The History of English language

The history of the English language began as a west  Germanic language which was brought to the eastern coast of the island of England by the three Germanic tribes (the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes) who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD.

Old English (400 - 1100 AD)

At that time the old inhabitants of England spoke a Celtic language. But the Celtic speakers were pushed north and west by the Germanic tribes - into what is now Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

The Angles came from Englaland. Their language was called Englisc - from which the words England and English are derived. This way English originated from several dialects, now collectively termed Old English.

Old English was spoken and written language of England between 400 and 1100 AD. Many words used today come from Old English including man, woman, king and mother. English was further influenced by the Old Norse language of Viking invaders.

Middle English (1100-1500)

After the time of the Norman conquest, Old English developed into Middle English. It was influenced by French and Latin in vocabulary and pronunciation. French brought many words connected with government including royal and legal. Latin was the language of religion and learning and gave to English words such as angel, master, school and grammar.

Early Modern English (1500-1800)

Modern English developed from the Middle English. During the Renaissance many words were introduced from Greek to express new ideas in medicine and philosophy. They included physics, hypothesis and species.
The development of printing helped establish standards of spelling and grammar, but there remained a lot of variation. Samuel Johnson’s  A dictionary of the English language was the first authoritative treatment of English. It defined about  40 000 words and gave examples of their use.

Late Modern English (1800-Present)

By the 18th century American English was well-established and developing independently from British English. After colonists arrived in the US new words began to be added from Native American language, from French and Spanish.

Soon after Johnson’s dictionary was published, Noah Webster’s publish in the US The Elementary Spelling Book and A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language contained some spelling changes and became the basis of the American standards. During the 19th century many dictionaries and books about language were published including the Oxford English Dictionary and Dictionary of Modern English.

By the 20th century new words are still being added to English from other language including Italian, Chinese and Japanese. New expressions spread quickly through television and the Internet. Now English is an international language used as a means of communication between people from many counties.

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