The history of the English language, many linguists divided into three periods: old English, middle English and new England. However, this division is rather arbitrary, because language existed among the tribes that inhabited the British Isles long before the conquest of Britain by Caesar or distribution in the territory of the country of Christianity.
Celtic culture at the origins of the history of the English language
The first mention in ancient Chronicles about the residents who inhabited the British Isles, belong to 800 BC, At that time on the island moves a tribe of Indo-European people — the Celts. Those tribes who lived on the Islands before the arrival of Celtic people left no traces in history.
From 800 BC begins the era of the British Celts and, therefore, the Celtic language in Britain. Many linguists are of the opinion that the word «Britain» comes from the word with a Celtic root – brith «colored». In Chronicles you can find mention that the Celts had indeed painted their faces and bodies when going to war or hunting. Is in the Chronicles mention that the British Celts in the time of the conquest of the British island of the great Caesar had a developed culture. The tribes flourished Patriarchate. Males had 8-10 wives. The children were brought up by women until a certain age, then the boys passed under the guardianship of men, who taught them to hunt and own weapons.
Also mentioned in the Chronicles that the British Celts spoke a special dialect.
And words like whiskey, plaid, slogan came into the English language much later, from the Celtic languages that were widespread in the period: whiskey (IRL. beathadh uisce «water of life»), slogan (from the Scottish sluagh-ghairm «battle cry»).
The influence of the Roman Empire on the development of the English language
A century later after the conquest of the British Isles by Caesar, in 44 BC, the British Isles was the Roman Emperor Claudius, after which Britain was considered a Roman province. In this period there is a close relationship of the Celtic people and the Romans, which, of course, reflected in the language.
So, many words in modern English have Latin roots. For example, the word castra (Latin «camp»). This root is found in many geographical names of modern Britain — Lancaster, Manchester, Leicester.
There are also such common words as street «a street» (from the Latin expression via strata «paved road») and wall wall( from vallum «rampart»).
There are a lot of synonymous nouns borrowed from Latin: wine «wine» from the Latin. vinum «wine»; pear, «pear» – from the Latin. pirum «pear»; pepper «pepper» – from the Latin. the genus Piper.
The old English period (450 – 1066 g) in the history of the English language
The direct ancestors of the English people are Germanic tribes of Saxons, Jutes, angles and Frisians, which entered the territory of Britain in the year 449. As the number of these tribes were far superior to Celtic, then gradually the Anglo-Saxon dialect completely supplanted the Celtic dialect of use.
Thanks to the Anglo-Saxon tribes in the English language there are many names of geographical objects, preserved to our days. Also such words as butter, pound, cheese, alum, silk, inch, сhalk, mile, mint – have German roots borrowed from Latin. Or the word Saturday means «Saturn’s day»- father of the God Jupiter in Roman mythology.
In 597 BC the universal Christianization of Britain. Prior to this, the tribes of Anglo-Saxons were pagans. The Roman Church sent to the island the monk Augustine, who diplomatically began the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. The activities of Augustine and his followers had tangible results: by the early 700 A. D. a considerable part of the population of the British Isles professed Christianity.
This close fusion of cultures reflected in language. There are many words that were borrowed at this time. For example, school «school» – from the Latin. schola «school» Bishop «the Bishop» from the Latin. Episcopus «shepherding» mount «mountain» – from the Latin. montis (born. pad.) «mountain,» pea «pea» – from the Latin. pisum «pea», Priest’s «priest» – from the Latin. presbyter «presbyter».
According to rough estimates of linguists in this age of English language borrowed from Latin more than 6 hundred words, not counting derived from them. Mostly words relating to religion, Church and government.
This is the creativity of Trouble the Venerable (Beda Venerabilis), the first English historian, and educator who first translated the gospel from Latin into the Anglo-Saxon language. Activities of the Honourable Troubles had a significant impact on the development of language and is an important step in the history of the English language.
The influence of the Scandinavian group of languages
In 878 starts the conquest of the Anglo-Saxon lands of the Danes. For many years we lived in the lands of Britain, intermarried with representatives of the Anglo-Saxons. As a result, in English, a number of borrowings from the Scandinavian languages. For example, amiss «amiss», «anger» «anger,» auk «Razorbill» awe «awe», axle «axle» aye «always».
The combination of letters sk — or sc — in the beginning of the word in modern English is also very often an indicator that the word is a Scandinavian borrowing. For example, sky «sky» (with native English heaven), skin «skin» (with native English hide skin), skull «skull» (with native English shell «shell; shell»).
Middle English period (1066-1500) history of the English language
The development of the English language in the middle ages
In the middle of the XI century, the inhabitants of Northern France conquered Britain. Becomes king William the Conqueror, by descent a Norman. Since that time, in the history of the people begins the era of the three languages. The language of the aristocracy, the courts became French, the language of science was still Latin, and the common people continued to speak Anglo-Saxon. It is the mixing of those three languages and gave rise to the formation of modern English.
Modern English – mixed
Linguists interpret modern English, as a mixed. This is due to the fact that many words in a General sense, have no common roots. Compare for example the number of words in the Russian language: head – to-head — chief. In English the same number of presented words: head – chapter – chief. Why did this happen? All is explained by mixing of three languages. The Anglo-Saxon word denotes concrete objects, hence the word head. Latin – the language of science and education has remained the word chapter. From the French left the word that was in everyday life of the nobility, chief.
The same distinction can be found in many semantic series in the English language. For example, different words for the name of the animal (word of German origin) and the name of the meat of this animal (the word comes from old French). So, ox, bull, cow, cow, calf — veal, sheep — sheep, pig — pig; but beef — beef, veal — veal, mutton — lamb, pork, pork, etc.
During this period the history of English language changes in the grammatical structure. Disappear many of the verbal endings. Adjectives acquire degree of comparison, including suppletive degree (with the addition of the words more, most). Significant changes were made in the phonetics of the language. By the end of 1500 in the country increasingly gaining popularity of the London dialect which they speak 90% of the native speakers.
The first book in English
A pioneer of Britain is William Caxton (William Caxton), who in 1474 printed the first book in the English language. It was the translation of the works of Raoul Lefevre «a Collection of stories about Three.» During his life, Caxton printed over 100 books, many of which were his own translations. It should be noted that through its activities, many English words have finally acquired its finished form.
As for grammatical rules, Caxton often invented their own rules after the publication became publicly available and was considered the only true.
New England period (1500 — present) history of the English language
The founder of English literary language is considered the great William Shakespeare (1564-1616). He is credited with the origin of many idiomatic expressions used in modern English. In addition, Shakespeare invented many new words that have taken root in the language.
For example, the word swagger «swaggering gait; swagger» for the first time in the history of the English language found in Shakespeare’s play «a Midsummer night’s Dream».
History of the English language in the age of Enlightenment
In 1712 the first time in history there was an image, representing great Britain and the national character of Englishmen. This year was born the hero of the political pamphlets of John Abernatha – John bull. And still the image of the bull is a satirical depiction of the British.
In 1795, the light goes out the first textbook «English grammar» by Lindley Murray (Lindley Murray). For nearly two centuries this tutorial is fundamental in English grammar. All educated people studied the grammar of Murray.
Modern language in the British Isles is not static. The language lives, there are always neologisms, some words are fading.
However, the most important difference of English from many European languages is that in the UK there is no static rules. On the contrary, in a large course is different dialects and adverbs. Differ not only in the pronunciation of the words phonetically, but there are also completely different words denoting the same concept.
The media and the government communicate in British English. But the most popular is American English. There are Australian English, canadian English and many other dialects. On the territory of the UK in the course of a few dialects spoken by the inhabitants of a particular province.
As you can see, English has retained its tradition of the «confusion of tongues» in our day.
The popularity of the English language was greatly supported by the colonial policy of great Britain, the colonization of Australia and North America.
After the Second World war increased the importance of such countries as the USA, which also contributed to the popularization of the English language.
In the modern world, the Internet community, people of science and culture to communicate mostly in English.
The exact number of people speaking English nowadays is difficult to name. The results of various studies vary by tens of percent. Called numbers and 600 million and 1.2 billion.
Clearly, English is the most important means of communication in the modern world.