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Concerning The History And Development Of English

707 words - 3 pages

English is currently one of the most prolific languages in the world, with recent figures from the British Council showing approximately two billion people speaking it in at least seventy-five countries. Often referred to as a borrowing language, English has loaned and continues to loan words from nearly every language it encounters, with a majority of the words coming from Latin, French, and Greek. This lingual promiscuity has lead to the English language’s somewhat brutal nickname, “the bastard tongue.” In this essay we’ll be discussing the history of English, following its origins in Germanic languages, influence from Latin and other European languages, and the standardization that ...view middle of the document...

The lack of any prominent traces of the Celtic language in English today suggests that the Germanic peoples held a major dominance on the continent after their introduction. The Oxford Dictionary’s History of English relates that “some scholars have suggested that the Celtic tongue might have had an underlying influence on the grammatical development of English,” but that this idea is “highly speculative.”
The next wave of people to physically invade Britain and linguistically invade the early English language came from the North. These Viking peoples were known as Norsemen and spoke a language called Old Norse, a dialect that had a palpable impact on Old English due to the spread of Norsemen over the continent following their invasion in the ninth century; they became so pervasive throughout Britain that a Norse king ruled the entirety of the continent in the early eleventh century. Because the Old English that existed in this time period came from the same Germanic roots as Old Norse, it was relatively easy for Old English to absorb a large number of Nordic words such as the verb “take” and...

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