History of English

The History of English is that it is a West Germanic language that originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain in the mid 5th to 7th centuries AD by Anglo-Saxon migrants from what is now northwest Germany, southern Denmark, and the Netherlands.

The origin of the English language is from England and it is the dominant language of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and various other island nations in the Caribbean sea and the Pacific Ocean.

English is also an official language of India, the Philippines, Singapore, and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. English is considered to be the first choice of foreign language in most other countries of the world. It is the status that has given it the position of a global lingua franca.

Estimation is that about a third of the world’s population, around two billion people speak English. English belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. Therefore, it is related to most other languages spoken in Europe and Western Asia right from Iceland to India.

It is believed that the nomads have spoken the parent tongue, called Proto-Indo-European, about 5000 years ago and have roamed the southeast European plains. Germanic was one of the language groups which was descended from this ancestral speech. It is usually divided by scholars into three regional groups namely East (Burgundian, Vandal, and Gothic, all extinct), North (Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish), and West (German, Dutch [and Flemish], Frisian, and English). They are closely related to English.

Germans remain far more conservative than English in its retention of a fairly elaborate system of inflections. Frisian was spoken by inhabitants of the Dutch province of Friesland and the islands off the west coast of Schleswig. It is the language most related to English.

Modern English is totally analytic, which means that it is relatively uninflected. On the other hand, Proto-Indo-European, the ancestral tongue of most of the modern European languages (e.g., German, French, Russian, Greek), was synthetic or inflected. In the previous thousands of years, many of the English words have been simplified slowly from the inflected variable forms found in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Russian, and German, towards invariable forms, as in Chinese and Vietnamese.

Along with the simplification of inflections, English has two more basic characteristics. First is the flexibility of function and openness of vocabulary. There has been the growth of flexibility of function in the past five centuries, as a consequence of the loss of inflections.

Formerly, words that were distinguished as nouns or verbs by differences in their forms are now used often as both nouns and verbs. In English, forms for traditional pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs can also function as nouns; adjectives and adverbs as verbs; and nouns, pronouns, and adverbs as adjectives. With the change, English adopts and adapts any word which is really needed to name some new object or to denote some new process.

Words from more than 350 languages have entered English in this way such as French, Spanish, and Russian, English frequently forms scientific terms from Classical Greek word elements.

English is still used as mostly spoken and written forms of a language. It is the most common language used in the world.

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