A Brief History of English Language
Sep 1, 2012 Career Development 2368 Views
A Brief History of English Language
Rojin Ramezani, Shahin Ahmadi Shad*
The English language is spoken in most parts of the world ,different people with different nationalities use it in different ways ,it seems to be known by most people ,so it is called "world language" .studies have shown that the use of English spread all over the world by people and various organizations ,especially in recent centuries .for example scientific researchers are written and published in English ,politics and business are often carried out in English ,much of the news and programs which are popular among people are provided by English language.
The beginning of English
People got to know about history of English by the help and researches which sir William Jones done at the end of eighteenth century .As the linguists have proved English language like Sanskrit, Greek and many other languages is a member of a large family which is called proto-Indo-European family, but what is clear now is, English has been developed after the variations which dialect languages had, so this is the reason why young generation mostly speak in English even though their ancestors do not and they speak their local languages.
Anglo-Saxons were the ones who first spoke the dialects of Englisc which is now called Old English. It's dialects were West Saxon, Kentish, Mercian and Northumbrian which had small differences in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. At first Old English was the combination of Germanic and Celtic words which only 3 out of every 100 words in old English were borrowed from a non-Germanic, but then Old English created new words by first: adding letters before and after the main verb, second: combining old words .and with the changes it had during the centuries like replacing words we have the Modern English which we know today.
The Normans in England
The defeat which was obtained by the English men from the France's government could easily put English language and people in danger. By the Normans' conquest most of the England's lands and castles were going to be owned by them, so they spread French in England in a way that English was going to be forgotten among their local people. The illness that was spread among English people which was called Black death and a hundred years war (1337-1453) between France and England were the troubles which English people had in 14th century.
The result of the Norman Conquest could evidently be seen In English grammar afterwards like losing some of the different endings for nouns, adjectives and pronouns. Fortunately they didn’t have any written grammar in English in that time, so people had to just change some words in their speaking. An invention which was brought to England by William Caxton in 1476 was Printing Machine. Because of the different dialect which where alive with their different words in various parts of England it was decided to use East Midlands dialects with the printer mainly because it was spoken in London and used by government officials.
Modern English begins
From the 16th century up to middle of the 17th century because of the peace which English people had in their life most of them attend reading books which were translated in English, so in that time 30,000 words were borrowed from about 50 languages mainly to describe new things and ideas which many of them are still used. King James I who replaced Elizabeth after her death ordered to translate a book named "Bribe" in to English which was read every where especially in churches because of its musical and poetic sound and could have a good influence on people's literature.
Bringing order to English
The war torn that took place in England in the 16th century make people to think of the danger that may threat their language, so they decided to establish dictionaries and grammar books which all English words and grammars could be kept in it, in a way not being forgotten. The most important and widely used dictionary in 17th century was "A dictionary of the English language" which was written by Samuel Johnson. Most of that time books taught the readers how to write and speak correctly in a way to seem as the educated and socially acceptable people.
Because of discoveries and inventions in different areas of science especially in the last two hundred years lots of new English words have entered in English language , so that can effect on the people's knowledge in the way of spreading and incorporating them in the new dictionaries which are publishing in different parts of the world with the help of people in current centuries .In most European countries they have special TV and radio programs with regional accent in away of reminding people old English words which are thoughtfully respected by the audiences and viewers.
English in America
English sailors settled different parts of America in 15th century via the voyage across the oceans and could influence on its population in the way of spreading British English, so lots of new words were created and borrowed from Spanish, French and Dutch settlers because of the new events and things which they faced. American writers were aware of the danger which evidently threats their language from the side of being forgotten, so they publish different American English books and made the differences between those two languages clear for people, like; differences in pronunciation, grammar, spelling and vocabulary.
All kinds of English
We have lots of countries which speak English with different accents and dialects, but they all have their own Standard English that is used nationally for official purposes with unique rout which comes from England and it's settlers , for example Australian and American English have developed by the English settlers, New Zealand and sough African English have some similarities to Australian English in their pronunciation because all three countries were settled by English speakers at the same time, and other countries were also governed by the British in the 19th and 20th centuries: India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Nigeria, Kenya, Papua New Guinea. Others were governed by America: the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
The word Slang can mean: the words and expressions used by a particular group of people to show that they belong to the group. Most slang is used permanently to puzzle the audiences and make them to be misunderstood, especially when the rhyming word is not used, for example; I need some bread means I need some money, but some slang lasts longer and may become part of general slang and Standard English.
The future of English
Different people have different ideas about the English's future according to what they have seen and experienced during their life
One guess is that the number of people who can use English well will continue to grow, some believe that English will remain a world language and the internet's popularity which provide communications for it's users support this idea, so it seems that English continues to be used internationally and the need for standard grammar, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation will remain