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The history of English

The most commonly spoken language in our day, would be English or as some people might call it The Lingua Franca . It is a language, which is taken almost a thousand years to evolve, mainly through its borrowings from other languages such as French and Latin. It is actually classified as part of the Germanic group of languages. Even though it is the most commonly spoken language today, it is not without its faults, which would be its phonetic symbols only, representing one sound and each sound would have its appropriate symbol.

Most European languages are very similar to those spoken in India and Persia, assuming that most of the European peoples are descendants of the original Aryans, speaking the common language called Indo-European. As time went on, each civilization ( Greek, Roman and later English ) broke away from the above mentioned language and started to develop their own closely linked The English language was brought to the British Isles by the Germanic tribes (Saxons and Jutes), they settled there between the fifth and sixth centuries.

The English spoken then was so different from our present version of English that a Modern English reader would not be able to comprehend the text. The main difference between the two was actually the vocabulary. They had a complicated system of nouns and adjectives, and had many different forms according to their grammatical relationship. (Lecture notes, M. Disney) During the past thousand years there have been many contributions towards the development of the English language. These contributors have been mainly, due to the invasions of the Danish, Normans and the Romans.

Other contributors have been through literary and scientific extractions from both the Latin and Greek civilizations. (Lecture notes, M. Disney) Latin influenced English before the Anglo-Saxons arrived in England. The Germanic tribes who later settled on the isles were in contact with small parts of the Roman civilization. Some of the words borrowed by the Germanic groups When the first English tribes came to settle in England they made contact with the people that had been part of the Roman Empire which probably spoke a form of Latin.

Some of their words past in to the language of the new conquerors. In the sixth century St. Benedict reintroduced Christianity. As the religion spread English added a large number of Latin words to itself to express new ideas connected with the religion. However, this lead to the loss of grammatical ender of the language and therefore mixed the vocabulary. (Internet 1) In the eighth century the Danes made continual raids upon the English coasts which they later settled. They were then defeated by King Alfred the Great.

A hundred years later another Danish King invaded England and managed to get his son, Canute, was put upon the English throne. These Danish invasions, however destructive they were, had quite a tremendous influence upon the English language. The English borrowed words such as skin, ill, get and In 1066, William the conqueror of Normandy invaded and conquered England. After that French became the tongue of the ruling classes in England and was commonly spoken by most of the English man. The French language is actually almost directly derived from Latin.

From the thirteenth to the fifteenth century there was a lot of French literature translated to English. Which resulted in a large number of French words incorporating in to English. Some examples Words connected with the household – master, servant and dinner. After the battle of Hastings, and the ascendancy of an Anglo-Norman throne, the English language went through dramatic changes, shifting from a ajorly inflected language with a word stock of a relatively average to a heavily French influenced grammatical structure with a heavily used French vocabulary.

The language usage of Chaucer, middle-English greatest poet, still sounds unfamiliar to Modern-English speakers, mainly due to his retention of many several of the Germanic consonant sounds. But it moves ever closer to our modern usage, and readies the stage for William Shakespeare , arguably the most gifted and flexible wordsmith ever to work in this changing language.

Shakespeares English however is not or has not quite achieved the BBC tandard that most of us interpret as English but along with many other writers such as Marlowe, Milton, Donne and Spenser in its company English was never Another person who should also be credited with the development of English would be William Caxton who brought and opened his own printing press in England contributed to the fixing of spelling , which in turn increased the literacy rate and started the movement of the translations of classic folklore and During the Reformation period in Europe due to Henry VIII disputes with the Pope , reduced the power of the church and in turn started the translations of the bible into English.

The education system was then transferred to the state and therefore great emphasis was placed upon the learning of the English In 1588 once the English had control of the seas their process of colonization started throughout the world and due to the new exotic products being imported words had to be borrowed from non-Indo European languages. This also lead to the spread of English around the world. Internet 2) The Greek influence in English is actually of modern origin and is used mainly to express scientific ideas, such as telephone and ballistic. Many other words from different languages have been incorporated in the language to epresent modern technological products. (Lecture notes, M. Disney)

Even though English do over a billion people today speak the most common language there are still many faults in it. In a perfect alphabet , every sound would have a spelling symbol representing it , the closest any language has come to that would be The Persian and Arabic alphabets. By this standard the English language is considered quite defective for it has not enough symbols to represent each sound and so the same symbol may be used to represent more then one sound.

By pointing out this, we come to the obvious conclusion hat Modern English is not phonetic. (Lecture notes, M. Disney and Internet 1) I now can conclude that English due to its certain drawbacks is still one of the easiest and most proficient languages of our time. Due to its borrowings from many different languages it has become easy to learn , for most cultures would have quite a lot of similarities associated with it. Not to mention that most legal documents and charters have been written and officiated in English it has become a necessity for almost all countries to teach and subject their peoples to English as at least their second language.

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