This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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
Click HERE for answers!
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
. is it O. If you answered A. German based Papua New Guinea Pidgin German g. described by Brown and Levinson. we are obligated to adjust our use of words to fit the occasion. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity. you used what is called the Bald On-Record strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to your teachers' "face. you used the Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that you recognize that they want to be respected however. What would you do if you saw a cup of pens on your teacher's desk. say." I different social situations. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem.K. you used the Positive Politeness strategy. "So. there are ways to go about getting the things we want. would you a. if you don't mind?" and "I'm sorry. If you answered C." There are four types of politeness strategies. "Could you please pass me that plate. say." or "I was . Some other examples would be to say. we must say. and be respected. and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations. in which our parents are attending. I just wanted to ask you if I could use one of those pens?" d." If you answered B. According to Brown and Levinson. Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these FTA's. Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person. Positive Politeness. politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face. Negative Politeness. I sure could use a blue pen right now. but I am not able to hear the speaker in the front of the room. when we are surrounded by a group of adults at a formal function. Indirectly say. "Hmm. and Off-Record-indirect strategy. I want to use one of those!" b. say. "Go get me that plate!".. It would seem socially unacceptable if the phrases above were reversed. "I'm sorry to bother you but. you also assume that you are in some way imposing on them. or making them feel uncomfortable. I don't mean to interrupt.f. if I use one of those pens?" c." Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself. that sum up human "politeness" behavior: Bald On Record. we can say to them. English based Cameroon Pidgin POLITENESS In everyday conversation. or "Shut-up!" However. "Ooh. When we are with a group of friends. and you wanted to use one. In this situation you recognize that your teacher has a desire to be respected. "I don't want to bother you but.
" although. "women typically use more polite speech than do men. if they violate the norms of correct usage or of polite speech." It reflects the role of the inferior status being expected to respect the superior.. From historical recurrence. you used Off-Record indirect strategies. However. therefore you say. Therefore. and softening devices such as hedges and questions. to talk rough. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once the teacher realizes you need one." This page was last updated on Tuesday. In our society it is socially acceptable for a man to be forward and direct his assertiveness to control the actions of others. well "boys will be boys. . on purpose. it has appeared that women have had a secondary role in society relative to that of the male.. You are trying not to directly impose by asking for a pen. A great example of this strategy is somethin g that almost everyone has done or will do when you have. the trend of expected polite speech from the female continues to remain." If you answered D. formal stylistic markers). even encouraged. peculiarly. This is a prime example of how society plays an important part on the social function of the language. and you are looking to find one. it has been (historically) expected from a women to "act like a lady" and "respect those around you. society has devalued these speech patterns when it is utilized by women. but there was never any answer.wondering if . it is much less common that "girls will be girls" Fortunately. and Communication" she notes that. In Frank and Anshen's "Language and the Sexes"." Sociolinguists try to explain why there is a greater frequency of the use of polite speech from women than from men. 1997 Politeness and Gender Are Women More Polite Than Men? Politeness is defined by the concern for the feelings of others. February 25. these roles are becoming more of a stereotype and less of a reality. Culture. From Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. The main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you. " I tried to call a hundred times. decided not to return someone's phone call. cultivate a deep "masculine" voice and. "are permitted. However. characterized by a high frequency of honorific (showing respect for the person to whom you are talking to. they note that boys.
" "HANK is SO MEAN!" vs. could you please do me a favor. and Communication." "maybe if.Honorifics: linguistic markers that signal respect to the person you are speaking to: "Hey ma. soften the impact of your words or phrases such as " I was sort-of-wondering. fix my jacket" Mom. An experiment b y Marjorie Swacker entailed using three pictures by a . the appropriate choice of honorifics is based on complex rules evaluating addressee.. referent. Well... 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. always speaking and expressing their feelings.. Men or Women? A common cultural stereotype describes women as being talkative. and entities or activities associated with either." 2. this is probably true. Without Honorific. having a sense of "fuzziness" they take away assertiveness in your statements." 1.." Hedges: "loosely speaking". " I sort-of-think that Hank is a bit of a mean person. however. according to Masa-aki Yamanashi." More Gender Speech Issues Who Talks More.. Culture. With Honorific. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's "Language." "I think that. and fix my jacket?" In Japanese. yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda yamada son dinner enjoyed "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son. 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..
" Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. they have been told to "keep their cool" and "remain calm. however it is less acceptable for a women to do so. This ever-changing concept is becoming le ss applicable in our society. Example taken from Janet Holmes. but in the business world." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. an American Indian language. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. In English we laugh at these utterances." "This is a super cool shirt. 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. "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 . I like them. carry on long conversation. the trend is still prominent in some societies across the world. They were told to take as much time as they wanted to describe the pictures. Albrecht Durer which were presented to men and women separately.fifteenth century Flemish artist. It is more acceptable for a man to be talkative. and the average time for women 3." "This shirt is cool. Since childhood. most likely. However . Men have tended to take on a more dominant role not only in the household. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker.17 minutes. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. it is common for men to be more silent in situations that require them to express emotion. or a give a long wordy speech.0 minutes. however. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. It has been more of a historical trend for men have more rights to talk." Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. The average time for males: 13. be a man. I love it.
I like them. "Language. Example taken from Janet Holmes. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. or by men talking to women. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. an American Indian language." "This shirt is cool. Culture. and Communication" Women Men ohiya mizu "water" . 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. 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. Therefore. "An Introduction to Sociolinguistics" Women Men ba yaa ba-na yaa-na "dear" "person" Sapir found that the male form of speech is used by men when talking to other men. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. or by men talking to women.to other men. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. I love it. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. Culture. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. Therefore. "Language." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. most likely." "This is a super cool shirt. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. In English we laugh at these utterances. There are also some examples of this in Japanese.
it is most closely related to Frisian. the second by the French Normans in the 11th century. 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."stomach" onaka hara "delicious" oisii umai "eat" taberu kuu Language belonging to the Germanic languages branch of the Indo-European language family. and when literary English rose anew in the 13th century. Frisii. Read more: http://www. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066. it is also an official language of India. and various Caribbean and Pacific island nations. Thus. One of these dialects. Its history began with the migration of the Jutes. who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. and the most widely taught foreign language. Australia. However. Britain. as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch. Jutes and possibly the Franks. with heavy influence from Norman French in the courts and government. Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English. much closer to the center of Scandinavian settlement. Late West Saxon. where Old English was developed into a full-fledged literary language. The languages of Germanic peoples gave rise to the English language (the Angles. reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. and Dutch. English relies mainly on word order (usually subject-verb-object) to indicate relationships between words (see syntax). The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought many French words into English.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. widely spoken on six continents. English changed enormously in the Middle Ages. Angles. Initially. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old French. who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman.5 billion speakers). It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (approximately 1. A large proportion of the modern English vocabulary comes directly from Old French. and completely unintelligible to modern speakers. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family. English easily borrows words from other languages and has coined many new words to reflect advances in technology. it was based on the speech of London. Canada. and Saxons from Germany and Denmark to Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. the Philippines. Saxons. English developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary. eventually came to dominate. the mother tongue of more than 350 million people.. With the coming of the Renaissance. The primary language of the U. New Zealand. and Modern English is usually dated from 1500.answers. and many sub-Saharan African countries. this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD. German. Ireland. Greek and Latin words began to enter it in the 15th century. 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 . while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle English of 1400 AD. Latin and Ancient Greek supplanted French as the main source of new words. Written in the Latin alphabet.S.
The original Celtic languages remained in parts of Scotland. it continued to exhibit local language variation. 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. around the year 449. Further aid was sought. the Angles were granted lands in the southeast of Britain. the remnants of which continue . As it was. independent of Roman control. Angles and Jutes). Vortigern. While remaining conversant with Roman civilisation and its economy. including serving in the Roman military. written around 100 AD. Wales and Cornwall (where Cornish was spoken into the 19th century). invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help him in conflicts with the Picts. Even then.Migration Period). The Chronicle talks of a subsequent influx of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms. who ultimately stem from the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. What is now called Old English emerged over time out of the many dialects and languages of the colonising tribes. In return. modern scholars view the figures of Hengist and Horsa as Euhemerized deities from Anglo-Saxon paganism. and in response "came men of Ald Seaxum of Anglum of Iotum" (Saxons.  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. Some Latin words for common objects entered the vocabulary of these Germanic peoples before their arrival in Britain and their subsequent formation of England. the Angles. known as the heptarchy. The main source of information for the culture of the Germanic peoples (the ancestors of the English) in ancient times is Tacitus' Germania. Saxons and Jutes arrived as Germanic pagans. King of the Britons. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. However. they retained political independence. Some Germanic troops served in Britannia under the Romans.
English words of Old Norse origin include anger. for example. . Old English did not sound or look like the Standard English of today. most modern English speakers would consider a "cordial reception" (from French) to be more formal than a "hearty welcome" (Germanic). bag. Later. that we call Anglo-Norman. Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language). and many others. possibly even including the pronoun they. although their grammars were more distinct. spoken by the Norsemen who invaded and settled mainly in the north-east of England (see Jórvík and Danelaw). standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language . Another example is the very unusual construction of the words for animals being separate from the words for their meat: e. leg. The Old English period formally ended sometime after the Norman conquest (starting in 1066 AD). hit. Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman and. 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. take.  Middle English Main article: Middle English Further information: Middle English creole hypothesis For about 300 years following the Norman Conquest in 1066. beef and pork (from the French bœuf and porc) being the products of 'cows' and 'pigs'. strong and water. and many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have retained many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation.to be found in dialects of Modern English. English was strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Old Norse. later. skill. same.as with most of Europe during the period . which is visible in Modern English today (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem Beowulf composed by an unknown poet. The words be. whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. animals with Germanic names. The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was influenced by contact with Norse invaders.and had a significant influence on the language. A tendency for French-derived words to have more formal connotations has continued to the present day. including the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (with the notable exception of the pronouns). The use of Anglo-Saxon to describe a merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. derive from Old English. Any native English speaker of today would find Old English unintelligible without studying it as a separate language. who spoke a French dialect called Old Norman. many of their lexical roots were the same or similar. Nevertheless. Even after the decline of Norman-French. The new and the earlier settlers spoke languages from different branches of the Germanic family. law. sky. The introduction of Christianity added another wave of Latin and some Greek words.g. when the language was influenced to an even greater extent by the Normans. both.. Old English was spoken until sometime in the 12th or 13th century. 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. the Norman kings and their high nobility spoke only one of the French langues d'oïl.
English literature started to reappear around 1200. the risk of mispronunciation is high. most other literature from this period was in Old Norman or Latin. English has continuously adopted foreign words. was the first English government document to be published in the English language since the Conquest. By the end of that century. with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth).  Modern English Main article: Modern English In 1755. which is descended from the alphabet of Old Norse. which took place mainly during the 15th century. even the royal court had switched to English. English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period. but these eventually disappeared). Latin words were often used with the original inflections. which did not exist in Norman. with many doubling for Old English words. but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects. but it had ceased to be a living language. especially from Latin and Greek. The Provisions of Oxford. Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary.English was also influenced by the Celtic languages it was displacing. These letters remain in the modern Icelandic alphabet.  Early Modern English Main article: Early Modern English Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift. the first English dictionary was published. Late Modern English has many more words. producing what is now referred to as Middle English. The Norman influence is the hallmark of the linguistic shifts in English over the period of time following the invasion. In 1604. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 15th . In 1362. (In the 17th century. most notably in the West Country. The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. the Table Alphabeticall. and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work. arising from two principal factors: firstly. the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English.early 16th century). especially the Brittonic substrate. since the Renaissance. The most famous writer from the Middle English period was Geoffrey Chaucer. when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable. English was further transformed by the spread of a standardised London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardising effect of printing. A large number of Norman words were taken into Old English. the Industrial . Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. most notably with the introduction of the continuous aspect—a feature found in many modern languages but developed earlier and more thoroughly in English. released in 1258. While the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle continued until 1154. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer. his Dictionary of the English Language.
is called simply the subjective. In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples. the objective and subjective always have the same form. 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". "whom" is a generic objective pronoun which can describe either a direct or an indirect object. "he" and "him". and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries. With only a few pronominal exceptions. Evolution of English pronouns "Who" and "whom". Modern English morphologically distinguishes only one case. Instead. the possessive case — which some linguists argue is not a case at all. are remnants of both the old nominative versus accusative and also of nominative versus dative. these cases had distinct pronouns.  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 . secondly. etc. but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information). "her" (for example) serves as both the dative and accusative version of the nominative pronoun "she". that is. In other words.Revolution and technology created a need for new words. the term objective is often used. "she" and "her". The nominative case. "who". the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's surface. The information formerly conveyed by having distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order.
however. wit ("we two") etcetera. though variation among dialects must be taken into account. mine we Accusativ ūs / ūsiċ Plural e us Dative Genitive ūs ūser / ūre ure / our us our. thine . 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. no later forms derive from it.In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom.tal Genitive 1 hwæs whos whose2 . 2 .Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned).
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. at least optionally.)  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 . yours your. yours Note that the ye/you distinction still existed. yours thine your. Here the letter þ (interchangeable with ð in manuscripts) corresponds to th. thy. no later forms derive from it. 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. ya Genitive ēower your.thine Nominati ġē ve Accusativ ēow / Plural e ēowiċ Dative ēow your ye / ȝe / you (your) you you. ȝit ("ye two") etcetera. in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible. however.
because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. it has been widely dispersed around the world. þæira. The . A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin. and of the United States since the mid-20th century. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. as well as in many world organizations. alsoEnglish is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria. þæim. The two different roots co-existed for some time. Following the economic. now collectively termed Old English. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world. political.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. and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century. military. via the British Empire. and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects. 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. and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). theirs (The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir. become the leading language of international discourse. Cf. hers it hit / it / him Genitive his Nominati hīe ve Accusativ hīe e Dative him his / its he / hi / ho / hie / þai / þei its they Plural hem / ham / heom / þaim / þem them / þam Genitive hira here / heore / hore / þair / þar their. It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries. scientific. although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em. Historically. cultural.
1 Vowels 5.1 Basic consonant sound-letter correspondence o 22.214.171.124 Consonants 5.2 Voicing and aspiration o 5.2.1 Notes for vowels o 5.2 Word origins 7. or words that belong to multiple word classes.1 Countries in order of total speakers o 4.1.2 Written accents 9 Formal written English 10 Basic and simplified versions 11 See also 12 References .1 Notes for consonants 5.1 Tone groups 5.2 Characteristics of intonation—stress 6 Grammar 7 Vocabulary o 7.2.language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.1 Number of words in English o 7.2 Old Norse origins 7.  Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Significance 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Geographical distribution o 4.3 Supra-segmental features 5. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from NormanFrench.4 Dialects and regional varieties o 4. 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. 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. Owing to the significant assimilation of various European languages throughout history.3 English as a global language o 4.2.3 Dutch and Low German origins 8 Writing system o 8.2. modern English contains a very large vocabulary. not including many technical or slang terms.5 Constructed varieties of English 5 Phonology o 5.000 distinct words.1 French origins 7.2.2 Countries where English is a major language o 4. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250.
Late West Saxon. Its influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. business. in Roman Britain the native population is assumed to have spoken the Celtic language Brythonic alongside the acrolectal influence of Latin. and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global . Denmark and the Netherlands. seafaring.o • 12. Up to that point. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire. Jutland and Southern Sweden also moved to Britain in this era. One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. and it is in this that the poem Beowulf is written. from the 400-year Roman occupation. entertainment. it became the dominant language in the United States. 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. 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). as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). Conversely. reflecting the varied origins of the AngloSaxon kingdoms of Great Britain but one of these dialects. Canada. Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries. occupations and professions such as medicine and computing. . Old English was a diverse group of dialects. Initially. Australia and New Zealand. information technology. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields. whom Bede believed to have relocated entirely to Britain. aviation. Jutes and a range of Germanic peoples from the coasts of Frisia. 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. Lower Saxony. One of these incoming Germanic tribes was the Angles.1 Bibliographic 13 External links Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English. 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. 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. science. eventually came to dominate. radio and diplomacy.
and the North Germanic languages (Swedish. Low German. Norman developed into Anglo-Norman. is generally dated from about 1550. The linguistic shifts in English following the Norman invasion produced what is now referred to as Middle English. itself a direct descendant of Old English. Throughout all this period Latin in some form was the lingua franca of European intellectual life. and Faroese). 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. especially to earlier stages of the language. Australia and many other regions. and phonology. High German). the Netherlands. Norwegian. India. with Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales being the best known work. English is characterised by the use of modal verbs. compare "exit" (Latin). 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. Modern English.Old English was later transformed by two waves of invasion. and common sound shifts from Proto-IndoEuropean known as Grimm's Law. and when the United Kingdom became a colonial power. and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles. Modern English is the direct descendant of Middle English. lexical differences between English and other Germanic languages exist due to heavy borrowing in English of words from Latin and French. English was adopted in North America. The second was by speakers of the Romance language Old Norman in the 11th century with the Norman conquest of England. but later the humanist Renaissance Latin. owing in part to the divergences in lexis. As a result of the growth of the British Empire. Isolation has allowed English and Scots (as well as Icelandic and Faroese) to develop independently of the Continental Germanic languages and their influences over time. which includes the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible. the division of verbs into strong and weak classes. Typical of most Germanic languages. a descendant of ProtoGermanic. semantics. Africa. In the post-colonial period. Classification and related languages The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family. syntax. and then Anglo-French – and introduced a layer of words especially via the courts and government. 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). do show strong affinities with English. 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. . Icelandic. Afrikaans. Danish. With the (partial) exception of Scots. After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages that are more distantly related: the nonAnglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Dutch. a member of the Indo-European languages. although some. English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the British Empire. and Germany). a trend extended with the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the mid-20th century. none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English. 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. first the Medieval Latin of the Christian Church. such as Dutch. In addition to isolation. For example.
g. Old English tō drīfenne). etc. in English we say "I reduce . The kinship with other Germanic languages can also be seen in the tensing of English verbs (e. Modern English "I sing" = I sing-Ø < I singe < Old English ic singe. Adverbs generally receive an -ly ending. "we thought" = we thought-Ø < we thoughte(n) < Old English wē þōhton).g. and Scandinavian languages. For nouns. "to drive". national treasure).redūcam". German Sorge.vs. to buccaneer.. in English. -u. however. traits inherited from Old English (See also Kenning).g. life insurance company).I will reduce" rather than "redūcō . the word reduce is borrowed from Latin redūcere. Non-native words are incorporated into a Germanic system of conjugation. bizarrely) and all derive from Old English. West Frisian fal/foel/fallen/sil falle. German Änderung (literally "alteration. i. Icelandic Ég hef aldrei séð neitt á torginu).g. and the large amount of cognates (e. even when the adjective is of Latinate origin (e. even where both words are Germanic. shoemakers'. These particles append freely to all English words regardless of origin (tsunamis. however. derive from endings which previously existed in Old English (usually -e. meaning . English syntax continues to adhere closely to that of the North Germanic languages.). and have since ceased to be pronounced and spelt (e. the comparatives of adjectives and adverbs (e. West Frisian goed/better/best.g.g. English fall/fell/fallen/will or shall fall. Dutch uitgang. streetcar. Preference of one synonym over another also causes differentiation in lexis. English good/better/best.g. fast/faster/fastest). English meaning. Dutch schoenmaker. "I have never seen anything in the square" = German Ich habe nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen. Danish Jeg har aldrig set noget på torvet. English retains its classification as a Germanic language due to its structure and grammar. he stands/he reaches ).g. likewise. skomakere. schoenmakers. all basic grammatical particles added to nouns. 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. during. cf.I reduced . these include the normal plural marker -s/-es. or through a combination with more and most. -a. *Surgō still survives in English. Even the lack or absence of affixes. West Frisian wiet. as sorrow. -o. meaning "hour". Swedish mening. schoenmakers. and the formation of the English infinitive using to (e. Both words descend from Proto-Germanic *karō and *surgō respectively. English continues to make extensive use of self-explaining compounds (e. German gut/besser/best). Dutch goed/beter/best.e.redūxī . "proceeding along the way"). and adjectives and adverbs are inflected for the comparative and superlative using -er and -est (e. For verbs. etc. and adverbs are Germanic. skomakers. the French: la compagnie d'assurance-vie de John). and the Dutch Ik heb nooit iets op het plein gezien. English wet. adjectives. the *surgō root prevailed. -an. as in English care vs. which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e. Furthermore. shoemaker's. communicates. the simple past tense and past participle ending -ed.g. Icelandic meining. and the possessive markers -'s and -s' . etc. Despite lexical borrowing. classroom). known as zero or null (-Ø) affixes.g. Dutch. cf. but *karō has become the dominant word in English for "care" while in German. Dutch vallen/viel/gevallen/zullen vallen. "movement" (French) vs. Swedish skomaker. shoemakers. calmer. where the participle is placed at the end).g. these include the third person present ending -s/-es (e. Dutch zenden. skomakere). and syntax (For example. English send. Also. we say: "John's life insurance company" rather than "the company of insurance life of John". othering"). the treatment of nouns (English shoemaker.). lamp post. Swedish våt. the present participle ending -ing. German fallen/fiell/gefallen/werden fallen). English time vs Norwegian time. verbs. declension.g. As in most Germanic languages. literally "out-going" (though outgang survives dialectally in restricted usage) and "change" (French) vs. English gift vs German Gift. that later weakened to -e. German Bewegung ("be-way-ing". schoenmakeren. English adjectives usually come before the noun they modify. It also gives rise to false friends (e. medical emergency. and nouns which serve as modifiers (e. Scots weet. German senden.
"poison"). heure. All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages. while differences in phonology can obscure words that really are related (tooth vs. French nature. in French. via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest. Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker. etc. or phrases like coup d’état. inflectional endings. Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit ("time") is related to English "tide". Dutch and Low German also had a considerable influence on English vocabulary.g. compare "library" with the French librairie. The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with the exception of a handful of more recently borrowed words such as mirage. "table" vs. compare also Danish tand). English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood". often mistaken for being native. Finally. since. "-ship". as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example. "button" vs. "hour" vs. Many North Germanic words entered English due to the settlement of Viking raiders and Danish invasions which began around the 9th century (see Danelaw). while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum"). German Zahn. café. etc. they developed independent of German influences. As a result. rendez-vous. Many of these words are common words. For instance. a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French. "-dom" and "-ness". and phrases such as to tide over). which shows how close-knit the relations between the English and the Scandinavian settlers were (See below: Old Norse origins). lack of diacritics. has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon. through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval". though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide. etc. genre. like English. "reside" vs. and directly from French in subsequent centuries.) has become largely anglicised and follows a typically English phonology and pattern of stress (compare English "nature" vs. but their usage patterns have diverged. abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "-hood". table. bouton.). contributing common everyday terms and many nautical and trading terms (See below: Dutch and Low German origins). with some minor spelling differences (e. use of old French spellings. 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. especially when they are seen in writing (as pronunciations are often quite different). The Germanic languages Icelandic and Faroese also follow English in this respect. but the English word.). which means bookstore. the word for "library" is bibliothèque. résider. Geographical distribution See also: List of countries by English-speaking population . as German "Freiheit" vs. because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French.
Note: United 251.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. The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are. United Kingdom (61 million).5 million).7 million).744 262. Crystal claims that. India has the most such speakers ('Indian English').6 million) 2006 Census. Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well".964.152 First language Comment Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000. Table 1. combining native and non-native speakers.375. However.423. South Africa (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").301 States of America .2 million).557 35. Ireland (3. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers. Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language. and New Zealand (3. in descending order: United States (215 million). 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. Countries such as the Philippines. Countries in order of total speakers Country Total Percent of population 96% As an additional Population language 215. Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. 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.8 million).388. when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world. Australia (15. Canada (18. Nigeria (4 million). India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world.
066 third language speakers Nigeria 79.000 >75.71% of the 66. The figures include English speakers.000 60. 19 (5&6).100.221 second language speakers.India 125. 38. the midpoint of the range is used in the table. 63.344. 148. text above Figure 7.737. 2006. Ihemere.000 84.000.000 53% 4.000 43. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.974. Ethnologue lists 3. United 59.000 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 1.500." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296– 313. 487–525. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers.600. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin.7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English.993. Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin.000 58% 3.000 Kingdom 98% 58. but not English users. Philippines 48.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as an additional language.449 86.736 12% 226. (1998).000. p.000 1. 2001 figures.000. as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines. Native speakers: Census 1995.125.000 Kelechukwu Uchechukwu.566.000.800.028.000.000 .000 Source: Crystal (2005).427. 109. an Englishbased pidgin or creole.436 language. Total speakers: Census 2000.
Tanzania. Namibia. In some countries where English is not the most spoken language. Gambia. Guyana. the British Indian Ocean Territory. Malta. Cameroon. the British Virgin Islands. Uganda. Lesotho.591. Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency. Palau. New Zealand. Guam. Saint Helena.288 shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well". Swaziland. Samoa.855. Guernsey.Canada Australia Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue. Bermuda. Mauritius. Grenada. Saint Lucia. Belize. Kiribati.830 7. Fiji. the United Kingdom and the United States. Ireland. Madagascar. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.  The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home. India. the Federated States of Micronesia.639. Gibraltar. Antigua and Barbuda. the Isle of Man. Liberia. Note: Total = First language + Other language. Sudan. Jamaica. Sri Lanka. Kenya. Nauru.660 19.172.220 85% 17. the Marshall Islands. these countries include Botswana. Seychelles. and Zimbabwe. Australia. Montserrat. it is an official language. the Philippines (Philippine English). English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island. Zambia. South Sudan.572. Percentage = Total / Population Countries where English is a major language English is the primary language in Anguilla. Singapore. Source: 2006 Census. .030 both French and English as a mother tongue.581. the Cayman Islands.551. Barbados. the Solomon Islands. Trinidad and Tobago. Pakistan. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Guam. Ghana.329 2.660 people with 25. Pitcairn Islands. It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English).246. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Dominica.170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue.989 92% 15. Sierra Leone.390 29. The additional language column 18. Papua New Guinea. the Turks and Caicos Islands. Canada. Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa. Rwanda. plus 17. Nigeria. Saint Kitts and Nevis. The native speakers figure comprises 122. the Falkland Islands. the Bahamas. Jersey.694.
English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union. General American. Belgium. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations. Malaysia. English as a global language See also: English in computing. the official language for aerial and maritime communications. which is spread over most of the United States and much of . English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins. 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. and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. Although falling short of official status. by 89% of schoolchildren.Northern Mariana Islands. Although the United States federal government has no official languages. Among some nonEnglish speaking EU countries. it has often been referred to as a "world language". and the US Virgin Islands).) English is not an official language in the United States. an educated dialect of South East England. 83% in Denmark. This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages. English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole. and to claims of linguistic imperialism. Cyprus. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. It is. but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. by international treaty. even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries. In the United Kingdom much emphasis is placed on Received Pronunciation. Several educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world. magazines. it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom. while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French. the lingua franca of the modern era. Puerto Rico. World language. leading to language shift and even language death. and while it is not an official language in most countries. Slovenia. and the former British colony of Hong Kong. a large percentage of the adult population can converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden. Books.. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers". Because of that global spread. such as Bahrain. Brunei. 66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland. 79% in the Netherlands. Bangladesh. Austria. and English as a foreign or second language Because English is so widely spoken. ahead of French at 32%. Dialects and regional varieties Main article: List of dialects of the English language The expansion of the British Empire and—since World War II—the influence of the United States have spread English around the world. (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details. and Germany. and the United Arab Emirates. International English. including the International Olympic Committee.
Scouse and Geordie within British English. English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world. indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers.Canada. 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. see Regional accents of English. is more typically the model for the American continents and areas (such as the Philippines) that have had either close association with the United States. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. there are numerous other varieties of English. . Newfoundland English within Canadian English. grammar and vocabulary differed across the country. without a central language authority like France's Académie française. and pronunciation. For the most distinctive characteristics of regional accents. whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English. 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. Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history. Nigerian Pidgin. with General Australian serving as the standard accent. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out. English speakers have many different accents. Manually Coded English constitutes a variety of systems that have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners. such as Jamaican Patois. 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. Within England. and for a complete list of regional dialects. see List of dialects of the English language. or a desire to be so identified. from other varieties of English. and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. Aside from these major dialects. several subvarieties. which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language. variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began. which include. There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words. and Tok Pisin. grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects. which are independent and not based on English. English is a pluricentric language. English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language. causing dialectalisation. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries. such as Cockney. E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be. In Oceania. the major native dialect of Australian English is spoken as a first language by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent. Constructed varieties of English • • • • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. in most cases. Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources. designed primarily for use in deaf education. There are a number of regional dialects of Scots. sometimes substantially.
Celtic and Anglo-Saxons fought for 100 years and Anglo-Saxons killed all the Celtics.wine. During Roma Empire Latin wasn’t the native language of the kingdom because people in the country were talking Celtic. Their language was a part of Germanic branch of Indo-European Family. Norse language effected the English considerably. West Saxons became the leading power. were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. Some of the words taken from Latin are. OLD ENGLISH When England was established there were several kingdoms and the most advanced one was Nurthumbria. The most famous king of the West Saxons was Alfred the Great. butter.Jutes which is called Anglo-Saxons come to England. Norse wasn’t so different from English and English people could understand Norseman. all based on restricted vocabularies.Saxons. The history of English begins a little after A. the Norseman landed in the year of 866 and later the east coast of the island was Norseman’s. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words. Latin effected the language with the merchants traveling the tribes. cheap. Simplified Technical English was historically developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals and is now used in various industries.Late Modern (1700-now). Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America. kettle. There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel. It was this period that the best of the Old English literature was written . Old English(7th century-1100). Also in the 14th century Rome Empire weakened because Goths attacked to Mediterranean countries of Roman Empire and Anglo-Saxons attacked to empire. In 550 Anglo –Saxons established England. including the epic poem Beowulf. translated or caused to be translated many books from Latin in to English.• • • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak. On the other hand the Celtic tribes in Scotland and Wales developed. Modern English (1500-now). In the 8th century Nurthumbrian power declined . the demonstrative pronouns. There . In some books Modern English is divided in to two Early modern (1500-1700) . According to the effects to English . Among this people the tribes called Angels. the history of the language divided in to three.D.) 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.cheese. At the end in 410 the last roman emperor left the island to Celtic and AngloSaxons. After many years of hit-and-run raids between the European kingdoms. The first Latin effect was in that period. Middle English(1100-1450/1500). He founded and established schools. 600. The people talking this language spread to the northern coast of Europe in the time of Roman Empire. The ancestors of the language were wandering in the forests of northern Europe. When Anglo-Saxons became Christian in 597 they learned Latin.
On the other hand Old English contains borrowed words coming from Norse and Latin. These two changes produced the basic differences . literary. For example the word name had in Middle English a vowel something like that in the modern word father. final. For the next several next years . literary words: story romance. Old English was much more highly inflected that Middle English because there were case endings for nouns.ugly.them.A. But it didn’t replace as the language of the people.conversation.622 ) For us Middle English is simpler that Old English because it is closer to Modern English. colors: blue. learned words: study. P. polite society. There were word related with goverment:parliment. logic grammar.talk). (Clark.622 ) Middle English was still a Germanic language but it is different from Old English in many ways. stomach. &Rose . beef. scarlet. The political event which effected the administration system and language was the Norman Conquest. household words: curtain. parson..gentel. vermilion.their.A.outlaw.second. In 1066 they crossed the Channel and they became the master of England. The change was important because it effected thousands of words and gave a different aspect to the whole language. nobility. On the other hand French couldn’t become the national language because it became the language of the court .majesty. In vocabulary Old English is quiet different from Middle English.noun.give.leg.leisure.surgeon.count.bucket.P.A... Grammar and the sound system changed a good deal. “This can be called as a simplification but it is not exactly.blanket. Old English had some sound which we don’t know have now. English continued to be the national language but it changed too much after the conquest. P. ordinary words for all sorts: nice. chair. surprise. 1994. move. flower. The sound system&grammar wasn’t so effected but vocabulary was effected much.England was ruled by the kings whose native language was French.law. goverment.cream. In grammar .& Eschholz. People started to rely more on word order and structure words to express their meaning rather than the use of case system.music.. sermon. Also borrowed pronouns like they. Most of the Old English words are native English which weren’t borrowed from other languages.biscuit.age. V.etc.towel. The other change is what is called the Great Vowel Shift..lemon.were considerable interchanges and word borrowings (sky. MIDDLE ENGLISH Between 1100-1200 many important changes took place in the structure of English and Old English became Middle English. church word: religion.F.lamp.tax. mutton. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH Between 1400-1600 English underwent a couple of sound changes. This was a systematic shifting of half a dozen vowels and diphthongs in stressed syllables. literature. anatomy.P. One change was the elimination of a vowel sound in certain unstressed positions at the end of the words. poet.A.F. V. various endings for adjectives. plain. play words: dance.egg. peach. &Rose . The shift effected all the words in which these vowels sounds occurred. 1994.sure.chess.& Eschholz. more person and number endings of words and a more complicated pronoun systems. fault. Languages don’t become simpler . they merely exchange one kind of complexity for another”( (Clark. It is supposed also that the Norseman influenced the sound structure and the grammar of English. words for food: veal.very.
the Germanic and the Romance (called that because the Romance languages derive from Latin.between Middle English and Modern English. January 15. But there are several other developments that effected the language. may be it will be the universal language. 2001 Indo-European and Germanic Influences English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. The influence of the original Indo-European language. After this books became cheaper and cheaper. As English is replaced with Latin as the language of scholarship. The Indo-European family includes several major branches: • • • • • • • Latin and the modern Romance languages. English is in the Germanic group of languages. The Germanic languages. Greek. The Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian). The Celtic languages. of paramount importance. even though no written record of it exists. the language of ancient Rome. The first English Dictionary was published in 1603. The Slavic languages. English language had grown as a result of borrowing words from French . This broad family includes most of the European languages spoken today. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In order to establish the language they develop a dictionary. pater in Latin. One was the invention of printing. These words are all cognates. Of these branches of the Indo-European family.Latin. The period where English developed most in the Modern English. more people learned to read and write and advanced in communication. it was felt to control the language. can be seen today. not because of any bodice-ripping literary genre).000 years ago. Another product of the 18th century was the invention of English Grammar. New ideas increased. Monday. and pitr in Sanskrit. Now. What will happen in the future? It’ll continue to grow . two are. for example. which means the development of the people. A (Very) Brief History of the English Language Dave Wilton. The Indo-Iranian languages. This group began as a common language in the Elbe river region about 3. The period of Early Modern English was also a period of English Renaissance. In that period the people speaking that language increased too much. is vater in German. The greatest writer of the Early Modern English period is Shakespeare and the best known book is the King Jones version of the BIBLE. designated proto-Indo-European. It was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1475. similar words in different languages that share the same root. including Hindi and Sanskrit. for our purposes of studying the development of English. this Common Germanic language split into three distinct sub-groups: . English is the greatest language of the world spoken natively and as a second language. Around the second century BC. and Greek. The word for father.
derive from Old English roots. is now a dead language. Danish. the Norman Conquest. and the only written East Germanic language that survives is Gothic. and English. which is related to Estonian and is not an Indo-European language). for example. brought many North Germanic words into the language. is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest. water. only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today. which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt. the Duke of Normandy. Cornwall. invaded and conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD.) The new overlords spoke a . lasted until about 1100. These invaders pushed the original. Northumbrian in the north of England. Four major dialects of Old English emerged. began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland. details of which form the navigation buttons on this site. Norse invasions.• • • East Germanic was spoken by peoples who migrated back to southeastern Europe.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. Mercian in the Midlands. died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole. Dolly Pentreath. West Saxon in the south and west. This last date is rather arbitrary. 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). beginning around 850. Some examples are dream. Words like be. (The Bayeux Tapestry. which had meant joy until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr. Dutch. Flemish. particularly in the north of England. Old English is much more important than this number would indicate. leaving behind a few Celtic words. and Jutes. Old English. They spoke a mutually intelligible language. but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language. (The last native Cornish speaker. No East Germanic language is spoken today. and Icelandic (but not Finnish. and Ireland. Frisian. In fact. Saxons. North Germanic evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages of Swedish. Norwegian. Cornwall. and strong. West Germanic is the ancestor of modern German. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. and skirt. and Kentish in the Southeast. Wales. not Old English roots. But this statistic is deceptive. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500) William the Conqueror. The majority of words in modern English come from foreign. whose best known surviving example is the poem Beowulf. similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English. Cornish. unfortunately.
such as indict. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. Prior to the Norman Conquest. Other times. beef and cow. French and Old English components combined to form a new word. The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words. Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif. in Early Modern English (King James Version. 1384). Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language. This split. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment. Giue us this day our daily bread. as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. vicar. Sometimes French words replaced Old English words. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. 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. mainly through vestiges of the Roman occupation and from the conversion of Britain to Christianity in the seventh century (ecclesiastical terms such as priest. crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam. Thy kingdom come.dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. derives from the Anglo-Norman. play a wav file of this Old English text (518Kb). 1611) the same text is completely intelligible: Our father which art in heauen. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. Take for instance this Old English (c. retained the Germanic cow. Beef. Other times. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. Middle.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. Many legal terms. while the Anglo-Saxon commoners. hallowed be thy name. commonly eaten by the aristocracy. and mass came into the language this way). where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots. or wish and desire. To get a feel for Old English pronunciation. . jury. It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old. þi reume or kyngdom come to be. but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words. 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. who tended the cattle. the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name. Finally. and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English. read by Catherine Ball of Georgetown University. and Modern English. can be seen in many instances.
The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare. The first was the Great Vowel Shift. and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. rather than their estates in France. and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare’s. One fell swoop. leapfrog. vanish into thin air. Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays. the Black Death (1349-50) killed about one third of the English population. By 1362. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. And lead us not into temptation. Early Modern English (1500-1800) The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins. But. which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. and pedant. Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. but deliuer us from euill. Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. but many survive to this day. In 1204 AD. Amen. albeit with difficulty. as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord’s Prayer. The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. until they realize that he coined them and they became cliches afterwards. In that year. Middle English can be read. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some . the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. About 150 years later. dwindle. King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France. majestic. Shakespeare’s character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms. Words he bequeathed to the language include critical. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance.000 words and countless catchphrases are his. Unlike Old English. the Statute of Pleading was adopted. England became the chief concern of the nobility. and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman.And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these inkhorn terms. by modern English-speaking people. This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. some 2.
and down was pronounced /doon/. At its height. and spelling are largely the same. In linguistic terms. the 20th century saw two world wars. The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. became more common. Hindi. but Late-Modern English has many more words. Pronunciation.and late-modern English is vocabulary. the shift was rather sudden. shampoo. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise. For this. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though.difficulty. English roots were used for such terms as horsepower. and typewriter. and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. Finally. Blockbuster. to the vast contributions of French and Latin. cyber-. nose dive. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. from the Finnish sauna and the Japanese tycoon. five was pronounced /feef/. In Middle English name was pronounced /nam-a/. and microchip are good examples. but understandable. Finally. virtually all British and American men served in the military. Britain ruled one quarter of the earth’s surface. Military slang existed. and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter e at the end of words became silent. Late-Modern English (1800-Present) The principal distinction between early. Military slang entered the language like never before. The shift is still not over. radar. but with the exception of nautical terms. would be accented. vowel sounds are still shortening. rarely influenced standard English. Also. hard-drive. These words are the result of two historical factors. The second was the British Empire. on the other hand. and works in English. English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. the printing press brought standardization to English. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English. and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages. and juggernaut. and the first English dictionary was published in 1604. nuclear. although the change has become considerably more gradual. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. where most publishing houses were located. The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society. such as pundit. airplane. protein. camouflage. Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. however. both Britain and the United States maintained small. This burst of neologisms continues today. Words like oxygen. as opposed to Latin. Spelling and grammar became fixed. however. literacy became more common. Chaucer’s Lyf (pronounced /leef/) became the modern word life. Before the Great War. . military service for English-speaking persons was rare. but to introduce words into English. The British Empire was a maritime empire. The dialect of London. Books became cheaper and as a result. the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world. Shakespeare. Byte. bios. the major changes occurring within a century. and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent. During the mid-20th century. provided many words. volunteer militaries. and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own. but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. became the standard. The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. grammar. pajamas.
tomato.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 . The American dialect also served as the route of introduction for many native American words into the English language. Indian-sounding names like Idaho were sometimes created that had no native-American roots. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun 911: Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. gumbo. Roanoke. and Iowa. He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. and West African. Raccoon. spearhead. Some Americanisms that the British decry are actually originally British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost at home (e. Most often. To a lesser extent French. frame-up which was reintroduced to Britain through Hollywood gangster movies. mainly via Louisiana. Goober. through the importation of slaves.. and vigilante are all examples of Spanish words that made their way into English through the settlement of the American West. canoe.1000: The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period 1066: The Norman conquest c. ranch. 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. Some pronunciations and usages “froze” when they reached the American shore. mustang. canyon. and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English. American English Also significant beginning around 1600 AD was the English colonization of North America and the subsequent creation of a distinct American dialect.roadblock. But. and jambalaya came into the language via New Orleans. and hickory have native American roots. In certain respects. Armoire. and tote are West African borrowings first used in America by slaves. American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. trash for rubbish. Armadillo. The beginning of Norman French c. 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. stampede.g. and use of loan as a verb instead of lend). words have influenced American English. Augustine arrives in Britain. these were place names like Mississippi. bayou. A Chronology of the English Language 55 BCE: Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar 43 CE: Roman invasion and occupation under Emperor Claudius. Spanish has also been great influence on American English. savanna. barbecue. fall as a synonym for autumn. names for other things besides places were also common. although in many cases the original Indian words were mangled almost beyond recognition.
established 1611: The Authorized. the first permanent English settlement in the New World. 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.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. Table Alphabeticall 1607: Jamestown.1388: Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales c. English-language newspaper. The Daily Courant.1348: English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools. of the Bible is published 1616: Death of Shakespeare 1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is published 1666: The Great Fire of London. or King James Version. Records continue to be kept in Latin. 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. English is used in Parliament for the first time 1384: Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible c. End of The Great Plague 1702: Publication of the first daily. 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 .
The German word Milch is very close in sound to the English milk. 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. therefore. Williams. 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”. is to view the place of English in perspective. likewise. Brot and bread. Fleisch and flesh closely resemble each other. amid the many tongues of mankind. the German Wasser and English water. The proper beginning for us. not to mention a great many additiona l . by Joseph M.
Yiddish. Perhaps we can see this similarity best if we place side by side in systemat ic form the words for mother. Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit contained many cognates to Greek and Latin. Canada. In 1786. Australia and New Zealand. Indo-European language and people English is classified genetically as a Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. and brother. English mother father brother Mutter Vater Bruder moeder vader broeder moder fader broder History of English (Source: A History of English by Barbara A. Afrikaans. and the Scandinavian languages. Fennell) The English language is spoken by 750 million people in the world as either the official language of a nation. however. father. as they appear in various tongues.) English is the (or an) official language in England. a second language.example s. Dutch. or in a mixture with other languages (such as pidgins and creoles. He conjectured a Proto-Indo-European language had existed many years before. the United States has no official language. English. Although there . The early history of the Germanic languages is based on reconstruction of a ProtoGermanic language that evolved into German.
) 3.is no concrete proof to support this one language had existed. and used horse-drawn wheeled carts. and not wine. 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. and formed words by compounding. 2. g became p.) They also had domesticated animals. Two Tense Verbal System: There is a past tense marker (-ed) and a present tense marker (-s) on the verb (without using auxiliary verbs. The I-E people either wanted to conquer their neighbors or look for better farming land. gʰ became b. Voiced stops became Voiceless stops (B. x (h)) Verner's Law explains other exceptions that Grimm's law does not include. Finnish. t. This PIE language was also highly inflectional as words had many endings corresponding to cases. Germanic Languages The subgroup of Germanic languages contains many differences that set them apart from the other I-E languages. Voiceless stops became Voiceless fricatives (P.) 4. Weak and Strong Adjectives: Each adjective had a different form whether it was preceded by a determiner or no determiner. 1. Estonian and Hungarian. They drank alcohol made from grain. Vowel Changes (Proto Germanic) . g) b. 5. This rapid and vast spread of the I-E people is attributed to their use of horses for transportation. Grimm's Law (or the First Sound Shift) helps to explain the consonant changes from P-I-E to Germanic. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) lived in Southwest Russia around 4. k became f. Aspirated voiced stops became Unaspirated voiced stops (Bʰ. Weak Past Tense: Used a dental or alveolar suffix to express the past (such as -ed in English. the language spread to many areas with the advancement of the people. 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. t.000 to 5. d. it is believed that many languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia are all derived from a common language. θ. -te in German. indicating they did not live in a warm climate. dʰ. • • • a. The spread of the language can be attributed to two theories. Either way. or -de in Swedish. 6. of which the last three belong to the Finno-Ugric language family. Fixed Stress: The stress of words was fixed on the first syllable. d. k) c. A few languages that are not included in the Indo-European branch of languages include Basque.000 BCE.
Laws and contracts were written down for a sense of permanence and control. edh. Northumbria. However. loaf. It is commonly referred to as Runes. leaving the main area of Britain. Four dialects were spoken in these kingdoms: West Saxon. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia. Then the Germanic tribes from the present-day area of Denmark arrived. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded. The Insular Hand was the name of the writing system used in England. The Treaty of Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this "Danelaw" gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. OE: modor) 7. Sussex. The Celts moved north to Scotland. Although the Danes brought their own writing system with them. Kent. called the Futhorc. Wessex. a list of subjects who owed tribute to the king. was written during the Mercian period of power. Old English (449 . Saxons. and East Anglia. while dominance shifted among the kingdoms beginning with Kent and Northumbria. It detailed the sophisticated society of the Germanic tribes. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings who repeatedly invaded the area. Others include rain. The four main tribes were the Angles. it was not used in England. English: garden) • Long a to long o (Latin: mater. such as nautical terms (sea). leaving the Celts defenseless. yogh and wynn. because the languages were so similar. as well the macron for distinguishing long vowels. In 731 CE. Mercian and Northumbrian. Jutes and Frisians. and it contained many symbols that are no longer found in Modern English: the aesc.• Short o to short a (Latin: hortus. he united the kingdoms together and commissioned the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. They had destroyed the Roman civilization in England and built their own. Although they invaded twice. Characteristics of the Old English language . meat and fowl. Kentish. the Danes quickly assimilated and intermarried into the English society. They aligned with the Celtic clergy and converted to Christianity. The Tribal Hidage. Essex. Bede wrote the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" in Latin. earth. a historical record of important events in England that continued 200 years after his death. During his reign.1066 CE) The Old English language (also called Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. wife. Alfred the Great was the king of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom. thorn. Common Vocabulary: Words developed that hadn't been used before. they did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE and Latin never overtook the Celtic language. The Romans finally left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing. west to Ireland and south to France.
the subject often follows the verb. The comparative was formed by adding -ra to the adjective. Adjectives could be weak or strong. the weak ending was added to the adjective. The general word order was subject . So in modern English. -est. The infinitive of verbs ended in -an. If no determiner preceded the adjective. Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective. But as the stress began to move to the first syllable of words. there were seven groups of declensions for nouns. Eventually the -ost and -m endings combined to form the word "most" which is still used before adjectives in the superlative today. feminine or neuter. They also agreed in gender. case and number with the nouns they described. but it did vary in a few instances: 1. 2. The verb often comes at the end of a subordinate clause. so word order was not very important.object.verb . When a sentence begins with an adverb. then the root vowel became fronted. but Danish (Old Scandinavian) did contribute many vocabulary words. For example. and genitive. and there were four cases: nominative. The case endings told the function of the word in the sentence. Numbers could be either singular or plural. the endings were not pronounced as clearly and began to diminish from the language. Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first syllable. it often precedes the verb. In all. so the languages they spoke did have some Latin influence. 3. fot becomes fot+i = fet (This helps to explain why feet is the plural of foot. Nouns could be of three genders: masculine. The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short vowels. while the strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. then the strong endings were used. Celtic did not have a large impact on English. Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English. word order is very important because we no longer have declensions to show case distinctions. as only a few place names are of Celtic origin. -ist. or -lic.) Pronunciation of consonants: .The Germanic tribes were exposed to Latin before they invaded England. accusative. dative. When an object is a pronoun. In the present tense. as evidenced in words pertaining to the church. Latin had more influence. the latter which still remains in modern English as -like. and -m. If preceded by a determiner. [i:] and [ɪ:]. The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English becase of the declensions of the nouns. The weak past tense added -de. but these were assigned arbitrarily. The i-mutation occurred if there was a front vowel in the ending. all verbs had markers for number and person. After converting to Christianity. There were also two front rounded vowels that are no longer used in modern English. while the superlative had many endings: -ost. Instead we use prepositions.
embroidery.f c g h s ð r sc cg v f č k j ɣ g h x. King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs. larceny).000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE (though most of these words were Parisian rather than Norman French). William invaded England. and after him. several words (around 10. The upper class tried to learn English. but their works included an apology for writing in English. physician). Chaucer). The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class. Although the popularity of French was decreasing. felony. Nevertheless. attorney. which increased the status of the peasants. the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. empire). upon learning that Harold was crowned king. At this time. the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts. appetite) and learning (poet. which was considered somewhat snobbish. Furthermore. killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. Duke of Normandy. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE. the Hundred Year's War (1337-1453 CE) intensified hatred of all things French. and William. logic. Many of the words were related to government (sovereign. Yet William spoke only French. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere. However. social life (fashion. By 1385 CE. English was the language of instruction in schools. justice. the legal system retained parts of . jury. believed that he would become the next king. By 1362 CE. As a result.1500 CE) The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. law (judge. French began to lose its prestige. King Edward I spoke only English. cuisine. who only spoke English. but they did still use French words sometimes. But by 1250 CE. 1350 to 1400 CE is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (most famously. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague. 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 . many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more "English" and so encouraged more use of the English language. and the upper class did not want to lose it completely.
ʒ became j. . late. and used "to" before the verb to signify the infinitival form. come.French word order (the adjective following the noun) in such terms as fee simple. Phonological erosion also occurred because of this. honey. The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th. The generalized plural marker became -s. Characteristics of Middle English The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: • • • • • • • • • • • þ and ð were replaced by th (and sometimes y. however. hard. some "flat" adverbs did not add the -ly: fast. The demonstratives these and those were added during this period. Adjectives lost agreement with the noun. won. The comparative form became -er and the superlative became -est. them. but it still competed with -n. and u was used everywhere else k was used much more often (cyning became king) new values were given to old symbols too. one. but short in the comparative form (late . money. their) borrowed from Scandinavian. wonder. and the dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. attorney general and accounts payable. some. And the adverb ending -lič became -ly. but the weak ending -e still remained. ton. 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. front. honest. More strong (irregular) verbs became weak (regular) as well. The dual number disappeared in the pronouns. v was used word initially. of Because of the stress shift to the beginning of the word. herb.latter). heir. 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. Vowels tended to be long in the adjective form. 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. Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. from. habit sometimes words were written with o but pronounced as [ʊ] but later were pronounced [ʌ]: son. Verb infinitives dropped the -an ending. but the singular also competed with -(e)s from the Northern dialect. and some consonants dropped off while some vowels became əand dropped off too. g before i or e was pronounced ǰ. The third person plural pronouns replaced the old pronouns with thwords (they.
the northern dialect would become the standard for modern English regarding the grammatical endings. but the southern pronunciation of [o] and [č] would also remain. The south used -(e)n for the plural. Characteristics of Early Modern English Adjectives lost all endings except for in the comparative and superlative forms. an open syllable with no consonant following it contained a long vowel.head. Formerly. while a closed syllable with at least one consonant following it contained a short vowel In addition. The north used [a] and [k] while the south used [o] and [č] for certain words. are no longer used in English. a nuncle . such as the perfect tenses. attemptate and dispraise. The use of double negation also increased as did impersonal constructions. Ten thousand words were added to English as writers created new words by using Greek and Latin affixes.(borrowed from Scandinavian). and the third person plural pronouns began with th. such as devulgate. will meant want and shall meant obliged to. Early Modern English (1500 .hut) [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two.an apron. The printing press led the path for the laser printer many. sword. Eventually.for the third person plural pronouns. many years later in 1969 which lead to Canon.Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used. The neuter pronoun it was first used as well as who as a relative pronoun. hnutu .to leap. and there was more use of the progressive and passive voice. but several words were also borrowed from other languages as well as from Chaucer's works. HP and Brother toner. New compound tenses were used. Pronunciation changes: • • • • • • • • • Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan . there were dialectal differences in the north and south.1650/1700 CE) William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English. and h. Richard Mulcaster proposed in his treatise "Elementaire" a compromise on spelling and by 1623. Henry Cockrum published his English dictionary.I) [v] lost in middle of words (heofod . The printing press helped to standardize the spelling of English in its modern stages. The use of the verbs will and shall for the future tense were first used too. The north used -(e)s for the plural marker as well as for the third person singular.had) Loss of final -n in possessive pronouns (min fæder . In 1582. hæfde . answer) [č] lost in unstressed syllable (ič .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).mi fæder) and the addition of -n to some words beginning with a vowel (a napron . Some words. The class distinctions between . -(e)th for the third person singular.
meanings in chronological order and illustrative quotations. [č]. borrowing words from other languages (except Latin and Greek). The first edition was published in 1928. several grammarians wrote dictionaries and grammar books in a prescriptive manner . It was to be a factual account of every word in the English language since 1000 including its main form. part of speech. pronounced as f in laugh [b] in final -mb cluster (dumb. the double negative was considered incorrect (two negatives equal one positive) and should not be used. with supplements in 1933 and 1972-6. Negatives followed the verb and multiple negatives were still used. however. so they are still written in English today. as the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation. [ǰ]. spelling variations. More strong verbs became weak and the third person singular form became -(e)s instead of (e)th. The tongue was placed higher in the mouth. knight. Nevertheless. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and Robert Lowth's Introduction to English Grammar appeared in 1762. but the spelling system was in place before the consonant loss. Vowels that were already high ([i] and [u]) added the dipthongs [aj] and [aw] to the vowels of English. but the Parliament voted against it. so that today there is no difference between them. [t]. Beginnings of Modern English . talk. comb) [l] between a or o and consonant (half. walk. gnat) [g] in -ing endings (more commonly pronounced [ɪn]) Finally. etymology. The second edition was published in 1989 and it recognized American and Australian English. and [z] preceded the palatal glide [j].formal and informal you were decreasing. and all the verbs moved up. The project was begun in 1879 under its first editor. Early grammarians felt that language should be logical. They also didn't like shortened or redundant words. Several consonants were no longer pronounced. There was a more limited use of the progressive and auxiliary verbs than there is now. The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1600) changed the pronunciation of all the vowels. [d]. therefore.telling people what to do or not to do with the language. pronunciation. or prepositions at the end of the sentence. A more scientifically minded attitude took hold by the 19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary was proposed in 1859. assibilation occurred when the alveolars [s]. The consonants lost include: • • • • • • Voiceless velar fricative lost in night. split infinitives. folk) [r] sometimes before s (Worcestershire) initial clusters beginning with k and g (knee. James AH Murray. [ž] Early Grammarians (18th Century) A proposal for an Academy of the English Language was first brought forth by Jonathan Swift in 1712. producing the palatal consonants: [š].
glottal stops are used frequently and labiodentals are used in place of interdentals. etc. which had a profound impact on African American English." Even more confusing. the United States does not have an official language. Cockney (and its Ryhming Slang) is an interesting dialect of English spoken in London's east end. but remained in the colonies) and innovations in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also settling in North America)." . This is how it's possible to become a US citizen without speaking English. Australian and New Zealand English have few differences. Canada also has French as an official language. and the slave trade. The initial h of words is dropped. so their dialect is considered closer to British English. and a rise in class consciousness about speech (Received Pronunciation.) Since 1900. and Canada. except Australia was originally settled as a penal colony and New Zealand was not. the last of which rhymes with what is being referred to. English around the World Although the United Kingdom. Dialects in the United States resulted from different waves of immigration of English speakers. contact with other languages. though it is mostly spoken in the province of Quebec. a very large amount of vocabulary words has been added to English in a relatively short period.In England." gloves is "turtle doves. theatre became theater. For examples. The American English language is characterized by archaisms (words that changed meaning in Britain. money is "bees and honey. several changes to English had occurred since 1700. New Zealanders were more attached to the Received Pronunciation of the upper class in England. American English Immigrants from Southeastern England began arriving on the North American continent in the early 1600's. The majority of these words are related to science and technology. and use Greek and Latin roots. 3. Canada. there is little difference in the American and Canadian dialects of English. an increase in the use of the progressive tenses. Ireland.S. sometimes the second word (which rhymes with the word being referred to) is omitted. in 1788 and changed several spellings from British English (colour became color. Because many of the English speakers who originally inhabited Canada came from the US. so that money is called just "bees. The Blueback Speller.5 million immigrants left the British Isles for the United States. By the mid-1800's." suit is "whistle and flute" and trouble is "Barney Rubble. He wrote an American spelling book. Noah Webster was the most vocal about the need for an American national identity with regards to the American English language. These include a loss of the postvocalic r (so that the r is only pronounced before a vowel and not after). Australia and New Zealand have English as an official language.) In 1828. The Rhyming Slang refers to a word by referring to two things. he published his famous American Dictionary of the English Language. A dialectal study was done in 1920 and the findings are published in the Linguistics Atlas of the U. Similarly.
However. and Singapore. along with Afrikaans and 9 African languages. and no articles are used before occupations. China. and although Afrikaans was the language used more often. Over time. and it still holds prestige in South Africa. Malay and Indian languages have an impact on the form of English spoken. only 3% of the country's 30 million people are native English speakers. India. and on islands of the Pacific and Caribbean (especially the West Indies. Hence the compromise of 11 official languages. In Singapore. However. Apartheid (which segregated the Afrikaners and Africans) officially ended under Nelson Mandela's reign. By 1948. the Africans wanted English as the official language. they became the native languages of the children and evolved into creoles.British colonialism has spread English all over the world. Twenty percent are descendants of Dutch farmers who speak Afrikaans. English became an official language. among other nations. Although the British won the Boer Wars of 1899-1901 against the Dutch farmers (the Boers). Chinese. these creoles were pidgins so that English-speaking traders could conduct business. and a different use of prepositions. In South Africa. Everyone is taught English in the school system. . use of more compounds. but there are a few differences from British English as well. frequent use of the "isn't it?" tag. in the 1996 constitution. Britain still promised the Boers self-government under the Union of South Africa. today English and Hindi are the official languages. India became an independent from Britian in 1947. "use to" means usually.) Originally. Mass nouns are treated as count nouns. and the English language was supposed to be phased out by 1965. and the rest are native Africans. Indian English is characterized by treating mass nouns as count nouns. these Afrikaners won state elections and remained in power through the 1990's. Creoles of English can be found on the coast of West Africa.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.