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More Books in Linguistics See All. In Stock. Teaching Language in Context. Write Ways. Australia's Original Languages An introduction. Fair Dinkum! Aussie Slang. Macquarie Dictionary 7th Edition. Macquarie Concise Dictionary Seventh Edition. Political Correctness Gone Mad? The history of English is an aspect of the history of the English people and their development.
Thus in the 9th cent. The Norman Conquest 11th cent. When English became again 14th cent. The English-speaking areas have expanded at all periods.
English has not completely ousted the Celtic languages from the British Isles , but it has spread vastly overseas. A Changed and Changing Language Like other languages, English has changed greatly, albeit imperceptibly, so that an English speaker of would not have understood the English of nor the English of today.
Changes of every sort have taken place concomitantly in the sounds phonetics , in their distribution phonemics , and in the grammar morphology and syntax. The Changes in English Pronunciation table demonstrates how a few familiar words have altered over the span of a thousand years. Although the pronunciation of English has changed greatly since the 15th cent. As a result, English spelling is not a reliable guide to the pronunciation of the language.
The vocabulary of English has naturally expanded, but many common modern words are derived from the lexicon of the earliest English; e. From words acquired with Latin Christianity come priest, bishop, and others; and from words adopted from Scandinavian settlers come root, egg, take, window, and many more. French words, such as castle, began to come into English shortly before the Norman Conquest.
After the Conquest, Norman French became the language of the court and of official life, and it remained so until the end of the 14th cent. During these or more years English remained the language of the common people, but an increasingly large number of French words found their way into the language, so that when the 14th-century vernacular revival, dominated by Chaucer and Wyclif, restored English to its old place as the speech of all classes, the French element in the English vocabulary was very considerable.
To this phase of French influence belong most legal terms such as judge, jury, tort, and assault and words denoting social ranks and institutions such as duke, baron, peer, countess, and parliament , together with a great number of other words that cannot be classified readily—e. Since nearly all of these French words are ultimately derived from Late Latin, they may be regarded as an indirect influence of the classical languages upon the English vocabulary. The direct influence of the classical languages began with the Renaissance and has continued ever since; even today Latin and Greek roots are the chief source for English words in science and technology e.
During the last years the borrowing of words from foreign languages has continued unchecked, so that now most of the languages of the world are represented to some extent in the vocabulary. English vocabulary has also been greatly expanded by the blending of existing words e. Bibliography See H. Mencken, The American Language rev.
Pei, The Story of the English Language new ed. Roberts, Modern Grammar ; M.
Orkin, Speaking Canadian English ; T. Pyles and J. Bolton, A Living Language ; B. Kachru, ed. Hudson, Invitation to Linguistics ; J. Baugh, Black Street Speech ; J.
English language. This originated in the speech of small groups of Anglo-Saxon settlers in eastern Britain in the 5th and 6th cents. It is now not only the most widely spoken language in the world but also forms the basis for national and international communication between members of other speech communities.
The language of the Anglo-Saxon settlers and their pre-Norman successors is conventionally known as Old English. Little direct evidence of its nature survives from the 5th and 6th cents. Though Latin was inevitably the main language of learned communication, education, and the church, Old English was used as early as King Ine d. As a result, by the 10th cent. The Anglo-Saxon period saw two major cultural revolutions: the conversion and the Scandinavian settlement. Both affected the development of the language. The linguistic impact of Christianity is probably exaggerated by the ecclesiastical nature of our sources but there is no doubt that it involved both borrowing from Latin and, more importantly, exploitation of the resources of English through compounding of, and semantic extension to, existing vocabulary to express the concepts of the new religion.
The Scandinavian languages of the Viking settlers penetrated much more deeply into English vocabulary, syntax, morphology, and phonology. More indirectly, the Scandinavian settlement seems to have accelerated the progressive loss of inflexional complexity in English, for it is in the Viking-settled areas that these tendencies are most evident, encouraged no doubt by a desire to remove barriers to inter-intelligibility between the two related languages of Old English and Old Norse.
Paradoxically the extent of Scandinavian influence is not fully apparent until the post-Conquest period. The reason for this is that a standard written language had emerged in the late Anglo-Saxon period which was based upon the dialect of the politically dominant kingdom of Wessex, where also was the heartland of the Benedictine reform movement.
This conservative, southern-based language registered little of the more radical linguistic changes spreading southwards from the Anglo-Scandinavian north. Only with the Norman Conquest , when the introduction of Norman French scribes resulted in the disruption of West Saxon literary conventions, did these changes become apparent.
See, e. English has replaced French as the international language for many reasons: the political, military, and economic dominance of the United States since World War II — , of course, but also the influence of American culture, especially movies, television, and rock music. The handbook of language and gender. They often suffer the effects of discrimination and have high rates of unemployment. They wanted to establish themselves permanently, to work the land, and to preserve their culture, religion and language, and this was a crucial factor in the survival and development of English in North America. Contains the whole text of pamphlets, rather than fragments. To a lesser extent, French words, from the French presence in the Louisiana area and in Canada, contributed loanwords like gopher , prairie , depot , cache , cent and dime , as well as French-derived place names like Detroit , Illinois , Des Moines , etc.
Untrammelled by convention scribes began to write what they heard. By the 14th cent. This standard was later reinforced and spread by the introduction of printing. Linguistic variation in spelling and vocabulary, however, long persisted. The 14th-cent. Detailed analysis of this French impact shows that it did not follow immediately upon the Norman Conquest but effectively began in the 13th cent.
The flood of new ideas associated with the Renaissance and with Elizabethan and later exploration exposed the English speech community to languages and experience from most of the inhabited world. The lack of fixed forms in English, particularly in contrast to the apparent stability of Latin, was also increasingly a matter of concern for those anxious to establish the vernacular as a language of learned discourse. This concern led to the eighteenth-century preoccupation with regularizing, fixing, and recording language of which Johnson's Dictionary and the appearance of prescriptive grammar books represent two complementary facets.
By the 18th cent. In all of these areas it developed its own forms which proceeded to interact with British English, the more so as communications became easier. The language in its various varieties has continued to evolve, with conservative and innovative forces continually at war within it. One extreme example can illustrate this conflict: alongside the host of new coinages, based on Latin and Greek roots, which have been adopted to express the technology and science of the 19th and 20th cents.
See also dialects. Richard N. Barber, C. English Language belonging to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family. It may be said to have come into existence with the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in England in the 5th century ad. During more than years of development, it transformed from an inflected language with grammatical gender to a language with very few inflections and employing a sex-correlated gender system he, she, and it. The inclusion of numerous foreign, technical and slang words massively expanded the vocabulary of English. It is the mother tongue of c.
It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers. Centred on Dublin , it varied in extent at different times from the reign of Henry II until the full conquest under Elizabeth I. The term was also used for a small area round Calais, the only part of France remaining in English hands after the Hundred Years War.
It was recaptured by France in See also Englishman. England , unlike Scotland , Wales , or Northern Ireland , does not constitutionally exist, and thus it has no separate rights, administration, or official statistics. The Church of England is its main distinctive institution. The English maintain their separate identity in sports soccer, cricket, and rugby and heritage; this is manifest in the monarchy, aristocracy, and associated pageantry, parliament, pride in their country, and love for their local community with the local pub being an integrating institution.
English poetry, literature, and art is also distinctive. With the decrease of specialized industry, an increase in mass marketing, and greater population mobility, English distinctiveness is threatened. However, measures such as restoration and protection of city centers, the countryside, and historic buildings — along with the movement for greater control and participation in local affairs — help counter the trend toward homogeneity.
England constitutes the largest land area and highest population density of any of the four units of the United Kingdom. It is also the most intensely industrialized region. Located off the northwest coast of continental Europe , it is bounded on the north by Scotland and on the west by Wales.
Geographically, England constitutes , square kilometers or 53 percent of the land area of the United Kingdom and is divided into the uplands and lowlands. Following a line joining the mouths of the Tees and Exe rivers, the uplands in the northwest are characterized by rocky and mountainous areas while the lowlands of the southeast contain gentle rolling country with some hills. For the United Kingdom as a whole, the terrain is 30 percent arable, 50 percent meadow and pasture, 12 percent waste or urban, 7 percent forest, and 1 percent inland water.
The climate is variable and mild for its latitudes. Rainfall for the south is 90 centimeters, with the southwest receiving to centimeters per year, while the extreme east gets 63 centimeters.