What you didn’t know about the English language’s origins
A brief history of the English language's origins and evolutionThree Germanic tribes came to Britain in the fifth century A.D. and at the same time the English language was born and the history of the english speaking peoples began. These tribes - Angles, Saxons and Jutes - had crossed the North Sea from what is now Denmark and northern Germany.People in Britain spoke a Celtic language at the time, but the invaders forced the Celts to the island's western and northern boundaries, effectively to what is now Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The Angles named their homeland 'Englaland,' and their language 'Englisc,' which is where the words 'England' and 'English' come from.
Anglo-Saxon (450-1100 AD)
Germanic invaders arrived in Britain from the east and south coasts in the fifth century. Similar languages were spoken by the Germanic tribes. Their dialects combined on the island to generate what we now call Old English.It is significantly different from modern English and would be difficult to understand for modern English speakers. However, Old English roots can be found in almost half of the most often used words in modern English.There are origins of words like be, powerful, and water. Until the end of the 11th century, Old English was spoken.
English in the Middle Ages (1100-1500)
William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded Britain in 1066. (now part of France). The Normans brought French with them, and it became the language of the royal court, as well as the ruling and mercantile classes.This was a time when language was divided by class, with the lower classes speaking English and the upper classes using French. English began to regain prominence in the fourteenth century, but it borrowed several French words.Middle English is the name given to this dialect. It was the language of the famous poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340-1400), although it would be difficult to understand for modern people.
Early English slang (1500-1800)
A sudden and dramatic change in pronunciation (the Great Vowel Shift) began at the end of the Middle English period, with vowel sounds becoming shorter. Since the sixteenth century, Britain has had increasing contact with individuals from all over the world.Because of this, and because of the Renaissance, numerous new words and phrases entered the language. The emergence of a common literary language was further aided by the introduction of printing. More people became literate as books became more affordable. As a result of printing, English became more standardized.Shakespeare wrote the famous Hamlet lines, "To be or not to be," in early English.Because most printing houses were located in London, spelling and grammatical rules were established, with the London accent being the standard. The first English dictionary was published in 1604.
English (late) (1800-present)
The fundamental distinction between Early and Late English is the language's vocabulary composition. Due to two important considerations, late English has many more terms: first, the Industrial Revolution and technological improvements forced the creation of new words; and second, the British Empire covered almost a quarter of the globe during its heyday, and English adopted numerous words from other countries.