SOCIOLINGUISTICS

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?

Social Factors
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

Spanish

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?"

Translation:
'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!

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

"Hmm. there are ways to go about getting the things we want. and you wanted to use one. you used the Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that you recognize that they want to be respected however. When we are with a group of friends." I different social situations. we must say. "Ooh. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity. say. you used what is called the Bald On-Record strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to your teachers' "face. and be respected. Negative Politeness. that sum up human "politeness" behavior: Bald On Record. is it O. would you a. English based Cameroon Pidgin POLITENESS In everyday conversation. say. described by Brown and Levinson." There are four types of politeness strategies." or "I was . Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person. I just wanted to ask you if I could use one of those pens?" d. we are obligated to adjust our use of words to fit the occasion. say. "So. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem. Positive Politeness.. If you answered C. "Go get me that plate!". or making them feel uncomfortable. we can say to them. and Off-Record-indirect strategy. It would seem socially unacceptable if the phrases above were reversed. and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations.f. you also assume that you are in some way imposing on them. I want to use one of those!" b. if you don't mind?" and "I'm sorry. What would you do if you saw a cup of pens on your teacher's desk. Some other examples would be to say.. "I'm sorry to bother you but. when we are surrounded by a group of adults at a formal function. "I don't want to bother you but. you used the Positive Politeness strategy. In this situation you recognize that your teacher has a desire to be respected. "Could you please pass me that plate. politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face. According to Brown and Levinson. I sure could use a blue pen right now. if I use one of those pens?" c.K. in which our parents are attending." Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself." If you answered B. German based Papua New Guinea Pidgin German g. I don't mean to interrupt. but I am not able to hear the speaker in the front of the room. Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these FTA's. If you answered A. or "Shut-up!" However. Indirectly say.

formal stylistic markers). February 25. However. even encouraged. the trend of expected polite speech from the female continues to remain. Culture." Sociolinguists try to explain why there is a greater frequency of the use of polite speech from women than from men. if they violate the norms of correct usage or of polite speech. In our society it is socially acceptable for a man to be forward and direct his assertiveness to control the actions of others. decided not to return someone's phone call. well "boys will be boys. society has devalued these speech patterns when it is utilized by women. characterized by a high frequency of honorific (showing respect for the person to whom you are talking to." although. However. " I tried to call a hundred times. but there was never any answer. these roles are becoming more of a stereotype and less of a reality. The main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you. In Frank and Anshen's "Language and the Sexes". and softening devices such as hedges and questions.." If you answered D. it is much less common that "girls will be girls" Fortunately. peculiarly." This page was last updated on Tuesday. ." It reflects the role of the inferior status being expected to respect the superior. From historical recurrence. to talk rough. they note that boys.. you used Off-Record indirect strategies. it has been (historically) expected from a women to "act like a lady" and "respect those around you. cultivate a deep "masculine" voice and.wondering if . You are trying not to directly impose by asking for a pen. on purpose. This is a prime example of how society plays an important part on the social function of the language. and Communication" she notes that. "are permitted. "women typically use more polite speech than do men. A great example of this strategy is somethin g that almost everyone has done or will do when you have. Therefore. 1997 Politeness and Gender Are Women More Polite Than Men? Politeness is defined by the concern for the feelings of others. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once the teacher realizes you need one. and you are looking to find one. From Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. therefore you say. it has appeared that women have had a secondary role in society relative to that of the male.

" "I think that." More Gender Speech Issues Who Talks More." 2. Culture.. fix my jacket" Mom. this is probably true. always speaking and expressing their feelings.. With Honorific. " I sort-of-think that Hank is a bit of a mean person. according to Masa-aki Yamanashi.. Men or Women? A common cultural stereotype describes women as being talkative. and entities or activities associated with either. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda yamada son dinner enjoyed "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son. could you please do me a favor. An experiment b y Marjorie Swacker entailed using three pictures by a ." "maybe if.Honorifics: linguistic markers that signal respect to the person you are speaking to: "Hey ma." "HANK is SO MEAN!" vs. referent. do women do it more than men? No! In fact an experiment designed to measure the amount of speech produced suggested that men are more prone to use up more talking time than women. however. and fix my jacket?" In Japanese." 1. having a sense of "fuzziness" they take away assertiveness in your statements. 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.. Without Honorific. soften the impact of your words or phrases such as " I was sort-of-wondering.. Well." Hedges: "loosely speaking".. and Communication. the appropriate choice of honorifics is based on complex rules evaluating addressee..

the trend is still prominent in some societies across the world. This ever-changing concept is becoming le ss applicable in our society. It has been more of a historical trend for men have more rights to talk. Since childhood. However ." "This shirt is cool. I love it. I like them. It is more acceptable for a man to be talkative. but in the business world. They were told to take as much time as they wanted to describe the pictures." Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who.0 minutes. or a give a long wordy speech. be a man. 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. however." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. Example taken from Janet Holmes. they have been told to "keep their cool" and "remain calm. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana.17 minutes. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. The average time for males: 13. and the average time for women 3. Albrecht Durer which were presented to men and women separately. Men have tended to take on a more dominant role not only in the household. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. it is common for men to be more silent in situations that require them to express emotion.fifteenth century Flemish artist." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. carry on long conversation. most likely. In English we laugh at these utterances. "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 . an American Indian language. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat." "This is a super cool shirt. however it is less acceptable for a women to do so.

there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. "Language. I like them. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. "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. Culture." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. or by men talking to women. Example taken from Janet Holmes. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. Culture." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. Therefore. Therefore.to other men. I love it. "Language." "This is a super cool shirt. most likely. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. an American Indian language. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. or by men talking to women. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. and Communication" Women Men ohiya onaka oisii taberu mizu hara umai kuu "water" "stomach" "delicious" "eat" Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. In English we laugh at these utterances. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men." "This shirt is cool. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. and Communication" Women Men ohiya mizu "water" . where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively.

reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. and various Caribbean and Pacific island nations. who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. New Zealand. 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. A large proportion of the modern English vocabulary comes directly from Old French. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family.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. German. this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD. English changed enormously in the Middle Ages. and Saxons from Germany and Denmark to Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. and Dutch. and the most widely taught foreign language. Saxons. who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. English easily borrows words from other languages and has coined many new words to reflect advances in technology. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (approximately 1. Its history began with the migration of the Jutes. The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought many French words into English. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old French. The primary language of the U. Frisii. with heavy influence from Norman French in the courts and government. Read more: http://www. much closer to the center of Scandinavian settlement.answers. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066. and when literary English rose anew in the 13th century. English relies mainly on word order (usually subject-verb-object) to indicate relationships between words (see syntax). One of these dialects. it is most closely related to Frisian. Initially. Australia. 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 . However.. English developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English. Ireland. the second by the French Normans in the 11th century. as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch. eventually came to dominate. and completely unintelligible to modern speakers. Thus. The languages of Germanic peoples gave rise to the English language (the Angles. and many sub-Saharan African countries. where Old English was developed into a full-fledged literary language. Jutes and possibly the Franks. while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle English of 1400 AD. Angles. widely spoken on six continents. Late West Saxon. With the coming of the Renaissance. it was based on the speech of London. Greek and Latin words began to enter it in the 15th century."stomach" onaka hara "delicious" oisii umai "eat" taberu kuu Language belonging to the Germanic languages branch of the Indo-European language family. the mother tongue of more than 350 million people. Canada. it is also an official language of India. Written in the Latin alphabet. and Modern English is usually dated from 1500. the Philippines. Latin and Ancient Greek supplanted French as the main source of new words.5 billion speakers).S. Britain.

the Angles were granted lands in the southeast of Britain.[2] Even then. Saxons and Jutes arrived as Germanic pagans. they retained political independence. King of the Britons. including serving in the Roman military. As it was. it continued to exhibit local language variation. Angles and Jutes). What is now called Old English emerged over time out of the many dialects and languages of the colonising tribes. However. who ultimately stem from the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. around the year 449. 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 original Celtic languages remained in parts of Scotland. the remnants of which continue .Migration Period). the Angles. invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help him in conflicts with the Picts. The Chronicle talks of a subsequent influx of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms. known as the heptarchy. written around 100 AD. Some Germanic troops served in Britannia under the Romans. Further aid was sought. In return. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The main source of information for the culture of the Germanic peoples (the ancestors of the English) in ancient times is Tacitus' Germania. Wales and Cornwall (where Cornish was spoken into the 19th century). modern scholars view the figures of Hengist and Horsa as Euhemerized deities from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Vortigern. and in response "came men of Ald Seaxum of Anglum of Iotum" (Saxons. independent of Roman control. 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. While remaining conversant with Roman civilisation and its economy.[1] [edit] 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.

Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman and. possibly even including the pronoun they. spoken by the Norsemen who invaded and settled mainly in the north-east of England (see Jórvík and Danelaw).[5][6] Later. The words be.as with most of Europe during the period . The new and the earlier settlers spoke languages from different branches of the Germanic family. who spoke a French dialect called Old Norman. Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language). The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was influenced by contact with Norse invaders. strong and water. derive from Old English. The use of Anglo-Saxon to describe a merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. that we call Anglo-Norman. A tendency for French-derived words to have more formal connotations has continued to the present day. which might have been responsible for some of the morphological simplification of Old English. skill.g.. and many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have retained many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation.and had a significant influence on the language. about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. beef and pork (from the French bœuf and porc) being the products of 'cows' and 'pigs'. . hit. Even after the decline of Norman-French. for example. both. when the language was influenced to an even greater extent by the Normans. take. standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language . Any native English speaker of today would find Old English unintelligible without studying it as a separate language. whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. leg. the Norman kings and their high nobility spoke only one of the French langues d'oïl. which is visible in Modern English today (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). most modern English speakers would consider a "cordial reception" (from French) to be more formal than a "hearty welcome" (Germanic). English was strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Old Norse. which was a variety of Old Norman used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the AngloNorman period and originating from a northern dialect of Old French. The Old English period formally ended sometime after the Norman conquest (starting in 1066 AD). many of their lexical roots were the same or similar. later. animals with Germanic names. Nevertheless.to be found in dialects of Modern English. although their grammars were more distinct. The introduction of Christianity added another wave of Latin and some Greek words. English words of Old Norse origin include anger. law. bag. including the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (with the notable exception of the pronouns).[3] The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem Beowulf composed by an unknown poet. same.[4] Old English was spoken until sometime in the 12th or 13th century. Old English did not sound or look like the Standard English of today. Another example is the very unusual construction of the words for animals being separate from the words for their meat: e. [edit] Middle English Main article: Middle English Further information: Middle English creole hypothesis For about 300 years following the Norman Conquest in 1066. and many others. sky.

with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth). even the royal court had switched to English. was the first English government document to be published in the English language since the Conquest. The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. but it had ceased to be a living language. Late Modern English has many more words. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 15th . English literature started to reappear around 1200. A large number of Norman words were taken into Old English. with many doubling for Old English words. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable. Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary. especially the Brittonic substrate. In 1362. the risk of mispronunciation is high. These letters remain in the modern Icelandic alphabet. released in 1258. [edit] Early Modern English Main article: Early Modern English Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift. his Dictionary of the English Language. the Table Alphabeticall. most other literature from this period was in Old Norman or Latin. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer. most notably in the West Country. Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. since the Renaissance. The Norman influence is the hallmark of the linguistic shifts in English over the period of time following the invasion. most notably with the introduction of the continuous aspect—a feature found in many modern languages but developed earlier and more thoroughly in English.[8] the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. producing what is now referred to as Middle English. when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable. Latin words were often used with the original inflections. but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects.English was also influenced by the Celtic languages it was displacing. which took place mainly during the 15th century.[7] While the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle continued until 1154. the Industrial . The Provisions of Oxford. (In the 17th century. the first English dictionary was published. but these eventually disappeared). arising from two principal factors: firstly. In 1604. English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period. especially from Latin and Greek. The most famous writer from the Middle English period was Geoffrey Chaucer. [edit] Modern English Main article: Modern English In 1755. and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work. which is descended from the alphabet of Old Norse. English has continuously adopted foreign words. English was further transformed by the spread of a standardised London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardising effect of printing. By the end of that century.early 16th century). which did not exist in Norman.

secondly. the term objective is often used. these cases had distinct pronouns. "whom" is a generic objective pronoun which can describe either a direct or an indirect object. the objective and subjective always have the same form. Evolution of English pronouns "Who" and "whom". the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's surface. [edit] 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 . the possessive case — which some linguists argue is not a case at all.Revolution and technology created a need for new words. In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples. 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". are remnants of both the old nominative versus accusative and also of nominative versus dative. that is. "her" (for example) serves as both the dative and accusative version of the nominative pronoun "she". and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries. "she" and "her". The information formerly conveyed by having distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order. Instead. The nominative case. "he" and "him". is called simply the subjective. but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information). Modern English morphologically distinguishes only one case. etc. With only a few pronominal exceptions. "who". In other words.

Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned).tal Genitive 1 hwæs whos whose2 . though variation among dialects must be taken into account. [edit] 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.) [edit] Second person personal pronouns Old and Middle English singular to the Modern English archaic informal Case Old English Middle English þu / thou Modern English thou (you) Singul Nominati þū ar ve Accusativ þē / þeċ e Dative þē þé / thee thee (you) Genitive þīn þi / þīn / þīne / thy /thin / thy. mine we Accusativ ūs / ūsiċ Plural e us Dative Genitive ūs ūser / ūre ure / our us our. no later forms derive from it. however. wit ("we two") etcetera. ours (Old English also had a separate dual. 2 .In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom. thine .

ȝit ("ye two") etcetera. thy. ya Genitive ēower your. at least optionally.) [edit] 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 thine your. 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. yours your. however. 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. no later forms derive from it. yours Note that the ye/you distinction still existed. in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible.thine Nominati ġē ve Accusativ ēow / Plural e ēowiċ Dative ēow your ye / ȝe / you (your) you you. Here the letter þ (interchangeable with ð in manuscripts) corresponds to th.

and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). The two different roots co-existed for some time. political. 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. scientific.[9][10] It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries. via the British Empire. now collectively termed Old English. þæira. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world. cultural. English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects. and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. þæim. 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. military. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century.[11] Historically. although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em.[13] The .Nominati hēo ve Feminine Singular Accusativ hīe e Dative hire heo / sche / ho / he / ȝho she hire / hure / her / heore her Genitive hire Nominati hit ve Accusativ hit Neuter Singular e Dative him hir / hire / heore / her / here hit / it her. Following the economic. because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. 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. as well as in many world organizations.[5][6][7][8] it has been widely dispersed around the world. become the leading language of international discourse. theirs (The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir.[12] A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin. and of the United States since the mid-20th century.

2 Characteristics of intonation—stress 6 Grammar 7 Vocabulary o 7.3 English as a global language o 4.1 Notes for consonants  5.4 Dialects and regional varieties o 4. or words that belong to multiple word classes.1 Notes for vowels o 5.1 Basic consonant sound-letter correspondence o 8.3 Supra-segmental features  5.3 Dutch and Low German origins 8 Writing system o 8. Owing to the significant assimilation of various European languages throughout history.2. modern English contains a very large vocabulary.2 Consonants  5.1 French origins  7.1 Vowels  5.[16] [17] Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Significance 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Geographical distribution o 4.1 Countries in order of total speakers o 4.2 Written accents 9 Formal written English 10 Basic and simplified versions 11 See also 12 References .3.2 Countries where English is a major language o 4.2 Old Norse origins  7.2. and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the superficial appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages[14][15] to what had now become Middle English.2.000 distinct words.2.1 Tone groups  5.2.3.2 Voicing and aspiration o 5. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from NormanFrench.language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries. not including many technical or slang terms. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250. 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.5 Constructed varieties of English 5 Phonology o 5.1.1 Number of words in English o 7.2 Word origins  7.

[26] Up to that point. information technology.[25] 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.[32][33][34] Initially. and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global .[20] aviation. business. and it is in this that the poem Beowulf is written. the natural internal variety of English along with creoles and pidgins have the potential to produce new distinct languages from English over time. Its influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. Jutland and Southern Sweden also moved to Britain in this era.[24] Conversely. Australia and New Zealand. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields. it became the dominant language in the United States. radio and diplomacy. Denmark and the Netherlands. occupations and professions such as medicine and computing. Jutes and a range of Germanic peoples from the coasts of Frisia. eventually came to dominate. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations.[29] The names 'England' (from Engla land[30] "Land of the Angles") and English (Old English Englisc[31]) are derived from the name of this tribe—but Saxons. Canada. Late West Saxon. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. seafaring.o • 12. One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world.[18][19] is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications. from the 400-year Roman occupation. .[3] Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries. Lower Saxony.1 Bibliographic 13 External links Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English.[28] whom Bede believed to have relocated entirely to Britain. in Roman Britain the native population is assumed to have spoken the Celtic language Brythonic alongside the acrolectal influence of Latin.[22] Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire. science. 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.[27] One of these incoming Germanic tribes was the Angles. reflecting the varied origins of the AngloSaxon kingdoms of Great Britain[35] but one of these dialects. as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching).[19] English replaced German as the dominant language of science Nobel Prize laureates during the second half of the 20th century[23] (compare the Evolution of Nobel Prizes by country).[21] entertainment.

and those that wrote or copied texts in Latin[13] commonly coined new terms from Latin to refer to things or concepts for which there was no existing native English word. The second was by speakers of the Romance language Old Norman in the 11th century with the Norman conquest of England. Afrikaans. Norman developed into Anglo-Norman. first the Medieval Latin of the Christian Church. a trend extended with the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the mid-20th century. especially to earlier stages of the language. High German). syntax. none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English. India. 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. do show strong affinities with English. such as Dutch. The linguistic shifts in English following the Norman invasion produced what is now referred to as Middle English. semantics. 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. the division of verbs into strong and weak classes. compare "exit" (Latin). English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the British Empire. 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. Typical of most Germanic languages.Old English was later transformed by two waves of invasion. lexical differences between English and other Germanic languages exist due to heavy borrowing in English of words from Latin and French. Modern English. Norwegian. and phonology. . 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.[37] In addition to isolation. Danish. 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). a member of the Indo-European languages. which includes the works of William Shakespeare[36] and the King James Bible. Africa. Low German. owing in part to the divergences in lexis. and the North Germanic languages (Swedish. Throughout all this period Latin in some form was the lingua franca of European intellectual life. As a result of the growth of the British Empire. although some. is generally dated from about 1550. the Netherlands. Classification and related languages The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family. but later the humanist Renaissance Latin. After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages that are more distantly related: the nonAnglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Dutch. With the (partial) exception of Scots. itself a direct descendant of Old English. and then Anglo-French – and introduced a layer of words especially via the courts and government. and Germany). Modern English is the direct descendant of Middle English. Icelandic. Australia and many other regions. with Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales being the best known work. For example. English is characterised by the use of modal verbs. and common sound shifts from Proto-IndoEuropean known as Grimm's Law. a descendant of ProtoGermanic. In the post-colonial period. English was adopted in North America. and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles. and when the United Kingdom became a colonial power. and Faroese).

g. Both words descend from Proto-Germanic *karō and *surgō respectively. the French: la compagnie d'assurance-vie de John). *Surgō still survives in English. Dutch vallen/viel/gevallen/zullen vallen. the simple past tense and past participle ending -ed. i.g.g. cf. meaning . -a. "to drive". Dutch schoenmaker. Modern English "I sing" = I sing-Ø < I singe < Old English ic singe. Swedish skomaker.).vs.g. medical emergency. bizarrely) and all derive from Old English. life insurance company). "proceeding along the way"). Non-native words are incorporated into a Germanic system of conjugation. These particles append freely to all English words regardless of origin (tsunamis. communicates. the treatment of nouns (English shoemaker. Danish Jeg har aldrig set noget på torvet. -o. however. adjectives. cf. verbs. likewise. Dutch goed/beter/best. English retains its classification as a Germanic language due to its structure and grammar. or through a combination with more and most. and the possessive markers -'s and -s' . German senden.). skomakere. Swedish våt. he stands/he reaches ). national treasure).redūcam". English send. Even the lack or absence of affixes. "I have never seen anything in the square" = German Ich habe nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen. and have since ceased to be pronounced and spelt (e. The kinship with other Germanic languages can also be seen in the tensing of English verbs (e. the word reduce is borrowed from Latin redūcere. and syntax (For example. even when the adjective is of Latinate origin (e. in English. West Frisian wiet. even where both words are Germanic.I will reduce" rather than "redūcō . literally "out-going" (though outgang survives dialectally in restricted usage) and "change" (French) vs. fast/faster/fastest). etc. For nouns. to buccaneer.g. German gut/besser/best). German Bewegung ("be-way-ing". as sorrow. Swedish mening. Preference of one synonym over another also causes differentiation in lexis. Dutch uitgang. Also.g. For verbs. Although the syntax of English is somewhat different from that of other West Germanic languages with regards to the placement and order of verbs (for example. and Scandinavian languages. derive from endings which previously existed in Old English (usually -e. Icelandic Ég hef aldrei séð neitt á torginu). in English we say "I reduce .g.g. German fallen/fiell/gefallen/werden fallen). Icelandic meining. Dutch. -an.redūxī . shoemakers. -u. as in English care vs. which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e. and the formation of the English infinitive using to (e. shoemaker's. English gift vs German Gift. schoenmakers. Scots weet.. Adverbs generally receive an -ly ending. during. and the large amount of cognates (e. shoemakers'. Despite lexical borrowing. etc. classroom). but *karō has become the dominant word in English for "care" while in German. etc. As in most Germanic languages. however. the comparatives of adjectives and adverbs (e. known as zero or null (-Ø) affixes. we say: "John's life insurance company" rather than "the company of insurance life of John". these include the normal plural marker -s/-es. Furthermore. English syntax continues to adhere closely to that of the North Germanic languages. West Frisian goed/better/best. and nouns which serve as modifiers (e. skomakers. English continues to make extensive use of self-explaining compounds (e.g. the present participle ending -ing. English time vs Norwegian time. all basic grammatical particles added to nouns. where the participle is placed at the end). English meaning. and the Dutch Ik heb nooit iets op het plein gezien. streetcar. the *surgō root prevailed. English adjectives usually come before the noun they modify. English wet. declension. It also gives rise to false friends (e. and adverbs are Germanic. that later weakened to -e. Dutch zenden. meaning "hour".I reduced . West Frisian fal/foel/fallen/sil falle. English fall/fell/fallen/will or shall fall.e. and adjectives and adverbs are inflected for the comparative and superlative using -er and -est (e. "movement" (French) vs. calmer. "we thought" = we thought-Ø < we thoughte(n) < Old English wē þōhton). traits inherited from Old English (See also Kenning). skomakere). schoenmakeren.g. lamp post. othering").g.g. English good/better/best. Old English tō drīfenne). German Sorge. schoenmakers. German Änderung (literally "alteration. these include the third person present ending -s/-es (e.

and phrases such as to tide over). genre. but their usage patterns have diverged. the word for "library" is bibliothèque. Finally. with some minor spelling differences (e. though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide. "reside" vs. since. etc. as German "Freiheit" vs. Many of these words are common words. has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon. compare "library" with the French librairie. Geographical distribution See also: List of countries by English-speaking population .). "button" vs. in French. while differences in phonology can obscure words that really are related (tooth vs. use of old French spellings. a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French. lack of diacritics. but the English word. "table" vs. etc. Dutch and Low German also had a considerable influence on English vocabulary. which shows how close-knit the relations between the English and the Scandinavian settlers were (See below: Old Norse origins). as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example.). The Germanic languages Icelandic and Faroese also follow English in this respect. For instance. while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum"). The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with the exception of a handful of more recently borrowed words such as mirage. All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages. French nature. etc. through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval". English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood". résider. and directly from French in subsequent centuries. often mistaken for being native. they developed independent of German influences. or phrases like coup d’état. because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French. Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit ("time") is related to English "tide".[citation needed] Many North Germanic words entered English due to the settlement of Viking raiders and Danish invasions which began around the 9th century (see Danelaw).g. "hour" vs.) has become largely anglicised and follows a typically English phonology and pattern of stress (compare English "nature" vs. "-dom" and "-ness". As a result. German Zahn. heure. Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker. compare also Danish tand). bouton. rendez-vous. "-ship". inflectional endings. via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest. abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "-hood". café. like English."poison"). table. 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). contributing common everyday terms and many nautical and trading terms (See below: Dutch and Low German origins). which means bookstore.

India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world.[51] Countries such as the Philippines. India has the most such speakers ('Indian English').[49] Ireland (3.[11][39] However. Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well".152 First language Comment Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000. in descending order: United States (215 million). Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language.[44] The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are.7 million). combining native and non-native speakers.964.[46] South Africa (3.[40][41] Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly from 470 million to over a billion depending on how literacy or mastery is defined and measured.2 million).[46] Canada (18.388. Crystal claims that. when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world.[47] Australia (15.[48] Nigeria (4 million). Table 1.5 million).[38] English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers.[52][53] Countries in order of total speakers Country Total Percent of population 96% As an additional Population language 215.8 million).[50] and New Zealand (3. though possibly second to a combination of the Chinese languages (depending on whether or not distinctions in the latter are classified as "languages" or "dialects"). after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. 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.301 States of America .[42][43] Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.[45] United Kingdom (61 million).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.6 million) 2006 Census.375.423. Note: United 251.744 262.557 35.

Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers.974.221 second language speakers.000 Kelechukwu Uchechukwu. 2001 figures.800.000[57] 43. but not English users. United 59." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296– 313.[57] Philippines 48.436 language. Total speakers: Census 2000.000 84.000 >75.344.600.125.000 . 487–525.449 86.71% of the 66.993. Native speakers: Census 1995.028. the midpoint of the range is used in the table.000 Source: Crystal (2005). 19 (5&6).066 third language speakers Nigeria 79.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as an additional language.[56] Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin.500. Ihemere.000.100.India 125. (1998). 38.000.736 12% 226.7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English. text above Figure 7. p.566.737. 2006. an Englishbased pidgin or creole. Ethnologue lists 3.000 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 1.000.000 60. as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines.000.000 53% 4. 148.000.427.[54][55] The figures include English speakers.000 58%[57] 3.000 Kingdom 98% 58. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.000 1. 63. 109.

Saint Kitts and Nevis. Note: Total = First language + Other language. Zambia. New Zealand. it is an official language. English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island. Singapore. The native speakers figure comprises 122. Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa. [58] The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home. Papua New Guinea. plus 17. Fiji.830 7. the British Virgin Islands.694. Saint Helena. Madagascar.220 85% 17.572. the Turks and Caicos Islands. Gambia. Nigeria. Montserrat. Palau.172. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Uganda. Sri Lanka.551.660 19. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Antigua and Barbuda. Gibraltar. Mauritius. Guernsey.Canada Australia Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue. Saint Lucia. the Cayman Islands. Seychelles. Malta. the Philippines (Philippine English). In some countries where English is not the most spoken language. these countries include Botswana. Pakistan. Jersey. the Marshall Islands. Jamaica. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. the Federated States of Micronesia. Guyana.246. the British Indian Ocean Territory. Guam. Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency. Lesotho. Bermuda. . the Falkland Islands. Trinidad and Tobago. the Isle of Man. Pitcairn Islands.989 92% 15. India. Canada.660 people with 25. Guam. It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English). The additional language column 18. the Solomon Islands. Dominica. Sierra Leone. Ireland. Rwanda. Liberia. Grenada. and Zimbabwe. Cameroon. Sudan.288 shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well". the Bahamas. Swaziland. Samoa. the United Kingdom and the United States. South Sudan.591. Kiribati. Source: 2006 Census.390 29.329 2. Tanzania.639. Belize.030 both French and English as a mother tongue.170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue. Nauru. Ghana. Percentage = Total / Population Countries where English is a major language English is the primary language in Anguilla. Australia.581. Barbados. Kenya.855. Namibia.

an educated dialect of South East England. Austria. Several educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world. 79% in the Netherlands.[19] It is. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. 66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland. ahead of French at 32%. World language. and English as a foreign or second language Because English is so widely spoken. and the US Virgin Islands).[19] Because of that global spread. Puerto Rico. and the United Arab Emirates.[61] Although falling short of official status.[64] Books. Slovenia.[19] and while it is not an official language in most countries.[65] and to claims of linguistic imperialism. Malaysia. magazines. by 89% of schoolchildren. it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. which is spread over most of the United States and much of . Cyprus. Belgium. In the United Kingdom much emphasis is placed on Received Pronunciation. 83% in Denmark. such as Bahrain.) English is not an official language in the United States. English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom. (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details. and Germany. the lingua franca of the modern era. Brunei. Bangladesh. English as a global language See also: English in computing.Northern Mariana Islands. leading to language shift and even language death. and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French.[60] Although the United States federal government has no official languages. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers". International English. a large percentage of the adult population can converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden. but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. the official language for aerial and maritime communications.[63] Among some nonEnglish speaking EU countries.[62] English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations. it has often been referred to as a "world language". General American. including the International Olympic Committee.[66] 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.[59] and the former British colony of Hong Kong. and English is the most commonly used language in the sciences[19] with Science Citation Index reporting as early as 1997 that 95% of its articles were written in English. by international treaty. even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries. English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union.[66] English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole. English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins. This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages..

from other varieties of English. or a desire to be so identified. and for a complete list of regional dialects. and pronunciation. Scouse and Geordie within British English. several subvarieties. The English of neighbouring New Zealand as well as that of South Africa have to a lesser degree been influential native varieties of the language. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base. such as Jamaican Patois. but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. see List of dialects of the English language. For the most distinctive characteristics of regional accents. English is a pluricentric language. such as Cockney. designed primarily for use in deaf education. E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be. causing dialectalisation. but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began. there are numerous other varieties of English. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries. see Regional accents of English. the major native dialect of Australian English is spoken as a first language by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners. which include. whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English. grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ. which are independent and not based on English. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects. which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language. and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. 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. indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers.[69] Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history. English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language. . Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. Within England. Aside from these major dialects. 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. sometimes substantially. English speakers have many different accents. and Tok Pisin. Nigerian Pidgin.[68] There are a number of regional dialects of Scots. In Oceania. Constructed varieties of English • • • • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. Newfoundland English within Canadian English. English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world. grammar and vocabulary differed across the country. Manually Coded English constitutes a variety of systems that have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals. Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English[67] and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources. 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. There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words.Canada. without a central language authority like France's Académie française. with General Australian serving as the standard accent. in most cases.

The most famous king of the West Saxons was Alfred the Great. the Norseman landed in the year of 866 and later the east coast of the island was Norseman’s. Their language was a part of Germanic branch of Indo-European Family. Simplified Technical English was historically developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals and is now used in various industries. translated or caused to be translated many books from Latin in to English. all based on restricted vocabularies.Saxons. Also in the 14th century Rome Empire weakened because Goths attacked to Mediterranean countries of Roman Empire and Anglo-Saxons attacked to empire. the demonstrative pronouns. Norse wasn’t so different from English and English people could understand Norseman. On the other hand the Celtic tribes in Scotland and Wales developed. butter. Latin effected the language with the merchants traveling the tribes. Celtic and Anglo-Saxons fought for 100 years and Anglo-Saxons killed all the Celtics. Some of the words taken from Latin are. Modern English (1500-now).D. OLD ENGLISH When England was established there were several kingdoms and the most advanced one was Nurthumbria. In the 8th century Nurthumbrian power declined . Among this people the tribes called Angels. Norse language effected the English considerably. There .Jutes which is called Anglo-Saxons come to England.wine. The history of English begins a little after A. It was this period that the best of the Old English literature was written .) 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.• • • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak. During Roma Empire Latin wasn’t the native language of the kingdom because people in the country were talking Celtic. 600. Middle English(1100-1450/1500). When Anglo-Saxons became Christian in 597 they learned Latin. cheap. At the end in 410 the last roman emperor left the island to Celtic and AngloSaxons. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words. Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America.cheese. the history of the language divided in to three. West Saxons became the leading power. including the epic poem Beowulf. In some books Modern English is divided in to two Early modern (1500-1700) . The people talking this language spread to the northern coast of Europe in the time of Roman Empire. In 550 Anglo –Saxons established England. There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel. kettle. Old English(7th century-1100). The ancestors of the language were wandering in the forests of northern Europe. were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas.Late Modern (1700-now). After many years of hit-and-run raids between the European kingdoms. According to the effects to English . The first Latin effect was in that period. He founded and established schools.

. The sound system&grammar wasn’t so effected but vocabulary was effected much. 1994. sermon. MIDDLE ENGLISH Between 1100-1200 many important changes took place in the structure of English and Old English became Middle English. The other change is what is called the Great Vowel Shift. (Clark. “This can be called as a simplification but it is not exactly. Languages don’t become simpler . learned words: study. Grammar and the sound system changed a good deal.F. In 1066 they crossed the Channel and they became the master of England. parson. goverment. V. Most of the Old English words are native English which weren’t borrowed from other languages..count. move. literary words: story romance. words for food: veal.P.England was ruled by the kings whose native language was French.A. household words: curtain.music. The political event which effected the administration system and language was the Norman Conquest.blanket. church word: religion.conversation. peach. It is supposed also that the Norseman influenced the sound structure and the grammar of English.them.were considerable interchanges and word borrowings (sky. V.leg.A.etc.towel. they merely exchange one kind of complexity for another”( (Clark. stomach. Also borrowed pronouns like they. ordinary words for all sorts: nice. &Rose .their. logic grammar. On the other hand Old English contains borrowed words coming from Norse and Latin. P. vermilion.A. P. These two changes produced the basic differences .give.622 ) For us Middle English is simpler that Old English because it is closer to Modern English.F. beef. scarlet. This was a systematic shifting of half a dozen vowels and diphthongs in stressed syllables. play words: dance. People started to rely more on word order and structure words to express their meaning rather than the use of case system. In grammar . poet. One change was the elimination of a vowel sound in certain unstressed positions at the end of the words..cream. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH Between 1400-1600 English underwent a couple of sound changes. nobility.second. 1994.A. English continued to be the national language but it changed too much after the conquest.ugly.biscuit.surgeon. For the next several next years .outlaw. &Rose . In vocabulary Old English is quiet different from Middle English.talk). The shift effected all the words in which these vowels sounds occurred.majesty.egg.lamp. On the other hand French couldn’t become the national language because it became the language of the court . final. literature. colors: blue.noun. surprise. mutton. plain. Old English had some sound which we don’t know have now. anatomy. various endings for adjectives. chair.very..gentel. literary. polite society.& Eschholz.& Eschholz.P.leisure. more person and number endings of words and a more complicated pronoun systems.lemon. There were word related with goverment:parliment.age. But it didn’t replace as the language of the people.bucket. Old English was much more highly inflected that Middle English because there were case endings for nouns. The change was important because it effected thousands of words and gave a different aspect to the whole language.622 ) Middle English was still a Germanic language but it is different from Old English in many ways.tax.law..sure.chess. For example the word name had in Middle English a vowel something like that in the modern word father. fault. flower.

and pitr in Sanskrit. The Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian). two are. the language of ancient Rome. The first English Dictionary was published in 1603. it was felt to control the language. The period where English developed most in the Modern English. 2001 Indo-European and Germanic Influences English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. similar words in different languages that share the same root. Around the second century BC. can be seen today. One was the invention of printing. The period of Early Modern English was also a period of English Renaissance. The Slavic languages. even though no written record of it exists. But there are several other developments that effected the language. which means the development of the people.000 years ago. English language had grown as a result of borrowing words from French . The Celtic languages. What will happen in the future? It’ll continue to grow . English is in the Germanic group of languages.Latin. for example. designated proto-Indo-European. A (Very) Brief History of the English Language Dave Wilton. including Hindi and Sanskrit. Of these branches of the Indo-European family.between Middle English and Modern English. The Indo-European family includes several major branches: • • • • • • • Latin and the modern Romance languages. Monday. English is the greatest language of the world spoken natively and as a second language. pater in Latin. of paramount importance. It was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1475. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In order to establish the language they develop a dictionary. the Germanic and the Romance (called that because the Romance languages derive from Latin. These words are all cognates. and Greek. for our purposes of studying the development of English. Another product of the 18th century was the invention of English Grammar. Now. After this books became cheaper and cheaper. This group began as a common language in the Elbe river region about 3. New ideas increased. The Indo-Iranian languages. The influence of the original Indo-European language. January 15. As English is replaced with Latin as the language of scholarship. The Germanic languages. more people learned to read and write and advanced in communication. The greatest writer of the Early Modern English period is Shakespeare and the best known book is the King Jones version of the BIBLE. The word for father. This broad family includes most of the European languages spoken today. this Common Germanic language split into three distinct sub-groups: . may be it will be the universal language. is vater in German. In that period the people speaking that language increased too much. not because of any bodice-ripping literary genre). Greek.

In fact. West Saxon in the south and west. water. particularly in the north of England. Cornish. Saxons. Dutch. Norwegian. and Ireland. derive from Old English roots. Norse invasions. They spoke a mutually intelligible language. These invaders pushed the original. leaving behind a few Celtic words. Words like be. brought many North Germanic words into the language. Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland. (The Bayeux Tapestry. and Kentish in the Southeast. Frisian. 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). and strong. which had meant joy until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr. The majority of words in modern English come from foreign. and the only written East Germanic language that survives is Gothic. the Duke of Normandy. began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. 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. and Jutes. Northumbrian in the north of England. North Germanic evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages of Swedish. lasted until about 1100. the Norman Conquest. Old English. Some examples are dream. (The last native Cornish speaker. Wales. Four major dialects of Old English emerged. Flemish.• • • East Germanic was spoken by peoples who migrated back to southeastern Europe. which is related to Estonian and is not an Indo-European language). Mercian in the Midlands. Cornwall. Danish. No East Germanic language is spoken today. not Old English roots.) The new overlords spoke a . The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500) William the Conqueror. But this statistic is deceptive. details of which form the navigation buttons on this site. and English. beginning around 850.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. This last date is rather arbitrary. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. Cornwall. Old English is much more important than this number would indicate. but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language. West Germanic is the ancestor of modern German. for example. invaded and conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD. is now a dead language. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. unfortunately. and Icelandic (but not Finnish. died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole. which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt. is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest. and skirt. Dolly Pentreath. only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today.

Giue us this day our daily bread. Other times. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. such as indict. where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots. It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old. Other times. and mass came into the language this way). and Modern English. Beef. can be seen in many instances. Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language. who tended the cattle. þi reume or kyngdom come to be.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. The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment. French and Old English components combined to form a new word. 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. two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English. And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us. Many legal terms. Take for instance this Old English (c. Sometimes French words replaced Old English words. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. or wish and desire. Middle. Finally. To get a feel for Old English pronunciation. retained the Germanic cow. jury. and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words. Prior to the Norman Conquest. in Early Modern English (King James Version. commonly eaten by the aristocracy. the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name.dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. beef and cow. Thy kingdom come. vicar. read by Catherine Ball of Georgetown University. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif. derives from the Anglo-Norman. mainly through vestiges of the Roman occupation and from the conversion of Britain to Christianity in the seventh century (ecclesiastical terms such as priest. play a wav file of this Old English text (518Kb). hallowed be thy name. This split. 1611) the same text is completely intelligible: Our father which art in heauen. while the Anglo-Saxon commoners. . 1384). Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam.

These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these inkhorn terms. albeit with difficulty. the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. In that year. Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance. and pedant. vanish into thin air. dwindle. Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. Early Modern English (1500-1800) The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. Words he bequeathed to the language include critical. Middle English can be read. But. The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English. majestic. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. The first was the Great Vowel Shift.And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. And lead us not into temptation. Amen. until they realize that he coined them and they became cliches afterwards. leapfrog. but many survive to this day. some 2. In 1204 AD. One fell swoop. and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman. The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. About 150 years later. the Statute of Pleading was adopted.000 words and countless catchphrases are his. Shakespeare’s character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms. the Black Death (1349-50) killed about one third of the English population. but deliuer us from euill. By 1362. King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France. and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord’s Prayer. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare. England became the chief concern of the nobility. which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. Unlike Old English. by modern English-speaking people. rather than their estates in France. This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins. Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some . This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare’s.

Also. the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world. Byte. Late-Modern English (1800-Present) The principal distinction between early. Before the Great War. Blockbuster. but Late-Modern English has many more words. The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. Britain ruled one quarter of the earth’s surface. and microchip are good examples. became the standard. and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. Military slang entered the language like never before. Shakespeare. Finally. protein. and the first English dictionary was published in 1604. perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter e at the end of words became silent. For this. and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships. nose dive. and typewriter. the shift was rather sudden. but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. but with the exception of nautical terms. although the change has become considerably more gradual. military service for English-speaking persons was rare. The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. hard-drive. pajamas. Spelling and grammar became fixed. The second was the British Empire. The dialect of London. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English. Words like oxygen. and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages. however. the major changes occurring within a century. and works in English. These words are the result of two historical factors. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. bios. on the other hand. and juggernaut. nuclear. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. where most publishing houses were located. airplane. but to introduce words into English. would be accented. from the Finnish sauna and the Japanese tycoon. shampoo. The shift is still not over. and down was pronounced /doon/. five was pronounced /feef/. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though. and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own. as opposed to Latin. vowel sounds are still shortening.and late-modern English is vocabulary. Finally.difficulty. became more common. English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. Military slang existed. This burst of neologisms continues today. the printing press brought standardization to English. grammar. Books became cheaper and as a result. radar. During the mid-20th century. Pronunciation. virtually all British and American men served in the military. the 20th century saw two world wars. volunteer militaries. and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. provided many words. The British Empire was a maritime empire. rarely influenced standard English. both Britain and the United States maintained small. cyber-. In Middle English name was pronounced /nam-a/. . The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society. In linguistic terms. camouflage. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise. English roots were used for such terms as horsepower. Chaucer’s Lyf (pronounced /leef/) became the modern word life. however. Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. literacy became more common. Hindi. to the vast contributions of French and Latin. and spelling are largely the same. At its height. but understandable. such as pundit.

. frame-up which was reintroduced to Britain through Hollywood gangster movies. tomato. and vigilante are all examples of Spanish words that made their way into English through the settlement of the American West. Raccoon.g.1000: The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period 1066: The Norman conquest c. and jambalaya came into the language via New Orleans. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun 911: Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. Goober. and use of loan as a verb instead of lend). canoe. stampede. Armadillo. In certain respects. 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. Roanoke. words have influenced American English. ranch. To a lesser extent French. savanna. Spanish has also been great influence on American English. canyon. and West African. Indian-sounding names like Idaho were sometimes created that had no native-American roots. and tote are West African borrowings first used in America by slaves. gumbo. these were place names like Mississippi.roadblock. Most often. American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. although in many cases the original Indian words were mangled almost beyond recognition. through the importation of slaves. mainly via Louisiana. fall as a synonym for autumn.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 . names for other things besides places were also common. trash for rubbish. The American dialect also served as the route of introduction for many native American words into the English language. Some pronunciations and usages “froze” when they reached the American shore. barbecue. American English Also significant beginning around 1600 AD was the English colonization of North America and the subsequent creation of a distinct American dialect. and hickory have native American roots. A Chronology of the English Language 55 BCE: Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar 43 CE: Roman invasion and occupation under Emperor Claudius. and Iowa. Some Americanisms that the British decry are actually originally British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost at home (e. bayou. But. Armoire. Augustine arrives in Britain. The beginning of Norman French c. mustang. spearhead. 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. He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English.

of the Bible is published 1616: Death of Shakespeare 1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is published 1666: The Great Fire of London.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. in London 1755: Samuel Johnson publishes his dictionary 1770: Cook discovers Australia 1776: Thomas Jefferson writes the Declaration of Independence 1782: Washington defeats Cornwallis at Yorktown. established 1611: The Authorized. English-language newspaper.1388: Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales c. The Daily Courant. 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. English is used in Parliament for the first time 1384: Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible c.1348: English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools. 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 . or King James Version. Table Alphabeticall 1607: Jamestown. the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Records continue to be kept in Latin. End of The Great Plague 1702: Publication of the first daily.

Williams. therefore. The proper beginning for us. Those German Dutch Danish students who have studied German undoubt edly have noticed a remarka ble similarity between that language and their own. Brot and bread. is to view the place of English in perspective.from “The Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History”. by Joseph M. likewise. 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. amid the many tongues of mankind. the German Wasser and English water. Fleisch and flesh closely resemble each other. The German word Milch is very close in sound to the English milk. not to mention a great many additiona l .

In 1786. father. Yiddish. Canada. Perhaps we can see this similarity best if we place side by side in systemat ic form the words for mother. Australia and New Zealand. or in a mixture with other languages (such as pidgins and creoles. Dutch. Indo-European language and people English is classified genetically as a Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit contained many cognates to Greek and Latin. English mother father brother Mutter Vater Bruder moeder vader broeder moder fader broder History of English (Source: A History of English by Barbara A.example s. He conjectured a Proto-Indo-European language had existed many years before. the United States has no official language. and the Scandinavian languages.) English is the (or an) official language in England. Afrikaans. English. a second language. however. The early history of the Germanic languages is based on reconstruction of a ProtoGermanic language that evolved into German. Although there . and brother. as they appear in various tongues. Fennell) The English language is spoken by 750 million people in the world as either the official language of a nation.

θ. d. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) lived in Southwest Russia around 4. t.) 3.) 4.) They also had domesticated animals.) They also made use of a decimal counting system by 10's. indicating they did not live in a warm climate. Two Tense Verbal System: There is a past tense marker (-ed) and a present tense marker (-s) on the verb (without using auxiliary verbs. 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.000 BCE. Aspirated voiced stops became Unaspirated voiced stops (Bʰ. Fixed Stress: The stress of words was fixed on the first syllable. g became p.000 to 5. This PIE language was also highly inflectional as words had many endings corresponding to cases. • • • a. They drank alcohol made from grain. The spread of the language can be attributed to two theories. and used horse-drawn wheeled carts. the language spread to many areas with the advancement of the people. 2. k became f. it is believed that many languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia are all derived from a common language. of which the last three belong to the Finno-Ugric language family. A few languages that are not included in the Indo-European branch of languages include Basque. Vowel Changes (Proto Germanic) . x (h)) Verner's Law explains other exceptions that Grimm's law does not include. Voiceless stops became Voiceless fricatives (P. dʰ. t. 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. Finnish. Germanic Languages The subgroup of Germanic languages contains many differences that set them apart from the other I-E languages. Weak and Strong Adjectives: Each adjective had a different form whether it was preceded by a determiner or no determiner. 6. Estonian and Hungarian. d. Either way. Voiced stops became Voiceless stops (B. 5. 1. -te in German. This rapid and vast spread of the I-E people is attributed to their use of horses for transportation. gʰ became b. The I-E people either wanted to conquer their neighbors or look for better farming land.is no concrete proof to support this one language had existed. g) b. and formed words by compounding. and not wine. or -de in Swedish. Grimm's Law (or the First Sound Shift) helps to explain the consonant changes from P-I-E to Germanic. k) c. Weak Past Tense: Used a dental or alveolar suffix to express the past (such as -ed in English.

leaving the main area of Britain. edh. Alfred the Great was the king of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom. called the Futhorc.• Short o to short a (Latin: hortus. wife. loaf. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings who repeatedly invaded the area. Four dialects were spoken in these kingdoms: West Saxon. and it contained many symbols that are no longer found in Modern English: the aesc. The Celts moved north to Scotland. Characteristics of the Old English language . he united the kingdoms together and commissioned the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. Saxons. The Romans finally left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing. Kentish. Essex. The Insular Hand was the name of the writing system used in England. and East Anglia. a historical record of important events in England that continued 200 years after his death. OE: modor) 7. a list of subjects who owed tribute to the king. Northumbria. thorn. Mercian and Northumbrian. Wessex. while dominance shifted among the kingdoms beginning with Kent and Northumbria. They had destroyed the Roman civilization in England and built their own. Although the Danes brought their own writing system with them. Jutes and Frisians. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia. The four main tribes were the Angles. It is commonly referred to as Runes. the Danes quickly assimilated and intermarried into the English society. In 731 CE. The Treaty of Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this "Danelaw" gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. It detailed the sophisticated society of the Germanic tribes. Kent. earth. Although they invaded twice. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded. Old English (449 . Common Vocabulary: Words developed that hadn't been used before. yogh and wynn. Then the Germanic tribes from the present-day area of Denmark arrived. because the languages were so similar. They aligned with the Celtic clergy and converted to Christianity. they did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE and Latin never overtook the Celtic language. Laws and contracts were written down for a sense of permanence and control. meat and fowl. Bede wrote the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" in Latin. was written during the Mercian period of power. However. English: garden) • Long a to long o (Latin: mater. west to Ireland and south to France. as well the macron for distinguishing long vowels. The Tribal Hidage. leaving the Celts defenseless. such as nautical terms (sea). Sussex.1066 CE) The Old English language (also called Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. Others include rain. During his reign. it was not used in England.

In all. and genitive. The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English becase of the declensions of the nouns. After converting to Christianity. all verbs had markers for number and person. then the strong endings were used. the endings were not pronounced as clearly and began to diminish from the language. or -lic. but these were assigned arbitrarily. as only a few place names are of Celtic origin. there were seven groups of declensions for nouns. When an object is a pronoun. so the languages they spoke did have some Latin influence. feminine or neuter. The i-mutation occurred if there was a front vowel in the ending. There were also two front rounded vowels that are no longer used in modern English. The case endings told the function of the word in the sentence. and there were four cases: nominative. the weak ending was added to the adjective. word order is very important because we no longer have declensions to show case distinctions. while the strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. the latter which still remains in modern English as -like. So in modern English. the subject often follows the verb. The infinitive of verbs ended in -an.verb . The weak past tense added -de. Eventually the -ost and -m endings combined to form the word "most" which is still used before adjectives in the superlative today. it often precedes the verb.object. The comparative was formed by adding -ra to the adjective. -ist. For example. as evidenced in words pertaining to the church. then the root vowel became fronted. Instead we use prepositions. -est. 2. fot becomes fot+i = fet (This helps to explain why feet is the plural of foot. Numbers could be either singular or plural. If preceded by a determiner. The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short vowels. accusative. Latin had more influence. and -m. But as the stress began to move to the first syllable of words. but it did vary in a few instances: 1. Celtic did not have a large impact on English. When a sentence begins with an adverb. The general word order was subject . In the present tense. [i:] and [ɪ:].) Pronunciation of consonants: . dative. If no determiner preceded the adjective. while the superlative had many endings: -ost. Nouns could be of three genders: masculine. 3. They also agreed in gender. The verb often comes at the end of a subordinate clause. so word order was not very important. Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective. Adjectives could be weak or strong.The Germanic tribes were exposed to Latin before they invaded England. Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English. but Danish (Old Scandinavian) did contribute many vocabulary words. Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first syllable. case and number with the nouns they described.

Furthermore. 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 . several words (around 10. felony. empire). many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more "English" and so encouraged more use of the English language. French began to lose its prestige. law (judge. cuisine. but their works included an apology for writing in English. larceny). However. Nevertheless. who only spoke English. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere. King Edward I spoke only English. Yet William spoke only French. Duke of Normandy. which was considered somewhat snobbish. Chaucer). English was the language of instruction in schools. The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class.f c g h s ð r sc cg v f č k j ɣ g h x. the legal system retained parts of . the Hundred Year's War (1337-1453 CE) intensified hatred of all things French. physician). By 1385 CE. King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs. justice. attorney. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE. Although the popularity of French was decreasing. social life (fashion. appetite) and learning (poet. William invaded England. embroidery. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague. but they did still use French words sometimes. the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts.1500 CE) The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. jury. The upper class tried to learn English. upon learning that Harold was crowned king. and William.000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE (though most of these words were Parisian rather than Norman French). By 1362 CE. the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. At this time. and the upper class did not want to lose it completely. believed that he would become the next king. 1350 to 1400 CE is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (most famously. which increased the status of the peasants. killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. logic. Many of the words were related to government (sovereign. and after him. But by 1250 CE. As a result.

herb. them. The generalized plural marker became -s. late. And the adverb ending -lič became -ly. wonder. Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. some "flat" adverbs did not add the -ly: fast. money. Verb infinitives dropped the -an ending. won. Adjectives lost agreement with the noun. Phonological erosion also occurred because of this. and some consonants dropped off while some vowels became əand dropped off too. as in ye meaning the) c before i or e became ch sc became sh an internal h was added after g hw became wh cw became qu the new symbols v and u were added. hard. however. honey. Characteristics of Middle English The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: • • • • • • • • • • • þ and ð were replaced by th (and sometimes y. Vowels tended to be long in the adjective form. ʒ became j. but the weak ending -e still remained. . The demonstratives these and those were added during this period. but the singular also competed with -(e)s from the Northern dialect. their) borrowed from Scandinavian. More strong (irregular) verbs became weak (regular) as well. The comparative form became -er and the superlative became -est. some. g before i or e was pronounced ǰ. one. and u was used everywhere else k was used much more often (cyning became king) new values were given to old symbols too. and used "to" before the verb to signify the infinitival form.French word order (the adjective following the noun) in such terms as fee simple. v was used word initially. come. of Because of the stress shift to the beginning of the word. and c before i and e became s in some cases a historical h (usually not pronounced) was added to some words (it was assumed that these words had once begun with an h): honor. The dual number disappeared in the pronouns. 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. but it still competed with -n. front. habit sometimes words were written with o but pronounced as [ʊ] but later were pronounced [ʌ]: son. heir. and the dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th. The third person plural pronouns replaced the old pronouns with thwords (they. attorney general and accounts payable. honest. ton. but short in the comparative form (late . from.latter).

an apron. but the southern pronunciation of [o] and [č] would also remain. attemptate and dispraise. answer) [č] lost in unstressed syllable (ič .had) Loss of final -n in possessive pronouns (min fæder .head. The printing press led the path for the laser printer many.I) [v] lost in middle of words (heofod .Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used. hæfde . New compound tenses were used. 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. while a closed syllable with at least one consonant following it contained a short vowel In addition.for the third person plural pronouns. sword. Formerly. Early Modern English (1500 . Richard Mulcaster proposed in his treatise "Elementaire" a compromise on spelling and by 1623. and there was more use of the progressive and passive voice. the northern dialect would become the standard for modern English regarding the grammatical endings. but several words were also borrowed from other languages as well as from Chaucer's works. Eventually. Characteristics of Early Modern English Adjectives lost all endings except for in the comparative and superlative forms. Henry Cockrum published his English dictionary. The south used -(e)n for the plural. The use of double negation also increased as did impersonal constructions. and h. The neuter pronoun it was first used as well as who as a relative pronoun. In 1582. Some words. are no longer used in English.to leap. such as devulgate.(borrowed from Scandinavian). an open syllable with no consonant following it contained a long vowel.mi fæder) and the addition of -n to some words beginning with a vowel (a napron . Ten thousand words were added to English as writers created new words by using Greek and Latin affixes. there were dialectal differences in the north and south.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). a nuncle .1650/1700 CE) William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English. The class distinctions between . The north used [a] and [k] while the south used [o] and [č] for certain words. -(e)th for the third person singular. hnutu .hut) [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two. many years later in 1969 which lead to Canon. The printing press helped to standardize the spelling of English in its modern stages. Pronunciation changes: • • • • • • • • • Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan . HP and Brother toner. and the third person plural pronouns began with th. such as the perfect tenses. will meant want and shall meant obliged to.

but the spelling system was in place before the consonant loss. with supplements in 1933 and 1972-6. spelling variations. Vowels that were already high ([i] and [u]) added the dipthongs [aj] and [aw] to the vowels of English. Early grammarians felt that language should be logical. [ǰ]. knight. meanings in chronological order and illustrative quotations. as the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation. etymology. so that today there is no difference between them. folk) [r] sometimes before s (Worcestershire) initial clusters beginning with k and g (knee. assibilation occurred when the alveolars [s]. A more scientifically minded attitude took hold by the 19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary was proposed in 1859. The first edition was published in 1928. borrowing words from other languages (except Latin and Greek). pronunciation. [d]. talk. and [z] preceded the palatal glide [j]. The second edition was published in 1989 and it recognized American and Australian English. pronounced as f in laugh [b] in final -mb cluster (dumb. The tongue was placed higher in the mouth. They also didn't like shortened or redundant words. several grammarians wrote dictionaries and grammar books in a prescriptive manner . The consonants lost include: • • • • • • Voiceless velar fricative lost in night. James AH Murray. Nevertheless. but the Parliament voted against it. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and Robert Lowth's Introduction to English Grammar appeared in 1762. split infinitives. however. so they are still written in English today.telling people what to do or not to do with the language.formal and informal you were decreasing. and all the verbs moved up. The project was begun in 1879 under its first editor. comb) [l] between a or o and consonant (half. Negatives followed the verb and multiple negatives were still used. Beginnings of Modern English . producing the palatal consonants: [š]. Several consonants were no longer pronounced. [ž] Early Grammarians (18th Century) A proposal for an Academy of the English Language was first brought forth by Jonathan Swift in 1712. [t]. There was a more limited use of the progressive and auxiliary verbs than there is now. gnat) [g] in -ing endings (more commonly pronounced [ɪn]) Finally. More strong verbs became weak and the third person singular form became -(e)s instead of (e)th. [č]. walk. The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1600) changed the pronunciation of all the vowels. part of speech. the double negative was considered incorrect (two negatives equal one positive) and should not be used. therefore. It was to be a factual account of every word in the English language since 1000 including its main form. or prepositions at the end of the sentence.

The American English language is characterized by archaisms (words that changed meaning in Britain. a very large amount of vocabulary words has been added to English in a relatively short period.) Since 1900. He wrote an American spelling book. theatre became theater. so that money is called just "bees. 3. New Zealanders were more attached to the Received Pronunciation of the upper class in England. except Australia was originally settled as a penal colony and New Zealand was not. and use Greek and Latin roots. glottal stops are used frequently and labiodentals are used in place of interdentals." gloves is "turtle doves. A dialectal study was done in 1920 and the findings are published in the Linguistics Atlas of the U. and Canada. Canada also has French as an official language. the last of which rhymes with what is being referred to. the United States does not have an official language. The Rhyming Slang refers to a word by referring to two things." suit is "whistle and flute" and trouble is "Barney Rubble. etc. For examples.S. Dialects in the United States resulted from different waves of immigration of English speakers. contact with other languages.5 million immigrants left the British Isles for the United States. Noah Webster was the most vocal about the need for an American national identity with regards to the American English language. By the mid-1800's. which had a profound impact on African American English." Even more confusing. The majority of these words are related to science and technology. several changes to English had occurred since 1700. money is "bees and honey. Similarly. so their dialect is considered closer to British English. Canada.In England. in 1788 and changed several spellings from British English (colour became color. Cockney (and its Ryhming Slang) is an interesting dialect of English spoken in London's east end. he published his famous American Dictionary of the English Language. an increase in the use of the progressive tenses. These include a loss of the postvocalic r (so that the r is only pronounced before a vowel and not after). and the slave trade. sometimes the second word (which rhymes with the word being referred to) is omitted. Ireland. Australia and New Zealand have English as an official language." . English around the World Although the United Kingdom. American English Immigrants from Southeastern England began arriving on the North American continent in the early 1600's. there is little difference in the American and Canadian dialects of English.) In 1828. and a rise in class consciousness about speech (Received Pronunciation. Australian and New Zealand English have few differences. This is how it's possible to become a US citizen without speaking English. The Blueback Speller. though it is mostly spoken in the province of Quebec. but remained in the colonies) and innovations in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also settling in North America). Because many of the English speakers who originally inhabited Canada came from the US. The initial h of words is dropped.

and on islands of the Pacific and Caribbean (especially the West Indies.) Originally. Chinese. the Africans wanted English as the official language. and it still holds prestige in South Africa. India. Although the British won the Boer Wars of 1899-1901 against the Dutch farmers (the Boers). Malay and Indian languages have an impact on the form of English spoken. Everyone is taught English in the school system. today English and Hindi are the official languages. among other nations. and the English language was supposed to be phased out by 1965. Creoles of English can be found on the coast of West Africa. English became an official language. By 1948. "use to" means usually. and Singapore. Over time. but there are a few differences from British English as well. Apartheid (which segregated the Afrikaners and Africans) officially ended under Nelson Mandela's reign. . use of more compounds.British colonialism has spread English all over the world. However. China. India became an independent from Britian in 1947. In South Africa. these Afrikaners won state elections and remained in power through the 1990's. only 3% of the country's 30 million people are native English speakers. and the rest are native Africans. and a different use of prepositions. these creoles were pidgins so that English-speaking traders could conduct business. and although Afrikaans was the language used more often. along with Afrikaans and 9 African languages. they became the native languages of the children and evolved into creoles. Twenty percent are descendants of Dutch farmers who speak Afrikaans. However. Hence the compromise of 11 official languages. and no articles are used before occupations. Mass nouns are treated as count nouns. In Singapore. in the 1996 constitution. Indian English is characterized by treating mass nouns as count nouns. Britain still promised the Boers self-government under the Union of South Africa. frequent use of the "isn't it?" tag.

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