English Language History

The language with up to a billion students worldwide

The English language has 378 million native speakers worldwide. This means that the English language has the third largest number of native speakers of all global languages. On the other hand, there are over 900 million native Chinese speakers, making it the most-used language in the world, while there are 442 million native Spanish-speaking people, making it the second most used language.

Furthermore, there are over one billion English speakers worldwide, with English speakers in almost every single country and on every continent. More than double the number of native speakers has learned English as a secondary language. Thus, the common term “ESL” (English as a second language) speakers was derived. Keep reading to learn more about the History of the English language and discover how our UK translation company can help you.

Officials and global representatives often choose English as the official language to be used in documents and for educational purposes. Likewise, the entertainment industry has adopted English as a standard language in several countries. Moreover, the United Nations selected English as one of its six official languages.

There are some differences in the verbal and written versions of Canadian, American, Australian, and British English. However, English speakers can easily understand one another. Several colonised countries in Africa and the Caribbean speak British English as their official language. These countries have English nuances adapted to their cultures and vocal accents. These regional accents and vocabulary choices can make communication challenging.

Origin & Roots of the English Language

English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. It is related to Dutch, Frisian, and German. There is also a significant amount of vocabulary in English from other languages such as French, Latin, and Greek. The Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and other Germanic tribes brought their languages to Britain, which eventually developed into English. Historians and linguists often call these old languages Anglo-Saxon.

Historians of English divide the growth of the language into three significant time periods. They call these time periods Old English, Middle English, and Modern English. Old English is the history of the English language that dates back between 450 and 1100 A.D. This was around the time when Germanic tribes started invading and settling in the British Isles. The British Isles natives spoke Celtic languages. They were soon driven out of their land into areas such as modern-day Scotland and Ireland. It is for this very reason that English also has several words of Celtic origin. The Vikings also influenced Old English a great deal by incorporating their Scandinavian languages.

The Invasion of England

The invasion of England by William the Conqueror marks the beginning of the Middle English period. The Normans who captured England brought a language that was like French in many ways. This French-like language became the language of the Royal Court. The members of the royal class continued to speak English, which caused a significant linguistic divide. English became popular in England once again during the 14th century. Though by the time this happened, there was the addition of several French words.

Historians divide the Modern English period of the history of the English language into two major categories, namely Early Modern English and Late Modern English. A distinct change in pronunciation is the main characterisation of Early Modern English. Late Modern English is usually placed somewhere between 1700 and 1800. The primary change in Late Modern English was the additions, subtraction, and changes of words. It is rare to hear the pronouns thou, thee, and thy anymore except in historical literature, religious texts, or poetry. This is because of the changes that took place during the Late Modern English period.

As technology advances and colloquial words permeate the world via the Internet, the language continues to develop. In fact, the history of the English language shows that it is a relatively new language. This means that it quickly progressed to the level of popularity that it enjoys today with relative ease.


English Translation Services

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