William Caxton

by Jaunita Naylor, April 2015

1500 words

5 pages


English, the language of Englishmen, is considered to be the official language for a great amount of countries. This is an official language for the Great Britain, USA, Canada, Ireland, Malta, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and others. The language is one of six languages, which are used as official languages in U. N. O. Nowadays the number of English speaking people is more than one billion people. The written language is based on the Latin alphabet and exists since the seventh century. English as a language refers to the Germanic branch of indo-European languages. English was primary completely different from that, which is so familiar for the world today. The native land of the language is supposed to be the British Islands; that is why every new change or event that influenced the British nation affected the English language in some way. Overviewing the history of English we may observe the changes through the history, which had a great influence upon the language. The history of English is closely connected with the history of England. It is impossible to name the only parent language, which formed the language of modern Britons. It started in the fifth century, when Britain was occupied by the three Germanic tribes. At this time Britain was settled by the Celts and Romans. At this time people spoke Vulgar Latin – simplified variant of Latin. So, the language was created with the help of interaction between the dialects of Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vulgar Latin. This language took in Latin vocabulary. Besides, the Old English was under the influence of the Scandinavian dialects including Dane Norwegian dialects. These tribes called as Vikings often conducted raids and conquered most part of England. Consequently, England became a united state in 954. In 1066 England was captured by the French. This event served as the main reason for using French language as the language for the English nobility for two centuries. Old English was used by the ordinary people. This historical event made a significant impact on the English language as there appeared a great variety of new words. The difference in two variants of English (Germanic and French origin) may be felt nowadays as well.The formation of modern English is characterized by the strict processes of standardization of the language. The written and spoken London speech quickly developed and sooner predominated over all the other dialects. This change made a great impact on the country. In the same period a lot of changes took place in English pronunciation. The changes got the name “The Great Vowel Shift”. Owing to the specific social and historical factors such sound changes spread in England. The pairings of most short and long vowels were lost, and many exceptions of English pronunciation appeared.In the third millennium the students of English are interested greatly in many questions that are concerned not with the language as we have it today, but with the history of the English language, including the …

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