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HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

This essay is on the history of the English language. The essay will cover the topic – what is language? Where does language come from? and what are the stages of development of the English language?

Language is a system of expressions through sounds and symbols for communicating thought: it’s a particular system used by a nation. English is the official language of Britain, the US, Australia and most other parts of the Commonwealth as well as certain other countries – relating to England – the English, the people of England.

We don’t ask ourselves where languages come from because they just seem to be there: French in France, English in England, Chinese in China, German in Germany and so on. Yet if we go back only a few thousand years, none of these languages were spoken in their respective countries and indeed none of these languages existed anywhere in the world.

Where did they all come from? In some cases, the answer is clear and well known. We know that Spanish is simply a later version of the Latin language that was spoken in Rome two thousand years ago. However it’s never easy to pinpoint exactly where and when a specific language began, but in the case of English we know that it originated from England.

English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages. This broad family included most of the European languages spoken today. The Indo-European family included several major branches:

• Latin and the modern Romance languages;
• Germanic languages;
• Indo-Iranian languages, including Hindi and Sanskrit; • Slavic languages;
• Baltic languages of Latvian and Lithuanian (but not Estonian); • Celtic languages; and
• Greek.

When countries such as Rome, Germany, France and Spain invaded Britain this group of languages then all evolved from a single earlier language, which in this case is Latin. Latin was spread with the Roman conquest of Europe and, following the...
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