History of English
..Welcome my friends… members and guests
We all gather here for a reason…each one of us has his own reason, it might be because you want to develop another language beside Arabic or maybe because you simply love English…the bottom line is we are all here because of one thing, and that thing is
Most of us didn’t learn English because they like it but because they have to, why is that?? Well… maybe because it is the world’s unofficial international language, wherever you go you’ll find someone speaks English, hell…you don’t even have to go out side your country to realize that you need English, almost all the universities requires some level in English, at least intermediate
English is part of every thing these days, including your life…Whoever you are...a teacher, student, businessman, employee, or even a writer…whether you like it or not, that’s just the way it is.
Now that we all agree about English being important and all that, have you ever wondered how did it started?? Well I did…
And I started digging out sites from the net, looking for some useful informations
..And for all the curios people in here, this is what I found
The story begins with the arrival of the Germanic invaders to the British Isles in the 5th century cross the North Sea from what is known these days as Denmark and Germany and they spoke a language called Germanic related to what emerged as Dutch, Frisian, German, and the Scandinavian languages and the Gothic…at that time and before the arrival of the invaders the people in Britain spoke a Celtic language, and as always…as soon as the invaders arrive that language was displaced, and most of the Celtic speakers were pushed into Wales, Cornwall and Scotland.. Some of them even went to the Brittany Coast of France, where their descendants still speak the Celtic language of Breton to day.
Angles, Saxons and Jutes those three tribes were the invaders known as the Germanic tribes. There is one thing though; they name them as the Anglo-Saxons (something I couldn’t really understand). Anyway, the Angles were named from Engle, their homeland and their language was called Englisc, which is-obviously- were the word English came from. However, the oldest sample of the English language is an Anglo-Saxon inscription dated between 450 and 480 AD.
During the next few centuries English developed to 4 different dialects:
Each in a different region.
Old English appeared as a writing during the 7th, 8th and 9th . At that time there were some changes in the country; the Viking invasions during the 9th century brought an end to the Northumbrian domination which lasted nearly 200 years, along with the destruction of the Kingdom of Mercia(Mercian), the only kingdom remained independent was Wessex (West Saxon) and by the 10th century their dialect became the official language of Britain, if we take that in consideration along with what we know about the written Old English, I think we can say that this was the beginning.
After the Beginning
P.S: my plan was to write down the whole thing in my own way but…since I’m having few problems with my computer I had no choice but to copy and paste the rest, it’s a damn tragedy if you ask me…anyway, please enjoy
The next invaders were the Norsemen. From the middle of the ninth century large numbers of Norse invaders settled in Britain, particularly in northern and eastern areas, and in the eleventh century the whole of England had a Danish king, Canute. The distinct North Germanic speech of the Norsemen had great influence on English, most obviously seen in the words that English
has borrowed from this source. These include some very basic words such as take and even grammatical words such as they. The common Germanic base of the two languages meant that there were still many similarities between Old English
and the language of the invaders. Some words, for example give perhaps show a kind of hybridization with some spellings going back to Old English
and others being Norse in origin. However, the resemblances between the two languages are so great that in many cases it is impossible to be sure of the exact ancestry of a particular word or spelling. However, much of the influence of Norse, including the vast majority of the loanwords, does not appear in written English
until after the next great historical and cultural upheaval, the Norman Conquest
1066and after 1066 and all that
The centuries after the Norman Conquest witnessed enormous changes in the English
language. In the course of what is called the Middle English
period, the fairly rich inflectional system of Old English
broke down. It was replaced by what is broadly speaking, the same system English
has today, which unlike Old English
makes very little use of distinctive word endings in the grammar of the language. The vocabulary of English
also changed enormously, with tremendous numbers of borrowings from French and Latin, in addition to the Scandinavian loanwords already mentioned, which were slowly starting to appear in the written language. Old English, like German today, showed a tendency to find native *****alents for foreign words and phrases (although both Old English
and modern German show plenty of loanwords), whereas Middle English
acquired the habit that modern English
retains today of readily accommodating foreign words. Trilingualism in English, French, and Latin was common in the worlds of business and the professions, with words crossing over from one language to another with ease. One only has to flick through the etymologies of any English
dictionary to get an impression of the huge number of words entering English
from French and Latin during the later medieval period. This trend was set to continue into the early modern period with the explosion of interest in the writings of the ancient world.
The late medieval and early modern periods saw a fairly steady process of standardization in English
south of the Scottish border. The written and spoken language of London continued to evolve and gradually began to have a greater influence in the country at large. For most of the Middle English
period a dialect was simply what was spoken in a particular area, which would normally be more or less represented in writing - although where and from whom the writer had learnt how to write were also important. It was only when the broadly London standard began to dominate, especially through the new technology of printing, that the other regional varieties of the language began to be seen as different in kind. As the London standard became used more widely, especially in more formal contexts and particularly amongst the more elevated members of society, the other regional varieties came to be stigmatized, as lacking social prestige and indicating a lack of education.
In the same period a series of changes also occurred in English
pronunciation (though not uniformly in all dialects), which go under the collective name of the Great Vowel Shift. These were purely linguistic ‘sound changes’ which occur in every language in every period of history. The changes in pronunciation weren’t the result of specific social or historical factors, but social and historical factors would have helped to spread the results of the changes. As a result the so-called ‘pure’ vowel sounds which still characterise many continental languages were lost to English. The phonetic pairings of most long and short vowel sounds were also lost, which gave rise to many of the oddities of English
pronunciation, and which now obscure the relationships between many English
words and their foreign counterparts
Colonization and Globalization
During the medieval and early modern periods the influence of English
spread throughout the British Isles, and from the early seventeenth century onwards its influence began to be felt throughout the world. The complex processes of exploration, colonization and overseas trade that characterized Britain’s external relations for several centuries became agents for change in the English
language. This wasn’t simply through the acquisition of loanwords deriving from languages from every corner of the world, which in many cases only entered English
via the languages of other trading and imperial nations such as Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, but through the gradual development of new varieties of English, each with their own nuances of vocabulary and grammar and their own distinct pronunciations. More recently still, English
has become a lingua franca, a global language, regularly used and understood by many nations for whom English
is not their first language. The eventual effects on the English
language of both of these developments can only be guessed at today, but there can be little doubt that they will be as important as anything that has happened to English
in the past sixteen