the third person singular form became -(e)s instead of (e)th. producing the palatal consonants: [š]. There was a more limited use of the progressive and auxiliary verbs than there is now.
so their dialect is considered closer to British English. the United States does not have an official language.S. Noah Webster was the most vocal about the need for an American national identity with regards to the American English language. there is little difference in the American and Canadian dialects of English. and the slave trade. He wrote an American spelling book. English around the World Although the United Kingdom." . contact with other languages. theatre became theater. he published his famous American Dictionary of the English Language. For examples. Dialects in the United States resulted from different waves of immigration of English speakers.In England. Canada also has French as an official language. an increase in the use of the progressive tenses. These include a loss of the postvocalic r (so that the r is only pronounced before a vowel and not after). Canada. A dialectal study was done in 1920 and the findings are published in the Linguistics Atlas of the U. Because many of the English speakers who originally inhabited Canada came from the US. Similarly. which had a profound impact on African American English.) In 1828. except Australia was originally settled as a penal colony and New Zealand was not. sometimes the second word (which rhymes with the word being referred to) is omitted. Australia and New Zealand have English as an official language." gloves is "turtle doves. By the mid-1800's. though it is mostly spoken in the province of Quebec. and use Greek and Latin roots. so that money is called just "bees. The Rhyming Slang refers to a word by referring to two things. glottal stops are used frequently and labiodentals are used in place of interdentals. 3. money is "bees and honey." Even more confusing. New Zealanders were more attached to the Received Pronunciation of the upper class in England. a very large amount of vocabulary words has been added to English in a relatively short period. in 1788 and changed several spellings from British English (colour became color. etc. Ireland. The Blueback Speller. and a rise in class consciousness about speech (Received Pronunciation. The American English language is characterized by archaisms (words that changed meaning in Britain." suit is "whistle and flute" and trouble is "Barney Rubble. and Canada.5 million immigrants left the British Isles for the United States.) Since 1900. American English Immigrants from Southeastern England began arriving on the North American continent in the early 1600's. The initial h of words is dropped. Australian and New Zealand English have few differences. The majority of these words are related to science and technology. several changes to English had occurred since 1700. but remained in the colonies) and innovations in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also settling in North America). Cockney (and its Ryhming Slang) is an interesting dialect of English spoken in London's east end. the last of which rhymes with what is being referred to. This is how it's possible to become a US citizen without speaking English.
However.) Originally. among other nations. Mass nouns are treated as count nouns. they became the native languages of the children and evolved into creoles. use of more compounds. In South Africa. Malay and Indian languages have an impact on the form of English spoken. in the 1996 constitution. these Afrikaners won state elections and remained in power through the 1990's. English became an official language. Although the British won the Boer Wars of 1899-1901 against the Dutch farmers (the Boers). Hence the compromise of 11 official languages. and on islands of the Pacific and Caribbean (especially the West Indies. only 3% of the country's 30 million people are native English speakers. and although Afrikaans was the language used more often. and it still holds prestige in South Africa. Everyone is taught English in the school system. and the English language was supposed to be phased out by 1965. and Singapore. along with Afrikaans and 9 African languages. Creoles of English can be found on the coast of West Africa. but there are a few differences from British English as well. frequent use of the "isn't it?" tag. Apartheid (which segregated the Afrikaners and Africans) officially ended under Nelson Mandela's reign. . "use to" means usually. Chinese. these creoles were pidgins so that English-speaking traders could conduct business. and the rest are native Africans. the Africans wanted English as the official language. By 1948. India became an independent from Britian in 1947. and no articles are used before occupations. Indian English is characterized by treating mass nouns as count nouns. In Singapore. Twenty percent are descendants of Dutch farmers who speak Afrikaans. Over time. today English and Hindi are the official languages. and a different use of prepositions.British colonialism has spread English all over the world. India. China. Britain still promised the Boers self-government under the Union of South Africa. However.
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