English / History Of The English Language

History Of The English Language

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Autor:  anton  11 March 2011
Tags:  History,  English,  Language
Words: 499   |   Pages: 2
Views: 470


The history of the English language is very extensively. It contains parts of French, Latin, German, Norse and of a few less known tongues.

Before texts were written in English, they were mainly written in Latin and were reserved to be read only by the Pious and royal.

The language how it is spoken today was formed only after Centuries of

fierce battling, governments being overthrown, and a period of time known as

the Dark Ages. During this time, the language began as Old English.

Later it was simplified into Middle English and finally refined into Modern English.

Old English is concentrated between the years 450 and 1150ad. In the year

449 Germanic Tribes (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes) invaded England after the Romans had already build a progressing civilization, complete with a massive road system.

It is assumed that the tribes terrorized the natives and forced many of them of their homeland. Their German language blended with those Celtic and Welsh residents who decided to stay.

This is where the meld of Old English began.

In the year 697 St. Augustine and other Roman Missionaries came to spread

Christianity to the savages. He and the other missionaries introduced the technology of writing in all of the hierarchies. For the religious ceremonies they used latin, one of the oldest known languages.

Within a century after Augustine’s arrival, primitive works of history and religious poetry began to surface in a language that is now regarded as Old English.

Bede (c.672-735) is remembered as a great historian and theologian. His Old English works provide us with a glimpse into an otherwise mysterious period known as the “Dark Ages.”

There were many invasions from 787 - 1042 primarily by the Vikings or by the Danes.

Due to them the English Language began to be simplified along with its vocabulary. The inflected endings common to Old English were dropped off and prefixes like

sc, sk, and sh were added to the melting pot.

Sometime between 900 and 1000ad an epic known as Beowulf was written.

Although the author of this work is unknown, we see that the language

although primitive in its range could be manipulated by a masterful hand.

And the product could be an intellectual and vivid display of the Authors’

talents. Beowulf is truly a gift when ascertaining the history of the

English Language. Take for example the following line.

Oft Scyld Scefing scepena preatum,

Notice the first word, "Oft." It is remarkably similar to the Modern English

word often.

After the Norman Invasion in 1066, Old English starts to shift. William the

Conqueror brought great reform to England and also the French language. It

was originally spoken primarily by members of Parliament and their chosen

Religious leaders but when William divided the land taken from the English

and gave it to his faithful Norman followers, the French language seeped

into the commoners dialect. The changes that take place during this time are

best reflected in Middle English.

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