Language Timeline The English language is a vast flea market of words, handed down, borrowed or created over more than 2000 years. And it is still expanding, changing and trading. Our language is not purely English at all - it is a ragbag of diverse words that have come to our island from all around the world. Words enter the language in all sorts of ways: with invaders, migrants, tradesmen; in stories, artworks, technologies and scientific concepts; with those who hold power, and those who try to overthrow the powerful. View the chart below to get an overview of some of the many chapters in the history of the English language. Celts 500BC-43BC Romans 43BC-c.450AD Anglo Saxons 449AD St Augustine 597 AD Vikings 789AD Normans 1066 100 Years War 1337-1450s Renaissance 1476-1650 1700s Industrial Revolution 1760-1800s 1900s - Present Day References: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language by David Crystal Words in Time by Geoffrey Hughes
Language change in spoken English Influenced by others Language also changes very subtly whenever speakers come into contact with each other. No two individuals speak identically: people from different geographical places clearly speak differently, but even within the same small community there are variations according to a speaker’s age, gender, ethnicity and social and educational background. Through our interactions with these different speakers, we encounter new words, expressions and pronunciations and integrate them into our own speech. Even if your family has lived in the same area for generations, you can probably identify a number of differences between the language you use and the way your grandparents speak. Every successive generation makes its own small contribution to language change and when sufficient time has elapsed the impact of these changes becomes more obvious. Listen to these recordings in this section, which illustrate important, recent changes in spoken English. Attitudes to language change
Online Etymology Dictionary Etymology: Languages that have contributed to English vocabulary over time. In Borrowed Words: A History of Loanwords in English, I examine how words borrowed from different languages have influenced English throughout its history. The above feature summarizes some of the main data from the book, focusing on the 14 sources that have given the most words to English, as reflected by the new and revised entries in the Oxford English Dictionary. Using the date buttons at the top of the graphic, you can compare the impact that different languages have made on English over time. If you switch to the "cumulative" view, then you can see how the total number of loanwords from each language has built up over time. The data lying behind this graphic reflects some of the biggest changes in the history of English. The elephant in the room, however, is how Latin and French dominate the picture in just about every period. A version of this post appeared on Oxford Dictionaries.
History of English The figure below shows the timeline of the history of the English language. The earliest known residents of the British Isles were the Celts, who spoke Celtic languages—a separate branch of the Indo-European language family tree. Over the centuries the British Isles were invaded and conquered by various peoples, who brought their languages and customs with them as they settled in their new lives. There is now very little Celtic influence left in English. In case you hadn’t made the connection, “England” ← “Engla Land” ← “Angle Land” (Land of the Angles, a people of northern old Germany). Here are some links for further reading on the history of English, in no particular order: If you need any more references, try a Yahoo! Copyright © 2003–2007 Daniel M.
Language change Introduction This web page is intended for students who are following GCE Advanced level (AS and A2) syllabuses in English Language. This resource may also be of general interest to language students on university degree courses, trainee teachers and anyone with a general interest in language science. Language change Linguists have traditionally studied variations in a language occurring at the same, time (synchronic study) or how language develops over time (diachronic or historical study). The study of language change is often narrowed to consideration of change in one aspect of language: lexis, semantics or syntax, say. Back to top The Indo-European languages The language family to which English belongs is sometimes known as the Indo-European group, a description which indicates the geographical spread of the languages in this family over a long historical period. To see a diagram of the Indo-European language family as a PDF (portable document file), click on the link below. Old English
Linguistics 001 -- Lecture 14 -- Sociolinguistics 1. Dialect variation and its evaluation The way that people talk depends on where they come from and where they belong in their society. Why? This is an age of upstarts. Higgins (along with his creator Shaw) shares his society's evaluation of the relative value of linguistic variants. A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere—no right to live. However, unlike many members of his society, Shaw saw class differences (and the speech patterns that mark them) as superficial and modifiable, rather than essential. You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. We think of today's America as a more egalitarian and tolerant place than Shaw's England was. Listen to these conversational examples of American dialects marked for region, class and race. Did you have any immediate visceral reactions to the examples in the set above -- whether distaste, nostalgia or fascination? Or again: 2.
Do you speak Uglish? How English has evolved in Uganda Please don’t dirten my shirt with your muddy hands. Stop cowardising and go and see that girl. Don’t just beep her again, bench her. Typos? No, we’re speaking Uglish (pronounced you-glish), a Ugandan form of English influenced by Luganda and other local dialects, which has produced hundreds of words with their own unique meanings. Some will be immediately obvious to English speakers: dirten, meaning to make dirty; cowardising, to behave like a coward. Others offer small insights into youth culture: beep – meaning to ring someone but to hang up quickly before the person answers. Now, Bernard Sabiti, a Ugandan cultural commentator has recorded these colloquialisms in a new book which attempts to unlock what he calls “one of the funniest and strangest English varieties in the world”. Working as a consultant for international NGOs, Sabiti kept being asked “what kind of English do Ugandans speak?” The result? He also credits local musicians for introducing a number of words into the lexicon.