The history of the English language can be divided into
four main periods of time:
English - 450 to 1100 AD
Before 450 AD the language of Great Britain was Celtic. In the 5th
century after the end of Roman rule, Britain was invaded by three
Germanic tribes from Europe; the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, who
came across the North Sea from northern Germany and the Netherlands (as
they are now known) and who brought their own speech with them.
During this invasion, the Celts were pushed back into the West Country,
Wales and Scotland and Celtic is still widely spoken in those parts to
The main language spoken in the Netherlands and in Lower Saxony
(Germany) at that time was known as Frisian. This, together with the
language of the Angles, became known as Anglo-Saxon or Olde English.
English - 1100 to 1500
the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066, French became the main language
of the Royal court in London. During this time, so much
was added to Anglo Saxon, that by the end of the Middle Ages
the language no longer resembled its original form. Speakers
of today's English would find it extremely difficult to understand both
Olde English and Middle English.
Modern English - 1500 to 1800
With the coming of
the Renaissance, English began incorporating words
from more languages such as Latin and Ancient Greek.
had the effect of changing the dialect and the pronunciation yet
It was also around
this time that printing was invented and the general public
learning how to read. As the majority of the
done in London, the rest of the country adopted the idiom of that city
which brought us to Early Modern English.
Day English - 1800 to now...
main difference between Early Modern English and Present
Day English is vocabulary. Owing to the British
Empire having covered almost a quarter of the Earth's total land
area, English again absorbed words from
other languages. Hence the many different varieties of
English spoken around the world.
language taught today is basically the same everywhere, there
still exist some slang words in
speaking country, that are native to the original language of that
Aside from Britain, the main English speaking
countries of the world are: U.S.A, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
South Africa, India and the Caribbean.
a list of countries where English is an official language.
According to research by the British Council...
- English has official or special status in
at least seventy-five
countries, with a total
population of over two billion.
English is spoken as a native
by around 375 million and as a second language by another 375 million
speakers in the world.
Speakers of English as a second
soon outnumber those who speak it as a first language. Around 750
million people are believed to speak English.
One out of four of the
world's population speak English to some level of competence
from the other three-quarters is increasing.