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 History of English Language

English is a member of Indo-European family of languages. This family is of three hundred years old consisting of many branches. Germanic is one major branch of this family from which English language originated. The other branches of this family are: Slavic, Baltic, Celtic, Romance and Indo-Iranian.
The History of English Language can be studied in three different periods viz;


 Stage                                                          Period
1) Old English                                         − 500 - 1100 A.D.
2) Middle English                                    − 1100 - 1500 A.D.
3) Modern English                                  − 1500 - todate    

OLD ENGLISH: (500 - 1100 AD)
    In this fifth century a tribe called 'Angles' came from South of Denmark to occupy British Islands. Another tribe called 'Saxons' also joined the Angles to occupy the island.
    The 'Celts' were the local inhabitants dwelling in the islands before the advent of these two tribes.
The people of these two tribes developed a friendship and started living together and the common language they spoke was called 'Anglo-Saxon'. This Anglo-Saxon language now is called 'Old English'. Anglo-Saxon language gradually came to be called as Englisic and the land where this language was spoken came to be recognised as 'Engla-land' and now called as England.
          As Old English (Anglo-Saxon) began to evolve four major dialects emerged.


 Old English did not sound or look like English of present day. Native speakers would have great difficulty in under standing Old English. Any how about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The words be, strong water for example derive from Old English.

MIDDLE ENGLISH: (1100 - 1500)
        The second phase of the history of English is Middle English. In 1066 William, the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy (Part of Modern France) invaded and conquered England. The new rulers called Normans spoke 'Anglo-Norman' (Norman French) which was also a product of Germanic. After the invasion of Normans there prevailed a distinction in the use of languages. The lower classes (Peasants, slaves) spoke English and the upper classes spoke Norman French. In the 14th century English became dominant in Britain again with many French words added. Thus a blending of Anglo-Saxon, the language of the ruled and Anglo-Norman, the language of  the rulers gave birth to Middle English.
         The most famous example of middle English is Chaucer's "Prologue to Canterbury Tales". The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 A.D. with the rise of Modern English.


The Modern English Period can be studied in two phases:
1) Early Modern English
2) Late Modern English.


1) Early Modern English: The Renaissance movement brought a tremendous change in the English Language during this period. Many classical Latin and Greek words took a place in the language.
           William Shakespeare who has chronicled the history of England has used examples of early Modern English in his play "Loves Labour's Lost" through a character called Holofernes.
           Two other major factors influenced the language and served to separate Middle and Modern English. The first was the 'Great Vowel Shift'. This was a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. This Great Vowel Shift distinguishes Modern English from Middle English. The Middle English has words with vowels which are predominantly pronounced from the back of the mouth, where as the words in Modern English are pronounced from the front of the mouth. The Great Vowel Shift was first studied by Jesperson, a Danish linguist and Anglicist who coined the term.
The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. Consequently many works were published in English. The Bible was written in Modern English for the benefit of common people during the rule of king James. Further the first Purely English Alphabetical dictionary " A Table Alphabeticall" was written by Robert Cawdrey in 1604. Later in 1755 Samuel Johnson's Dictionary was published. All these developments stabilised the English language to a large extent.


2) Late Modern English: 1800 - Present
The English language development received a further impetus with the Industrial Revolution and the expansion of British Empire. The British invasion led to the language borrowing words from Greek and Latin and adopting them to suit the English Phonology and Morphology.



*  English belongs to the Germanic branch of Indo - European family of languages.
* Celts were the local people in the British Islands before the advent of Angles and Saxons.
*  Old English is the other name for Anglo - Saxon language.
*  Four major dialects of Old English are:
North Umbrian (Northern Part), Mercian (Midlands) West - Saxon (West and South) and Kentish (South - East)
*  "Beowulf" is the rich source of Old English.
*  William, the Duke of Normandy invaded England in 1066.
*  A combination of Anglo - Saxon and Anglo - Norman gave birth to Middle English.
*   Chaucer's "Prologue to Canterbury Tales" is the famous book in Middle English.
*   Great Vowel Shift attributes to change in pronunciation.
*   Great Vowel Shift was studied by Jesperson and coined the term.
*   "A Table Alphabeticall" is the first dictionary in English written by Robert Cawdrey.
*   William Caxton brought printing press to England in 1476 which led many works published in English.
*   Many Greek and Latin words found a place in English Language on the eve of Industrial Revolution and the expansion of British Empire.

Posted Date : 13-09-2023


గమనిక : ప్రతిభ.ఈనాడు.నెట్‌లో కనిపించే వ్యాపార ప్రకటనలు వివిధ దేశాల్లోని వ్యాపారులు, సంస్థల నుంచి వస్తాయి. మరి కొన్ని ప్రకటనలు పాఠకుల అభిరుచి మేరకు కృత్రిమ మేధస్సు సాంకేతికత సాయంతో ప్రదర్శితమవుతుంటాయి. ఆ ప్రకటనల్లోని ఉత్పత్తులను లేదా సేవలను పాఠకులు స్వయంగా విచారించుకొని, జాగ్రత్తగా పరిశీలించి కొనుక్కోవాలి లేదా వినియోగించుకోవాలి. వాటి నాణ్యత లేదా లోపాలతో ఈనాడు యాజమాన్యానికి ఎలాంటి సంబంధం లేదు. ఈ విషయంలో ఉత్తర ప్రత్యుత్తరాలకు, ఈ-మెయిల్స్ కి, ఇంకా ఇతర రూపాల్లో సమాచార మార్పిడికి తావు లేదు. ఫిర్యాదులు స్వీకరించడం కుదరదు. పాఠకులు గమనించి, సహకరించాలని మనవి.

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