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This introduction to some exciting aspects in the field of social linguistics is designed to encourage you to read further. There are many fascinating and odd phenomena that occur in the social aspects of language.
WHAT IS SOCIOLINGUISTICS?
Sociolinguistics is a term including the aspects of linguistics applied toward the connections between language and society, and the way we use it in different social situations. It ranges from the study of the wide variety of dialects across a given region down to the analysis between the way men and women speak to one another. Sociolinguistics often shows us the humorous realities of human speech and how a dialect of a given language can often describe the age, sex, and social class of the speaker; it codes the social function of a language.
SOCIAL FACTORS PIDGINS AND CREOLES POLITENESS STRATEGIES POLITENESS AND GENDER WHO TALKS MORE, MEN OR WOMEN? DO MEN AND WOMEN SPEAK DIFFERENTLY?
INTRODUCTION When two people speak with one another, there is always more going on than just conveying a message. The language used by the participants is always influenced by a number of social factors which define the relationship between the participants. Consider, for example, a professor making a simple request of a student to close a classroom door to shut off the noise from the corridor. There are a number of ways this request can be made: a. Politely, in a moderate tone "Could you please close the door?" b. In a confused manner while shaking his/her head "Why aren't
you shutting the door?" c. Shouting and pointing, "SHUT THE DOOR!"
The most appropriate utterance for the situation would be a. The most inappropriate would be c. This statement humiliates the student, and provides no effort by the professor to respect him/her. Utterance b is awkward because it implies that the teacher automatically assumes that the student should know better than to leave the door open when there is noise in the hallway. The inappropriateness is a social decision tied to the social factors which shape the relationship between speaker ( the professor), and the listener (the student). When choosing an appropriate utterance for the situation, there are factors that you must consider in order to effectively convey the message to the other participant.
1. Participants- how well do they know each other? 2. Social setting- formal or informal 3. Who is talking- status relationship/social roles ( student vs. professor) 4. Aim or purpose of conversation 5. Topic
Do you notice that there is a difference in the way you speak to your friends and the way you speak to your relatives, teachers, or others of professional status?
When telling your friend that you like his/her shirt, you say: "Hey, cool shirt, I like that!" When telling the President of the company your parents work for that you like his/her shirt, you say: "You look very nice today, I really like that shirt." This is called choosing your variety or code. This can also be seen on a larger scale, diglossia, where multilingual nations include a variety of accents, language styles, dialects and languages. Each of these factors is a reflection of the region and socio-economics background from which you come from. In monolingual societies, the region and socio-economic factors are determined by dialect and language style.
It is not uncommon in our nation to see that languages other than English are spoken inside the home with friends and family. However when these bilingual or even trilingual families interact socially outside of their home, they will communicate in English. Even church services may use a variation of the language, one that you would only hear in side the church or in school. An example of the difference in the use of a language can be seen in the following example from Janet Holmes, "An Introduction to Sociolinguistics," of the two
main languages used in Paraguay; Spanish and Guarani:
Domain Family Friendship Religion Education Education Addres see Parent Friend Priest Setting Topic Home Cafe Church Planning a party Humorous ancedote Choosing the Sunday liturgy Langua ge Guarani Guarani Spanish Guarani Spanish
Teacher Primary Telling a story Lecturer Universi Solving math problem ty Office Getting an important license
Administrati Official on
Diglossia Diglossia: In a bilingual community, in which two languages or dialects are used differently according to different social situations.
Janet Holmes defines diglossia as having three crucial features:
1. In the same language, used in the same community, there are two distinct varieties. One is regarded as high (H) and the other low (L). 2. Each is used for distinct functions. 3. No one uses the high (H) in everyday conversation.
In the following example it is easy to tell which variety you will use given the social situations:
• • • • • •
Telling a joke Interviewing for a job Giving a speech for a charity event Giving a speech for a friend for his/her birthday Church Cafeteria
PIDGINS AND CREOLES
INTRODUCTION Can you guess what language this is? These lines are taken from a famous comic strip in Papua New Guinea: "Sapos yu kaikai planti pinat, bai yu kamap strong olsem phantom." "Fantom, yu pren tru bilong mi. Inap yu ken helpim mi nau?" "Fantom, em i go we?"
'If you eat plenty of peanuts, you will come up strong like the phantom.' 'Phantom, you are a true friend of mine. Are you able to help me now?' 1Where did he go?'
A simplified language derived from two or more languages is called a pidgin. It is a contact language developed and used by people who do not share a common language in a given geographical area. It is used in a limited way and the structure is very simplistic. Since they serve a single simplistic purpose, they usually die out. However, if the pidgin is used long enough, it begins to evolve into a more rich language with a more complex structure and richer vocabulary. Once the pidgin has evolved and has acquired native speakers ( the children learn the pidgin as their first language), it is then called a Creole. An example of this is the Creole above from Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin, which has become a National language.
Reasons for the development of Pidgins In the nineteenth century, when slaves from Africa were brought over to North America to work on the plantations, they were separated from the people of their community and mixed with people of various other communities, therefore they were unable to communicate with each other. The strategy behind this was so they couldn't come up with a plot to escape back to their land. Therefore, in order to finally communicate with their peers on the plantations, and with their bosses, they needed to form a language in which they could communicate. Pidgins also arose because of colonization. Prominent languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and Dutch were the languages of the coloni zers. They traveled, and set up ports in coastal towns where shipping and trading routes were accessible.
There is always a dominant language which contributes most of the vocabulary of the pidgin, this is called the superstrate language. The superstrate language from the Papua New Guinea Creole example above is English. The other minority languages that contribute to the pidgin are called the substrate
languages. In the United States, there is a very well known Creole, Louisiana Creole, which is derived from French and African Languages. You most likely have heard of "Cajun" which is a developed dialect of this Creole. Can you guess what major language (the superstrate) contributed to the vocabulary in each of these Creoles? This table is taken from Janet Holmes, " An Introduction to Sociolinguistics":
a. mo pe aste sa banan b. de bin alde luk dat big tri c. a waka go a wosu d. olmaan i kas-im chek e. li pote sa bay mo f. ja fruher wir bleiben g. dis smol swain i bin go fo maket I am buying the banana they always looked for a big tree he walked home the old man is cashing a check he brought that for me Yes at first we remained this little pig went to market
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a. French based Seychelles Creole b. English based Roper River Creole c. English based Saran d. English based Cape York Creole e. French based Guyanais
" I different social situations. Some other examples would be to say. described by Brown and Levinson. I sure could use a blue pen right now. when we are surrounded by a group of adults at a formal function. and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations. "Ooh. if you don't mind?" and "I'm sorry. you also assume that you are in some way imposing on them. What would you do if you saw a cup of pens on your teacher's desk. in which our parents are attending. When we are with a group of friends. if I use one of those pens?" c." There are four types of politeness strategies. and you wanted to use one. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity. "Hmm. we are obligated to adjust our use of words to fit the occasion. "I don't want to bother you but. If you answered A. there are ways to go about getting the things we want. Positive Politeness. I just wanted to ask you if I could use one of those pens?" d. say. you used the Positive Politeness strategy. I want to use one of those!" b. It would seem socially unacceptable if the phrases above were reversed. "Go get me that plate!". Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person. "So. politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face. say. say. we must say. I don't mean to interrupt. If you answered C. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem. we can say to them.f. In this situation you recognize that your teacher has a desire to be respected. or making them feel uncomfortable. German based Papua New Guinea Pidgin German g." Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself. you used what is called the Bald On-Record strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to your teachers' "face. or "Shut-up!" However. and Off-Record-indirect strategy. Negative Politeness. Indirectly say. Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these FTA's. English based Cameroon Pidgin POLITENESS In everyday conversation.K.. is it O. "I'm sorry to bother you but. would you a. that sum up human "politeness" behavior: Bald On Record. "Could you please pass me that plate. you used the Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that you recognize that they want to be respected however.. and be respected." If you answered B. According to Brown and Levinson. but I am not able to hear the speaker in the front of the room." or "I was .
"women typically use more polite speech than do men. well "boys will be boys. Therefore. it is much less common that "girls will be girls" Fortunately.. but there was never any answer. you used Off-Record indirect strategies. " I tried to call a hundred times. society has devalued these speech patterns when it is utilized by women. if they violate the norms of correct usage or of polite speech. even encouraged. on purpose. they note that boys." Sociolinguists try to explain why there is a greater frequency of the use of polite speech from women than from men.. "are permitted. However. decided not to return someone's phone call.wondering if . Instead you would rather it be offered to you once the teacher realizes you need one. the trend of expected polite speech from the female continues to remain. In our society it is socially acceptable for a man to be forward and direct his assertiveness to control the actions of others. 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. However. and softening devices such as hedges and questions. peculiarly. cultivate a deep "masculine" voice and. Culture. these roles are becoming more of a stereotype and less of a reality." If you answered D. formal stylistic markers). therefore you say. to talk rough. From Nancy Bonvillain's "Language. The main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you. From historical recurrence. In Frank and Anshen's "Language and the Sexes". 1997 Politeness and Gender Are Women More Polite Than Men? Politeness is defined by the concern for the feelings of others. characterized by a high frequency of honorific (showing respect for the person to whom you are talking to. February 25. You are trying not to directly impose by asking for a pen. it has appeared that women have had a secondary role in society relative to that of the male. and you are looking to find one. This is a prime example of how society plays an important part on the social function of the language." This page was last updated on Tuesday." It reflects the role of the inferior status being expected to respect the superior." although. it has been (historically) expected from a women to "act like a lady" and "respect those around you. .
... Well. the appropriate choice of honorifics is based on complex rules evaluating addressee.. having a sense of "fuzziness" they take away assertiveness in your statements. do women do it more than men? No! In fact an experiment designed to measure the amount of speech produced suggested that men are more prone to use up more talking time than women. Culture." More Gender Speech Issues Who Talks More. this is probably true. and Communication. 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. and entities or activities associated with either. referent. fix my jacket" Mom. With Honorific. soften the impact of your words or phrases such as " I was sort-of-wondering. and fix my jacket?" In Japanese. yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda yamada son dinner enjoyed "Yamada enjoyed dinner with his son. Men or Women? A common cultural stereotype describes women as being talkative.Honorifics: linguistic markers that signal respect to the person you are speaking to: "Hey ma. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's "Language.. however." 2. " I sort-of-think that Hank is a bit of a mean person.. Without Honorific. according to Masa-aki Yamanashi. always speaking and expressing their feelings.." "HANK is SO MEAN!" vs. could you please do me a favor." 1." "maybe if. An experiment b y Marjorie Swacker entailed using three pictures by a ." "I think that." Hedges: "loosely speaking".
carry on long conversation. however it is less acceptable for a women to do so. It is more acceptable for a man to be talkative. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. be a man." "This is a super cool shirt. Example taken from Janet Holmes. This ever-changing concept is becoming le ss applicable in our society." "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.0 minutes. They were told to take as much time as they wanted to describe the pictures. The average time for males: 13. However . I love it. Since childhood. but in the business world. and the average time for women 3. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. Men have tended to take on a more dominant role not only in the household.fifteenth century Flemish artist.17 minutes. most likely. In English we laugh at these utterances. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. the trend is still prominent in some societies across the world. "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 . it is common for men to be more silent in situations that require them to express emotion. they have been told to "keep their cool" and "remain calm." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical." "This shirt is cool. or a give a long wordy speech. an American Indian language. It has been more of a historical trend for men have more rights to talk." Do Men and Women Really Speak Differently? Can you tell who. I like them. Why is this? Sociolinguists try to make the connection between our society and our language in a way that suggests that women talk less because it has not always been as culturally acceptable as it has been for men. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. Albrecht Durer which were presented to men and women separately. however.
to other men. or by men talking to women. Culture." "This shirt is cool. Culture. is speaking? "Wow what a beautiful home!" "That outfit looks lovely on you!" "Nice coat. It is not uncommon to see these speech patterns cross-culturally to linguistically the gender of the speaker. I love it. Therefore. however in some languages there are gender-exclusive speech patterns for men and women respectively. or by men talking to women. where there are distinct words that are used for men and women respectively. Therefore. Example taken from Janet Holmes. "Language." "Where can I find a pair of shoes like that. There are also some examples of this in Japanese." Sometimes comment like these may be extremely stereotypical. In English we laugh at these utterances. and Communication" Women Men ohiya mizu "water" . I like them." "This is a super cool shirt. "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. most likely. an American Indian language. Edward Sapir documented such occurrences in Yana. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. 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. "Language. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. however it is easy for any one to identify who the speaker is. There are also some examples of this in Japanese. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's. there is an exclusive speech pattern for men speaking to men. Female speech is used by women talking to other women or men. Example taken from Nancy Bonvillain's.
Australia. Its history began with the migration of the Jutes. the second by the French Normans in the 11th century. A large proportion of the modern English vocabulary comes directly from Old French. Saxons. The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought many French words into English. and Saxons from Germany and Denmark to Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. Written in the Latin alphabet. English easily borrows words from other languages and has coined many new words to reflect advances in technology. and when literary English rose anew in the 13th century. This was caused by two further waves of invasion: the first by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family.. 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 . this had not reached southwest England by the 9th century AD. eventually came to dominate. Technical and cultural vocabulary was largely derived from Old French.answers. Ireland. the mother tongue of more than 350 million people. and Modern English is usually dated from 1500. Canada. However. Initially. Jutes and possibly the Franks. With the coming of the Renaissance. where Old English was developed into a full-fledged literary language. who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. English relies mainly on word order (usually subject-verb-object) to indicate relationships between words (see syntax). Britain. The primary language of the U. German. This was completely disrupted by the Norman invasion in 1066. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (approximately 1. the Philippines.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. The languages of Germanic peoples gave rise to the English language (the Angles. Thus. English developed into very much a "borrowing" language with an enormously disparate vocabulary. while the modern language is already largely recognizable in written Middle English of 1400 AD. much closer to the center of Scandinavian settlement. it is also an official language of India. Read more: http://www. English changed enormously in the Middle Ages. Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English. Angles. it is most closely related to Frisian. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. and Dutch. as with most other developing European languages such as German and Dutch."stomach" onaka hara "delicious" oisii umai "eat" taberu kuu Language belonging to the Germanic languages branch of the Indo-European language family. and completely unintelligible to modern speakers. Late West Saxon. One of these dialects. and various Caribbean and Pacific island nations.5 billion speakers). it was based on the speech of London. widely spoken on six continents. New Zealand. Greek and Latin words began to enter it in the 15th century. Frisii.S. 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. and the most widely taught foreign language. with heavy influence from Norman French in the courts and government. Latin and Ancient Greek supplanted French as the main source of new words. and many sub-Saharan African countries.
who ultimately stem from the religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The original Celtic languages remained in parts of Scotland. it continued to exhibit local language variation. What is now called Old English emerged over time out of the many dialects and languages of the colonising tribes. including serving in the Roman military. the remnants of which continue . As it was. However. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Some Latin words for common objects entered the vocabulary of these Germanic peoples before their arrival in Britain and their subsequent formation of England. the Angles were granted lands in the southeast of Britain. independent of Roman control. the Angles. In return. modern scholars view the figures of Hengist and Horsa as Euhemerized deities from Anglo-Saxon paganism. While remaining conversant with Roman civilisation and its economy. Angles and Jutes). 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 Chronicle talks of a subsequent influx of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms. King of the Britons. Some Germanic troops served in Britannia under the Romans. they retained political independence. Even then. Further aid was sought. known as the heptarchy. Wales and Cornwall (where Cornish was spoken into the 19th century). Saxons and Jutes arrived as Germanic pagans. written around 100 AD. Vortigern. and in response "came men of Ald Seaxum of Anglum of Iotum" (Saxons. 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. invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help him in conflicts with the Picts.  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.
spoken by the Norsemen who invaded and settled mainly in the north-east of England (see Jórvík and Danelaw). bag.  Middle English Main article: Middle English Further information: Middle English creole hypothesis For about 300 years following the Norman Conquest in 1066. skill. when the language was influenced to an even greater extent by the Normans. Old English was spoken until sometime in the 12th or 13th century. take. Any native English speaker of today would find Old English unintelligible without studying it as a separate language.to be found in dialects of Modern English. that we call Anglo-Norman. 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. which is visible in Modern English today (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). leg. strong and water. English words of Old Norse origin include anger. derive from Old English. law. Even after the decline of Norman-French. Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language). most modern English speakers would consider a "cordial reception" (from French) to be more formal than a "hearty welcome" (Germanic).and had a significant influence on the language. about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The use of Anglo-Saxon to describe a merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. both. sky. The Old English period formally ended sometime after the Norman conquest (starting in 1066 AD). The words be. later. standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language . whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. and many others. many of their lexical roots were the same or similar. English was strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Old Norse. . A tendency for French-derived words to have more formal connotations has continued to the present day.g. Old English did not sound or look like the Standard English of today. including the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (with the notable exception of the pronouns). The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was influenced by contact with Norse invaders. beef and pork (from the French bœuf and porc) being the products of 'cows' and 'pigs'. possibly even including the pronoun they. 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. which might have been responsible for some of the morphological simplification of Old English. the Norman kings and their high nobility spoke only one of the French langues d'oïl. animals with Germanic names.. and many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have retained many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation. although their grammars were more distinct. The new and the earlier settlers spoke languages from different branches of the Germanic family.as with most of Europe during the period . for example. Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman and. Nevertheless. Later. Another example is the very unusual construction of the words for animals being separate from the words for their meat: e. same. hit. who spoke a French dialect called Old Norman.
A large number of Norman words were taken into Old English. The Norman influence is the hallmark of the linguistic shifts in English over the period of time following the invasion. the first English dictionary was published. the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. most notably in the West Country. most other literature from this period was in Old Norman or Latin. especially the Brittonic substrate. English literature started to reappear around 1200. Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. the risk of mispronunciation is high. especially from Latin and Greek.early 16th century). Late Modern English has many more words.  Early Modern English Main article: Early Modern English Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift. English was further transformed by the spread of a standardised London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardising effect of printing. English has continuously adopted foreign words. the Table Alphabeticall. but it had ceased to be a living language. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 15th . with many doubling for Old English words. producing what is now referred to as Middle English. when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable. the Industrial . By the end of that century. In 1604. While the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle continued until 1154. English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period. most notably with the introduction of the continuous aspect—a feature found in many modern languages but developed earlier and more thoroughly in English. with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth). Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary. released in 1258. which is descended from the alphabet of Old Norse. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer. The Provisions of Oxford. (In the 17th century. but these eventually disappeared).  Modern English Main article: Modern English In 1755. These letters remain in the modern Icelandic alphabet.English was also influenced by the Celtic languages it was displacing. even the royal court had switched to English. and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work. his Dictionary of the English Language. was the first English government document to be published in the English language since the Conquest. which did not exist in Norman. arising from two principal factors: firstly. The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable. but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects. since the Renaissance. In 1362. which took place mainly during the 15th century. Latin words were often used with the original inflections. The most famous writer from the Middle English period was Geoffrey Chaucer.
Instead. and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries. is called simply the subjective. In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples. "he" and "him". the possessive case — which some linguists argue is not a case at all.Revolution and technology created a need for new words. "her" (for example) serves as both the dative and accusative version of the nominative pronoun "she". secondly. "whom" is a generic objective pronoun which can describe either a direct or an indirect object. the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's surface. these cases had distinct pronouns. etc. The information formerly conveyed by having distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order. but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information). "who". This collapse of the separate case pronouns into the same word is one of the reasons grammarians consider the dative and accusative cases to be extinct in English — neither is an ideal term for the role played by "whom". Modern English morphologically distinguishes only one case. "she" and "her". Evolution of English pronouns "Who" and "whom".  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 . are remnants of both the old nominative versus accusative and also of nominative versus dative. the term objective is often used. In other words. With only a few pronominal exceptions. The nominative case. that is. the objective and subjective always have the same form.
)  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. however. thine . mine we Accusativ ūs / ūsiċ Plural e us Dative Genitive ūs ūser / ūre ure / our us our.  First person personal pronouns Old Middle Modern Case English English English Nominati iċ ve I / ich / ik I Singul Accusativ mē / meċ e ar me Dative mē min / mi we me Genitive mīn Nominati wē ve my. wit ("we two") etcetera.Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned). ours (Old English also had a separate dual.tal Genitive 1 hwæs whos whose2 . 2 . though variation among dialects must be taken into account. no later forms derive from it.In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom.
thy. yours thine your. at least optionally. however. in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible. ȝit ("ye two") etcetera. 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. Here the letter þ (interchangeable with ð in manuscripts) corresponds to th. yours Note that the ye/you distinction still existed.thine Nominati ġē ve Accusativ ēow / Plural e ēowiċ Dative ēow your ye / ȝe / you (your) you you. yours your. no later forms derive from it. 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. ya Genitive ēower 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 .
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. and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. Historically. although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. The . Following the economic. become the leading language of international discourse. and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). cultural. via the British Empire.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. þæira. theirs (The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir. now collectively termed Old English. as well as in many world organizations. Cf. A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin. English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects. which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) settlers by the 5th century – with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles. þæim. and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century. scientific. It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries. it has been widely dispersed around the world. military. because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world. 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. and of the United States since the mid-20th century. The two different roots co-existed for some time. political.
5 Constructed varieties of English 5 Phonology o 5.1 Countries in order of total speakers o 4. 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.3.3 English as a global language o 4.4 Dialects and regional varieties o 4.3 Supra-segmental features 5.2 Characteristics of intonation—stress 6 Grammar 7 Vocabulary o 7.1 Notes for vowels o 5. not including many technical or slang terms.2 Consonants 5. 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.language was further influenced by the Old Norse language due to Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.1 Notes for consonants 5. modern English contains a very large vocabulary.2.2 Voicing and aspiration o 5.1 Tone groups 5.2.1 French origins 7.1.2 Written accents 9 Formal written English 10 Basic and simplified versions 11 See also 12 References .1 Basic consonant sound-letter correspondence o 8.  Contents [hide] • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 Significance 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Geographical distribution o 4.3 Dutch and Low German origins 8 Writing system o 8.000 distinct words. or words that belong to multiple word classes.3. Owing to the significant assimilation of various European languages throughout history. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from NormanFrench.2.2 Old Norse origins 7.1 Number of words in English o 7.2.1 Vowels 5. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250.2 Word origins 7.2.2 Countries where English is a major language o 4.
 Conversely. and by the late 19th century its reach was truly global . Australia and New Zealand. Late West Saxon. One of these incoming Germanic tribes was the Angles. Initially. occupations and professions such as medicine and computing. the natural internal variety of English along with creoles and pidgins have the potential to produce new distinct languages from English over time. Denmark and the Netherlands.o • 12. reflecting the varied origins of the AngloSaxon kingdoms of Great Britain but one of these dialects. from the 400-year Roman occupation. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields. 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. Old English was a diverse group of dialects. Following British colonisation from the 16th to 19th centuries. entertainment. Canada. Jutes and a range of Germanic peoples from the coasts of Frisia. . and it is in this that the poem Beowulf is written. science. The growing economic and cultural influence of the US and its status as a global superpower since World War II have significantly accelerated the language's spread across the planet. sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. it became the dominant language in the United States. business. Jutland and Southern Sweden also moved to Britain in this era. radio and diplomacy. is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications. whom Bede believed to have relocated entirely to Britain. 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. information technology. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations. 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).1 Bibliographic 13 External links Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English. as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). eventually came to dominate. Up to that point. seafaring. in Roman Britain the native population is assumed to have spoken the Celtic language Brythonic alongside the acrolectal influence of Latin. Lower Saxony. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire. One impact of the growth of English is the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. Its influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. aviation.
Classification and related languages The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family. and phonology. The linguistic shifts in English following the Norman invasion produced what is now referred to as Middle English. and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles. 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. Typical of most Germanic languages. itself a direct descendant of Old English. English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the British Empire. although some. is generally dated from about 1550. Africa. and those that wrote or copied texts in Latin commonly coined new terms from Latin to refer to things or concepts for which there was no existing native English word. first the Medieval Latin of the Christian Church. . owing in part to the divergences in lexis. High German). Norwegian. semantics. 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. With the (partial) exception of Scots. and then Anglo-French – and introduced a layer of words especially via the courts and government. As a result of the growth of the British Empire. the division of verbs into strong and weak classes. 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. Danish. and Faroese). In addition to isolation. Afrikaans. 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. lexical differences between English and other Germanic languages exist due to heavy borrowing in English of words from Latin and French. do show strong affinities with English. Modern English. Modern English is the direct descendant of Middle English. Throughout all this period Latin in some form was the lingua franca of European intellectual life. 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). In the post-colonial period. 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. Australia and many other regions. and when the United Kingdom became a colonial power. the Netherlands. a descendant of ProtoGermanic. and Germany). English is characterised by the use of modal verbs. none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English.Old English was later transformed by two waves of invasion. Low German. For example. with Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales being the best known work. and common sound shifts from Proto-IndoEuropean known as Grimm's Law. syntax. but later the humanist Renaissance Latin. English was adopted in North America. a trend extended with the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the mid-20th century. India. After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages that are more distantly related: the nonAnglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Dutch. such as Dutch. Norman developed into Anglo-Norman. Icelandic. a member of the Indo-European languages. compare "exit" (Latin). and the North Germanic languages (Swedish.
literally "out-going" (though outgang survives dialectally in restricted usage) and "change" (French) vs. national treasure). othering"). Old English tō drīfenne).redūcam".g. and the Dutch Ik heb nooit iets op het plein gezien.I reduced . skomakere). the treatment of nouns (English shoemaker. Swedish mening. he stands/he reaches ). Dutch schoenmaker. English wet. we say: "John's life insurance company" rather than "the company of insurance life of John". English continues to make extensive use of self-explaining compounds (e. these include the third person present ending -s/-es (e. English syntax continues to adhere closely to that of the North Germanic languages.. English retains its classification as a Germanic language due to its structure and grammar. shoemakers. cf. which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e. Icelandic Ég hef aldrei séð neitt á torginu). calmer. fast/faster/fastest). the word reduce is borrowed from Latin redūcere.g. however.g. verbs. -an. Adverbs generally receive an -ly ending. As in most Germanic languages. Swedish skomaker. The kinship with other Germanic languages can also be seen in the tensing of English verbs (e. life insurance company). lamp post.). where the participle is placed at the end). German senden.g. and the possessive markers -'s and -s' . shoemaker's. Despite lexical borrowing. 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. but *karō has become the dominant word in English for "care" while in German. These particles append freely to all English words regardless of origin (tsunamis. etc. and syntax (For example.I will reduce" rather than "redūcō . Even the lack or absence of affixes. communicates. known as zero or null (-Ø) affixes. these include the normal plural marker -s/-es. in English we say "I reduce . *Surgō still survives in English. skomakere. English good/better/best.g. -a. English meaning. declension. classroom). Furthermore. "movement" (French) vs. "to drive". even where both words are Germanic. likewise. For verbs. Dutch goed/beter/best. etc. English fall/fell/fallen/will or shall fall. "we thought" = we thought-Ø < we thoughte(n) < Old English wē þōhton).g. and nouns which serve as modifiers (e. "proceeding along the way"). English send. and the large amount of cognates (e. and have since ceased to be pronounced and spelt (e.g. in English. Modern English "I sing" = I sing-Ø < I singe < Old English ic singe. the simple past tense and past participle ending -ed.e. as in English care vs. and adverbs are Germanic. English gift vs German Gift. Preference of one synonym over another also causes differentiation in lexis. that later weakened to -e. streetcar.g. during. etc.). German gut/besser/best). meaning "hour".redūxī . and adjectives and adverbs are inflected for the comparative and superlative using -er and -est (e. Dutch uitgang. Also. "I have never seen anything in the square" = German Ich habe nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen. West Frisian fal/foel/fallen/sil falle. German fallen/fiell/gefallen/werden fallen).g. shoemakers'.g. -o. Scots weet. German Bewegung ("be-way-ing". schoenmakers. It also gives rise to false friends (e. meaning . Danish Jeg har aldrig set noget på torvet. German Änderung (literally "alteration. skomakers. bizarrely) and all derive from Old English.g. Icelandic meining. Swedish våt. cf. German Sorge. traits inherited from Old English (See also Kenning). schoenmakers. English adjectives usually come before the noun they modify. West Frisian goed/better/best. to buccaneer. Dutch zenden. West Frisian wiet. even when the adjective is of Latinate origin (e. derive from endings which previously existed in Old English (usually -e. Both words descend from Proto-Germanic *karō and *surgō respectively. and Scandinavian languages. all basic grammatical particles added to nouns. -u. and the formation of the English infinitive using to (e. or through a combination with more and most. For nouns. the *surgō root prevailed. i. Dutch. Dutch vallen/viel/gevallen/zullen vallen. schoenmakeren. the French: la compagnie d'assurance-vie de John). adjectives. medical emergency. as sorrow. however. the present participle ending -ing. English time vs Norwegian time. Non-native words are incorporated into a Germanic system of conjugation. the comparatives of adjectives and adverbs (e.vs.g.
table. bouton. through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval". English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood". résider. German Zahn. while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum"). As a result. Many of these words are common words. or phrases like coup d’état. etc. and directly from French in subsequent centuries. "-ship". with some minor spelling differences (e. Many North Germanic words entered English due to the settlement of Viking raiders and Danish invasions which began around the 9th century (see Danelaw). while differences in phonology can obscure words that really are related (tooth vs. Finally. compare also Danish tand). since. but the English word. French nature. compare "library" with the French librairie. rendez-vous. Geographical distribution See also: List of countries by English-speaking population . "reside" vs.). and phrases such as to tide over). Dutch and Low German also had a considerable influence on English vocabulary. though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide. "-dom" and "-ness". lack of diacritics. which shows how close-knit the relations between the English and the Scandinavian settlers were (See below: Old Norse origins). "button" vs. abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "-hood". as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example. they developed independent of German influences. café. like English.g. as German "Freiheit" vs. a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French. All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages. contributing common everyday terms and many nautical and trading terms (See below: Dutch and Low German origins). 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. via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest. especially when they are seen in writing (as pronunciations are often quite different). etc. in French. Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit ("time") is related to English "tide".) has become largely anglicised and follows a typically English phonology and pattern of stress (compare English "nature" vs. Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker. For instance. etc. The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with the exception of a handful of more recently borrowed words such as mirage. heure. but their usage patterns have diverged. "hour" vs. because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French. genre. inflectional endings. "table" vs.). the word for "library" is bibliothèque. The Germanic languages Icelandic and Faroese also follow English in this respect. often mistaken for being native. use of old French spellings. has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon."poison"). which means bookstore.
 English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers. in descending order: United States (215 million).Pie chart showing the relative numbers of native English speakers in the major English-speaking countries of the world Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language. Ireland (3.388. Canada (18. Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language. Table 1.557 35. Note: United 251. The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are. However. Crystal claims that. 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"). Australia (15.152 First language Comment Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000.2 million).7 million). India has the most such speakers ('Indian English').375. 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.6 million) 2006 Census. India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world. and New Zealand (3. Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well".301 States of America . South Africa (3. Nigeria (4 million). when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world. after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. United Kingdom (61 million). 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.964.8 million). combining native and non-native speakers.744 262.423. Countries such as the Philippines.5 million).
500.974. an Englishbased pidgin or creole. 148. Philippines 48. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.449 86.427. 109. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin. 2001 figures. 63.India 125.000.000 .000 58% 3.000.066 third language speakers Nigeria 79.125.000.100.736 12% 226.000 Kelechukwu Uchechukwu. Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin.7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English. United 59.993.000 84.600.000 60. as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines.028. 19 (5&6)." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296– 313.000.344. 2006. Native speakers: Census 1995.000 43. the midpoint of the range is used in the table.000 Source: Crystal (2005).4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as an additional language.566. (1998).000 >75.71% of the 66. Total speakers: Census 2000.436 language. 38.000 1. text above Figure 7.737. The figures include English speakers. but not English users. p. 487–525. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers.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 1.221 second language speakers.800. Ihemere.000. Ethnologue lists 3.000 53% 4.000 Kingdom 98% 58.
Source: 2006 Census. the British Indian Ocean Territory. Jersey. Papua New Guinea. Sri Lanka. Namibia.830 7. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Saint Kitts and Nevis. Ghana. Kiribati. Guyana. the Marshall Islands. Trinidad and Tobago. Sierra Leone. Kenya. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. the British Virgin Islands. Barbados. Gibraltar. Samoa. the Federated States of Micronesia.170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue. Grenada. Palau. Bermuda. Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency. the Turks and Caicos Islands. Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa. the Cayman Islands. the Philippines (Philippine English). English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island. Swaziland. It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English). Belize. Nauru. India. Jamaica. Cameroon. Guam. South Sudan. Mauritius. Fiji.Canada Australia Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue.329 2. New Zealand. Australia.390 29. the Falkland Islands. Guernsey. Saint Helena.172. Lesotho. Malta. Zambia. Ireland. Pakistan. Dominica.246.572. it is an official language. Pitcairn Islands.989 92% 15. Note: Total = First language + Other language.  The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home.660 people with 25. Singapore. Percentage = Total / Population Countries where English is a major language English is the primary language in Anguilla.581. Antigua and Barbuda.220 85% 17. Guam. Gambia. Uganda. In some countries where English is not the most spoken language. the Bahamas. The native speakers figure comprises 122. Nigeria. Rwanda.694. Saint Lucia.288 shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well". plus 17.551. Seychelles. and Zimbabwe.030 both French and English as a mother tongue.660 19. Madagascar. the Solomon Islands. the Isle of Man.591. the United Kingdom and the United States. Liberia. these countries include Botswana.639. Montserrat. Tanzania. Canada. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.855. Sudan. . The additional language column 18.
66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers". English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. which is spread over most of the United States and much of . In the United Kingdom much emphasis is placed on Received Pronunciation. International English. 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. and the US Virgin Islands). Slovenia. Austria. and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. English as a global language See also: English in computing. (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details. and English as a foreign or second language Because English is so widely spoken. it has often been referred to as a "world language". Cyprus. 83% in Denmark.) English is not an official language in the United States. such as Bahrain. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations. Belgium. a large percentage of the adult population can converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden. Puerto Rico. General American. the official language for aerial and maritime communications. and English is the most commonly used language in the sciences with Science Citation Index reporting as early as 1997 that 95% of its articles were written in English.. and Germany. Brunei. English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole. Books. by 89% of schoolchildren. ahead of French at 32%. This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages. including the International Olympic Committee. Because of that global spread. It is. 79% in the Netherlands. magazines. while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French. and to claims of linguistic imperialism. and while it is not an official language in most countries. Malaysia. an educated dialect of South East England. Several educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world. leading to language shift and even language death. English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union. English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom. even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries. English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins. and the former British colony of Hong Kong. Among some nonEnglish speaking EU countries. Although the United States federal government has no official languages. it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. and the United Arab Emirates.Northern Mariana Islands. Although falling short of official status. World language. the lingua franca of the modern era. by international treaty. Bangladesh.
in most cases.Canada. Within England. English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world. 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. see Regional accents of English. Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history. which include. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base. with General Australian serving as the standard accent. see List of dialects of the English language. such as Cockney. but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out. grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects. English is a pluricentric language. English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language. there are numerous other varieties of English. and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American 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. Scouse and Geordie within British English. such as Jamaican Patois. Nigerian Pidgin. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners. Manually Coded English constitutes a variety of systems that have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals. English speakers have many different accents. There are a number of regional dialects of Scots. grammar and vocabulary differed across the country. causing dialectalisation. variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. designed primarily for use in deaf education. 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 major native dialect of Australian English is spoken as a first language by the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent. . Aside from these major dialects. but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began. For the most distinctive characteristics of regional accents. Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources. from other varieties of English. Constructed varieties of English • • • • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. and pronunciation. without a central language authority like France's Académie française. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. and for a complete list of regional dialects. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries. E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be. whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English. There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words. which are independent and not based on English. several subvarieties. Newfoundland English within Canadian English. 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. sometimes substantially. or a desire to be so identified. In Oceania. and Tok Pisin. which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language.
It was this period that the best of the Old English literature was written . Old English(7th century-1100). Modern English (1500-now). In 550 Anglo –Saxons established England. During Roma Empire Latin wasn’t the native language of the kingdom because people in the country were talking Celtic.Late Modern (1700-now). translated or caused to be translated many books from Latin in to English.cheese. Their language was a part of Germanic branch of Indo-European Family. When Anglo-Saxons became Christian in 597 they learned Latin. He founded and established schools.• • • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak.Jutes which is called Anglo-Saxons come to England. The people talking this language spread to the northern coast of Europe in the time of Roman Empire. Latin effected the language with the merchants traveling the tribes. Among this people the tribes called Angels. According to the effects to English . There .wine.) 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. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words. Norse language effected the English considerably.Saxons. The most famous king of the West Saxons was Alfred the Great. kettle. 600. including the epic poem Beowulf. West Saxons became the leading power. Norse wasn’t so different from English and English people could understand Norseman. the Norseman landed in the year of 866 and later the east coast of the island was Norseman’s.D. The history of English begins a little after A. The first Latin effect was in that period. Some of the words taken from Latin are. The ancestors of the language were wandering in the forests of northern Europe. were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. Simplified Technical English was historically developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals and is now used in various industries. cheap. On the other hand the Celtic tribes in Scotland and Wales developed. OLD ENGLISH When England was established there were several kingdoms and the most advanced one was Nurthumbria. In the 8th century Nurthumbrian power declined . At the end in 410 the last roman emperor left the island to Celtic and AngloSaxons. After many years of hit-and-run raids between the European kingdoms. the demonstrative pronouns. In some books Modern English is divided in to two Early modern (1500-1700) . There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel. Also in the 14th century Rome Empire weakened because Goths attacked to Mediterranean countries of Roman Empire and Anglo-Saxons attacked to empire. the history of the language divided in to three. Middle English(1100-1450/1500). butter. all based on restricted vocabularies. Celtic and Anglo-Saxons fought for 100 years and Anglo-Saxons killed all the Celtics. Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America.
1994. household words: curtain. In vocabulary Old English is quiet different from Middle English. One change was the elimination of a vowel sound in certain unstressed positions at the end of the words.sure. nobility. “This can be called as a simplification but it is not exactly.lemon. (Clark.very.etc.egg. On the other hand Old English contains borrowed words coming from Norse and Latin. move.bucket.second.. MIDDLE ENGLISH Between 1100-1200 many important changes took place in the structure of English and Old English became Middle English. These two changes produced the basic differences . Old English had some sound which we don’t know have now. P.P. In 1066 they crossed the Channel and they became the master of England.& Eschholz.biscuit.& Eschholz.majesty.tax. colors: blue.were considerable interchanges and word borrowings (sky. It is supposed also that the Norseman influenced the sound structure and the grammar of English. The sound system&grammar wasn’t so effected but vocabulary was effected much.lamp.count. parson.gentel.give..A. play words: dance.622 ) Middle English was still a Germanic language but it is different from Old English in many ways.F. learned words: study.conversation. various endings for adjectives. final. The shift effected all the words in which these vowels sounds occurred. Grammar and the sound system changed a good deal..ugly. literary.talk). V. words for food: veal.cream. literature. 1994. V. plain. logic grammar. stomach. poet.blanket. English continued to be the national language but it changed too much after the conquest. The other change is what is called the Great Vowel Shift. literary words: story romance.A.622 ) For us Middle English is simpler that Old English because it is closer to Modern English.them. On the other hand French couldn’t become the national language because it became the language of the court .chess. P. peach. beef. But it didn’t replace as the language of the people. People started to rely more on word order and structure words to express their meaning rather than the use of case system. mutton.. scarlet. flower. they merely exchange one kind of complexity for another”( (Clark. &Rose . The change was important because it effected thousands of words and gave a different aspect to the whole language.music. The political event which effected the administration system and language was the Norman Conquest. Also borrowed pronouns like they. There were word related with goverment:parliment. anatomy. For example the word name had in Middle English a vowel something like that in the modern word father. For the next several next years . &Rose . In grammar . surprise.surgeon.A. polite society. ordinary words for all sorts: nice.outlaw.A.leg. Old English was much more highly inflected that Middle English because there were case endings for nouns. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH Between 1400-1600 English underwent a couple of sound changes.towel.. goverment. Languages don’t become simpler .P. This was a systematic shifting of half a dozen vowels and diphthongs in stressed syllables.age. vermilion.law. church word: religion. more person and number endings of words and a more complicated pronoun systems. fault.noun. sermon.their.England was ruled by the kings whose native language was French.leisure.F. Most of the Old English words are native English which weren’t borrowed from other languages. chair.
The Germanic languages. 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 . and Greek. It was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1475. The period where English developed most in the Modern English. New ideas increased. can be seen today. may be it will be the universal language. This group began as a common language in the Elbe river region about 3. this Common Germanic language split into three distinct sub-groups: . The period of Early Modern English was also a period of English Renaissance. 2001 Indo-European and Germanic Influences English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. Greek. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In order to establish the language they develop a dictionary. The Indo-Iranian languages. These words are all cognates. designated proto-Indo-European. Another product of the 18th century was the invention of English Grammar. January 15. it was felt to control the language. English is in the Germanic group of languages. But there are several other developments that effected the language. In that period the people speaking that language increased too much. After this books became cheaper and cheaper. Now. two are. Monday. The word for father. The Slavic languages.between Middle English and Modern English. the language of ancient Rome. The first English Dictionary was published in 1603. pater in Latin. The greatest writer of the Early Modern English period is Shakespeare and the best known book is the King Jones version of the BIBLE. which means the development of the people. The Celtic languages. English language had grown as a result of borrowing words from French . for our purposes of studying the development of English. including Hindi and Sanskrit. English is the greatest language of the world spoken natively and as a second language. One was the invention of printing. not because of any bodice-ripping literary genre).000 years ago. similar words in different languages that share the same root. As English is replaced with Latin as the language of scholarship. The Indo-European family includes several major branches: • • • • • • • Latin and the modern Romance languages. Around the second century BC. of paramount importance. more people learned to read and write and advanced in communication. Of these branches of the Indo-European family. A (Very) Brief History of the English Language Dave Wilton. and pitr in Sanskrit. for example. even though no written record of it exists. The Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian).Latin. is vater in German. This broad family includes most of the European languages spoken today. The influence of the original Indo-European language.
Dolly Pentreath. West Germanic is the ancestor of modern German. Four major dialects of Old English emerged. the Duke of Normandy. beginning around 850. (The last native Cornish speaker. Frisian. Wales. These Celtic languages survive today in Gaelic languages of Scotland and Ireland and in Welsh. similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English. unfortunately. and the only written East Germanic language that survives is Gothic.• • • East Germanic was spoken by peoples who migrated back to southeastern Europe. particularly in the north of England. But this statistic is deceptive. is now a dead language. No East Germanic language is spoken today. The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500) William the Conqueror. only about one sixth of the known Old English words have descendants surviving today. and Ireland. Norwegian. for example. but most scholars choose it because it is shortly after the most important event in the development of the English language. Old English is much more important than this number would indicate. water. and Jutes. died in 1777 in the town of Mousehole. Words like be. Saxons. brought many North Germanic words into the language. and skirt. which had meant joy until the Vikings imparted its current meaning on it from the Scandinavian cognate draumr. Celtic-speaking inhabitants out of what is now England into Scotland. Cornwall. which is related to Estonian and is not an Indo-European language). Old English. lasted until about 1100. Northumbrian in the north of England. and Icelandic (but not Finnish. North Germanic evolved into the modern Scandinavian languages of Swedish. Danish. and strong. not Old English roots. They spoke a mutually intelligible language. (The Bayeux Tapestry. and Kentish in the Southeast. which continues to live alongside its native English cognate shirt. Dutch. invaded and conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD. is perhaps the most famous graphical depiction of the Norman Conquest.) Also influencing English at this time were the Vikings. began populating the British Isles in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. West Saxon in the south and west. Cornish. Mercian in the Midlands. In fact. Norse invasions. leaving behind a few Celtic words. Flemish. The majority of words in modern English come from foreign. the Norman Conquest. derive from Old English roots. whose best known surviving example is the poem Beowulf.) The new overlords spoke a . and English. details of which form the navigation buttons on this site. About half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. Cornwall. These invaders pushed the original. This last date is rather arbitrary. Old English (500-1100 AD) West Germanic invaders from Jutland and southern Denmark: the Angles (whose name is the source of the words England and English). Some examples are dream.
Many legal terms. while the Anglo-Saxon commoners. 1611) the same text is completely intelligible: Our father which art in heauen. Rendered in Middle English (Wyclif. Giue us this day our daily bread.dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. but now there was a wholesale infusion of Romance (Anglo-Norman) words. and Modern English. Take for instance this Old English (c. such as indict. can be seen in many instances. beef and cow. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. Middle. retained the Germanic cow.1000) sample from the Bible: Fæder ure þuþe eart on heofonum si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice. the same text starts to become recognizable to the modern eye: Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name. or wish and desire. To get a feel for Old English pronunciation. and verdict have Anglo-Norman roots because the Normans ran the courts. mainly through vestiges of the Roman occupation and from the conversion of Britain to Christianity in the seventh century (ecclesiastical terms such as priest. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. hallowed be thy name. who tended the cattle. in Early Modern English (King James Version. . and mass came into the language this way). Other times. Prior to the Norman Conquest. play a wav file of this Old English text (518Kb). Beef. Thus we have the Germanic doom and the French judgment. 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. þi reume or kyngdom come to be. two different words with roughly the same meaning survive into modern English. commonly eaten by the aristocracy. 1384). It is useful to compare various versions of a familiar text to see the differences between Old. This split. as the French gentle and the Germanic man formed gentleman. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen. And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us. Finally. where words commonly used by the aristocracy have Romantic roots and words frequently used by the Anglo-Saxon commoners have Germanic roots. derives from the Anglo-Norman. Other times. Thy kingdom come. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl. Sometimes French words replaced Old English words. French and Old English components combined to form a new word. crime replaced firen and uncle replaced eam. The influence of the Normans can be illustrated by looking at two words. vicar. Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language. jury. read by Catherine Ball of Georgetown University.
This began a process where the Norman nobles of England became increasingly estranged from their French cousins. until they realize that he coined them and they became cliches afterwards. and pedant. Newcomers to Shakespeare are often shocked at the number of cliches contained in his plays. Words he bequeathed to the language include critical. Unlike Old English. as can be seen in the earlier example of the Lord’s Prayer. majestic. The revival of classical scholarship brought many classical Latin and Greek words into the Language. By 1362. While modern English speakers can read Chaucer with some . The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. But. and consequently the nobility adopted a modified English as their native tongue. The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English. the Statute of Pleading was adopted. but many survive to this day. Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. Amen. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. leapfrog. These borrowings were deliberate and many bemoaned the adoption of these inkhorn terms. by modern English-speaking people. About 150 years later.000 words and countless catchphrases are his. In 1204 AD. but deliuer us from euill. Many students having difficulty understanding Shakespeare would be surprised to learn that he wrote in modern English. and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare’s. One fell swoop. Elizabethan English has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. Many familiar words and phrases were coined or first recorded by Shakespeare. The laboring and merchant classes grew in economic and social importance. rather than their estates in France. and along with them English increased in importance compared to Anglo-Norman. the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. Early Modern English (1500-1800) The next wave of innovation in English came with the Renaissance. This mixture of the two languages came to be known as Middle English. some 2. the Black Death (1349-50) killed about one third of the English population. England became the chief concern of the nobility. The first was the Great Vowel Shift. dwindle. which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. Shakespeare’s character Holofernes in Loves Labor Lost is a satire of an overenthusiastic schoolmaster who is too fond of Latinisms. vanish into thin air. In that year. And lead us not into temptation. Middle English can be read. King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France.And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters. albeit with difficulty.
cyber-. the rise of the British Empire and the growth of global trade served not only to introduce English to the world. but Late-Modern English has many more words.difficulty. Spelling and grammar became fixed. vowel sounds are still shortening. Long vowel sounds began to be made higher in the mouth and the letter e at the end of words became silent. and down was pronounced /doon/. These words are the result of two historical factors. At its height.and late-modern English is vocabulary. but with the exception of nautical terms. This necessitated new words for things and ideas that had not previously existed. The second was the British Empire. such as pundit. and typewriter. airplane. and the influence of nautical terms on the English language has been great. Military slang existed. In Middle English name was pronounced /nam-a/. on the other hand. Words like oxygen. rarely influenced standard English. hard-drive. and vaccine did not exist in the classical languages. grammar. the 20th century saw two world wars. and English adopted many foreign words and made them its own. In linguistic terms. but understandable. literacy became more common. both Britain and the United States maintained small. Late-Modern English (1800-Present) The principal distinction between early. the printing press brought standardization to English. Such neologisms were not exclusively created from classical roots though. to the vast contributions of French and Latin. where most publishing houses were located. however. but to introduce words into English. The first is the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the technological society. the shift was rather sudden. Shakespeare. This burst of neologisms continues today. provided many words. from the Finnish sauna and the Japanese tycoon. as opposed to Latin. The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. five was pronounced /feef/. virtually all British and American men served in the military. but they were created from Latin and Greek roots. shampoo. nuclear. radar. English roots were used for such terms as horsepower. bios. and the other languages of the Indian subcontinent. however. The industrial and scientific revolutions created a need for neologisms to describe the new creations and discoveries. protein. perhaps most visible in the field of electronics and computers. nose dive. Blockbuster. For this. and the military influence on the language during the latter half of this century has been great. The shift is still not over. Before the Great War. and spelling are largely the same. became the standard. English relied heavily on Latin and Greek. Hindi. Virtually every language on Earth has contributed to the development of English. and microchip are good examples. Byte. Finally. Pronunciation. Words and phrases like three sheets to the wind and scuttlebutt have their origins onboard ships. volunteer militaries. The British Empire was a maritime empire. During the mid-20th century. camouflage. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise. . the major changes occurring within a century. and juggernaut. and works in English. although the change has become considerably more gradual. Britain ruled one quarter of the earth’s surface. Books became cheaper and as a result. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. military service for English-speaking persons was rare. pajamas. Finally. Also. Chaucer’s Lyf (pronounced /leef/) became the modern word life. would be accented. and the first English dictionary was published in 1604. Military slang entered the language like never before. The dialect of London. Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been completely unintelligible to the modern ear. became more common.
But. Raccoon. and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English. fall as a synonym for autumn. stampede. and use of loan as a verb instead of lend). tomato.1000: The oldest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates from this period 1066: The Norman conquest c. The American dialect also served as the route of introduction for many native American words into the English language. mainly via Louisiana. In certain respects.roadblock. Beginning of Christian conversion of the Anglo-Saxons 731: The Venerable Bede publishes The Ecclesiastical History of the English People in Latin 792: Viking raids and settlements begin 865: The Danes occupy Northumbria 871: Alfred becomes king of Wessex. and vigilante are all examples of Spanish words that made their way into English through the settlement of the American West. gumbo. Armadillo. To a lesser extent French.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 . He has Latin works translated into English and begins practice of English prose. spearhead.. frame-up which was reintroduced to Britain through Hollywood gangster movies. and Iowa. Armoire. although in many cases the original Indian words were mangled almost beyond recognition. bayou. Indian-sounding names like Idaho were sometimes created that had no native-American roots. American English Also significant beginning around 1600 AD was the English colonization of North America and the subsequent creation of a distinct American dialect. trash for rubbish. 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 hickory have native American roots. Roanoke. and West African. and tote are West African borrowings first used in America by slaves. Augustine arrives in Britain. and jambalaya came into the language via New Orleans. words have influenced American English. 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 beginning of Norman French c. American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. names for other things besides places were also common. Some Americanisms that the British decry are actually originally British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost at home (e. these were place names like Mississippi. canoe. ranch. Spanish has also been great influence on American English. Goober. Most often. barbecue. savanna. mustang. canyon. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is begun 911: Charles II of France grants Normandy to the Viking chief Hrolf the Ganger. through the importation of slaves. Some pronunciations and usages “froze” when they reached the American shore.
established 1611: The Authorized. Table Alphabeticall 1607: Jamestown. English is used in Parliament for the first time 1384: Wyclif publishes his English translation of the Bible c. English-language newspaper. 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 . End of The Great Plague 1702: Publication of the first daily.1388: Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales c. the first permanent English settlement in the New World.1348: English replaces Latin as the medium of instruction in schools. The Daily Courant. of the Bible is published 1616: Death of Shakespeare 1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is published 1666: The Great Fire of London. 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. 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. Records continue to be kept in Latin. or King James Version.
from “The Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History”. likewise. The Indo-European Family of Languages Our English vocabulary is not something to be studied in isolation but is related in one way or another to many of the other languages of the world. not to mention a great many additiona l . Brot and bread. The proper beginning for us. Fleisch and flesh closely resemble each other. amid the many tongues of mankind. therefore. the German Wasser and English water. by Joseph M. The German word Milch is very close in sound to the English milk. is to view the place of English in perspective. Those German Dutch Danish students who have studied German undoubt edly have noticed a remarka ble similarity between that language and their own. Williams.
the United States has no official language. Perhaps we can see this similarity best if we place side by side in systemat ic form the words for mother. Dutch.example s. In 1786. however. or in a mixture with other languages (such as pidgins and creoles. and the Scandinavian languages. Australia and New Zealand. He conjectured a Proto-Indo-European language had existed many years before. Afrikaans. Canada. English. Sir William Jones discovered that Sanskrit contained many cognates to Greek and Latin. Yiddish. as they appear in various tongues. Although there . Fennell) The English language is spoken by 750 million people in the world as either the official language of a nation. Indo-European language and people English is classified genetically as a Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. father. The early history of the Germanic languages is based on reconstruction of a ProtoGermanic language that evolved into German.) English is the (or an) official language in England. and brother. a second language. English mother father brother Mutter Vater Bruder moeder vader broeder moder fader broder History of English (Source: A History of English by Barbara A.
Germanic Languages The subgroup of Germanic languages contains many differences that set them apart from the other I-E languages. Estonian and Hungarian. k became f. Fixed Stress: The stress of words was fixed on the first syllable. t. Weak and Strong Adjectives: Each adjective had a different form whether it was preceded by a determiner or no determiner. θ. the language spread to many areas with the advancement of the people. • • • a. 6. Grimm's Law (or the First Sound Shift) helps to explain the consonant changes from P-I-E to Germanic. Two Tense Verbal System: There is a past tense marker (-ed) and a present tense marker (-s) on the verb (without using auxiliary verbs.) They also had domesticated animals.) They also made use of a decimal counting system by 10's. -te in German. This PIE language was also highly inflectional as words had many endings corresponding to cases. of which the last three belong to the Finno-Ugric language family. Finnish. it is believed that many languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia are all derived from a common language. Weak Past Tense: Used a dental or alveolar suffix to express the past (such as -ed in English. Either way. x (h)) Verner's Law explains other exceptions that Grimm's law does not include.) 3. 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. The spread of the language can be attributed to two theories. d. or -de in Swedish. 5. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) lived in Southwest Russia around 4. Aspirated voiced stops became Unaspirated voiced stops (Bʰ. g became p. g) b.000 to 5. d. 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. Voiceless stops became Voiceless fricatives (P. and not wine. This rapid and vast spread of the I-E people is attributed to their use of horses for transportation.is no concrete proof to support this one language had existed. Voiced stops became Voiceless stops (B. dʰ.) 4. 1. t. and formed words by compounding. and used horse-drawn wheeled carts. 2. k) c. indicating they did not live in a warm climate. They drank alcohol made from grain. gʰ became b. The I-E people either wanted to conquer their neighbors or look for better farming land. Vowel Changes (Proto Germanic) . A few languages that are not included in the Indo-European branch of languages include Basque.000 BCE.
the Danes quickly assimilated and intermarried into the English society. a list of subjects who owed tribute to the king. During his reign. Although they invaded twice. and East Anglia. loaf. The Insular Hand was the name of the writing system used in England. It is commonly referred to as Runes. a historical record of important events in England that continued 200 years after his death. Laws and contracts were written down for a sense of permanence and control. thorn. Then the Germanic tribes from the present-day area of Denmark arrived. The Tribal Hidage. The Treaty of Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this "Danelaw" gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. However. The four main tribes were the Angles. was written during the Mercian period of power. Sussex.1066 CE) The Old English language (also called Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. it was not used in England. Kentish. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia. leaving the main area of Britain. wife. Essex. Characteristics of the Old English language . while dominance shifted among the kingdoms beginning with Kent and Northumbria. The Celts moved north to Scotland. Others include rain. Old English (449 . meat and fowl.• Short o to short a (Latin: hortus. It detailed the sophisticated society of the Germanic tribes. Bede wrote the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" in Latin. he united the kingdoms together and commissioned the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings who repeatedly invaded the area. Common Vocabulary: Words developed that hadn't been used before. leaving the Celts defenseless. Northumbria. They had destroyed the Roman civilization in England and built their own. west to Ireland and south to France. Although the Danes brought their own writing system with them. Alfred the Great was the king of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom. Jutes and Frisians. The Romans finally left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing. They aligned with the Celtic clergy and converted to Christianity. Four dialects were spoken in these kingdoms: West Saxon. In 731 CE. Wessex. OE: modor) 7. earth. they did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE and Latin never overtook the Celtic language. as well the macron for distinguishing long vowels. Mercian and Northumbrian. yogh and wynn. such as nautical terms (sea). and it contained many symbols that are no longer found in Modern English: the aesc. Saxons. called the Futhorc. Kent. edh. English: garden) • Long a to long o (Latin: mater. because the languages were so similar. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded.
The verb often comes at the end of a subordinate clause. so the languages they spoke did have some Latin influence. In the present tense. case and number with the nouns they described. The infinitive of verbs ended in -an. 3. while the strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. as evidenced in words pertaining to the church. as only a few place names are of Celtic origin. so word order was not very important. -est. The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short vowels. 2. Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first syllable. When a sentence begins with an adverb. all verbs had markers for number and person. it often precedes the verb. Adjectives could be weak or strong. Numbers could be either singular or plural. The comparative was formed by adding -ra to the adjective. -ist. Latin had more influence. and genitive. feminine or neuter. but it did vary in a few instances: 1. The weak past tense added -de. Nouns could be of three genders: masculine. there were seven groups of declensions for nouns. If preceded by a determiner. fot becomes fot+i = fet (This helps to explain why feet is the plural of foot. dative. but these were assigned arbitrarily. So in modern English. and -m. The general word order was subject . the latter which still remains in modern English as -like. and there were four cases: nominative.object. The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English becase of the declensions of the nouns. but Danish (Old Scandinavian) did contribute many vocabulary words. Celtic did not have a large impact on English. Instead we use prepositions. the weak ending was added to the adjective. accusative. Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English. then the strong endings were used. If no determiner preceded the adjective.verb . The case endings told the function of the word in the sentence.The Germanic tribes were exposed to Latin before they invaded England. while the superlative had many endings: -ost. The i-mutation occurred if there was a front vowel in the ending. or -lic. When an object is a pronoun. In all. For example. Eventually the -ost and -m endings combined to form the word "most" which is still used before adjectives in the superlative today. Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective. the endings were not pronounced as clearly and began to diminish from the language. word order is very important because we no longer have declensions to show case distinctions.) Pronunciation of consonants: . the subject often follows the verb. But as the stress began to move to the first syllable of words. then the root vowel became fronted. [i:] and [ɪ:]. There were also two front rounded vowels that are no longer used in modern English. After converting to Christianity. They also agreed in gender.
King Edward I spoke only English. but they did still use French words sometimes. the upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English. Duke of Normandy. 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 . logic. the legal system retained parts of . Chaucer). the Statute of Pleading (although written in French) declared English as the official spoken language of the courts. which was considered somewhat snobbish. appetite) and learning (poet. and the upper class did not want to lose it completely. empire). French began to lose its prestige. physician). Many of the words were related to government (sovereign. But by 1250 CE. but their works included an apology for writing in English. William invaded England. The upper class tried to learn English. English was the language of instruction in schools. killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. However.1500 CE) The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. Nevertheless. Furthermore. many foreigners entered England which made the nobility feel more "English" and so encouraged more use of the English language. felony. which increased the status of the peasants. The Black Death also played a role in increasing English use with the emergence of the middle class. upon learning that Harold was crowned king. attorney. several words (around 10. Yet William spoke only French. By 1385 CE. embroidery. King John had lost Normandy to the French in 1204 CE. cuisine. King Edward the Confessor had died without heirs. the Hundred Year's War (1337-1453 CE) intensified hatred of all things French. By 1362 CE. Although the popularity of French was decreasing.f c g h s ð r sc cg v f č k j ɣ g h x. who only spoke English. social life (fashion. Several of the workers had been killed by the plague. jury. 1350 to 1400 CE is known as the Period of Great Individual Writers (most famously. justice. larceny).000) were borrowed into English between 1250 and 1500 CE (though most of these words were Parisian rather than Norman French). believed that he would become the next king. and William. French still maintained its prestige elsewhere. As a result. and after him. At this time. law (judge.
latter). Phonological erosion also occurred because of this. The demonstratives these and those were added during this period. wonder. Adjectives lost agreement with the noun. but short in the comparative form (late . some. 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. them. hard. 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. late. attorney general and accounts payable. heir. of Because of the stress shift to the beginning of the word. And the adverb ending -lič became -ly. honey. however. ton. but the weak ending -e still remained. The dual number disappeared in the pronouns. from. their) borrowed from Scandinavian. come. but it still competed with -n. one. money. More strong (irregular) verbs became weak (regular) as well. honest.French word order (the adjective following the noun) in such terms as fee simple. herb. g before i or e was pronounced ǰ. Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. and used "to" before the verb to signify the infinitival form. some "flat" adverbs did not add the -ly: fast. v was used word initially. The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th. The third person plural pronouns replaced the old pronouns with thwords (they. and some consonants dropped off while some vowels became əand dropped off too. and the dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. ʒ became j. Characteristics of Middle English The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: • • • • • • • • • • • þ and ð were replaced by th (and sometimes y. won. . The comparative form became -er and the superlative became -est. Vowels tended to be long in the adjective form. The generalized plural marker became -s. habit sometimes words were written with o but pronounced as [ʊ] but later were pronounced [ʌ]: son. 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. Verb infinitives dropped the -an ending. and u was used everywhere else k was used much more often (cyning became king) new values were given to old symbols too. but the singular also competed with -(e)s from the Northern dialect. front.
had) Loss of final -n in possessive pronouns (min fæder .Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used. answer) [č] lost in unstressed syllable (ič . The north used [a] and [k] while the south used [o] and [č] for certain words. will meant want and shall meant obliged to. hnutu . The neuter pronoun it was first used as well as who as a relative pronoun. In 1582. The use of double negation also increased as did impersonal constructions.mi fæder) and the addition of -n to some words beginning with a vowel (a napron . and there was more use of the progressive and passive voice.I) [v] lost in middle of words (heofod . New compound tenses were used.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). and the third person plural pronouns began with th. Formerly. Some words. hæfde . Eventually. -(e)th for the third person singular. an open syllable with no consonant following it contained a long vowel. Pronunciation changes: • • • • • • • • • Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan .hut) [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two. HP and Brother toner.to leap.(borrowed from Scandinavian). The use of the verbs will and shall for the future tense were first used too. Henry Cockrum published his English dictionary. are no longer used in English.an apron. there were dialectal differences in the north and south. and h. Characteristics of Early Modern English Adjectives lost all endings except for in the comparative and superlative forms. The south used -(e)n for the plural. but the southern pronunciation of [o] and [č] would also remain. Early Modern English (1500 .for the third person plural pronouns. Ten thousand words were added to English as writers created new words by using Greek and Latin affixes. but several words were also borrowed from other languages as well as from Chaucer's works. the northern dialect would become the standard for modern English regarding the grammatical endings. The north used -(e)s for the plural marker as well as for the third person singular. while a closed syllable with at least one consonant following it contained a short vowel In addition. The class distinctions between . a nuncle . The printing press led the path for the laser printer many. attemptate and dispraise. many years later in 1969 which lead to Canon. such as the perfect tenses.head. sword. such as devulgate. The printing press helped to standardize the spelling of English in its modern stages.1650/1700 CE) William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English. Richard Mulcaster proposed in his treatise "Elementaire" a compromise on spelling and by 1623.
pronounced as f in laugh [b] in final -mb cluster (dumb. Beginnings of Modern English . A more scientifically minded attitude took hold by the 19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary was proposed in 1859. [t].formal and informal you were decreasing. They also didn't like shortened or redundant words. borrowing words from other languages (except Latin and Greek).telling people what to do or not to do with the language. split infinitives. There was a more limited use of the progressive and auxiliary verbs than there is now. so that today there is no difference between them. with supplements in 1933 and 1972-6. The first edition was published in 1928. gnat) [g] in -ing endings (more commonly pronounced [ɪn]) Finally. meanings in chronological order and illustrative quotations. The project was begun in 1879 under its first editor. The consonants lost include: • • • • • • Voiceless velar fricative lost in night. talk. The Great Vowel Shift (1400-1600) changed the pronunciation of all the vowels. however. [ž] Early Grammarians (18th Century) A proposal for an Academy of the English Language was first brought forth by Jonathan Swift in 1712. producing the palatal consonants: [š]. [d]. James AH Murray. so they are still written in English today. More strong verbs became weak and the third person singular form became -(e)s instead of (e)th. comb) [l] between a or o and consonant (half. and [z] preceded the palatal glide [j]. Negatives followed the verb and multiple negatives were still used. etymology. walk. Early grammarians felt that language should be logical. The tongue was placed higher in the mouth. assibilation occurred when the alveolars [s]. The second edition was published in 1989 and it recognized American and Australian English. [č]. spelling variations. It was to be a factual account of every word in the English language since 1000 including its main form. Nevertheless. [ǰ]. knight. several grammarians wrote dictionaries and grammar books in a prescriptive manner . and all the verbs moved up. folk) [r] sometimes before s (Worcestershire) initial clusters beginning with k and g (knee. but the spelling system was in place before the consonant loss. or prepositions at the end of the sentence. part of speech. the double negative was considered incorrect (two negatives equal one positive) and should not be used. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and Robert Lowth's Introduction to English Grammar appeared in 1762. therefore. Several consonants were no longer pronounced. pronunciation. but the Parliament voted against it. Vowels that were already high ([i] and [u]) added the dipthongs [aj] and [aw] to the vowels of English. as the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation.
several changes to English had occurred since 1700. theatre became theater. except Australia was originally settled as a penal colony and New Zealand was not. glottal stops are used frequently and labiodentals are used in place of interdentals. and Canada.In England." . This is how it's possible to become a US citizen without speaking English. He wrote an American spelling book. contact with other languages. A dialectal study was done in 1920 and the findings are published in the Linguistics Atlas of the U. New Zealanders were more attached to the Received Pronunciation of the upper class in England. and the slave trade. These include a loss of the postvocalic r (so that the r is only pronounced before a vowel and not after). The initial h of words is dropped. Because many of the English speakers who originally inhabited Canada came from the US. 3. he published his famous American Dictionary of the English Language. American English Immigrants from Southeastern England began arriving on the North American continent in the early 1600's. an increase in the use of the progressive tenses. Australia and New Zealand have English as an official language. Noah Webster was the most vocal about the need for an American national identity with regards to the American English language. Similarly. The majority of these words are related to science and technology. The Rhyming Slang refers to a word by referring to two things. The Blueback Speller. English around the World Although the United Kingdom. which had a profound impact on African American English." gloves is "turtle doves. there is little difference in the American and Canadian dialects of English. By the mid-1800's. Ireland.5 million immigrants left the British Isles for the United States. Australian and New Zealand English have few differences. Cockney (and its Ryhming Slang) is an interesting dialect of English spoken in London's east end. though it is mostly spoken in the province of Quebec. etc. in 1788 and changed several spellings from British English (colour became color." suit is "whistle and flute" and trouble is "Barney Rubble. Dialects in the United States resulted from different waves of immigration of English speakers." Even more confusing.S.) In 1828.) Since 1900. sometimes the second word (which rhymes with the word being referred to) is omitted. and use Greek and Latin roots. a very large amount of vocabulary words has been added to English in a relatively short period. the United States does not have an official language. so that money is called just "bees. so their dialect is considered closer to British English. the last of which rhymes with what is being referred to. Canada also has French as an official language. For examples. The American English language is characterized by archaisms (words that changed meaning in Britain. money is "bees and honey. and a rise in class consciousness about speech (Received Pronunciation. Canada. but remained in the colonies) and innovations in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also settling in North America).
along with Afrikaans and 9 African languages. among other nations. Everyone is taught English in the school system. and no articles are used before occupations. Malay and Indian languages have an impact on the form of English spoken. but there are a few differences from British English as well. India became an independent from Britian in 1947. Chinese. However. today English and Hindi are the official languages. Over time. and on islands of the Pacific and Caribbean (especially the West Indies. India. Britain still promised the Boers self-government under the Union of South Africa. use of more compounds. only 3% of the country's 30 million people are native English speakers. In South Africa. in the 1996 constitution. and the rest are native Africans. these Afrikaners won state elections and remained in power through the 1990's. and a different use of prepositions. and although Afrikaans was the language used more often. Indian English is characterized by treating mass nouns as count nouns. Hence the compromise of 11 official languages. frequent use of the "isn't it?" tag.) Originally. By 1948. they became the native languages of the children and evolved into creoles. Although the British won the Boer Wars of 1899-1901 against the Dutch farmers (the Boers). Mass nouns are treated as count nouns. China. these creoles were pidgins so that English-speaking traders could conduct business. and it still holds prestige in South Africa. Twenty percent are descendants of Dutch farmers who speak Afrikaans. Apartheid (which segregated the Afrikaners and Africans) officially ended under Nelson Mandela's reign. . and the English language was supposed to be phased out by 1965. the Africans wanted English as the official language. and Singapore.British colonialism has spread English all over the world. Creoles of English can be found on the coast of West Africa. In Singapore. "use to" means usually. However. English became an official language.
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