English language


English language
The English language is the language started by tribes that moved to Britain from West Germany around 450 AD. Languages started by the German tribes are called Germanic languages. English is spoken in many countries around the world. With around 380 million native speakers, it is the second most spoken language in the world. About 220 million more people speak it as a second language and there are as many as a billion people who are learning. English has been an influence on, and has been influenced by many different languages.
History.
English began in England, a country on the island of Great Britain in Europe. Germanic tribes (Saxons, Angles, and Jutes) came to Britain from around 449 AD. They made their home in the south and east of the island, pushing out the Celtic Britons who were there before them. The Germanic dialects of these different tribes became "Old English". The word "English" was then and that comes from the name of the Angles - "Englas". Old English did not sound or look much like the English we speak today. If English speakers today were to hear or read a passage in Old English, they might understand a few words, but it would be very hard for most to understand what the passage is about.
Many other people came to England later at different times, speaking different languages, and these languages added more words to make today's English.
For example, around 800 AD, many Danish and Norse pirates, also called Vikings, came to the country and English received many Norse loanwords. Their languages were Germanic languages, like Old English.
After William the Conqueror conquered England in 1066 AD with his armies and became king, he brought his nobles, who spoke Norman, to be the new government. They stopped English from being taught in schools for a long time, and the language changed greatly, because it was mostly being spoken instead of written for about 300 years. English borrowed so many words from Norman at that time that it can be called a different language, Middle English. Geoffrey Chaucer is a well known writer of Middle English. After more sound changes, Middle English became Modern English. Although the works of Shakespeare might seem very old, they are actually called modern.
English has continued to take new words from other languages, for example from French, Chinese, Hindi and Urdu, Japanese, and Spanish. Because many scientists from different countries needed to talk to each other, they chose names for scientific things in the languages they all knew: Greek and Latin. Those words came to English also, for example, "photography" ("photo-" means "light" "and "-graph" means "picture" or "writing", in Greek. A photograph is a picture made using light), or "telephone". So, English is a combination of Old English (closely related to German and Dutch), Danish, Norse, and French, and has been influenced by Latin, Greek, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, and Spanish, and more words from even more languages.
The historical stature of the British Empire has contributed to the spread of the English language. English is an important language in many places today, for example in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the Republic of India and Pakistan, South Africa, and the United States, English is a dominant language. Because the United Kingdom (the country in which England is located) and the United States have historically been economically and politically powerful, many people find it helpful to learn English to communicate in science, business, and diplomacy. This is referred to as learning English as an additional language, English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
Many famous stories and plays are in English. Shakespeare was a famous English writer of poems and plays. Today, many famous songs and movies (cinema films) use the English language.


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