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Hello guys. Today, I'm going to be talking about the history, origin and even the development of the English language. It is going to be a long one, but I hope you are interested in subjects like these and I found some very fascinating results whilst researching so I'd like to share them with you all. So, let's begin.

The many different languages of the world are grouped into families. The languages within each family have similarities, which suggests that they have evolved from a common origin. English belongs to the Indo-European family, the most widely spoken group of languages in the world. The exact source of these languages is not known for certain, but some theories suggest that Indo-European may have originated in Anatolia (now eastern Turkey) around 6000 BC. The Indo-European family is sub-divided into nine branches. English is a Germanic language and developed from the speech of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes - Germanic tribes who invaded England from northern Germany and southern Denmark in the 5th century. 

The old English period begins with the invasions of the Angles, Saxons and Judes and ended in 1150.

At the time of these invasions, England was occupied by Celtic tribes, who were driven out towards the edges of Britain. Welsh, Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic are all Celtic languages. In England, the Celtic language was almost completely overtaken by Anglo-Saxon, and only a handful of Celtic words survive in modern English. The Celtic influence is however evident in some place names. 

Aber (meaning river estuary) gave rise to Aberdeen, Ilan (meaning church) to Llangollen and the Celtic name for the river Thames was Tamesa. 

Vikings from Scandinavia began invading England towards the end of the 8th century. Their Old Norse language resembled that of the Anglo-Saxon invaders, and much of its vocabulary was absorbed into Old English. Old English texts look strange to the modern reader, I included the screenshots below guys, so you can see for yourself. 
However, many of the words that we use today are of Anglo-Saxon origin. 
for example;
Pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, this, that, these, those. 
Nouns: friend, husband, anger, window, bull, cake, dirt, sun.
Adjectives: happy, cold, black, bloody, tight, low, ill. 

Verbs: can, shall, get, give, want, call 
Conjunctions: and, as, but, so, then 
Prepositions: up, down, in, on, to, by 
Adverbs: while, when, where 
Old English words have a muscular quality about them: they are usually short, direct and forceful. Many of the most memorable phrases in English are made up of Old English words, including 'ashes to ashes', 'dust to dust' and 'with this ring I thee wed'. Although we speak of Old English as a single language, it contained several different dialects, and the vocabulary that was used in different parts of the country varied much more than it does now. There was also no single, agreed system of spelling. In terms of grammar, Old English used inflection much more than modern English does. Inflections are parts of words (usually word endings) that indicate grammatical functions. In modern English, for example, adding —'s' to the ends of most nouns changes them from singular to plural. Old English was very reliant on inflections, using them, for example, to indicate whether a noun was the subject or object in a sentence. Compared with contemporary English, meaning was consequently less dependent on word order, so the construction of Old English sentences was also looser and more flexible. 

The Norman Conquest of 1066 was followed by a long period of French rule. French became the language of the royal court and of government and the law. There was a great deal of intermarrying between the French and - English aristocracies. English survived as a language but was enormously influenced by French. The mixture of Old English and French produced the language that is known as Middle English. A huge number of French words (perhaps as many as 10 000)entered the language. Words of French origin tend to be more elegant and refined than their Old English equivalents. Compare, for example, 'premier' (French) and 'first' (Old English), and some examples of French loanwords : 
Court, state, city, citizen, aunt, uncle, cousin, sir, madam, dinner, supper, sauce, beef, sugar, coat, dress, button, bracelet, cotton, dance, tennis, amusement, entertain, audience.

The Romans first came to Britain around 55 BC and they went on to occupy the country for 400 years. During this period they built roads and established settlements, but had surprisingly little linguistic impact. The native population continued to speak Celtic during this period, and it is not until the 16th and 17th centuries that Latin can be considered a strong influence on English. The revival of Latin was partly because during the Renaissance there was an intense interest among scholars in classical texts and authors. 

A measure of the importance of Latin in the history of English is the fact that - if we include Latin words that entered the language via French - more than half of our modern English vocabulary is of Latin derivation. We have also taken from Latin many of our prefixes (such as anti-, post-. pre-) and suffixes ( -ate, -ic, -al). Latin words are often quite lengthy, and Latinate vocabulary tends to sound weighty and learned. 

Some examples are;
Ambiguous, colossal, dignified, emotion, exaggerate, history, immense, intellect, magnificent, monopoly, nation, ominous, opponent, quotation, ultimate, vacuum 
The grammar of Early Modern English reflected the fact that this was a time of transition between Middle English and the English we use today. The language of Shakespeare's plays is still marked by unusual ordering of words, inflexions such as -est and -eth and the pronouns 'thou', 'thee' at `thy'. The main development in phonology was the great vowel shift of the 15th and 16th centuries when the pronunciation of long vowel sound was transformed and became similar to the pronunciation we have today. 
So yeah just a few words about 'great vowel shift' 

It was a dramatic and important phonological evolution that lasted over a period of approximately 200 years, the pronunciation of long vowel sounds changed, replacing them with sounds similar to those we have today. Thousands of words were affected.

This occurs when we change language in order to make it more consistent. We look (often unconsciously) for rules and patterns in the language that we use and will sometimes change words and constructions if they seem odd or different. This process is also known as 'analogy' and can affect all areas of language, including grammar, phonology, lexis and spelling. Although there are still inflexions in modern English, there were once many more. Old English was very reliant on them, but most Old English inflections disappeared during the Middle Ages. Today, the great majority of nouns change from singular to plural by the simple addition of 'S'at the end of the word: book/books, pen/pens. An example often cited is the word 'pea'. Originally this was 'pease' (there is still a dish called 'pease pudding'), but over time 'pease/peas' became a plural word and a new singular noun, 'pea', came into use. This brought 'pea/peas' into line with the great majority of other nouns, which only have an -s ending when the word is plural. For example, in Old English the plural of 'hands was `handa', and in Middle English the plural of eye' was `eyen. In the Early Modern English period, some inflexions were still in use that are not found today - the -th and -st endings in verbs (doth', dost). which are third and second person singular present of a verb 'do'. An example of regularization in spelling is the word 'delight', which originally was not spelt with the letters `gh'. Adding these letters made it consistent with such similar
sounding words as 'light' and 'night'.
Don't forget that words can also fall out of use. Words and phrases that become obsolete are known as archaisms. Shakespeare's plays are full of such archaisms as `enow' (enough), 'forsooth' (in truth) and 'bark' (ship). 

The reasons for phonological change are not always clear (no one is quite sure why the great vowel shift occurred). However, in several of the cases, social factors seem to have played an important part: we imitate the speech of people we admire or respect in some way, and in this way language change spreads.

There is often hostility to borrowings words, especially if they seem likely to replace existing English words. People who wish to conserve English and protect it from foreign influences are known as purists. In recent years, American English has been an especially strong influence on our language (as it has on other world languages), and objections are often raised to our increasing use of Americanisms but that's a subject for another post, perhaps.
While English grammar has changed considerably since the Old English period, most of these changes occurred before the end of the Middle Ages. In the last few hundred years, the grammar of the language has been relatively stable, though grammatical change can (and does) still happen. In the 18th and 19th centuries, vigorous attempts were made to 'fix' the rules of grammar, and this helps to explain why grammar is more resistant to change than vocabulary and phonology.

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