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This introduction to some exciting aspects in the field of social linguistics is designed to encourage you to read further. There are many fascinating and odd phenomena that occur in the social aspects of language.
WHAT IS SOCIOLINGUISTICS?
Sociolinguistics is a term including the aspects of linguistics applied toward the connections between language and society, and the way we use it in different social situations. It ranges from the study of the wide variety of dialects across a given region down to the analysis between the way men and women speak to one another. Sociolinguistics often shows us the humorous realities of human speech and how a dialect of a given language can often describe the age, sex, and social class of the speaker; it codes the social function of a language.
SOCIAL FACTORS PIDGINS AND CREOLES POLITENESS STRATEGIES POLITENESS AND GENDER WHO TALKS MORE, MEN OR WOMEN? DO MEN AND WOMEN SPEAK DIFFERENTLY?
INTRODUCTION When two people speak with one another, there is always more going on than just conveying a message. The language used by the participants is always influenced by a number of social factors which define the relationship between the participants. Consider, for example, a professor making a simple request of a student to close a classroom door to shut off the noise from the corridor. There are a number of ways this request can be made: a. Politely, in a moderate tone "Could you please close the door?" b. In a confused manner while shaking his/her head "Why aren't
you shutting the door?" c. Shouting and pointing, "SHUT THE DOOR!"
The most appropriate utterance for the situation would be a. The most inappropriate would be c. This statement humiliates the student, and provides no effort by the professor to respect him/her. Utterance b is awkward because it implies that the teacher automatically assumes that the student should know better than to leave the door open when there is noise in the hallway. The inappropriateness is a social decision tied to the social factors which shape the relationship between speaker ( the professor), and the listener (the student). When choosing an appropriate utterance for the situation, there are factors that you must consider in order to effectively convey the message to the other participant.
1. Participants- how well do they know each other? 2. Social setting- formal or informal 3. Who is talking- status relationship/social roles ( student vs. professor) 4. Aim or purpose of conversation 5. Topic
Do you notice that there is a difference in the way you speak to your friends and the way you speak to your relatives, teachers, or others of professional status?
When telling your friend that you like his/her shirt, you say: "Hey, cool shirt, I like that!" When telling the President of the company your parents work for that you like his/her shirt, you say: "You look very nice today, I really like that shirt." This is called choosing your variety or code. This can also be seen on a larger scale, diglossia, where multilingual nations include a variety of accents, language styles, dialects and languages. Each of these factors is a reflection of the region and socio-economics background from which you come from. In monolingual societies, the region and socio-economic factors are determined by dialect and language style.
It is not uncommon in our nation to see that languages other than English are spoken inside the home with friends and family. However when these bilingual or even trilingual families interact socially outside of their home, they will communicate in English. Even church services may use a variation of the language, one that you would only hear in side the church or in school. An example of the difference in the use of a language can be seen in the following example from Janet Holmes, "An Introduction to Sociolinguistics," of the two
main languages used in Paraguay; Spanish and Guarani:
Domain Family Friendship Religion Education Education Addres see Parent Friend Priest Setting Topic Home Cafe Church Planning a party Humorous ancedote Choosing the Sunday liturgy Langua ge Guarani Guarani Spanish Guarani Spanish
Teacher Primary Telling a story Lecturer Universi Solving math problem ty Office Getting an important license
Administrati Official on
Diglossia Diglossia: In a bilingual community, in which two languages or dialects are used differently according to different social situations.
Janet Holmes defines diglossia as having three crucial features:
1. In the same language, used in the same community, there are two distinct varieties. One is regarded as high (H) and the other low (L). 2. Each is used for distinct functions. 3. No one uses the high (H) in everyday conversation.
In the following example it is easy to tell which variety you will use given the social situations:
• • • • • •
Telling a joke Interviewing for a job Giving a speech for a charity event Giving a speech for a friend for his/her birthday Church Cafeteria
PIDGINS AND CREOLES
INTRODUCTION Can you guess what language this is? These lines are taken from a famous comic strip in Papua New Guinea: "Sapos yu kaikai planti pinat, bai yu kamap strong olsem phantom." "Fantom, yu pren tru bilong mi. Inap yu ken helpim mi nau?" "Fantom, em i go we?"
'If you eat plenty of peanuts, you will come up strong like the phantom.' 'Phantom, you are a true friend of mine. Are you able to help me now?' 1Where did he go?'
A simplified language derived from two or more languages is called a pidgin. It is a contact language developed and used by people who do not share a common language in a given geographical area. It is used in a limited way and the structure is very simplistic. Since they serve a single simplistic purpose, they usually die out. However, if the pidgin is used long enough, it begins to evolve into a more rich language with a more complex structure and richer vocabulary. Once the pidgin has evolved and has acquired native speakers ( the children learn the pidgin as their first language), it is then called a Creole. An example of this is the Creole above from Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin, which has become a National language.
Reasons for the development of Pidgins In the nineteenth century, when slaves from Africa were brought over to North America to work on the plantations, they were separated from the people of their community and mixed with people of various other communities, therefore they were unable to communicate with each other. The strategy behind this was so they couldn't come up with a plot to escape back to their land. Therefore, in order to finally communicate with their peers on the plantations, and with their bosses, they needed to form a language in which they could communicate. Pidgins also arose because of colonization. Prominent languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and Dutch were the languages of the coloni zers. They traveled, and set up ports in coastal towns where shipping and trading routes were accessible.
There is always a dominant language which contributes most of the vocabulary of the pidgin, this is called the superstrate language. The superstrate language from the Papua New Guinea Creole example above is English. The other minority languages that contribute to the pidgin are called the substrate
languages. In the United States, there is a very well known Creole, Louisiana Creole, which is derived from French and African Languages. You most likely have heard of "Cajun" which is a developed dialect of this Creole. Can you guess what major language (the superstrate) contributed to the vocabulary in each of these Creoles? This table is taken from Janet Holmes, " An Introduction to Sociolinguistics":
a. mo pe aste sa banan b. de bin alde luk dat big tri c. a waka go a wosu d. olmaan i kas-im chek e. li pote sa bay mo f. ja fruher wir bleiben g. dis smol swain i bin go fo maket I am buying the banana they always looked for a big tree he walked home the old man is cashing a check he brought that for me Yes at first we remained this little pig went to market
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a. French based Seychelles Creole b. English based Roper River Creole c. English based Saran d. English based Cape York Creole e. French based Guyanais
I want to use one of those!" b. I just wanted to ask you if I could use one of those pens?" d. "I don't want to bother you but. or making them feel uncomfortable. and be respected. Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these FTA's. "Could you please pass me that plate. that sum up human "politeness" behavior: Bald On Record. if I use one of those pens?" c.K. say. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem." If you answered B. According to Brown and Levinson. and you wanted to use one. but I am not able to hear the speaker in the front of the room. we can say to them. If you answered C. and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations. "So." or "I was . "I'm sorry to bother you but. When we are with a group of friends. when we are surrounded by a group of adults at a formal function. we must say.. say. if you don't mind?" and "I'm sorry. Some other examples would be to say. in which our parents are attending. Positive Politeness. English based Cameroon Pidgin POLITENESS In everyday conversation. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity. If you answered A.f. "Hmm. you used the Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that you recognize that they want to be respected however. Negative Politeness. In this situation you recognize that your teacher has a desire to be respected. would you a. I sure could use a blue pen right now. say." Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself.. Indirectly say. Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person. you used what is called the Bald On-Record strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to your teachers' "face. or "Shut-up!" However. you used the Positive Politeness strategy. you also assume that you are in some way imposing on them. there are ways to go about getting the things we want. I don't mean to interrupt. described by Brown and Levinson. "Go get me that plate!". politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face. is it O. we are obligated to adjust our use of words to fit the occasion. and Off-Record-indirect strategy." I different social situations. "Ooh." There are four types of politeness strategies. It would seem socially unacceptable if the phrases above were reversed. What would you do if you saw a cup of pens on your teacher's desk. German based Papua New Guinea Pidgin German g.
these roles are becoming more of a stereotype and less of a reality. In Frank and Anshen's "Language and the Sexes". and softening devices such as hedges and questions." If you answered D. From historical recurrence. "are permitted. you used Off-Record indirect strategies." 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. and you are looking to find one. formal stylistic markers). society has devalued these speech patterns when it is utilized by women. they note that boys. therefore you say. However. From Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. "women typically use more polite speech than do men. You are trying not to directly impose by asking for a pen. This is a prime example of how society plays an important part on the social function of the language. and Communication" she notes that. However. it is much less common that "girls will be girls" Fortunately. 1997 Politeness and Gender Are Women More Polite Than Men? Politeness is defined by the concern for the feelings of others. decided not to return someone's phone call." This page was last updated on Tuesday. even encouraged.. Therefore." although.. well "boys will be boys. characterized by a high frequency of honorific (showing respect for the person to whom you are talking to. peculiarly. it has been (historically) expected from a women to "act like a lady" and "respect those around you. to talk rough. on purpose. cultivate a deep "masculine" voice and. it has appeared that women have had a secondary role in society relative to that of the male. " I tried to call a hundred times. In our society it is socially acceptable for a man to be forward and direct his assertiveness to control the actions of others. the trend of expected polite speech from the female continues to remain. February 25. Culture. A great example of this strategy is somethin g that almost everyone has done or will do when you have. but there was never any answer. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once the teacher realizes you need one." It reflects the role of the inferior status being expected to respect the superior.wondering if . The main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you.
fix my jacket" Mom. Without Honorific. referent. having a sense of "fuzziness" they take away assertiveness in your statements." "maybe if. however. according to Masa-aki Yamanashi." "I think that. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. and fix my jacket?" In Japanese. yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda yamada son dinner enjoyed "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son. always speaking and expressing their feelings. this is probably true... soften the impact of your words or phrases such as " I was sort-of-wondering. Culture." More Gender Speech Issues Who Talks More. " I sort-of-think that Hank is a bit of a mean person. Men or Women? A common cultural stereotype describes women as being talkative. 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." 1.. could you please do me a favor. and entities or activities associated with either." Hedges: "loosely speaking". With Honorific. Well." 2.." "HANK is SO MEAN!" vs.. the appropriate choice of honorifics is based on complex rules evaluating addressee. 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. An experiment b y Marjorie Swacker entailed using three pictures by a ... and Communication.Honorifics: linguistic markers that signal respect to the person you are speaking to: "Hey ma.
Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana.fifteenth century Flemish artist. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. I love it. "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 . however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. In English we laugh at these utterances. This ever-changing concept is becoming le ss applicable in our society. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. Albrecht Durer which were presented to men and women separately. They were told to take as much time as they wanted to describe the pictures. However . It is more acceptable for a man to be talkative. but in the business world. The average time for males: 13. Since childhood." "This shirt is cool." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical." Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. Example taken from Janet Holmes. however. 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. it is common for men to be more silent in situations that require them to express emotion. Men have tended to take on a more dominant role not only in the household. most likely. however it is less acceptable for a women to do so. or a give a long wordy speech. the trend is still prominent in some societies across the world. I like them. they have been told to "keep their cool" and "remain calm.17 minutes." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. and the average time for women 3. carry on long conversation. It has been more of a historical trend for men have more rights to talk.0 minutes." "This is a super cool shirt. an American Indian language.
and Communication" Women Men ohiya mizu "water" . and Communication" Women Men ohiya onaka oisii taberu mizu hara umai kuu "water" "stomach" "delicious" "eat" Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. or by men talking to women. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker." "This is a super cool shirt. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. Therefore. "Language. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. Culture." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. In English we laugh at these utterances. Therefore. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. most likely. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. I like them." "This shirt is cool. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. Example taken from Janet Holmes. Culture. "Language. "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. I love it.to other men. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. or by men talking to women. an American Indian language. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men.
. English easily borrows words from other languages and has coined many new words to reflect advances in technology. while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle English of 1400 AD. Old English was a diverse group of dialects.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. it is most closely related to Frisian. Thus. the mother tongue of more than 350 million people.S. and various Caribbean and Pacific island nations. Late West Saxon. Jutes and possibly the Franks. the second by the French Normans in the 11th century. Greek and Latin words began to enter it in the 15th century. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old French. and when literary English rose anew in the 13th century. Angles. and the most widely taught foreign language. 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 . English changed enormously in the Middle Ages. Latin and Ancient Greek supplanted French as the main source of new words. Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English. as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch. it was based on the speech of London. and Dutch. Canada. Saxons. Initially. A large proportion of the modern English vocabulary comes directly from Old French. much closer to the center of Scandinavian settlement. The primary language of the U. who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. Britain. Written in the Latin alphabet. this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD. Australia. and many sub-Saharan African countries. and Saxons from Germany and Denmark to Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. and Modern English is usually dated from 1500. Its history began with the migration of the Jutes. The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought many French words into English. With the coming of the Renaissance. with heavy influence from Norman French in the courts and government. One of these dialects. eventually came to dominate. and completely unintelligible to modern speakers. Read more: http://www. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (approximately 1. Ireland. reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. The languages of Germanic peoples gave rise to the English language (the Angles. German.answers. New Zealand. widely spoken on six continents. Written Old English of 1000 AD is similar in vocabulary and grammar to other old Germanic languages such as Old High German and Old Norse. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066. the Philippines.5 billion speakers)."stomach" onaka hara "delicious" oisii umai "eat" taberu kuu Language belonging to the Germanic languages branch of the Indo-European language family. it is also an official language of India. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family. who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. English relies mainly on word order (usually subject-verb-object) to indicate relationships between words (see syntax). However. where Old English was developed into a full-fledged literary language. English developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary. Frisii.
the Angles were granted lands in the southeast of Britain. What is now called Old English emerged over time out of the many dialects and languages of the colonising tribes. Wales and Cornwall (where Cornish was spoken into the 19th century). including serving in the Roman military. they retained political independence. Some Germanic troops served in Britannia under the Romans. While remaining conversant with Roman civilisation and its economy. independent of Roman control. Angles and Jutes). The main source of information for the culture of the Germanic peoples (the ancestors of the English) in ancient times is Tacitus' Germania. 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. Saxons and Jutes arrived as Germanic pagans. the Angles.Migration Period). known as the heptarchy. King of the Britons. 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. and in response "came men of Ald Seaxum of Anglum of Iotum" (Saxons. Vortigern. As it was. modern scholars view the figures of Hengist and Horsa as Euhemerized deities from Anglo-Saxon paganism. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. In return. around the year 449. The Chronicle talks of a subsequent influx of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms. written around 100 AD. the remnants of which continue . However.  Old English The first page of the Beowulf manuscript Main article: Old English language The invaders' Germanic language displaced the indigenous Brythonic languages in most of the areas of Great Britain that were later to become England. invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help him in conflicts with the Picts. who ultimately stem from the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. it continued to exhibit local language variation. Even then. Further aid was sought.
The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was influenced by contact with Norse invaders.  Middle English Main article: Middle English Further information: Middle English creole hypothesis For about 300 years following the Norman Conquest in 1066. same. many of their lexical roots were the same or similar. Old English did not sound or look like the Standard English of today. English was strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Old Norse. Even after the decline of Norman-French. that we call Anglo-Norman. bag. standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language . sky. English words of Old Norse origin include anger. Nevertheless. law. The Old English period formally ended sometime after the Norman conquest (starting in 1066 AD). leg. for example. including the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (with the notable exception of the pronouns).. which might have been responsible for some of the morphological simplification of Old English. Old English was spoken until sometime in the 12th or 13th century.g. The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem Beowulf composed by an unknown poet. and many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have retained many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation. later. spoken by the Norsemen who invaded and settled mainly in the north-east of England (see Jórvík and Danelaw). when the language was influenced to an even greater extent by the Normans. Another example is the very unusual construction of the words for animals being separate from the words for their meat: e.as with most of Europe during the period . The new and the earlier settlers spoke languages from different branches of the Germanic family. A tendency for French-derived words to have more formal connotations has continued to the present day. Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language).and had a significant influence on the language. . Any native English speaker of today would find Old English unintelligible without studying it as a separate language. take. The words be. which is visible in Modern English today (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). animals with Germanic names. and many others. hit. The use of Anglo-Saxon to describe a merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. strong and water. skill. Later. the Norman kings and their high nobility spoke only one of the French langues d'oïl. although their grammars were more distinct. derive from Old English. The introduction of Christianity added another wave of Latin and some Greek words. about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman and. who spoke a French dialect called Old Norman. beef and pork (from the French bœuf and porc) being the products of 'cows' and 'pigs'. both.to be found in dialects of Modern English. 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. whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. possibly even including the pronoun they. most modern English speakers would consider a "cordial reception" (from French) to be more formal than a "hearty welcome" (Germanic).
especially the Brittonic substrate. most notably in the West Country.  Modern English Main article: Modern English In 1755. with many doubling for Old English words. the Industrial . the risk of mispronunciation is high.early 16th century). While the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle continued until 1154. which did not exist in Norman. In 1604. but these eventually disappeared).English was also influenced by the Celtic languages it was displacing. most other literature from this period was in Old Norman or Latin. The Provisions of Oxford. most notably with the introduction of the continuous aspect—a feature found in many modern languages but developed earlier and more thoroughly in English. and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work. The Norman influence is the hallmark of the linguistic shifts in English over the period of time following the invasion. Late Modern English has many more words. A large number of Norman words were taken into Old English. Latin words were often used with the original inflections. English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period. By the end of that century. with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth). which is descended from the alphabet of Old Norse. English literature started to reappear around 1200. The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. English was further transformed by the spread of a standardised London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardising effect of printing. The most famous writer from the Middle English period was Geoffrey Chaucer. was the first English government document to be published in the English language since the Conquest. Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. English has continuously adopted foreign words. which took place mainly during the 15th century. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable. even the royal court had switched to English. especially from Latin and Greek. the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. released in 1258. In 1362. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer.  Early Modern English Main article: Early Modern English Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift. arising from two principal factors: firstly. since the Renaissance. the first English dictionary was published. These letters remain in the modern Icelandic alphabet. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 15th . but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects. producing what is now referred to as Middle English. (In the 17th century. Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary. his Dictionary of the English Language. the Table Alphabeticall. when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable. but it had ceased to be a living language.
"who". the term objective is often used. In other words. "her" (for example) serves as both the dative and accusative version of the nominative pronoun "she". The information formerly conveyed by having distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order. are remnants of both the old nominative versus accusative and also of nominative versus dative. these cases had distinct pronouns. the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's surface. etc. "he" and "him". "she" and "her". secondly. that is. but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information). the objective and subjective always have the same form. and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries.Revolution and technology created a need for new words. The nominative case. Instead. the possessive case — which some linguists argue is not a case at all. Evolution of English pronouns "Who" and "whom". 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". Modern English morphologically distinguishes only one case.  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 . "whom" is a generic objective pronoun which can describe either a direct or an indirect object. is called simply the subjective. In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples. With only a few pronominal exceptions.
mine we Accusativ ūs / ūsiċ Plural e us Dative Genitive ūs ūser / ūre ure / our us our. no later forms derive from it.  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. wit ("we two") etcetera.Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned). 2 . however.In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom. thine .tal Genitive 1 hwæs whos whose2 .)  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. ours (Old English also had a separate dual. though variation among dialects must be taken into account.
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 Note that the ye/you distinction still existed.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.)  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 . in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible. no later forms derive from it. Formal and informal forms of the second person singular and plural Old English Singular Case Plural Middle English Singular Plural Modern English Singular Plural For Infor For Infor For Infor For Infor For Infor For Infor mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal mal ġē ēow / ēowiċ ēow ēower your. ya Genitive ēower your. however. thy. yours your. at least optionally. ȝit ("ye two") etcetera.
 Historically. now collectively termed Old English.Nominati hēo ve Feminine Singular Accusativ hīe e Dative hire heo / sche / ho / he / ȝho she hire / hure / her / heore her Genitive hire Nominati hit ve Accusativ hit Neuter Singular e Dative him hir / hire / heore / her / here hit / it her. military. Following the economic. because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin. political. become the leading language of international discourse. The . It is the third most natively spoken language in the world. Cf. and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. via the British Empire. although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. theirs (The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir. 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. It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries. English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects. and of the United States since the mid-20th century. which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) settlers by the 5th century – with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles. and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). The two different roots co-existed for some time. þæira. as well as in many world organizations. cultural. and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century. þæim. it has been widely dispersed around the world. 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.
1 Countries in order of total speakers o 4.1 Vowels 5.4 Dialects and regional varieties o 4. or words that belong to multiple word classes.3.1 Notes for vowels o 5.2 Written accents 9 Formal written English 10 Basic and simplified versions 11 See also 12 References .2.2.1 French origins 7.  Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Significance 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Geographical distribution o 4.3 Supra-segmental features 5.000 distinct words.2 Characteristics of intonation—stress 6 Grammar 7 Vocabulary o 7.2 Old Norse origins 7.1 Basic consonant sound-letter correspondence o 8.2.3 Dutch and Low German origins 8 Writing system o 8.2.2 Word origins 7. 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.1. Owing to the significant assimilation of various European languages throughout history. and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the superficial appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages to what had now become Middle English. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250.2 Voicing and aspiration o 18.104.22.168 Tone groups 5.3 English as a global language o 4. modern English contains a very large vocabulary.1 Notes for consonants 5.2 Countries where English is a major language o 4.2 Consonants 5.1 Number of words in English o 7.5 Constructed varieties of English 5 Phonology o 5. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from NormanFrench. not including many technical or slang terms.language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.
and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global . aviation. . Denmark and the Netherlands. Canada. Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries. and it is in this that the poem Beowulf is written. Lower Saxony. from the 400-year Roman occupation.1 Bibliographic 13 External links Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English. 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. the natural internal variety of English along with creoles and pidgins have the potential to produce new distinct languages from English over time. The names 'England' (from Engla land "Land of the Angles") and English (Old English Englisc) are derived from the name of this tribe—but Saxons. eventually came to dominate. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations. Initially.o • 12. One of these incoming Germanic tribes was the Angles. in Roman Britain the native population is assumed to have spoken the Celtic language Brythonic alongside the acrolectal influence of Latin. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. information technology. Late West Saxon. science. seafaring. business. Its influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. 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. Up to that point. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields. English replaced German as the dominant language of science Nobel Prize laureates during the second half of the 20th century (compare the Evolution of Nobel Prizes by country). Jutes and a range of Germanic peoples from the coasts of Frisia. whom Bede believed to have relocated entirely to Britain. entertainment. radio and diplomacy. Conversely. as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). Jutland and Southern Sweden also moved to Britain in this era. One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire. occupations and professions such as medicine and computing. reflecting the varied origins of the AngloSaxon kingdoms of Great Britain but one of these dialects. sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. Australia and New Zealand. it became the dominant language in the United States. is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications.
especially to earlier stages of the language. Low German. and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles. first the Medieval Latin of the Christian Church. Africa. English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the British Empire. semantics. With the (partial) exception of Scots. owing in part to the divergences in lexis. The second was by speakers of the Romance language Old Norman in the 11th century with the Norman conquest of England. Norwegian. India. and common sound shifts from Proto-IndoEuropean known as Grimm's Law. and when the United Kingdom became a colonial power. and Germany). 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. and Faroese). and those that wrote or copied texts in Latin commonly coined new terms from Latin to refer to things or concepts for which there was no existing native English word. although some. a descendant of ProtoGermanic. and phonology. do show strong affinities with English. and then Anglo-French – and introduced a layer of words especially via the courts and government. 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. Typical of most Germanic languages. As a result of the growth of the British Empire. such as Dutch. 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. Modern English is the direct descendant of Middle English. lexical differences between English and other Germanic languages exist due to heavy borrowing in English of words from Latin and French. . Throughout all this period Latin in some form was the lingua franca of European intellectual life. and the North Germanic languages (Swedish. After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages that are more distantly related: the nonAnglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Dutch. Modern English. none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English. a trend extended with the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the mid-20th century. In the post-colonial period. Danish. In addition to isolation. Australia and many other regions. English was adopted in North America. 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). High German). Icelandic. syntax. Afrikaans. with Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales being the best known work. but later the humanist Renaissance Latin. The linguistic shifts in English following the Norman invasion produced what is now referred to as Middle English. itself a direct descendant of Old English. Norman developed into Anglo-Norman. which includes the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible.Old English was later transformed by two waves of invasion. is generally dated from about 1550. a member of the Indo-European languages. 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. compare "exit" (Latin). Classification and related languages The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family. the Netherlands. the division of verbs into strong and weak classes. For example. English is characterised by the use of modal verbs.
Swedish skomaker.g. that later weakened to -e. or through a combination with more and most. where the participle is placed at the end). the comparatives of adjectives and adverbs (e. etc. shoemaker's.redūcam". "we thought" = we thought-Ø < we thoughte(n) < Old English wē þōhton). and syntax (For example. literally "out-going" (though outgang survives dialectally in restricted usage) and "change" (French) vs. Dutch. even when the adjective is of Latinate origin (e. which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e. "to drive". skomakers.).). the treatment of nouns (English shoemaker. and adjectives and adverbs are inflected for the comparative and superlative using -er and -est (e. 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.g. calmer. in English. *Surgō still survives in English. classroom). German fallen/fiell/gefallen/werden fallen). and nouns which serve as modifiers (e.g. these include the normal plural marker -s/-es.. fast/faster/fastest). German senden. we say: "John's life insurance company" rather than "the company of insurance life of John". Even the lack or absence of affixes. shoemakers. the simple past tense and past participle ending -ed. English continues to make extensive use of self-explaining compounds (e. meaning "hour". Dutch goed/beter/best. English adjectives usually come before the noun they modify. "I have never seen anything in the square" = German Ich habe nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen.g. derive from endings which previously existed in Old English (usually -e. cf. etc. -an.g. German gut/besser/best). Dutch uitgang. -u. national treasure). Modern English "I sing" = I sing-Ø < I singe < Old English ic singe. however. these include the third person present ending -s/-es (e.g. cf. the present participle ending -ing. English retains its classification as a Germanic language due to its structure and grammar.redūxī . Swedish mening. during.vs. as in English care vs. English send. "proceeding along the way"). schoenmakers. and have since ceased to be pronounced and spelt (e. German Bewegung ("be-way-ing". and the large amount of cognates (e. etc. West Frisian wiet. but *karō has become the dominant word in English for "care" while in German. and Scandinavian languages. English time vs Norwegian time. i. schoenmakers. Swedish våt. medical emergency. Despite lexical borrowing. English meaning. Furthermore. Dutch schoenmaker. othering"). -o. traits inherited from Old English (See also Kenning). streetcar. known as zero or null (-Ø) affixes. English fall/fell/fallen/will or shall fall.g. communicates. Dutch vallen/viel/gevallen/zullen vallen. Icelandic Ég hef aldrei séð neitt á torginu). and the Dutch Ik heb nooit iets op het plein gezien.g. shoemakers'. Danish Jeg har aldrig set noget på torvet. -a. life insurance company).g. West Frisian goed/better/best. English good/better/best. English gift vs German Gift. lamp post. schoenmakeren. Preference of one synonym over another also causes differentiation in lexis.g. as sorrow. skomakere). Scots weet. even where both words are Germanic. It also gives rise to false friends (e. Non-native words are incorporated into a Germanic system of conjugation. Both words descend from Proto-Germanic *karō and *surgō respectively.I will reduce" rather than "redūcō . English wet. English syntax continues to adhere closely to that of the North Germanic languages. These particles append freely to all English words regardless of origin (tsunamis. all basic grammatical particles added to nouns. Old English tō drīfenne). the word reduce is borrowed from Latin redūcere. bizarrely) and all derive from Old English. and the possessive markers -'s and -s' . however. the *surgō root prevailed. Icelandic meining. German Sorge. "movement" (French) vs. As in most Germanic languages. verbs. declension. Adverbs generally receive an -ly ending. For nouns.I reduced . West Frisian fal/foel/fallen/sil falle. The kinship with other Germanic languages can also be seen in the tensing of English verbs (e. adjectives. he stands/he reaches ). and adverbs are Germanic. the French: la compagnie d'assurance-vie de John). Also. For verbs. to buccaneer. likewise. and the formation of the English infinitive using to (e. skomakere. in English we say "I reduce .e.g. Dutch zenden.g. German Änderung (literally "alteration. meaning .
inflectional endings. genre. lack of diacritics. "table" vs. often mistaken for being native. which shows how close-knit the relations between the English and the Scandinavian settlers were (See below: Old Norse origins). café. Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit ("time") is related to English "tide". Geographical distribution See also: List of countries by English-speaking population . Many of these words are common words. with some minor spelling differences (e. etc. compare also Danish tand). For instance. while differences in phonology can obscure words that really are related (tooth vs. while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum"). or phrases like coup d’état. and directly from French in subsequent centuries.). but their usage patterns have diverged. rendez-vous. compare "library" with the French librairie. "-ship". Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker. "button" vs. through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval". Finally. the word for "library" is bibliothèque. they developed independent of German influences. 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. like English. table. though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide. As a result. use of old French spellings. French nature. via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest. heure. "reside" vs."poison").g. as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example. etc. but the English word. The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with the exception of a handful of more recently borrowed words such as mirage. "-dom" and "-ness". All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages. which means bookstore.) has become largely anglicised and follows a typically English phonology and pattern of stress (compare English "nature" vs. since. English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood". etc. as German "Freiheit" vs.). because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French. bouton. The Germanic languages Icelandic and Faroese also follow English in this respect. Many North Germanic words entered English due to the settlement of Viking raiders and Danish invasions which began around the 9th century (see Danelaw). German Zahn. especially when they are seen in writing (as pronunciations are often quite different). Dutch and Low German also had a considerable influence on English vocabulary. contributing common everyday terms and many nautical and trading terms (See below: Dutch and Low German origins). résider. in French. has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon. a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French. "hour" vs. abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "-hood". and phrases such as to tide over).
6 million) 2006 Census.7 million). English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers. Countries in order of total speakers Country Total Percent of population 96% As an additional Population language 215. However. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Note: United 251.Pie chart showing the relative numbers of native English speakers in the major English-speaking countries of the world Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language. Countries such as the Philippines.388. 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. India has the most such speakers ('Indian English'). Nigeria (4 million). The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are.964.375. India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world. United Kingdom (61 million). and New Zealand (3. Ireland (3.2 million). combining native and non-native speakers.8 million). Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well". 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.152 First language Comment Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000.744 262. Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language.5 million). Canada (18. South Africa (3.557 35. in descending order: United States (215 million). Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.423. Crystal claims that. Table 1. though possibly second to a combination of the Chinese languages (depending on whether or not distinctions in the latter are classified as "languages" or "dialects"). when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world.301 States of America . Australia (15.
000 Kelechukwu Uchechukwu.71% of the 66.000.India 125. 19 (5&6).7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English. text above Figure 7.000 60. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as an additional language.500.125. the midpoint of the range is used in the table. an Englishbased pidgin or creole.000 Source: Crystal (2005).221 second language speakers. 109. Ihemere. 487–525.000 1.436 language. 148. 38. (1998).000.427.737. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.000 >75. as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines.028.066 third language speakers Nigeria 79. p.100.000 Kingdom 98% 58.800.600.566.993. Native speakers: Census 1995.000 43. The figures include English speakers.000. 63.000 53% 4. Ethnologue lists 3.000 58% 3.000. Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin. United 59.736 12% 226. 2001 figures. Total speakers: Census 2000.974.000.344." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296– 313. 2006.000 84.000 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 . Philippines 48.449 86. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers. but not English users.
855. Gibraltar. Antigua and Barbuda. the Cayman Islands. Barbados. it is an official language.220 85% 17.830 7.639.551. plus 17. Lesotho.172. the Federated States of Micronesia. Rwanda.390 29. Papua New Guinea. Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana.170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue. Ireland. Cameroon. Percentage = Total / Population Countries where English is a major language English is the primary language in Anguilla.329 2. Saint Lucia. Belize. The native speakers figure comprises 122. Singapore. Canada. Seychelles. Guam. the Marshall Islands. Zambia. Guam. Sri Lanka. Montserrat. It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English). Samoa.Canada Australia Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue. Palau.660 people with 25. Bermuda. Guernsey. Tanzania. South Sudan.660 19. Saint Kitts and Nevis.030 both French and English as a mother tongue. In some countries where English is not the most spoken language. Kiribati. Australia. Jersey. Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency. Swaziland.694. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The additional language column 18. the British Virgin Islands. the Falkland Islands. Kenya. the Isle of Man. Dominica. Nigeria. these countries include Botswana.581. Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa. Pitcairn Islands. Sierra Leone. Grenada. the Philippines (Philippine English). Note: Total = First language + Other language. Source: 2006 Census. the United Kingdom and the United States. India. Pakistan. Ghana. the Bahamas. Sudan. Uganda.572.246.288 shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well".591. Mauritius. Gambia. Liberia. . Malta.  The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home. Jamaica. English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island. the Turks and Caicos Islands. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Saint Helena. New Zealand. the British Indian Ocean Territory. Nauru. the Solomon Islands. Namibia. and Zimbabwe. Fiji. Madagascar.989 92% 15. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
the official language for aerial and maritime communications. by international treaty.) English is not an official language in the United States. Although the United States federal government has no official languages. Although falling short of official status. and while it is not an official language in most countries. Bangladesh. Austria. Several educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world. Among some nonEnglish speaking EU countries. leading to language shift and even language death. an educated dialect of South East England. and the United Arab Emirates. a large percentage of the adult population can converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden. it has often been referred to as a "world language". (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details. 83% in Denmark. and the former British colony of Hong Kong. General American. and English is the most commonly used language in the sciences with Science Citation Index reporting as early as 1997 that 95% of its articles were written in English. Puerto Rico. Brunei. English as a global language See also: English in computing. 79% in the Netherlands. which is spread over most of the United States and much of . including the International Olympic Committee. ahead of French at 32%. such as Bahrain. It is. but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. Because of that global spread.Northern Mariana Islands. Slovenia. International English. English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union. English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom. and English as a foreign or second language Because English is so widely spoken. and to claims of linguistic imperialism. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers". while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French. In the United Kingdom much emphasis is placed on Received Pronunciation. Belgium. English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole. Books. This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages. and Germany. magazines. and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins. Malaysia. 66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland. even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries.. and the US Virgin Islands). it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. by 89% of schoolchildren. World language. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. 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. Cyprus. the lingua franca of the modern era. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations.
Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects. . Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history. see Regional accents of English. and pronunciation. and for a complete list of regional dialects. Scouse and Geordie within British English. or a desire to be so identified. Constructed varieties of English • • • • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. English is a pluricentric language. Aside from these major dialects. whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English. 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. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. several subvarieties. There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words. which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language.Canada. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base. Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources. For the most distinctive characteristics of regional accents. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries. see List of dialects of the English language. Nigerian Pidgin. There are a number of regional dialects of Scots. such as Jamaican Patois. and Tok Pisin. English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language. variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out. which include. with General Australian serving as the standard accent. Within England. English speakers have many different accents. designed primarily for use in deaf education. In Oceania. Manually Coded English constitutes a variety of systems that have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals. such as Cockney. without a central language authority like France's Académie française. but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began. indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers. E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be. from other varieties of English. and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world. grammar and vocabulary differed across the country. 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. in most cases. 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. which are independent and not based on English. sometimes substantially. 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. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. causing dialectalisation. there are numerous other varieties of English. grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ. the major native dialect of Australian English is spoken as a first language by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent. Newfoundland English within Canadian English.
According to the effects to English . There . Simplified Technical English was historically developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals and is now used in various industries. In the 8th century Nurthumbrian power declined . butter. It was this period that the best of the Old English literature was written . Celtic and Anglo-Saxons fought for 100 years and Anglo-Saxons killed all the Celtics. 600.cheese. Middle English(1100-1450/1500). Their language was a part of Germanic branch of Indo-European Family. In some books Modern English is divided in to two Early modern (1500-1700) . the Norseman landed in the year of 866 and later the east coast of the island was Norseman’s. The history of English begins a little after A. In 550 Anglo –Saxons established England. He founded and established schools. There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel. The people talking this language spread to the northern coast of Europe in the time of Roman Empire. all based on restricted vocabularies. OLD ENGLISH When England was established there were several kingdoms and the most advanced one was Nurthumbria.Saxons. Some of the words taken from Latin are. During Roma Empire Latin wasn’t the native language of the kingdom because people in the country were talking Celtic. Old English(7th century-1100).) 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. 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. the history of the language divided in to three. Latin effected the language with the merchants traveling the tribes.Jutes which is called Anglo-Saxons come to England.Late Modern (1700-now). On the other hand the Celtic tribes in Scotland and Wales developed. Modern English (1500-now). translated or caused to be translated many books from Latin in to English. At the end in 410 the last roman emperor left the island to Celtic and AngloSaxons.• • • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak. Norse wasn’t so different from English and English people could understand Norseman. The first Latin effect was in that period. After many years of hit-and-run raids between the European kingdoms. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words. When Anglo-Saxons became Christian in 597 they learned Latin. The most famous king of the West Saxons was Alfred the Great. kettle.D. including the epic poem Beowulf. 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. Among this people the tribes called Angels. West Saxons became the leading power. Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America.wine. cheap. Norse language effected the English considerably.
nobility. surprise.ugly.F. more person and number endings of words and a more complicated pronoun systems.law.outlaw. they merely exchange one kind of complexity for another”( (Clark.count. It is supposed also that the Norseman influenced the sound structure and the grammar of English.their. “This can be called as a simplification but it is not exactly.music. Old English was much more highly inflected that Middle English because there were case endings for nouns.noun. polite society. &Rose . One change was the elimination of a vowel sound in certain unstressed positions at the end of the words.A.P.age. English continued to be the national language but it changed too much after the conquest. V. On the other hand French couldn’t become the national language because it became the language of the court .sure.622 ) For us Middle English is simpler that Old English because it is closer to Modern English..egg. In grammar . flower. Most of the Old English words are native English which weren’t borrowed from other languages.lamp. P. The other change is what is called the Great Vowel Shift.gentel.. stomach. Grammar and the sound system changed a good deal.A. anatomy. poet..towel. This was a systematic shifting of half a dozen vowels and diphthongs in stressed syllables.P. literature. People started to rely more on word order and structure words to express their meaning rather than the use of case system. On the other hand Old English contains borrowed words coming from Norse and Latin. In 1066 they crossed the Channel and they became the master of England. (Clark. play words: dance. literary words: story romance. parson. 1994.& Eschholz. But it didn’t replace as the language of the people. V. In vocabulary Old English is quiet different from Middle English.conversation. learned words: study. The shift effected all the words in which these vowels sounds occurred.bucket.cream. scarlet. P.blanket. These two changes produced the basic differences . literary. logic grammar. chair.etc. mutton. fault.. Languages don’t become simpler . ordinary words for all sorts: nice. various endings for adjectives. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH Between 1400-1600 English underwent a couple of sound changes.F. There were word related with goverment:parliment. goverment.A.them.biscuit. plain. The political event which effected the administration system and language was the Norman Conquest. beef.leisure. sermon. For example the word name had in Middle English a vowel something like that in the modern word father.. household words: curtain. peach.very. MIDDLE ENGLISH Between 1100-1200 many important changes took place in the structure of English and Old English became Middle English.leg.& Eschholz.majesty.were considerable interchanges and word borrowings (sky.A. final. church word: religion.surgeon. &Rose . Old English had some sound which we don’t know have now. colors: blue.622 ) Middle English was still a Germanic language but it is different from Old English in many ways.lemon. The sound system&grammar wasn’t so effected but vocabulary was effected much.tax. vermilion.chess. For the next several next years . The change was important because it effected thousands of words and gave a different aspect to the whole language. 1994.second. move. words for food: veal. Also borrowed pronouns like they.England was ruled by the kings whose native language was French.give.talk).
similar words in different languages that share the same root. What will happen in the future? It’ll continue to grow . 2001 Indo-European and Germanic Influences English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. it was felt to control the language. English is in the Germanic group of languages. One was the invention of printing. The greatest writer of the Early Modern English period is Shakespeare and the best known book is the King Jones version of the BIBLE. for example. The word for father. Around the second century BC. This broad family includes most of the European languages spoken today. The first English Dictionary was published in 1603. After this books became cheaper and cheaper. more people learned to read and write and advanced in communication. designated proto-Indo-European. not because of any bodice-ripping literary genre). and Greek. the language of ancient Rome. The Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian). English language had grown as a result of borrowing words from French . New ideas increased. January 15. this Common Germanic language split into three distinct sub-groups: . may be it will be the universal language. two are. The period of Early Modern English was also a period of English Renaissance. Now. But there are several other developments that effected the language. Greek. The Indo-Iranian languages. In that period the people speaking that language increased too much. A (Very) Brief History of the English Language Dave Wilton.between Middle English and Modern English. The Slavic languages. which means the development of the people. The Indo-European family includes several major branches: • • • • • • • Latin and the modern Romance languages. Of these branches of the Indo-European family. is vater in German. the Germanic and the Romance (called that because the Romance languages derive from Latin. Monday. The Celtic languages. Another product of the 18th century was the invention of English Grammar. It was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1475. This group began as a common language in the Elbe river region about 3. including Hindi and Sanskrit. and pitr in Sanskrit. The influence of the original Indo-European language. The Germanic languages. even though no written record of it exists. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In order to establish the language they develop a dictionary. for our purposes of studying the development of English. English is the greatest language of the world spoken natively and as a second language. can be seen today. The period where English developed most in the Modern English. pater in Latin.000 years ago. As English is replaced with Latin as the language of scholarship. These words are all cognates.Latin. of paramount importance.
and skirt. Old English. Some examples are dream. West Germanic is the ancestor of modern German.• • • East Germanic was spoken by peoples who migrated back to southeastern Europe. and the only written East Germanic language that survives is Gothic. for example. This last date is rather arbitrary. similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English. and English. Flemish. and strong. died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole. the Duke of Normandy. began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. Danish. leaving behind a few Celtic words. Dutch. is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest. 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). which had meant joy until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr. which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt. But this statistic is deceptive. Four major dialects of Old English emerged. only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today. details of which form the navigation buttons on this site. which is related to Estonian and is not an Indo-European language). Frisian. beginning around 850. brought many North Germanic words into the language. and Jutes. Cornwall. Dolly Pentreath. unfortunately. Wales. North Germanic evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages of Swedish. is now a dead language. They spoke a mutually intelligible language. and Ireland. Cornwall.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. Northumbrian in the north of England. water. Saxons. but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language. West Saxon in the south and west. Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. and Kentish in the Southeast. No East Germanic language is spoken today. Norse invasions. In fact. particularly in the north of England.) The new overlords spoke a . These invaders pushed the original. not Old English roots. and Icelandic (but not Finnish. Cornish. Words like be. invaded and conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD. whose best known surviving example is the poem Beowulf. lasted until about 1100. The majority of words in modern English come from foreign. Mercian in the Midlands. (The Bayeux Tapestry. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. Norwegian. The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500) William the Conqueror. Old English is much more important than this number would indicate. (The last native Cornish speaker. derive from Old English roots. the Norman Conquest.
French and Old English components combined to form a new word. Many legal terms. Thy kingdom come. Other times. hallowed be thy name. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam. read by Catherine Ball of Georgetown University. two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English. Prior to the Norman Conquest. while the Anglo-Saxon commoners. mainly through vestiges of the Roman occupation and from the conversion of Britain to Christianity in the seventh century (ecclesiastical terms such as priest. retained the Germanic cow. derives from the Anglo-Norman. . Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words. þi reume or kyngdom come to be. in Early Modern English (King James Version. and mass came into the language this way). Sometimes French words replaced Old English words. beef and cow. such as indict. 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. can be seen in many instances. 1384). Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. Beef. where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots. who tended the cattle. Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif.dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. jury. and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. Middle.1000) sample from the Bible: Fæder ure þuþe eart on heofonum si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice. 1611) the same text is completely intelligible: Our father which art in heauen. Other times. or wish and desire. vicar. Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language. Giue us this day our daily bread. It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old. the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name. This split. play a wav file of this Old English text (518Kb). and Modern English. Take for instance this Old English (c. The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words. To get a feel for Old English pronunciation. 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. Finally. commonly eaten by the aristocracy.
These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these inkhorn terms. majestic. Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. But. The first was the Great Vowel Shift. Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare’s. This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins. dwindle.And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. Middle English can be read. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare. leapfrog. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays. rather than their estates in France. Early Modern English (1500-1800) The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord’s Prayer. By 1362. some 2. And lead us not into temptation. which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some . The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English. and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. until they realize that he coined them and they became cliches afterwards. England became the chief concern of the nobility. Shakespeare’s character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms. by modern English-speaking people. but deliuer us from euill. but many survive to this day. This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman. Words he bequeathed to the language include critical. Amen. and pedant. the Black Death (1349-50) killed about one third of the English population. the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. In 1204 AD. the Statute of Pleading was adopted. The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. One fell swoop.000 words and countless catchphrases are his. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance. King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France. Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. About 150 years later. albeit with difficulty. Unlike Old English. In that year. vanish into thin air.
bios. Military slang existed. Shakespeare. Military slang entered the language like never before. literacy became more common. but to introduce words into English. where most publishing houses were located. During the mid-20th century. Britain ruled one quarter of the earth’s surface. rarely influenced standard English. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships. The British Empire was a maritime empire. and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages. cyber-. For this.difficulty. hard-drive. The dialect of London. protein. from the Finnish sauna and the Japanese tycoon. and juggernaut. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though. Hindi. Also. airplane. English roots were used for such terms as horsepower. and typewriter. but Late-Modern English has many more words. but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. both Britain and the United States maintained small. but with the exception of nautical terms.and late-modern English is vocabulary. although the change has become considerably more gradual. but understandable. nose dive. radar. The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society. would be accented. provided many words. At its height. and microchip are good examples. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter e at the end of words became silent. as opposed to Latin. Blockbuster. grammar. These words are the result of two historical factors. the 20th century saw two world wars. and spelling are largely the same. The shift is still not over. nuclear. perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. Pronunciation. the major changes occurring within a century. Chaucer’s Lyf (pronounced /leef/) became the modern word life. The second was the British Empire. and down was pronounced /doon/. the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world. Before the Great War. and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent. Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. Byte. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. however. Finally. vowel sounds are still shortening. This burst of neologisms continues today. to the vast contributions of French and Latin. virtually all British and American men served in the military. such as pundit. became more common. volunteer militaries. pajamas. The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. Late-Modern English (1800-Present) The principal distinction between early. the shift was rather sudden. and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. and the first English dictionary was published in 1604. In Middle English name was pronounced /nam-a/. and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own. Finally. . military service for English-speaking persons was rare. shampoo. however. the printing press brought standardization to English. camouflage. on the other hand. five was pronounced /feef/. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. In linguistic terms. Books became cheaper and as a result. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English. and works in English. Spelling and grammar became fixed. Words like oxygen. became the standard. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise.
The American dialect also served as the route of introduction for many native American words into the English language.1000: The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period 1066: The Norman conquest c.roadblock. 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. But. tomato. American English Also significant beginning around 1600 AD was the English colonization of North America and the subsequent creation of a distinct American dialect. Spanish has also been great influence on American English. these were place names like Mississippi.g. frame-up which was reintroduced to Britain through Hollywood gangster movies. Most often. although in many cases the original Indian words were mangled almost beyond recognition. Armadillo. through the importation of slaves. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun 911: Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. savanna. He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. and tote are West African borrowings first used in America by slaves. spearhead. and West African. 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. canyon. Roanoke. and vigilante are all examples of Spanish words that made their way into English through the settlement of the American West. Some Americanisms that the British decry are actually originally British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost at home (e. mustang. American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. and Iowa. Augustine arrives in Britain. Some pronunciations and usages “froze” when they reached the American shore. fall as a synonym for autumn. stampede. ranch. words have influenced American English. The beginning of Norman French c. barbecue. gumbo. trash for rubbish. In certain respects. To a lesser extent French. canoe. Indian-sounding names like Idaho were sometimes created that had no native-American roots.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. and hickory have native American roots. Raccoon.. mainly via Louisiana. Goober. and jambalaya came into the language via New Orleans. 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 landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English. bayou. Armoire. and use of loan as a verb instead of lend).
or King James Version. English is used in Parliament for the first time 1384: Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible c. English-language newspaper.1348: English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools.1388: Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales c. 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.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. of the Bible is published 1616: Death of Shakespeare 1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is published 1666: The Great Fire of London. Table Alphabeticall 1607: Jamestown. End of The Great Plague 1702: Publication of the first daily. other than Oxford and Cambridge which retain Latin 1349-50: The Black Death kills one third of the British population 1362: The Statute of Pleading replaces French with English as the language of law. the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The Daily Courant. Records continue to be kept in Latin. established 1611: The Authorized. Britain abandons the American colonies 1788: British penal colony established in Australia 1803: Act of Union unites Britain and Ireland 1828: Noah Webster publishes his dictionary 1851: Herman Melville publishes Moby Dick 1922: British Broadcasting Corporation founded 1928: The Oxford English Dictionary is published Filed un Origins of the English Language .
likewise. The German word Milch is very close in sound to the English milk. is to view the place of English in perspective. the German Wasser and English water. amid the many tongues of mankind. not to mention a great many additiona l . Brot and bread. therefore. Williams. Fleisch and flesh closely resemble each other.from “The Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History”. Those German Dutch Danish students who have studied German undoubt edly have noticed a remarka ble similarity between that language and their own. The proper beginning for us. by Joseph M. 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.
and the Scandinavian languages. a second language.) English is the (or an) official language in England. father. Canada. as they appear in various tongues. and brother. the United States has no official language. Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit contained many cognates to Greek and Latin. Afrikaans. He conjectured a Proto-Indo-European language had existed many years before. or in a mixture with other languages (such as pidgins and creoles. Fennell) The English language is spoken by 750 million people in the world as either the official language of a nation. The early history of the Germanic languages is based on reconstruction of a ProtoGermanic language that evolved into German.example s. English. Yiddish. Although there . English mother father brother Mutter Vater Bruder moeder vader broeder moder fader broder History of English (Source: A History of English by Barbara A. In 1786. Australia and New Zealand. Perhaps we can see this similarity best if we place side by side in systemat ic form the words for mother. however. Indo-European language and people English is classified genetically as a Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. Dutch.
This PIE language was also highly inflectional as words had many endings corresponding to cases. Aspirated voiced stops became Unaspirated voiced stops (Bʰ. t. Voiceless stops became Voiceless fricatives (P. Estonian and Hungarian.) They also made use of a decimal counting system by 10's. Finnish. d. g became p. • • • a. it is believed that many languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia are all derived from a common language.000 BCE. θ. the language spread to many areas with the advancement of the people. Either way. Fixed Stress: The stress of words was fixed on the first syllable. Weak Past Tense: Used a dental or alveolar suffix to express the past (such as -ed in English. of which the last three belong to the Finno-Ugric language family. k became f. Voiced stops became Voiceless stops (B. They drank alcohol made from grain. A few languages that are not included in the Indo-European branch of languages include Basque. and not wine.) 3. The spread of the language can be attributed to two theories. and formed words by compounding. -te in German. Vowel Changes (Proto Germanic) .is no concrete proof to support this one language had existed. The I-E people either wanted to conquer their neighbors or look for better farming land. 2. k) c. t. d. or -de in Swedish. This rapid and vast spread of the I-E people is attributed to their use of horses for transportation. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) lived in Southwest Russia around 4. 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 to 5. 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. Germanic Languages The subgroup of Germanic languages contains many differences that set them apart from the other I-E languages.) 4. Weak and Strong Adjectives: Each adjective had a different form whether it was preceded by a determiner or no determiner. dʰ. g) b. 5. Grimm's Law (or the First Sound Shift) helps to explain the consonant changes from P-I-E to Germanic. x (h)) Verner's Law explains other exceptions that Grimm's law does not include. 1.) They also had domesticated animals. gʰ became b. and used horse-drawn wheeled carts. indicating they did not live in a warm climate. 6.
yogh and wynn. Although the Danes brought their own writing system with them. Jutes and Frisians. The four main tribes were the Angles. a list of subjects who owed tribute to the king. Sussex. Laws and contracts were written down for a sense of permanence and control. Old English (449 . English: garden) • Long a to long o (Latin: mater. Kent. and East Anglia. The Tribal Hidage. Characteristics of the Old English language . Four dialects were spoken in these kingdoms: West Saxon. was written during the Mercian period of power. It is commonly referred to as Runes. It detailed the sophisticated society of the Germanic tribes. Bede wrote the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" in Latin. They had destroyed the Roman civilization in England and built their own. wife. they did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE and Latin never overtook the Celtic language. OE: modor) 7. Essex. Kentish.• Short o to short a (Latin: hortus. edh. Mercian and Northumbrian. The Treaty of Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this "Danelaw" gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. Then the Germanic tribes from the present-day area of Denmark arrived. Others include rain. as well the macron for distinguishing long vowels. Saxons. leaving the main area of Britain. it was not used in England. They aligned with the Celtic clergy and converted to Christianity. The Celts moved north to Scotland. The Insular Hand was the name of the writing system used in England. thorn. a historical record of important events in England that continued 200 years after his death. During his reign. Wessex. leaving the Celts defenseless. The Romans finally left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing. Northumbria. Common Vocabulary: Words developed that hadn't been used before. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded. loaf. earth. such as nautical terms (sea). and it contained many symbols that are no longer found in Modern English: the aesc.1066 CE) The Old English language (also called Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. called the Futhorc. Although they invaded twice. meat and fowl. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings who repeatedly invaded the area. However. he united the kingdoms together and commissioned the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. because the languages were so similar. In 731 CE. Alfred the Great was the king of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom. the Danes quickly assimilated and intermarried into the English society. west to Ireland and south to France. while dominance shifted among the kingdoms beginning with Kent and Northumbria. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia.
When an object is a pronoun. Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective. feminine or neuter. it often precedes the verb. Instead we use prepositions. -ist. and genitive. and -m. The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English becase of the declensions of the nouns. The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short vowels.The Germanic tribes were exposed to Latin before they invaded England. word order is very important because we no longer have declensions to show case distinctions. and there were four cases: nominative. while the strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. the subject often follows the verb. dative. Eventually the -ost and -m endings combined to form the word "most" which is still used before adjectives in the superlative today. but Danish (Old Scandinavian) did contribute many vocabulary words. Numbers could be either singular or plural. case and number with the nouns they described. Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first syllable. but these were assigned arbitrarily. After converting to Christianity. For example. but it did vary in a few instances: 1. -est. there were seven groups of declensions for nouns. the latter which still remains in modern English as -like. The infinitive of verbs ended in -an. Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English. the endings were not pronounced as clearly and began to diminish from the language. 3. So in modern English. Latin had more influence. The weak past tense added -de. In the present tense. Adjectives could be weak or strong. while the superlative had many endings: -ost. all verbs had markers for number and person. In all. Celtic did not have a large impact on English. so word order was not very important.) Pronunciation of consonants: . then the strong endings were used. The comparative was formed by adding -ra to the adjective. The general word order was subject . When a sentence begins with an adverb. There were also two front rounded vowels that are no longer used in modern English. The i-mutation occurred if there was a front vowel in the ending. But as the stress began to move to the first syllable of words. fot becomes fot+i = fet (This helps to explain why feet is the plural of foot. 2. or -lic. [i:] and [ɪ:]. then the root vowel became fronted. The case endings told the function of the word in the sentence. as evidenced in words pertaining to the church. If preceded by a determiner.verb . so the languages they spoke did have some Latin influence.object. If no determiner preceded the adjective. accusative. the weak ending was added to the adjective. They also agreed in gender. The verb often comes at the end of a subordinate clause. Nouns could be of three genders: masculine. as only a few place names are of Celtic origin.
But by 1250 CE. felony. Chaucer). larceny). many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more "English" and so encouraged more use of the English language. Yet William spoke only French. Many of the words were related to government (sovereign. At this time. However. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague. several words (around 10.000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE (though most of these words were Parisian rather than Norman French). and William. but they did still use French words sometimes. cuisine. and the upper class did not want to lose it completely. empire).1500 CE) The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. appetite) and learning (poet. the Hundred Year's War (1337-1453 CE) intensified hatred of all things French. By 1362 CE. killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. law (judge. believed that he would become the next king. social life (fashion. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere. upon learning that Harold was crowned king. justice. English was the language of instruction in schools. By 1385 CE. Duke of Normandy. French began to lose its prestige. and after him. Nevertheless. The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class. which increased the status of the peasants. 1350 to 1400 CE is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (most famously. William invaded England. 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 .f c g h s ð r sc cg v f č k j ɣ g h x. attorney. logic. but their works included an apology for writing in English. which was considered somewhat snobbish. As a result. who only spoke English. jury. physician). the legal system retained parts of . the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts. The upper class tried to learn English. embroidery. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE. Furthermore. the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. King Edward I spoke only English. Although the popularity of French was decreasing. King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs.
but short in the comparative form (late . ʒ became j. Adjectives lost agreement with the noun. their) borrowed from Scandinavian. The third person plural pronouns replaced the old pronouns with thwords (they. and the dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. of Because of the stress shift to the beginning of the word. wonder. some "flat" adverbs did not add the -ly: fast. The generalized plural marker became -s. Vowels tended to be long in the adjective form. v was used word initially. some. Characteristics of Middle English The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: • • • • • • • • • • • þ and ð were replaced by th (and sometimes y. 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. 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. honest. won. . The dual number disappeared in the pronouns. money. come. hard. More strong (irregular) verbs became weak (regular) as well. however. but the singular also competed with -(e)s from the Northern dialect. honey. but the weak ending -e still remained. from. The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th. ton. The demonstratives these and those were added during this period. and u was used everywhere else k was used much more often (cyning became king) new values were given to old symbols too. and some consonants dropped off while some vowels became əand dropped off too.French word order (the adjective following the noun) in such terms as fee simple. The comparative form became -er and the superlative became -est. but it still competed with -n. habit sometimes words were written with o but pronounced as [ʊ] but later were pronounced [ʌ]: son. Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. front. attorney general and accounts payable. Phonological erosion also occurred because of this. late. Verb infinitives dropped the -an ending. g before i or e was pronounced ǰ.latter). And the adverb ending -lič became -ly. one. herb. them. and used "to" before the verb to signify the infinitival form. 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. heir.
Formerly. Characteristics of Early Modern English Adjectives lost all endings except for in the comparative and superlative forms. The north used -(e)s for the plural marker as well as for the third person singular. The use of the verbs will and shall for the future tense were first used too.had) Loss of final -n in possessive pronouns (min fæder .1650/1700 CE) William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English.mi fæder) and the addition of -n to some words beginning with a vowel (a napron .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). The north used [a] and [k] while the south used [o] and [č] for certain words. the northern dialect would become the standard for modern English regarding the grammatical endings.hut) [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two. and there was more use of the progressive and passive voice. but several words were also borrowed from other languages as well as from Chaucer's works. New compound tenses were used.for the third person plural pronouns. The south used -(e)n for the plural. are no longer used in English.an apron.Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used. The printing press helped to standardize the spelling of English in its modern stages. while a closed syllable with at least one consonant following it contained a short vowel In addition. an open syllable with no consonant following it contained a long vowel. such as devulgate. Ten thousand words were added to English as writers created new words by using Greek and Latin affixes. Early Modern English (1500 . Richard Mulcaster proposed in his treatise "Elementaire" a compromise on spelling and by 1623. there were dialectal differences in the north and south. Some words.(borrowed from Scandinavian). The printing press led the path for the laser printer many. -(e)th for the third person singular. Eventually. Henry Cockrum published his English dictionary. sword. but the southern pronunciation of [o] and [č] would also remain. will meant want and shall meant obliged to.head. Pronunciation changes: • • • • • • • • • Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan . hæfde .to leap. HP and Brother toner. In 1582. and the third person plural pronouns began with th. The neuter pronoun it was first used as well as who as a relative pronoun. and h. The use of double negation also increased as did impersonal constructions. answer) [č] lost in unstressed syllable (ič . hnutu .I) [v] lost in middle of words (heofod . attemptate and dispraise. such as the perfect tenses. a nuncle . The class distinctions between . many years later in 1969 which lead to Canon.
Negatives followed the verb and multiple negatives were still used. with supplements in 1933 and 1972-6. borrowing words from other languages (except Latin and Greek). The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1600) changed the pronunciation of all the vowels. folk) [r] sometimes before s (Worcestershire) initial clusters beginning with k and g (knee. so that today there is no difference between them. the double negative was considered incorrect (two negatives equal one positive) and should not be used. The first edition was published in 1928. several grammarians wrote dictionaries and grammar books in a prescriptive manner . part of speech. assibilation occurred when the alveolars [s]. [t]. talk. producing the palatal consonants: [š]. More strong verbs became weak and the third person singular form became -(e)s instead of (e)th. but the spelling system was in place before the consonant loss. or prepositions at the end of the sentence. however. There was a more limited use of the progressive and auxiliary verbs than there is now. The consonants lost include: • • • • • • Voiceless velar fricative lost in night. meanings in chronological order and illustrative quotations. spelling variations. The second edition was published in 1989 and it recognized American and Australian English. The project was begun in 1879 under its first editor. It was to be a factual account of every word in the English language since 1000 including its main form. James AH Murray. The tongue was placed higher in the mouth. pronunciation. gnat) [g] in -ing endings (more commonly pronounced [ɪn]) Finally. Nevertheless. [ǰ]. They also didn't like shortened or redundant words. [d]. split infinitives. knight. etymology. but the Parliament voted against it. [ž] Early Grammarians (18th Century) A proposal for an Academy of the English Language was first brought forth by Jonathan Swift in 1712.telling people what to do or not to do with the language.formal and informal you were decreasing. and [z] preceded the palatal glide [j]. so they are still written in English today. and all the verbs moved up. comb) [l] between a or o and consonant (half. Beginnings of Modern English . as the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation. walk. Early grammarians felt that language should be logical. Several consonants were no longer pronounced. Vowels that were already high ([i] and [u]) added the dipthongs [aj] and [aw] to the vowels of English. therefore. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and Robert Lowth's Introduction to English Grammar appeared in 1762. A more scientifically minded attitude took hold by the 19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary was proposed in 1859. [č]. pronounced as f in laugh [b] in final -mb cluster (dumb.
) In 1828. 3. sometimes the second word (which rhymes with the word being referred to) is omitted. Cockney (and its Ryhming Slang) is an interesting dialect of English spoken in London's east end. Dialects in the United States resulted from different waves of immigration of English speakers. Canada also has French as an official language. and the slave trade." Even more confusing. This is how it's possible to become a US citizen without speaking English. he published his famous American Dictionary of the English Language. Similarly. Australian and New Zealand English have few differences. These include a loss of the postvocalic r (so that the r is only pronounced before a vowel and not after). except Australia was originally settled as a penal colony and New Zealand was not. Canada. By the mid-1800's. so their dialect is considered closer to British English. which had a profound impact on African American English. Because many of the English speakers who originally inhabited Canada came from the US. and Canada. He wrote an American spelling book. For examples.In England." gloves is "turtle doves. Noah Webster was the most vocal about the need for an American national identity with regards to the American English language. The American English language is characterized by archaisms (words that changed meaning in Britain. and a rise in class consciousness about speech (Received Pronunciation. the last of which rhymes with what is being referred to. a very large amount of vocabulary words has been added to English in a relatively short period. an increase in the use of the progressive tenses.S. Ireland. The initial h of words is dropped. The Blueback Speller. theatre became theater. contact with other languages. so that money is called just "bees.5 million immigrants left the British Isles for the United States. several changes to English had occurred since 1700. A dialectal study was done in 1920 and the findings are published in the Linguistics Atlas of the U. though it is mostly spoken in the province of Quebec. the United States does not have an official language. but remained in the colonies) and innovations in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also settling in North America). American English Immigrants from Southeastern England began arriving on the North American continent in the early 1600's. The majority of these words are related to science and technology. The Rhyming Slang refers to a word by referring to two things. money is "bees and honey. New Zealanders were more attached to the Received Pronunciation of the upper class in England.) Since 1900. there is little difference in the American and Canadian dialects of English. and use Greek and Latin roots. in 1788 and changed several spellings from British English (colour became color. English around the World Although the United Kingdom." ." suit is "whistle and flute" and trouble is "Barney Rubble. glottal stops are used frequently and labiodentals are used in place of interdentals. etc. Australia and New Zealand have English as an official language.
frequent use of the "isn't it?" tag. and although Afrikaans was the language used more often. in the 1996 constitution. English became an official language. along with Afrikaans and 9 African languages. and Singapore. today English and Hindi are the official languages. and no articles are used before occupations. Britain still promised the Boers self-government under the Union of South Africa. Mass nouns are treated as count nouns. However. the Africans wanted English as the official language. and it still holds prestige in South Africa. Chinese. Hence the compromise of 11 official languages. and a different use of prepositions. .British colonialism has spread English all over the world. Over time. these creoles were pidgins so that English-speaking traders could conduct business. only 3% of the country's 30 million people are native English speakers. use of more compounds. and the English language was supposed to be phased out by 1965. India became an independent from Britian in 1947.) Originally. but there are a few differences from British English as well. these Afrikaners won state elections and remained in power through the 1990's. and the rest are native Africans. "use to" means usually. Although the British won the Boer Wars of 1899-1901 against the Dutch farmers (the Boers). among other nations. China. Everyone is taught English in the school system. In South Africa. Twenty percent are descendants of Dutch farmers who speak Afrikaans. By 1948. However. Apartheid (which segregated the Afrikaners and Africans) officially ended under Nelson Mandela's reign. and on islands of the Pacific and Caribbean (especially the West Indies. Creoles of English can be found on the coast of West Africa. In Singapore. Malay and Indian languages have an impact on the form of English spoken. Indian English is characterized by treating mass nouns as count nouns. India. they became the native languages of the children and evolved into creoles.