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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
English based Cameroon Pidgin POLITENESS In everyday conversation. is it O. say.." or "I was . In this situation you recognize that your teacher has a desire to be respected. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem. What would you do if you saw a cup of pens on your teacher's desk. "I don't want to bother you but.. Positive Politeness. and Off-Record-indirect strategy. "Could you please pass me that plate. "Hmm." If you answered B. I sure could use a blue pen right now. described by Brown and Levinson. you used the Positive Politeness strategy. when we are surrounded by a group of adults at a formal function. but I am not able to hear the speaker in the front of the room. you used the Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that you recognize that they want to be respected however. if I use one of those pens?" c. we must say. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity. would you a. you used what is called the Bald On-Record strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to your teachers' "face. According to Brown and Levinson. German based Papua New Guinea Pidgin German g. When we are with a group of friends. we are obligated to adjust our use of words to fit the occasion. say.K. It would seem socially unacceptable if the phrases above were reversed. Some other examples would be to say. I don't mean to interrupt. in which our parents are attending. "So. you also assume that you are in some way imposing on them. we can say to them. there are ways to go about getting the things we want. if you don't mind?" and "I'm sorry.f. Indirectly say. politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face. If you answered C. or making them feel uncomfortable." Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself. "Go get me that plate!". that sum up human "politeness" behavior: Bald On Record." I different social situations. I want to use one of those!" b. and be respected. I just wanted to ask you if I could use one of those pens?" d. and you wanted to use one. and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations. "Ooh. "I'm sorry to bother you but. say." There are four types of politeness strategies. Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these FTA's. Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person. Negative Politeness. If you answered A. or "Shut-up!" However.
they note that boys. Therefore. Culture." It reflects the role of the inferior status being expected to respect the superior. . "are permitted. peculiarly. In our society it is socially acceptable for a man to be forward and direct his assertiveness to control the actions of others. The main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you. formal stylistic markers)." If you answered D. However. This is a prime example of how society plays an important part on the social function of the language. " I tried to call a hundred times. In Frank and Anshen's "Language and the Sexes". February 25. and softening devices such as hedges and questions." This page was last updated on Tuesday. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once the teacher realizes you need one. but there was never any answer. decided not to return someone's phone call. "women typically use more polite speech than do men. cultivate a deep "masculine" voice and. to talk rough. However. you used Off-Record indirect strategies. From Nancy Bonvillain's "Language." Sociolinguists try to explain why there is a greater frequency of the use of polite speech from women than from men. the trend of expected polite speech from the female continues to remain. on purpose. You are trying not to directly impose by asking for a pen.wondering if . From historical recurrence. characterized by a high frequency of honorific (showing respect for the person to whom you are talking to. it has appeared that women have had a secondary role in society relative to that of the male. well "boys will be boys.. and you are looking to find one. it is much less common that "girls will be girls" Fortunately.. society has devalued these speech patterns when it is utilized by women. A great example of this strategy is somethin g that almost everyone has done or will do when you have. and Communication" she notes that. even encouraged. these roles are becoming more of a stereotype and less of a reality. therefore you say. if they violate the norms of correct usage or of polite speech. it has been (historically) expected from a women to "act like a lady" and "respect those around you. 1997 Politeness and Gender Are Women More Polite Than Men? Politeness is defined by the concern for the feelings of others." although.
always speaking and expressing their feelings. and fix my jacket?" In Japanese.." "HANK is SO MEAN!" vs. this is probably true. Without Honorific. With Honorific. soften the impact of your words or phrases such as " I was sort-of-wondering. An experiment b y Marjorie Swacker entailed using three pictures by a . 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.." 2." 1. yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda yamada son dinner enjoyed "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son..Honorifics: linguistic markers that signal respect to the person you are speaking to: "Hey ma. " I sort-of-think that Hank is a bit of a mean person. referent. according to Masa-aki Yamanashi. however." "maybe if. 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.... and Communication. Men or Women? A common cultural stereotype describes women as being talkative." "I think that. could you please do me a favor." More Gender Speech Issues Who Talks More." Hedges: "loosely speaking". Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. fix my jacket" Mom.. Culture. and entities or activities associated with either. Well. having a sense of "fuzziness" they take away assertiveness in your statements.
Since childhood. it is common for men to be more silent in situations that require them to express emotion. most likely. Albrecht Durer which were presented to men and women separately.fifteenth century Flemish artist. Example taken from Janet Holmes. It is more acceptable for a man to be talkative.0 minutes. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. or a give a long wordy speech. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. I love it. they have been told to "keep their cool" and "remain calm. In English we laugh at these utterances." Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. carry on long conversation. However . and the average time for women 3. They were told to take as much time as they wanted to describe the pictures." "This shirt is cool. It has been more of a historical trend for men have more rights to talk. Men have tended to take on a more dominant role not only in the household. "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 .17 minutes." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat." "This is a super cool shirt. however it is less acceptable for a women to do so. be a man. the trend is still prominent in some societies across the world. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. Why is this? Sociolinguists try to make the connection between our society and our language in a way that suggests that women talk less because it has not always been as culturally acceptable as it has been for men. I like them. however. This ever-changing concept is becoming le ss applicable in our society. The average time for males: 13. but in the business world." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. 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. an American Indian language.
or by men talking to women. an American Indian language. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana." "This shirt is cool. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. "Language." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. I love it. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. Culture. I like them. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. and Communication" Women Men ohiya mizu "water" . Therefore. or by men talking to women. Example taken from Janet Holmes. "Language. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. 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.to other men. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. Culture. In English we laugh at these utterances. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. most likely." "This is a super cool shirt. Therefore. "An Introduction to Sociolinguistics" Women Men ba yaa ba-na yaa-na "dear" "person" Sapir found that the male form of speech is used by men when talking to other men.
and completely unintelligible to modern speakers. it is also an official language of India. Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English. Angles. this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD. Britain. With the coming of the Renaissance. where Old English was developed into a full-fledged literary language. Latin and Ancient Greek supplanted French as the main source of new words. and many sub-Saharan African countries. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. Its history began with the migration of the Jutes. and the most widely taught foreign language. eventually came to dominate. However. The primary language of the U. 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 . as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch.S. while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle English of 1400 AD. who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. it is most closely related to Frisian. Thus. Written in the Latin alphabet. Saxons. English developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old French. Read more: http://www. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (approximately 1.5 billion speakers). The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought many French words into English. A large proportion of the modern English vocabulary comes directly from Old French. Canada. English changed enormously in the Middle Ages. and when literary English rose anew in the 13th century. The languages of Germanic peoples gave rise to the English language (the Angles. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family. Ireland.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."stomach" onaka hara "delicious" oisii umai "eat" taberu kuu Language belonging to the Germanic languages branch of the Indo-European language family. Greek and Latin words began to enter it in the 15th century. One of these dialects. the mother tongue of more than 350 million people. English easily borrows words from other languages and has coined many new words to reflect advances in technology. with heavy influence from Norman French in the courts and government. reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. English relies mainly on word order (usually subject-verb-object) to indicate relationships between words (see syntax). widely spoken on six continents.answers. and Modern English is usually dated from 1500. much closer to the center of Scandinavian settlement. Frisii. New Zealand. German. and various Caribbean and Pacific island nations. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066. Initially. and Saxons from Germany and Denmark to Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. Late West Saxon. the Philippines.. 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. it was based on the speech of London. the second by the French Normans in the 11th century. Australia. who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. Jutes and possibly the Franks. and Dutch.
written around 100 AD. Angles and Jutes). Further aid was sought. and in response "came men of Ald Seaxum of Anglum of Iotum" (Saxons. The Chronicle talks of a subsequent influx of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms. invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help him in conflicts with the Picts. However. Even then. independent of Roman control. Wales and Cornwall (where Cornish was spoken into the 19th century). it continued to exhibit local language variation. King of the Britons. While remaining conversant with Roman civilisation and its economy. It is unlikely that Germanic settlement in Britain was intensified (except for Frisians) until the arrival of mercenaries in the 5th century as described by Gildas. The main source of information for the culture of the Germanic peoples (the ancestors of the English) in ancient times is Tacitus' Germania.Migration Period). around the year 449. As it was. the remnants of which continue . the Angles were granted lands in the southeast of Britain. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Vortigern. including serving in the Roman military. they retained political independence. the Angles. Some Germanic troops served in Britannia under the Romans. What is now called Old English emerged over time out of the many dialects and languages of the colonising tribes. In return.  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. The original Celtic languages remained in parts of Scotland. Some Latin words for common objects entered the vocabulary of these Germanic peoples before their arrival in Britain and their subsequent formation of England. modern scholars view the figures of Hengist and Horsa as Euhemerized deities from Anglo-Saxon paganism. who ultimately stem from the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Saxons and Jutes arrived as Germanic pagans. known as the heptarchy.
Even after the decline of Norman-French..  Middle English Main article: Middle English Further information: Middle English creole hypothesis For about 300 years following the Norman Conquest in 1066. The words be. Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman and. which might have been responsible for some of the morphological simplification of Old English. for example. law. Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language). sky.to be found in dialects of Modern English. The use of Anglo-Saxon to describe a merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. and many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have retained many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation.and had a significant influence on the language. Another example is the very unusual construction of the words for animals being separate from the words for their meat: e. same. Nevertheless. bag. and many others. about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. many of their lexical roots were the same or similar. skill. The introduction of Christianity added another wave of Latin and some Greek words. The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem Beowulf composed by an unknown poet. spoken by the Norsemen who invaded and settled mainly in the north-east of England (see Jórvík and Danelaw). the Norman kings and their high nobility spoke only one of the French langues d'oïl. that we call Anglo-Norman. beef and pork (from the French bœuf and porc) being the products of 'cows' and 'pigs'. strong and water. although their grammars were more distinct. most modern English speakers would consider a "cordial reception" (from French) to be more formal than a "hearty welcome" (Germanic). The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was influenced by contact with Norse invaders.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. The Old English period formally ended sometime after the Norman conquest (starting in 1066 AD). derive from Old English. later. whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. English words of Old Norse origin include anger. Later. Old English was spoken until sometime in the 12th or 13th century. Any native English speaker of today would find Old English unintelligible without studying it as a separate language. take. hit.g. Old English did not sound or look like the Standard English of today. 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. English was strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Old Norse. when the language was influenced to an even greater extent by the Normans. who spoke a French dialect called Old Norman. including the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (with the notable exception of the pronouns). leg. animals with Germanic names. which is visible in Modern English today (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). . standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language . possibly even including the pronoun they. both.
but it had ceased to be a living language. his Dictionary of the English Language. most other literature from this period was in Old Norman or Latin. arising from two principal factors: firstly. In 1362. the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. By the end of that century. and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work. Late Modern English has many more words. especially the Brittonic substrate. the risk of mispronunciation is high. A large number of Norman words were taken into Old English. 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. most notably with the introduction of the continuous aspect—a feature found in many modern languages but developed earlier and more thoroughly in English. These letters remain in the modern Icelandic alphabet. which took place mainly during the 15th century.early 16th century). even the royal court had switched to English. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable. the Table Alphabeticall. In 1604.  Modern English Main article: Modern English In 1755. English has continuously adopted foreign words. Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary. which did not exist in Norman. the Industrial . English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period. most notably in the West Country.  Early Modern English Main article: Early Modern English Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift. when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable. (In the 17th century. released in 1258. which is descended from the alphabet of Old Norse. The Norman influence is the hallmark of the linguistic shifts in English over the period of time following the invasion. While the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle continued until 1154. was the first English government document to be published in the English language since the Conquest.English was also influenced by the Celtic languages it was displacing. Latin words were often used with the original inflections. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer. Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. with many doubling for Old English words. with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth). English literature started to reappear around 1200. but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects. especially from Latin and Greek. The Provisions of Oxford. The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 15th . since the Renaissance. the first English dictionary was published. but these eventually disappeared). producing what is now referred to as Middle English.
The nominative case. the term objective is often used. Modern English morphologically distinguishes only one case. "he" and "him". In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples. but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information). and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries. "who". Evolution of English pronouns "Who" and "whom". the possessive case — which some linguists argue is not a case at all. "her" (for example) serves as both the dative and accusative version of the nominative pronoun "she". "she" and "her". are remnants of both the old nominative versus accusative and also of nominative versus dative. secondly. "whom" is a generic objective pronoun which can describe either a direct or an indirect object. In other words.  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 . etc. that is. Instead. The information formerly conveyed by having distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order. is called simply the subjective. the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's surface. these cases had distinct pronouns. With only a few pronominal exceptions. the objective and subjective always have the same form. This collapse of the separate case pronouns into the same word is one of the reasons grammarians consider the dative and accusative cases to be extinct in English — neither is an ideal term for the role played by "whom".Revolution and technology created a need for new words.
tal Genitive 1 hwæs whos whose2 .Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned). wit ("we two") etcetera. though variation among dialects must be taken into account. ours (Old English also had a separate dual. 2 .In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom. mine we Accusativ ūs / ūsiċ Plural e us Dative Genitive ūs ūser / ūre ure / our us our. thine . however. 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.)  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.
Here the letter þ (interchangeable with ð in manuscripts) corresponds to th. thy. ya Genitive ēower your. yours Note that the ye/you distinction still existed. yours thine your.)  Third person personal pronouns Old Case Middle English English Nominati hē ve Masculine Singular Accusativ hine e Dative him his he Modern English he him him Genitive his his . however. 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. ȝit ("ye two") etcetera.thine Nominati ġē ve Accusativ ēow / Plural e ēowiċ Dative ēow your ye / ȝe / you (your) you you. no later forms derive from it. in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible. at least optionally. yours 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.
English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects. It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries. become the leading language of international discourse. political. þæira. The . þæim. The two different roots co-existed for some time. via the British Empire. now collectively termed Old English. and of the United States since the mid-20th century. it has been widely dispersed around the world. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world. as well as in many world organizations. and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). alsoEnglish is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria. military. Following the economic. Historically. Cf. 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 colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century. scientific. although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em. 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. A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin. and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. theirs (The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.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. cultural. because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life.
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.4 Dialects and regional varieties o 4.2 Old Norse origins 7.3 Dutch and Low German origins 8 Writing system o 8. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250. 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.1 Notes for vowels o 5.1 Countries in order of total speakers o 220.127.116.11 Countries where English is a major language o 4.1. modern English contains a very large vocabulary.3.2 Word origins 7.2 Characteristics of intonation—stress 6 Grammar 7 Vocabulary o 7.2.3 Supra-segmental features 5.1 French origins 7. or words that belong to multiple word classes.5 Constructed varieties of English 5 Phonology o 5. Owing to the significant assimilation of various European languages throughout history.2 Written accents 9 Formal written English 10 Basic and simplified versions 11 See also 12 References .2.2 Consonants 5. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from NormanFrench.1 Tone groups 5.1 Number of words in English o 7. not including many technical or slang terms.2.  Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Significance 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Geographical distribution o 4.000 distinct words.language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.1 Notes for consonants 5.1 Vowels 5.3 English as a global language o 4.3.2 Voicing and aspiration o 5.1 Basic consonant sound-letter correspondence o 8.
Old English was a diverse group of dialects. occupations and professions such as medicine and computing. Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries. business. One of these incoming Germanic tribes was the Angles. Conversely. 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. in Roman Britain the native population is assumed to have spoken the Celtic language Brythonic alongside the acrolectal influence of Latin. is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications. and it is in this that the poem Beowulf is written.1 Bibliographic 13 External links Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English. the natural internal variety of English along with creoles and pidgins have the potential to produce new distinct languages from English over time. aviation. entertainment. Lower Saxony. information technology. eventually came to dominate.o • 12. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire. Canada. . science. it became the dominant language in the United States. and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global . 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. from the 400-year Roman occupation. 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. Jutes and a range of Germanic peoples from the coasts of Frisia. 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). radio and diplomacy. seafaring. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations. as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. Australia and New Zealand. Initially. Late West Saxon. Jutland and Southern Sweden also moved to Britain in this era. sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. Denmark and the Netherlands. reflecting the varied origins of the AngloSaxon kingdoms of Great Britain but one of these dialects. Up to that point. whom Bede believed to have relocated entirely to Britain.
High German). the division of verbs into strong and weak classes. lexical differences between English and other Germanic languages exist due to heavy borrowing in English of words from Latin and French. In the post-colonial period. English is characterised by the use of modal verbs. In addition to isolation. Afrikaans. After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages that are more distantly related: the nonAnglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Dutch. with Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales being the best known work. Modern English is the direct descendant of Middle English. and then Anglo-French – and introduced a layer of words especially via the courts and government. and common sound shifts from Proto-IndoEuropean known as Grimm's Law. Typical of most Germanic languages. a descendant of ProtoGermanic. Low German. 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). but later the humanist Renaissance Latin. semantics. 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. a trend extended with the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the mid-20th century. although some. syntax. 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. Danish. none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English. and when the United Kingdom became a colonial power. Norwegian.Old English was later transformed by two waves of invasion. With the (partial) exception of Scots. do show strong affinities with English. English was adopted in North America. Norman developed into Anglo-Norman. a member of the Indo-European languages. Icelandic. 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. which includes the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible. Modern English. English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the British Empire. especially to earlier stages of the language. The second was by speakers of the Romance language Old Norman in the 11th century with the Norman conquest of England. owing in part to the divergences in lexis. Africa. Classification and related languages The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family. For example. and phonology. itself a direct descendant of Old English. compare "exit" (Latin). . Australia and many other regions. India. and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles. Throughout all this period Latin in some form was the lingua franca of European intellectual life. 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. As a result of the growth of the British Empire. Isolation has allowed English and Scots (as well as Icelandic and Faroese) to develop independently of the Continental Germanic languages and their influences over time. is generally dated from about 1550. the Netherlands. and the North Germanic languages (Swedish. such as Dutch. and Germany). first the Medieval Latin of the Christian Church. The linguistic shifts in English following the Norman invasion produced what is now referred to as Middle English. and Faroese).
and adverbs are Germanic. Even the lack or absence of affixes.). German Bewegung ("be-way-ing". Dutch uitgang. Non-native words are incorporated into a Germanic system of conjugation. West Frisian goed/better/best. and the large amount of cognates (e. These particles append freely to all English words regardless of origin (tsunamis.redūxī . Despite lexical borrowing. German Änderung (literally "alteration. meaning . however. streetcar. Dutch vallen/viel/gevallen/zullen vallen. the present participle ending -ing. Swedish våt. Dutch goed/beter/best. we say: "John's life insurance company" rather than "the company of insurance life of John". he stands/he reaches ). schoenmakers. West Frisian fal/foel/fallen/sil falle.g.g. As in most Germanic languages. etc. For nouns.g. shoemaker's. English retains its classification as a Germanic language due to its structure and grammar. during. West Frisian wiet. German fallen/fiell/gefallen/werden fallen). 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. English good/better/best.g. all basic grammatical particles added to nouns. othering"). Old English tō drīfenne). Dutch schoenmaker. English time vs Norwegian time.I will reduce" rather than "redūcō . lamp post. Both words descend from Proto-Germanic *karō and *surgō respectively. the word reduce is borrowed from Latin redūcere. English wet. bizarrely) and all derive from Old English. however. and syntax (For example. English send. even when the adjective is of Latinate origin (e. in English. life insurance company). -o. Also. Danish Jeg har aldrig set noget på torvet. adjectives. or through a combination with more and most. Icelandic Ég hef aldrei séð neitt á torginu).g. English gift vs German Gift. It also gives rise to false friends (e. Modern English "I sing" = I sing-Ø < I singe < Old English ic singe. where the participle is placed at the end). which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e. The kinship with other Germanic languages can also be seen in the tensing of English verbs (e.g. English adjectives usually come before the noun they modify. Dutch zenden. even where both words are Germanic.vs. likewise. and Scandinavian languages. the simple past tense and past participle ending -ed.g. and the possessive markers -'s and -s' . but *karō has become the dominant word in English for "care" while in German. For verbs. derive from endings which previously existed in Old English (usually -e.g. English syntax continues to adhere closely to that of the North Germanic languages. fast/faster/fastest). "proceeding along the way"). traits inherited from Old English (See also Kenning). literally "out-going" (though outgang survives dialectally in restricted usage) and "change" (French) vs. skomakere. shoemakers. Swedish mening. the French: la compagnie d'assurance-vie de John).g. in English we say "I reduce . Adverbs generally receive an -ly ending. "I have never seen anything in the square" = German Ich habe nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen. that later weakened to -e. meaning "hour". "to drive". -u.e. English meaning.g. skomakers. "we thought" = we thought-Ø < we thoughte(n) < Old English wē þōhton). classroom). to buccaneer. etc. schoenmakeren. national treasure). as in English care vs. skomakere). Scots weet. and have since ceased to be pronounced and spelt (e.g. German senden.I reduced . Swedish skomaker. these include the normal plural marker -s/-es. "movement" (French) vs. -an. cf. these include the third person present ending -s/-es (e. Preference of one synonym over another also causes differentiation in lexis. Icelandic meining. i. verbs. etc. and the formation of the English infinitive using to (e. the comparatives of adjectives and adverbs (e.). and nouns which serve as modifiers (e. *Surgō still survives in English. as sorrow. and adjectives and adverbs are inflected for the comparative and superlative using -er and -est (e. calmer. Dutch.g. medical emergency. -a. shoemakers'. English continues to make extensive use of self-explaining compounds (e. communicates.redūcam". German gut/besser/best). cf. German Sorge. declension.. known as zero or null (-Ø) affixes. and the Dutch Ik heb nooit iets op het plein gezien. schoenmakers. Furthermore. English fall/fell/fallen/will or shall fall. the *surgō root prevailed. the treatment of nouns (English shoemaker.
etc. has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon. compare "library" with the French librairie. Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker. though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide. The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with the exception of a handful of more recently borrowed words such as mirage. like English. which shows how close-knit the relations between the English and the Scandinavian settlers were (See below: Old Norse origins). through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval". or phrases like coup d’état. lack of diacritics. "-ship". because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French. "-dom" and "-ness". résider. which means bookstore. with some minor spelling differences (e. the word for "library" is bibliothèque."poison"). while differences in phonology can obscure words that really are related (tooth vs. Geographical distribution See also: List of countries by English-speaking population . while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum"). abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "-hood". a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French. Finally. and phrases such as to tide over). English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood". inflectional endings.g. 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. as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example. but their usage patterns have diverged. Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit ("time") is related to English "tide". Many North Germanic words entered English due to the settlement of Viking raiders and Danish invasions which began around the 9th century (see Danelaw). as German "Freiheit" vs. since. contributing common everyday terms and many nautical and trading terms (See below: Dutch and Low German origins). etc. via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest.). "reside" vs. often mistaken for being native. Many of these words are common words. German Zahn. heure. and directly from French in subsequent centuries. French nature.) has become largely anglicised and follows a typically English phonology and pattern of stress (compare English "nature" vs. Dutch and Low German also had a considerable influence on English vocabulary. "hour" vs. use of old French spellings. etc. The Germanic languages Icelandic and Faroese also follow English in this respect. All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages. "table" vs. As a result. For instance. but the English word. table. genre. in French. they developed independent of German influences. compare also Danish tand).). rendez-vous. especially when they are seen in writing (as pronunciations are often quite different). bouton. café. "button" vs.
when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world. Canada (18. Note: United 251.5 million). However. 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. and New Zealand (3. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.2 million).7 million). Australia (15. 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"). India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world. combining native and non-native speakers. Crystal claims that. India has the most such speakers ('Indian English').744 262. United Kingdom (61 million). Nigeria (4 million). South Africa (3.375.301 States of America . English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers.8 million). in descending order: United States (215 million).152 First language Comment Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000. Countries in order of total speakers Country Total Percent of population 96% As an additional Population language 215. 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. Table 1. Ireland (3.557 35.964.6 million) 2006 Census. Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are. Countries such as the Philippines.423. Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well". Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language.388.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.
125.221 second language speakers.736 12% 226. 487–525.100. (1998)." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296– 313. Philippines 48.427.000 58% 3.000.800.500.71% of the 66. Ethnologue lists 3. 19 (5&6).737. The figures include English speakers. Ihemere.600. United 59.000 60.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as an additional language. an Englishbased pidgin or creole. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin.000 .449 86.000 43.000. 148.7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English.028.000 53% 4.344.993.000 Kingdom 98% 58. Native speakers: Census 1995.066 third language speakers Nigeria 79. the midpoint of the range is used in the table. p.000.000 figures are for population age 5 and older Figures include both those who speak English as a second language and those who speak it as a third 1.436 language.India 125.566.000 84. as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines. 2006. text above Figure 7.000 Source: Crystal (2005). 109.000.000.974.000 1. but not English users. Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin.000 >75. 63. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.000 Kelechukwu Uchechukwu. 38. 2001 figures. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers. Total speakers: Census 2000.
172. . the Cayman Islands. the Turks and Caicos Islands.288 shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well".329 2. South Sudan. Seychelles.639. Fiji. the United Kingdom and the United States. Nigeria. Sierra Leone. Guam. the British Indian Ocean Territory. Ireland. the Philippines (Philippine English). Mauritius.572. the Marshall Islands. Nauru. Samoa. Tanzania.Canada Australia Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue. Sudan. Note: Total = First language + Other language. In some countries where English is not the most spoken language. Zambia.170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue. India. Pakistan. Cameroon. Madagascar. Namibia.030 both French and English as a mother tongue. plus 17. Singapore. it is an official language.855.694. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Pitcairn Islands. Lesotho. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. the Falkland Islands. Sri Lanka. Dominica. Source: 2006 Census. The additional language column 18. Jersey. Kiribati. Gibraltar.581. Jamaica. Percentage = Total / Population Countries where English is a major language English is the primary language in Anguilla. Saint Lucia. Antigua and Barbuda. the Isle of Man. the Solomon Islands.591.551. Bermuda. Guam. Saint Kitts and Nevis. Grenada. Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency.830 7. The native speakers figure comprises 122. Ghana. the Federated States of Micronesia. Malta. Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa. Uganda. Saint Helena.390 29. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.660 people with 25. Guyana.220 85% 17.660 19. the Bahamas.989 92% 15.246. Swaziland. Trinidad and Tobago. the British Virgin Islands. these countries include Botswana. English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island. Liberia. Australia. Barbados. Palau. Montserrat. Gambia. Rwanda. New Zealand. Papua New Guinea. and Zimbabwe. Kenya. It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English). Canada. Guernsey. Belize.  The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home.
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. it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. 66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland.Northern Mariana Islands. Among some nonEnglish speaking EU countries. English as a global language See also: English in computing.) English is not an official language in the United States. including the International Olympic Committee. it has often been referred to as a "world language". Although falling short of official status. leading to language shift and even language death. Several educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world. English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole. and the United Arab Emirates. Slovenia. General American. Puerto Rico. This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages. Malaysia. International English. even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries. Bangladesh. magazines. ahead of French at 32%. a large percentage of the adult population can converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden. and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom. and to claims of linguistic imperialism. Because of that global spread. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers". by 89% of schoolchildren. but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. such as Bahrain. 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. an educated dialect of South East England. and the former British colony of Hong Kong. the official language for aerial and maritime communications. 83% in Denmark. World language. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations. and English as a foreign or second language Because English is so widely spoken. 79% in the Netherlands. Although the United States federal government has no official languages. and while it is not an official language in most countries. by international treaty. while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union. (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details. the lingua franca of the modern era. and Germany. Austria.. In the United Kingdom much emphasis is placed on Received Pronunciation. English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins. Cyprus. which is spread over most of the United States and much of . Belgium. It is. and the US Virgin Islands). Brunei. Books.
and pronunciation. English speakers have many different accents. the major native dialect of Australian English is spoken as a first language by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent. Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history. but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began. such as Jamaican Patois. but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base. several subvarieties. grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ. In Oceania. and Tok Pisin. there are numerous other varieties of English. designed primarily for use in deaf education. which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language. Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources. sometimes substantially. English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language. in most cases. For the most distinctive characteristics of regional accents. see List of dialects of the English language. English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world. whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English. There are a number of regional dialects of Scots. Scouse and Geordie within British English. is more typically the model for the American continents and areas (such as the Philippines) that have had either close association with the United States. and for a complete list of regional dialects. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. English is a pluricentric language. indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers. from other varieties of English. . grammar and vocabulary differed across the country. without a central language authority like France's Académie française. 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. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries. which are independent and not based on English. Nigerian Pidgin. Newfoundland English within Canadian English. Within England. Constructed varieties of English • • • • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. causing dialectalisation. There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words. and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. Manually Coded English constitutes a variety of systems that have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals. which include. variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects. see Regional accents of English. Aside from these major dialects. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. such as Cockney. or a desire to be so identified. E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be. with General Australian serving as the standard accent.Canada. 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. 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.
OLD ENGLISH When England was established there were several kingdoms and the most advanced one was Nurthumbria.Late Modern (1700-now). On the other hand the Celtic tribes in Scotland and Wales developed. Middle English(1100-1450/1500). At the end in 410 the last roman emperor left the island to Celtic and AngloSaxons. kettle. The ancestors of the language were wandering in the forests of northern Europe. It was this period that the best of the Old English literature was written . There . The first Latin effect was in that period. cheap. Old English(7th century-1100). There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words. including the epic poem Beowulf. Among this people the tribes called Angels. After many years of hit-and-run raids between the European kingdoms. He founded and established schools. Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America. Celtic and Anglo-Saxons fought for 100 years and Anglo-Saxons killed all the Celtics. Norse language effected the English considerably.wine. 600. The people talking this language spread to the northern coast of Europe in the time of Roman Empire. In the 8th century Nurthumbrian power declined . 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. Modern English (1500-now). During Roma Empire Latin wasn’t the native language of the kingdom because people in the country were talking Celtic. the Norseman landed in the year of 866 and later the east coast of the island was Norseman’s.) 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. the history of the language divided in to three.Saxons.D. Their language was a part of Germanic branch of Indo-European Family. According to the effects to English . Simplified Technical English was historically developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals and is now used in various industries. When Anglo-Saxons became Christian in 597 they learned Latin.Jutes which is called Anglo-Saxons come to England. The history of English begins a little after A. The most famous king of the West Saxons was Alfred the Great. butter.• • • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak. Norse wasn’t so different from English and English people could understand Norseman. Latin effected the language with the merchants traveling the tribes. all based on restricted vocabularies.cheese. Some of the words taken from Latin are. West Saxons became the leading power. were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. translated or caused to be translated many books from Latin in to English. In some books Modern English is divided in to two Early modern (1500-1700) . In 550 Anglo –Saxons established England.
1994.towel.age. mutton. church word: religion.622 ) For us Middle English is simpler that Old English because it is closer to Modern English.majesty. 1994. In vocabulary Old English is quiet different from Middle English. MIDDLE ENGLISH Between 1100-1200 many important changes took place in the structure of English and Old English became Middle English.surgeon.lemon. final.. P.A.F.music. peach.. The other change is what is called the Great Vowel Shift. play words: dance. polite society. fault. People started to rely more on word order and structure words to express their meaning rather than the use of case system. The change was important because it effected thousands of words and gave a different aspect to the whole language. Also borrowed pronouns like they. sermon. chair.lamp. In 1066 they crossed the Channel and they became the master of England.their. Old English was much more highly inflected that Middle English because there were case endings for nouns.etc. These two changes produced the basic differences . (Clark.them.F.law. &Rose . On the other hand French couldn’t become the national language because it became the language of the court .A.biscuit..chess. This was a systematic shifting of half a dozen vowels and diphthongs in stressed syllables.second.count. Most of the Old English words are native English which weren’t borrowed from other languages.talk). It is supposed also that the Norseman influenced the sound structure and the grammar of English. surprise.leg. For example the word name had in Middle English a vowel something like that in the modern word father. parson. The political event which effected the administration system and language was the Norman Conquest.blanket. The shift effected all the words in which these vowels sounds occurred.leisure. V.ugly. various endings for adjectives. poet. One change was the elimination of a vowel sound in certain unstressed positions at the end of the words. Grammar and the sound system changed a good deal.622 ) Middle English was still a Germanic language but it is different from Old English in many ways. “This can be called as a simplification but it is not exactly. more person and number endings of words and a more complicated pronoun systems.outlaw. flower.A. literary.cream. English continued to be the national language but it changed too much after the conquest. words for food: veal.P.conversation. V. beef. they merely exchange one kind of complexity for another”( (Clark.gentel. plain. anatomy.& Eschholz.sure. literature.give. literary words: story romance.P.England was ruled by the kings whose native language was French. vermilion. P. move.bucket. There were word related with goverment:parliment. household words: curtain. But it didn’t replace as the language of the people. scarlet. On the other hand Old English contains borrowed words coming from Norse and Latin. Old English had some sound which we don’t know have now.. In grammar . ordinary words for all sorts: nice.noun. Languages don’t become simpler . &Rose . learned words: study. For the next several next years .tax.A..egg. The sound system&grammar wasn’t so effected but vocabulary was effected much.very.& Eschholz. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH Between 1400-1600 English underwent a couple of sound changes. nobility. colors: blue. goverment.were considerable interchanges and word borrowings (sky. stomach. logic grammar.
for example. The period of Early Modern English was also a period of English Renaissance. The greatest writer of the Early Modern English period is Shakespeare and the best known book is the King Jones version of the BIBLE. The first English Dictionary was published in 1603. English language had grown as a result of borrowing words from French . may be it will be the universal language. Another product of the 18th century was the invention of English Grammar. similar words in different languages that share the same root. The period where English developed most in the Modern English. But there are several other developments that effected the language. of paramount importance. English is the greatest language of the world spoken natively and as a second language. the Germanic and the Romance (called that because the Romance languages derive from Latin. What will happen in the future? It’ll continue to grow . The Slavic languages. Greek. more people learned to read and write and advanced in communication. This broad family includes most of the European languages spoken today. can be seen today. In that period the people speaking that language increased too much. These words are all cognates. After this books became cheaper and cheaper. Around the second century BC. The Indo-Iranian languages. two are. Of these branches of the Indo-European family. the language of ancient Rome. Now. A (Very) Brief History of the English Language Dave Wilton. The Indo-European family includes several major branches: • • • • • • • Latin and the modern Romance languages. This group began as a common language in the Elbe river region about 3. designated proto-Indo-European. it was felt to control the language. and pitr in Sanskrit. The Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian). English is in the Germanic group of languages. Monday. The word for father. pater in Latin.Latin. As English is replaced with Latin as the language of scholarship. New ideas increased. for our purposes of studying the development of English. even though no written record of it exists. The influence of the original Indo-European language.between Middle English and Modern English. which means the development of the people. 2001 Indo-European and Germanic Influences English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In order to establish the language they develop a dictionary. is vater in German. this Common Germanic language split into three distinct sub-groups: . January 15. It was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1475. The Germanic languages. and Greek.000 years ago. including Hindi and Sanskrit. The Celtic languages. not because of any bodice-ripping literary genre). One was the invention of printing.
Dolly Pentreath. the Duke of Normandy. Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland. and strong. details of which form the navigation buttons on this site. Old English. and Jutes. not Old English roots. Norse invasions. Cornwall. West Germanic is the ancestor of modern German. Words like be. West Saxon in the south and west. is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest. for example. the Norman Conquest. whose best known surviving example is the poem Beowulf. This last date is rather arbitrary. but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language. These invaders pushed the original. which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt. beginning around 850. Northumbrian in the north of England. brought many North Germanic words into the language. and Kentish in the Southeast. They spoke a mutually intelligible language. which is related to Estonian and is not an Indo-European language). began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English. In fact. Flemish. particularly in the north of England. Frisian. and the only written East Germanic language that survives is Gothic. Four major dialects of Old English emerged. Old English is much more important than this number would indicate. lasted until about 1100. died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole. But this statistic is deceptive.) The new overlords spoke a . and Ireland. Cornish. and Icelandic (but not Finnish. derive from Old English roots. leaving behind a few Celtic words. which had meant joy until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr.• • • East Germanic was spoken by peoples who migrated back to southeastern Europe. Danish. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. 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). Some examples are dream. water. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. (The last native Cornish speaker. Wales. The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500) William the Conqueror. Saxons. Mercian in the Midlands. (The Bayeux Tapestry. No East Germanic language is spoken today. and English. invaded and conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD. North Germanic evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages of Swedish. and skirt. unfortunately. Cornwall. The majority of words in modern English come from foreign. Norwegian. Dutch. is now a dead language.
This split. . Giue us this day our daily bread. commonly eaten by the aristocracy. hallowed be thy name. and mass came into the language this way). French and Old English components combined to form a new word. jury. derives from the Anglo-Norman. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment. vicar. where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots. 1611) the same text is completely intelligible: Our father which art in heauen. Other times. Take for instance this Old English (c. 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. crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. þi reume or kyngdom come to be. who tended the cattle. play a wav file of this Old English text (518Kb). Thy kingdom come. Beef. the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name. beef and cow. read by Catherine Ball of Georgetown University. Prior to the Norman Conquest. as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. mainly through vestiges of the Roman occupation and from the conversion of Britain to Christianity in the seventh century (ecclesiastical terms such as priest. 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. and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. retained the Germanic cow. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. To get a feel for Old English pronunciation. in Early Modern English (King James Version. Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language. 1384). Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen.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. Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif. but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words.dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old. while the Anglo-Saxon commoners. The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words. Other times. Sometimes French words replaced Old English words. Middle. and Modern English. such as indict. can be seen in many instances. Finally. Many legal terms. or wish and desire. two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English.
vanish into thin air. dwindle. In that year. The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Words he bequeathed to the language include critical. some 2. Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays. rather than their estates in France. The first was the Great Vowel Shift. the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. until they realize that he coined them and they became cliches afterwards. But. but deliuer us from euill. Middle English can be read. the Statute of Pleading was adopted.And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English. but many survive to this day. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. In 1204 AD. the Black Death (1349-50) killed about one third of the English population. Amen. and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman. and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. And lead us not into temptation. About 150 years later. Unlike Old English. by modern English-speaking people. King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare. One fell swoop. These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these inkhorn terms. leapfrog. This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins. Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. England became the chief concern of the nobility. and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare’s.000 words and countless catchphrases are his. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. Early Modern English (1500-1800) The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. albeit with difficulty. Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. and pedant. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some . majestic. Shakespeare’s character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms. By 1362. as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord’s Prayer.
and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. For this. Before the Great War. the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world. and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent. Pronunciation. Words like oxygen. became more common. and typewriter. but with the exception of nautical terms. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter e at the end of words became silent. and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own. and juggernaut. Blockbuster. Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. both Britain and the United States maintained small. but Late-Modern English has many more words. Britain ruled one quarter of the earth’s surface. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise. vowel sounds are still shortening. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though. and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. The British Empire was a maritime empire. and microchip are good examples. on the other hand. however. cyber-. This burst of neologisms continues today. volunteer militaries. and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages. where most publishing houses were located. English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. The dialect of London. rarely influenced standard English. the 20th century saw two world wars. airplane. Finally. however. grammar. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. to the vast contributions of French and Latin. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English. Also. became the standard. but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. Finally. from the Finnish sauna and the Japanese tycoon. Spelling and grammar became fixed. bios. camouflage. Military slang entered the language like never before. These words are the result of two historical factors. but to introduce words into English. hard-drive.difficulty. pajamas. The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. In Middle English name was pronounced /nam-a/. as opposed to Latin. Byte. . although the change has become considerably more gradual. Military slang existed. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships. and spelling are largely the same. Hindi. and down was pronounced /doon/. The second was the British Empire. five was pronounced /feef/. virtually all British and American men served in the military. such as pundit. the shift was rather sudden. and the first English dictionary was published in 1604. and works in English. would be accented. The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society.and late-modern English is vocabulary. During the mid-20th century. perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. military service for English-speaking persons was rare. Books became cheaper and as a result. In linguistic terms. English roots were used for such terms as horsepower. Chaucer’s Lyf (pronounced /leef/) became the modern word life. provided many words. shampoo. Late-Modern English (1800-Present) The principal distinction between early. the printing press brought standardization to English. Shakespeare. protein. The shift is still not over. nose dive. radar. the major changes occurring within a century. literacy became more common. nuclear. but understandable. At its height.
Augustine arrives in Britain. tomato. In certain respects. Goober. gumbo. savanna. The American dialect also served as the route of introduction for many native American words into the English language. and vigilante are all examples of Spanish words that made their way into English through the settlement of the American West. 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. frame-up which was reintroduced to Britain through Hollywood gangster movies. Indian-sounding names like Idaho were sometimes created that had no native-American roots. and jambalaya came into the language via New Orleans. mustang. Raccoon. words have influenced American English.1000: The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period 1066: The Norman conquest c. and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English. But. canyon. and use of loan as a verb instead of lend). Some Americanisms that the British decry are actually originally British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost at home (e. ranch.. names for other things besides places were also common. 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. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun 911: Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. Most often. He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. and West African.roadblock. barbecue. Armadillo. spearhead. stampede. although in many cases the original Indian words were mangled almost beyond recognition. American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is.g.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 . these were place names like Mississippi. mainly via Louisiana. To a lesser extent French. canoe. through the importation of slaves. The beginning of Norman French c. Some pronunciations and usages “froze” when they reached the American shore. bayou. Armoire. American English Also significant beginning around 1600 AD was the English colonization of North America and the subsequent creation of a distinct American dialect. A Chronology of the English Language 55 BCE: Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar 43 CE: Roman invasion and occupation under Emperor Claudius. and Iowa. fall as a synonym for autumn. and tote are West African borrowings first used in America by slaves. Roanoke. and hickory have native American roots. Spanish has also been great influence on American English. trash for rubbish.
The Daily Courant. Table Alphabeticall 1607: Jamestown. Records continue to be kept in Latin. of the Bible is published 1616: Death of Shakespeare 1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is published 1666: The Great Fire of London. English-language newspaper. in London 1755: Samuel Johnson publishes his dictionary 1770: Cook discovers Australia 1776: Thomas Jefferson writes the Declaration of Independence 1782: Washington defeats Cornwallis at Yorktown. established 1611: The Authorized. English is used in Parliament for the first time 1384: Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible c. or King James Version. Britain abandons the American colonies 1788: British penal colony established in Australia 1803: Act of Union unites Britain and Ireland 1828: Noah Webster publishes his dictionary 1851: Herman Melville publishes Moby Dick 1922: British Broadcasting Corporation founded 1928: The Oxford English Dictionary is published Filed un Origins of the English Language . the first permanent English settlement in the New World. other than Oxford and Cambridge which retain Latin 1349-50: The Black Death kills one third of the British population 1362: The Statute of Pleading replaces French with English as the language of law.1400: The Great Vowel Shift begins 1476: William Caxton establishes the first English printing press 1485: Caxton publishes Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur 1492: Columbus discovers the New World 1525: William Tyndale translates the New Testament 1536: The first Act of Union unites England and Wales 1549: First version of The Book of Common Prayer 1564: Shakespeare born 1603: Union of the English and Scottish crowns under James the I (VI of Scotland) 1604: Robert Cawdrey publishes the first English dictionary. End of The Great Plague 1702: Publication of the first daily.1348: English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools.1388: Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales c.
Brot and bread. likewise. is to view the place of English in perspective. The Indo-European Family of Languages Our English vocabulary is not something to be studied in isolation but is related in one way or another to many of the other languages of the world.from “The Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History”. amid the many tongues of mankind. Williams. The German word Milch is very close in sound to the English milk. not to mention a great many additiona l . the German Wasser and English water. Fleisch and flesh closely resemble each other. by Joseph M. 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. therefore.
Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit contained many cognates to Greek and Latin. Fennell) The English language is spoken by 750 million people in the world as either the official language of a nation. In 1786. Australia and New Zealand. the United States has no official language. Dutch. English mother father brother Mutter Vater Bruder moeder vader broeder moder fader broder History of English (Source: A History of English by Barbara A. The early history of the Germanic languages is based on reconstruction of a ProtoGermanic language that evolved into German. Afrikaans. He conjectured a Proto-Indo-European language had existed many years before. however.example s. and the Scandinavian languages. or in a mixture with other languages (such as pidgins and creoles.) English is the (or an) official language in England. Although there . father. Yiddish. and brother. a second language. Indo-European language and people English is classified genetically as a Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. as they appear in various tongues. English. Canada. Perhaps we can see this similarity best if we place side by side in systemat ic form the words for mother.
the language spread to many areas with the advancement of the people. and used horse-drawn wheeled carts. 6. t. They had words for animals such as bear or wolf (as evidenced in the similarity of the words for these animals in the modern I-E languages. -te in German. 2. Two Tense Verbal System: There is a past tense marker (-ed) and a present tense marker (-s) on the verb (without using auxiliary verbs. gʰ became b. This PIE language was also highly inflectional as words had many endings corresponding to cases. 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. x (h)) Verner's Law explains other exceptions that Grimm's law does not include. d. They drank alcohol made from grain. g became p. it is believed that many languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia are all derived from a common language. Either way. Voiced stops became Voiceless stops (B. The spread of the language can be attributed to two theories.is no concrete proof to support this one language had existed. Grimm's Law (or the First Sound Shift) helps to explain the consonant changes from P-I-E to Germanic. Germanic Languages The subgroup of Germanic languages contains many differences that set them apart from the other I-E languages. k) c. Voiceless stops became Voiceless fricatives (P. 5. A few languages that are not included in the Indo-European branch of languages include Basque.) They also made use of a decimal counting system by 10's.000 to 5. or -de in Swedish. Weak Past Tense: Used a dental or alveolar suffix to express the past (such as -ed in English. Aspirated voiced stops became Unaspirated voiced stops (Bʰ. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) lived in Southwest Russia around 4. • • • a. Vowel Changes (Proto Germanic) . θ.) 3. k became f. indicating they did not live in a warm climate. Estonian and Hungarian. Finnish. dʰ. of which the last three belong to the Finno-Ugric language family. Fixed Stress: The stress of words was fixed on the first syllable.) 4. This rapid and vast spread of the I-E people is attributed to their use of horses for transportation. and formed words by compounding. Weak and Strong Adjectives: Each adjective had a different form whether it was preceded by a determiner or no determiner. 1. The I-E people either wanted to conquer their neighbors or look for better farming land. d. g) b. and not wine.) They also had domesticated animals. t.000 BCE.
Kent. leaving the main area of Britain. In 731 CE. They aligned with the Celtic clergy and converted to Christianity. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings who repeatedly invaded the area. The Treaty of Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this "Danelaw" gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. Kentish. During his reign. Sussex. and East Anglia. OE: modor) 7. Four dialects were spoken in these kingdoms: West Saxon. Saxons. as well the macron for distinguishing long vowels. English: garden) • Long a to long o (Latin: mater. he united the kingdoms together and commissioned the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. because the languages were so similar. thorn. Although they invaded twice. Old English (449 . The Celts moved north to Scotland. It detailed the sophisticated society of the Germanic tribes. a list of subjects who owed tribute to the king. Mercian and Northumbrian. earth. edh. It is commonly referred to as Runes. Then the Germanic tribes from the present-day area of Denmark arrived. Although the Danes brought their own writing system with them. the Danes quickly assimilated and intermarried into the English society. The Romans finally left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing. Northumbria. Others include rain. Characteristics of the Old English language . yogh and wynn. leaving the Celts defenseless. The Insular Hand was the name of the writing system used in England. The Tribal Hidage. They had destroyed the Roman civilization in England and built their own. it was not used in England. Common Vocabulary: Words developed that hadn't been used before. wife.1066 CE) The Old English language (also called Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. Jutes and Frisians. Laws and contracts were written down for a sense of permanence and control. loaf. west to Ireland and south to France. they did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE and Latin never overtook the Celtic language. Wessex. called the Futhorc. meat and fowl.• Short o to short a (Latin: hortus. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded. while dominance shifted among the kingdoms beginning with Kent and Northumbria. Alfred the Great was the king of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom. a historical record of important events in England that continued 200 years after his death. such as nautical terms (sea). Bede wrote the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" in Latin. The four main tribes were the Angles. and it contained many symbols that are no longer found in Modern English: the aesc. Essex. However. was written during the Mercian period of power.
feminine or neuter. Eventually the -ost and -m endings combined to form the word "most" which is still used before adjectives in the superlative today. word order is very important because we no longer have declensions to show case distinctions. and genitive. but Danish (Old Scandinavian) did contribute many vocabulary words. the subject often follows the verb. the latter which still remains in modern English as -like. Nouns could be of three genders: masculine. then the strong endings were used. the endings were not pronounced as clearly and began to diminish from the language. Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first syllable. all verbs had markers for number and person. The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English becase of the declensions of the nouns. and there were four cases: nominative. So in modern English. 2.) Pronunciation of consonants: . But as the stress began to move to the first syllable of words. The comparative was formed by adding -ra to the adjective. Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective. Adjectives could be weak or strong. [i:] and [ɪ:]. Numbers could be either singular or plural. 3.verb .The Germanic tribes were exposed to Latin before they invaded England. it often precedes the verb. but it did vary in a few instances: 1. When a sentence begins with an adverb. The i-mutation occurred if there was a front vowel in the ending. The verb often comes at the end of a subordinate clause. while the superlative had many endings: -ost. The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short vowels. When an object is a pronoun.object. If preceded by a determiner. The weak past tense added -de. Latin had more influence. there were seven groups of declensions for nouns. as evidenced in words pertaining to the church. fot becomes fot+i = fet (This helps to explain why feet is the plural of foot. They also agreed in gender. Celtic did not have a large impact on English. accusative. -est. but these were assigned arbitrarily. In all. The case endings told the function of the word in the sentence. -ist. There were also two front rounded vowels that are no longer used in modern English. If no determiner preceded the adjective. the weak ending was added to the adjective. so word order was not very important. Instead we use prepositions. case and number with the nouns they described. For example. The infinitive of verbs ended in -an. so the languages they spoke did have some Latin influence. Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English. and -m. The general word order was subject . After converting to Christianity. In the present tense. or -lic. then the root vowel became fronted. as only a few place names are of Celtic origin. while the strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. dative.
But by 1250 CE. social life (fashion. The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class. but their works included an apology for writing in English. By 1362 CE.1500 CE) The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. Many of the words were related to government (sovereign. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere. Yet William spoke only French. physician). the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. empire). Furthermore. attorney. William invaded England. believed that he would become the next king. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE. English was the language of instruction in schools. The upper class tried to learn English. King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs. However. law (judge. By 1385 CE. embroidery. but they did still use French words sometimes. Duke of Normandy. logic. upon learning that Harold was crowned king. As a result. King Edward I spoke only English. felony. the Hundred Year's War (1337-1453 CE) intensified hatred of all things French. which was considered somewhat snobbish. the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts. the legal system retained parts of .000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE (though most of these words were Parisian rather than Norman French). cuisine. many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more "English" and so encouraged more use of the English language. killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. and the upper class did not want to lose it completely. At this time. Chaucer). appetite) and learning (poet. French began to lose its prestige. and after him. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague. Nevertheless. several words (around 10.f c g h s ð r sc cg v f č k j ɣ g h x. and William. Although the popularity of French was decreasing. jury. justice. 1350 to 1400 CE is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (most famously. larceny). which increased the status of the peasants. who only spoke English. ç z s ð θ trilled š ǰ between voiced vowels elsewhere next to a front vowel elsewhere next to a front vowel between other vowels elsewhere at beginning of word elsewhere between voiced vowels elsewhere between voiced vowels elsewhere Middle English (1066 .
but short in the comparative form (late . won. and some consonants dropped off while some vowels became əand dropped off too. them. ʒ became j. Vowels tended to be long in the adjective form. some. come. herb. honest. one. The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th. The demonstratives these and those were added during this period. their) borrowed from Scandinavian. The comparative form became -er and the superlative became -est. Characteristics of Middle English The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: • • • • • • • • • • • þ and ð were replaced by th (and sometimes y. from. money. Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. but it still competed with -n. but the weak ending -e still remained. habit sometimes words were written with o but pronounced as [ʊ] but later were pronounced [ʌ]: son. late. wonder. but the singular also competed with -(e)s from the Northern dialect. . and used "to" before the verb to signify the infinitival form. Adjectives lost agreement with the noun.French word order (the adjective following the noun) in such terms as fee simple. and the dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. 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. heir. v was used word initially. honey. The dual number disappeared in the pronouns. some "flat" adverbs did not add the -ly: fast. of Because of the stress shift to the beginning of the word. however. The generalized plural marker became -s. The third person plural pronouns replaced the old pronouns with thwords (they. 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. and u was used everywhere else k was used much more often (cyning became king) new values were given to old symbols too. attorney general and accounts payable. front. g before i or e was pronounced ǰ. ton. Verb infinitives dropped the -an ending.latter). More strong (irregular) verbs became weak (regular) as well. And the adverb ending -lič became -ly. She started being used for the feminine singular subject pronoun and you (plural form) was used in the singular as a status marker for the formal. hard. Phonological erosion also occurred because of this.
The use of the verbs will and shall for the future tense were first used too. Some words.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).head. Early Modern English (1500 .to leap. The class distinctions between . and the third person plural pronouns began with th. hæfde . Richard Mulcaster proposed in his treatise "Elementaire" a compromise on spelling and by 1623. but several words were also borrowed from other languages as well as from Chaucer's works. answer) [č] lost in unstressed syllable (ič .Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used. many years later in 1969 which lead to Canon. while a closed syllable with at least one consonant following it contained a short vowel In addition. are no longer used in English.an apron. Pronunciation changes: • • • • • • • • • Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan . The north used -(e)s for the plural marker as well as for the third person singular. hnutu . the northern dialect would become the standard for modern English regarding the grammatical endings. Formerly. such as devulgate.1650/1700 CE) William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English. will meant want and shall meant obliged to. Eventually. The printing press led the path for the laser printer many. HP and Brother toner. but the southern pronunciation of [o] and [č] would also remain. sword. New compound tenses were used. Ten thousand words were added to English as writers created new words by using Greek and Latin affixes. Henry Cockrum published his English dictionary. -(e)th for the third person singular.(borrowed from Scandinavian). The south used -(e)n for the plural. and h. The printing press helped to standardize the spelling of English in its modern stages.hut) [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two. there were dialectal differences in the north and south. In 1582.for the third person plural pronouns.mi fæder) and the addition of -n to some words beginning with a vowel (a napron .had) Loss of final -n in possessive pronouns (min fæder . attemptate and dispraise. The use of double negation also increased as did impersonal constructions.I) [v] lost in middle of words (heofod . The north used [a] and [k] while the south used [o] and [č] for certain words. a nuncle . such as the perfect tenses. Characteristics of Early Modern English Adjectives lost all endings except for in the comparative and superlative forms. and there was more use of the progressive and passive voice. an open syllable with no consonant following it contained a long vowel. The neuter pronoun it was first used as well as who as a relative pronoun.
folk) [r] sometimes before s (Worcestershire) initial clusters beginning with k and g (knee. assibilation occurred when the alveolars [s]. James AH Murray. talk. The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1600) changed the pronunciation of all the vowels. The consonants lost include: • • • • • • Voiceless velar fricative lost in night. therefore. Vowels that were already high ([i] and [u]) added the dipthongs [aj] and [aw] to the vowels of English. There was a more limited use of the progressive and auxiliary verbs than there is now. Beginnings of Modern English . The second edition was published in 1989 and it recognized American and Australian English. Negatives followed the verb and multiple negatives were still used. A more scientifically minded attitude took hold by the 19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary was proposed in 1859. The tongue was placed higher in the mouth. comb) [l] between a or o and consonant (half. so they are still written in English today.formal and informal you were decreasing. meanings in chronological order and illustrative quotations. spelling variations. pronounced as f in laugh [b] in final -mb cluster (dumb. The first edition was published in 1928. knight. producing the palatal consonants: [š]. pronunciation. the double negative was considered incorrect (two negatives equal one positive) and should not be used. etymology. however. [ǰ]. Several consonants were no longer pronounced. walk. or prepositions at the end of the sentence. [ž] Early Grammarians (18th Century) A proposal for an Academy of the English Language was first brought forth by Jonathan Swift in 1712. and all the verbs moved up. [d]. They also didn't like shortened or redundant words. part of speech. as the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation. It was to be a factual account of every word in the English language since 1000 including its main form. but the Parliament voted against it. [t]. The project was begun in 1879 under its first editor. gnat) [g] in -ing endings (more commonly pronounced [ɪn]) Finally.telling people what to do or not to do with the language. split infinitives. and [z] preceded the palatal glide [j]. Early grammarians felt that language should be logical. More strong verbs became weak and the third person singular form became -(e)s instead of (e)th. so that today there is no difference between them. Nevertheless. but the spelling system was in place before the consonant loss. several grammarians wrote dictionaries and grammar books in a prescriptive manner . Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and Robert Lowth's Introduction to English Grammar appeared in 1762. with supplements in 1933 and 1972-6. borrowing words from other languages (except Latin and Greek). [č].
" Even more confusing. the United States does not have an official language. Canada.) Since 1900. except Australia was originally settled as a penal colony and New Zealand was not. Australian and New Zealand English have few differences." gloves is "turtle doves. theatre became theater.) In 1828. so that money is called just "bees. American English Immigrants from Southeastern England began arriving on the North American continent in the early 1600's. Cockney (and its Ryhming Slang) is an interesting dialect of English spoken in London's east end. money is "bees and honey. in 1788 and changed several spellings from British English (colour became color. though it is mostly spoken in the province of Quebec. and use Greek and Latin roots. and the slave trade.S. contact with other languages. New Zealanders were more attached to the Received Pronunciation of the upper class in England." suit is "whistle and flute" and trouble is "Barney Rubble. glottal stops are used frequently and labiodentals are used in place of interdentals. he published his famous American Dictionary of the English Language. The Rhyming Slang refers to a word by referring to two things. This is how it's possible to become a US citizen without speaking English. and a rise in class consciousness about speech (Received Pronunciation. several changes to English had occurred since 1700. The initial h of words is dropped. Because many of the English speakers who originally inhabited Canada came from the US. and Canada. Noah Webster was the most vocal about the need for an American national identity with regards to the American English language. Canada also has French as an official language. The majority of these words are related to science and technology." . Australia and New Zealand have English as an official language. These include a loss of the postvocalic r (so that the r is only pronounced before a vowel and not after). By the mid-1800's. A dialectal study was done in 1920 and the findings are published in the Linguistics Atlas of the U. sometimes the second word (which rhymes with the word being referred to) is omitted. English around the World Although the United Kingdom. but remained in the colonies) and innovations in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also settling in North America). He wrote an American spelling book. an increase in the use of the progressive tenses. etc. the last of which rhymes with what is being referred to. there is little difference in the American and Canadian dialects of English.In England. so their dialect is considered closer to British English. Similarly. Ireland. For examples. a very large amount of vocabulary words has been added to English in a relatively short period. which had a profound impact on African American English. Dialects in the United States resulted from different waves of immigration of English speakers.5 million immigrants left the British Isles for the United States. 3. The American English language is characterized by archaisms (words that changed meaning in Britain. The Blueback Speller.
and no articles are used before occupations. Everyone is taught English in the school system. Creoles of English can be found on the coast of West Africa. Apartheid (which segregated the Afrikaners and Africans) officially ended under Nelson Mandela's reign. the Africans wanted English as the official language. frequent use of the "isn't it?" tag. Although the British won the Boer Wars of 1899-1901 against the Dutch farmers (the Boers). Mass nouns are treated as count nouns. these Afrikaners won state elections and remained in power through the 1990's. In South Africa. English became an official language. Over time. use of more compounds. However. Hence the compromise of 11 official languages. and it still holds prestige in South Africa. However.) Originally. in the 1996 constitution. India became an independent from Britian in 1947. In Singapore. these creoles were pidgins so that English-speaking traders could conduct business. and on islands of the Pacific and Caribbean (especially the West Indies. they became the native languages of the children and evolved into creoles. Britain still promised the Boers self-government under the Union of South Africa. and although Afrikaans was the language used more often. By 1948. Chinese. and the English language was supposed to be phased out by 1965. China. along with Afrikaans and 9 African languages.British colonialism has spread English all over the world. and a different use of prepositions. but there are a few differences from British English as well. India. and the rest are native Africans. Indian English is characterized by treating mass nouns as count nouns. "use to" means usually. among other nations. . only 3% of the country's 30 million people are native English speakers. Malay and Indian languages have an impact on the form of English spoken. Twenty percent are descendants of Dutch farmers who speak Afrikaans. today English and Hindi are the official languages. and Singapore.
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