Sunday, October 11, 2009

The English Language (Summary)

English is not original language of British Isles but it was brought by invaders. The two German tribes Angles and Saxons. Who lived in North Germany along the North Sea coast and spoke different dialects of the same language. From these dialects descended the form of the English language that is known as Anglo-Saxon or old English. It remained the language of English from 450 AD to 1150 AD. Latter on two further invasions completely changed and modified the old English and turned it with in a period of three hundred years into a compound language called Middle English. This English had been a mixture of different regional dialects and remained in vogue up to the 15th century. However the written English of literature, journalism, public affairs and commerce has for centuries been almost uniform. An English man’s speech can tell us where he was born and brought up, but if he is well educated his writing will not betray him. What we call Standard English comes down from dialect of Middle English usually known as London dialect, the English spoken in London in the second half of the Fourteenth century.

The English spoken in and around London should become the Standard model for whole country. The court and the King’s government used the London dialect. Since the London was largest and port city of Britain its language became very popular in the sphere of commerce and trade. At first language was just spoken, but latter on two writers Chancre and Gower developed it and made it popular as a written language.

As there was no further foreign invasion the English further developed under its own impetus. There were no further changes in the language, so Middle English merged into the Early Modern English of William Shakespeare’s age and into the language we speak now.

Anglo-Saxon is now dead language but a good deal of its vocabulary has survived in one or another form to the present day. Most of the very common words in Modern English are of Anglo-Saxon origin. Nearly all the strong verbs, most of the prepositions and conjunction are of Anglo-Saxon origin. English language has also remained under French influence for a long time. French is basically a Latin language, hence the majority of English words are of Latin origin.

A language is always moving and developing. But these changes are slow in advanced societies because the invention of printing press and spread of education have fixed its traditional usages. Only changes are large increase in vocabulary. English has borrowed various words from other languages for example the word Admiral is derived from the compound Arabic word Amir-ul-Bahar meaning Chief of the sea. Similarly many other English words have been borrowed from other language.

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