History of English

Have you ever wondered about where this language called English that we speak every day comes from? I am sure many of you guys do. Too busy or lazy to find information? Well, here is all the information you will need...


The English language is a west Germanic language. Yes, you are correct: Germanic’s root word is German; however, you cannot assume that English originates from German. They were differed from one another because of the difference they have with other Latin languages and also because of the conditions they live in. It was brought to Britain in the mid fifth century to the seventh century by the German invaders and settlers. It contains 5 periods: Proto-English, Old English, Middle English, Early-Modern English and Modern English. Each of these periods are very different from one another, containing the influence from other countries such as German, Dutch and French. The information in this article can be slightly twisted to get a better understanding.


Because of the fall of the Roman empire, the Germanic people immigrated to Britain and brought their language there. It slowly merged with the original Celtic language. The language contained a great amount of Latin words because of the association with the Roman Empire which spoke Latin.

Old English:

As the Germanic people settled down, their dialect developed with the Celtic language and became what we call today ‘Old English’. It replaced the Celtic language and Latin in most of England while the Celtic language remained in most of Scotland and Wales. With the introduction of Christianity, more Latin words were borrowed alongside some Greek words. At first, it used the Anglo-Saxon Futhroc alphabet but not long after, a variation of the Latin alphabet was introduced and they used that instead.

Middle English:

Because of the Norman Conquest in 1066. I assume you’ve learned this in history lessons. If you don’t remember, it’s about how Edward the Confessor died and so William of Normandy came to sit onto the throne. Harald Godwinson came to face him and shot him in the eye and he died. The upper society spoke French and Anglo-Norman. Yes, there was such a language as Norman. There are many other languages that you probably haven’t heard of.

After 1200, English Literatures began to reappear. The strong influence of old Norse was fully seen in this era of English. It was also greatly changed in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. The most exciting change of all? Grammatical genders were discarded. Yay, less complicated learning.

Early-Modern English:

Because of the rise of technology, people are able to travel more and therefore bring in their foreign cultures and words to other places. More Greek and Latin words were lent since the time of renaissance. I suppose that you know about it, if you don’t, it’s a period of time when great social and cultural changes appeared. Because of the many more lent words, it is more than obvious that it is very easy to mispronounce those words. Due to this problem, dictionaries appeared.

Modern English:

Modern English is what we’re all speaking today. There aren’t many changes in the language. It became an era of English just because the need of vocabulary due to the Industrial Revolution that created abundances of new items that needed to be named.


English is evolving all the time, every year, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute and even every second. The internet is spreading fast in the world, so with just a little ‘luck’, the next generation maybe live in another era of English, who knows?

(Information sourced from Wikipedia)

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