The English language happens to be on of the most popular languages spoken in the world. In fact, it makes it to the top three of most spoken languages – Spanish in second place and Chinese for first place. Do you ever ask yourself how language itself was even created? Language is part of such a complex form of communication that is full of unique sounds. Certain sounds form the very words we use every day. Also to make words and sentence structure more complex, if you use a particular tone the whole sentence could mean something completely different. Since language is such a crucial part of our daily lives, It is very important to know its origins. We also should be aware of how much our language has evolved throughout history as it would be almost unrecognizable to some.
Starting off, we need to see where the origins and roots of the English are. Looking back at history the English language changed and evolved through major invasions. One critical invasion that impacted our language is when the Romans invaded Britain in 550 CE. Since Rome had such power and dominated the Britain civilization Latin was the main language spoken at that time. This is why most of the words in the English language have Latin or Greek origins. The English language is part of the Indo-European family of languages which means it is very closely related to other languages spoken in Europe at that time. Some of the characteristics the English language sets itself apart from other languages is the flexibility and openness of vocabulary. Another fact is that there are varieties of dialect to English including British English, African English, American/Canadian English, South Asian English etc. We see through this that English has influenced and spread itself to other regions.
Next, the English itself has experienced three major revisions over time. First, We have Old English that dates back to the beginning of 1066. This included words such as maken or slepen. Old English was used by the Jutes, Angles and Saxons and we actually capable of reading many poems written in this era. This shows that Old English was already a very development language as uses poetic devices we used today like alliteration. Many of the words such as water, sleep and drink have their origins from old English and have not been changed drastically. During the seventh century, Old English had some revisions from the Anglo-Saxons on how plurals in nouns and vowels were pronounced. The second revision is the introduction of Middle English in 1485. This was due to the Norman Conquest. At this time English had become the third language in the country. During this period, Middle English removed a lot of the grammatical structure that was introduced into Old English. Also, many of the Norman alphabet was replaced with the letters “TH” or “GH” instead of symbols. Lastly, we see the revision to Modern English. Modern English separates itself from Middle English because of the great vowel shift. Modern English was considered the golden age of English literature in which 10,000 -12,000 new words word added. William Shakespeare is also famously known for changing the English Language. He broke free from grammar rules and had his vocabulary that added about 2,000 more words to the English Language. He also introduces common phrases; luck as we know it, in a mind’s eye and laughing stock. What we can learn by studying these revisions is that the English language changes. There are new words added to the dictionary to this day, so of which are slang.
What we can take away by learning the history of our language is that it is a study of its own. Who would have realized the area depth in areas of change such as spelling and pronunciation? What is also really interesting to learn is that through the evolution of our language some words are lost. Most of the Angelo-Saxon words and ways of writing are outdated because they are no longer relevant to our generation. An example is the word Hauberk which means an armoured suit. Since our weaponry has advanced we no longer need metal armour to wear in combat. Maybe that is the reason to why some words have disappeared because we no longer need them. Language is such a crazy thing because some words are untranslatable to other languages. Human language has helped us do more than just communicate. It helps us build and form relationships with other people. Imagine how hard it would be to get to know someone if language didn’t exist, it would be basically impossible. As I studied the history of my language, I learned key details on how it evolved into the language we have today