History of the English LanguageA short history of the origins and development of English
The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three
Germanic tribes who invaded Britain
during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes,
crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark
and northern Germany.
At that time the inhabitants of Britain
spoke a Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and
north by the invaders - mainly into what is now Wales,
Scotland and Ireland. The
Angles came from Englaland and their language was called Englisc - from which
the words England
and English are derived.[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذه الصورة]
Germanic invaders entered Britain
on the east and south coasts in the 5th century.Old English (450-1100 AD)
The invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages, which
developed into what we now call Old English. Old English did not sound or look
like English today. Native English speakers now would have great difficulty
understanding Old English. Nevertheless, about half of the most commonly used
words in Modern English have Old English roots. The words be
, for example, derive from Old English. Old English was spoken
until around 1100. Middle English (1100-1500)
In 1066 William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy
(part of modern France),
invaded and conquered England.
The new conquerors (called the Normans)
brought with them a kind of French, which became the language of the Royal Court, and
the ruling and business classes. For a period there was a kind of linguistic
class division, where the lower classes spoke English and the upper classes
spoke French. In the 14th century English became dominant in Britain again,
but with many French words added. This language is called Middle English. It
was the language of the great poet Chaucer (c1340-1400), but it would still be
difficult for native English speakers to understand today. Modern EnglishEarly Modern English (1500-1800)
[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذه الصورة]
Hamlet's famous "To be, or not to be"
lines, written in Early Modern English by Shakespeare.
Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in
pronunciation (the Great Vowel Shift) started, with vowels being pronounced
shorter and shorter. From the 16th century the British had contact with many
peoples from around the world. This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning,
meant that many new words and phrases entered the language. The invention of
printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became
cheaper and more people learned to read. Printing also brought standardization
to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most
publishing houses were, became the standard. In 1604 the first English
dictionary was published.Late Modern English (1800-Present)
The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is
vocabulary. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from two principal
factors: firstly, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for
new words; secondly, the British Empire at its
height covered one quarter of the earth's surface, and the English language
adopted foreign words from many countries.Varieties of English
From around 1600, the English colonization of North
America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety of
English. Some English pronunciations and words "froze" when they
In some ways, American English is more like the English of Shakespeare than
modern British English is. Some expressions that the British call
"Americanisms" are in fact original British expressions that were
preserved in the colonies while lost for a time in Britain
(for example trash
for rubbish, loan
as a verb instead of lend,
for autumn; another example, frame-up
, was re-imported
into Britain through Hollywood gangster movies). Spanish also had an influence
on American English (and subsequently British English), with words like canyon
being examples of Spanish
words that entered English through the settlement of the American West. French
words (through Louisiana)
and West African words (through the slave trade) also influenced American
English (and so, to an extent, British English).
Today, American English is particularly influential, due to the USA's dominance
of cinema, television, popular music, trade and technology (including the
Internet). But there are many other varieties of English around the world,
including for example Australian English, New Zealand English, Canadian English,
South African English, Indian English and Caribbean English.The Germanic Family of Languages[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذه الصورة]
English is a member of the Germanic family of languages.
Germanic is a branch of the Indo-European language family.
chronology of English
Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar.
Roman invasion and occupation. Beginning of Roman rule of Britain.
Roman withdrawal from Britain complete.
Settlement of Britain by Germanic invaders
Earliest known Old English inscriptions.
William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invades and
Earliest surviving manuscripts in Middle English.
English replaces Latin as the language of instruction in
English replaces French as the language of law. English is
used in Parliament for the first time.
Chaucer starts writing The Canterbury Tales.
The Great Vowel Shift begins.
William Caxton establishes the first English printing
Shakespeare is born.
Table Alphabeticall, the first English dictionary,
The first permanent English settlement in the New World (Jamestown) is
Shakespeare's First Folio is published
The first daily English-language newspaper, The Daily
Courant, is published in London.
Samuel Johnson publishes his English dictionary.
Thomas Jefferson writes the American Declaration of
abandons its American colonies.
Webster publishes his American English dictionary.
Late Modern English
The British Broadcasting Corporation is founded.
The Oxford English Dictionary is published.