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The English Language Essay

1675 words - 7 pages

If we want to understand any culture there is nothing like analyzing its language. By learning a new language we develop new ways of thinking and reasoning, some languages have a complex logic that force us to do mental math each time we say a number. If we want to see how polite a culture is, we will find many ways in their language to behave with good manners. Some cultures are colder and seem not to be very warm, nor to have ways of showing politeness. The English language is one of the most polite languages in the world for it has many ways that can make the speaker behave with very good manners in every possible way. Any language reflects how their society behaves, the ways they live, ...view middle of the document...

For 70 years, Britain was under attack, and the only region that still held up was Wessex. With the arrival of the Vikings Britain had its first cultural shock and its first steps in order to evolve in their culture and language, for the influence of the Vikings brought Old Norse to Britain, and the Anglo-Saxon evolved from an inflected language to an uninflected one. Examples of inflected words still in use today are the endings -ing, which means "the people of"; -ton "enclosure or village", and -ham "far". With the invasion of the Vikings the English language was disappearing, but King Alfred, the king of Wessex, defended the English language making it the primary language by promoting literacy, scholarship, and translations; for this, he is known as the savior of England, and all his achievements made a big development in the culture of England.

It did not take long for a second threat to arrive for the English language, and also an opportunity for the language to evolve. In the year of 1066 the Normans conquered England, and William the Conqueror established French as the primary language of government, commerce, and educated society in England. Subsequently the English adopted many French words, and one of the first words to enter the English language was the word 'castle'. Culturally a new social order arrived which included words like: crown, throne, court, duke, nobility, peasant, servant, governor, liberty, authority, traitor, justice, judge, prison, jail. The new words brought new ideas from the French tradition of chivalry, such as "courtesy" and "honor". Not only French was influencing the English language but also Latin; these two languages became the languages of state, law, the church, and history itself in England. England became a country of the three languages and the English language was enforced underground, for it was mostly spoken by the peasants and uneducated people. After 300 the English language regained power again.

In the mid 14th century, The Black Death reached England killing half of the population, and this drastic event made the society change. The people became more sociable and started attending church more frequently in order to value the company of each other. The plague also caused a shortage of farm labour and a decrease in the number of teachers proficient in French, which contributed to the rebirth of the English language with Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and with the inclusion of the English language as a primary language once again.

During the Renaissance, the English language evolved drastically, its vocabulary was rapidly changing, and was expanding with new words. It was William Shakespeare and other playwrights who combined the language of the courtiers with street slang to create expressive works which described the human condition. William Shakespeare's plays portray the society during the Elizabethan times, when England was becoming a very powerful country. New connections with other...

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