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English
Pronunciation /ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ/[1]
Spoken in (see below)
Total speakers First language: 309–400 million
Second language: 199–1,400 million[2][3]
Overall: 500 million–1.8 billion[4][3]
Ranking 3 (native speakers)[5]
Total: 1 or 2 [6]
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Latin (English variant)
Official status
Official language in 53 countries
United Nations
European Union
Commonwealth of Nations
CoE
NATO
NAFTA
OAS
OIC
PIF
UKUSA
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1 en
ISO 639-2 eng
ISO 639-3 eng
Anglospeak.svg
Countries where English is a majority language are dark blue; countries where it is an official but not a majority language are light blue. English is also one of the official languages of the European Union.
English is a West Germanic language that developed in England and south-eastern Scotland during the Anglo-Saxon era. As a result of the military, economic, scientific, political, and cultural influence of the United Kingdom from the 18th century, and of the United States since the mid 20th century,[7][8][9][10] it has become the lingua franca in many parts of the world, and the most prominent language in international business and science.[11][12] It is used extensively as a second language and as an official language in the European Union and many Commonwealth countries, as well as many international organisations.
Historically, English originated from several dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of the island of Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers beginning in the 5th century. English was further influenced by the Old Norse language of Viking invaders.
After the time of the Norman conquest, Old English developed into Middle English, borrowing heavily from the Norman, and later on the Anglo-Norman and Anglo-French, vocabulary and spelling conventions. The etymology of the word "English" is a derivation from the 12th century Old English englisc or Engle, plural form Angles.[13]
Modern English developed with the Great Vowel Shift that began in 15th-century England, and continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of languages, as well as coining new words. A significant number of English words, especially technical words, have been constructed based on roots from Latin and Greek.

Contents

Significance

Modern English, sometimes described as the first global lingua franca,[14][15] is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy.[16] Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire, and by the late nineteenth century its reach was truly global.[17] Following the British colonisation of North America, it became the dominant language in the United States and in Canada. The growing economic and cultural influence of the United States and its status as a global superpower since World War II have significantly accelerated the language's spread across the planet.[15]
A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields, occupations and professions such as medicine and computing; as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). It is also one of six official languages of the United Nations.
Linguists such as David Crystal recognise that one impact of this massive growth of English, in common with other global languages, has been to reduce native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world, most particularly in Australasia and North America, and its huge influence continues to play an important role in language attrition.[18] Similarly, historical linguists, aware of the complex and fluid dynamics of language change, are always aware of the potential English contains through the vast size and spread of the communities that use it and its natural internal variety, such as in its creoles and pidgins, to produce a new family of distinct languages over time.[19]

History

English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian and Lower Saxon dialects brought to Britain by Germanic settlers and Roman auxiliary troops from various parts of what is now northwest Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands in the 5th century. One of these Germanic tribes was the Angles,[20] who may have come from Angeln, and Bede wrote that their whole nation came to Britain,[21] leaving their former land empty. The names 'England' (from Engla land "Land of the Angles") and English (Old English Englisc) are derived from the name of this tribe.
The Anglo-Saxons began invading around AD 449, the date of the supposed landing of Hengest and Horsa in Kent, from the regions of Denmark and Jutland.[22][23] Although the linguistic situation of Roman Britain is not clear, it is safe to assume that before the Anglo-Saxons arrived in the Island of Great Britain, the native population spoke the Celtic language Brythonic in some parts of England with the then extant acrolectal influence of Latin, the Roman influence having been extant for 400 years until 410 AD.[24] Although the most significant changes in dialect occurred after the Norman invasion of 1066, the language retained its name and the pre-Norman invasion dialect is now known as Old English.[25]
Initially, Old English was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Great Britain.[26] One of these dialects, Late West Saxon, eventually came to dominate. One of the most prevalent forces in the evolution of the English language was the Roman Catholic Church.[citation needed] Beginning with the Rule of St Benedict in 530 and continuing until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, the Roman Catholic Church instructed monasteries and Catholic officials like Augustine of Canterbury to preserve intellectual culture within their schools, scriptoria, and libraries.[citation needed]
During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church exerted great influence on intellectual life and written language. Catholic monks mainly wrote or copied text in Latin, the prevalent Medieval lingua franca of Europe.[27] When monks occasionally wrote in the vernacular, it was common to substitute or derive English-like words from Latin to describe or refer to things in which there was no English word. Extensive vocabulary, a derivative of Latin vocabularium, in the English language largely comprises Latin word derivatives. It is believed that the intellectual elite in British society over the years perpetuated vocabulary that Catholic monks contributed to English; furthermore, they continued the custom of deriving new words from Latin long after the waning of Catholic Church.[citation needed]
Old English vernacular was also influenced by two waves of invasion. The first was by language speakers of the North Germanic branch of the Germanic family; they conquered and colonised parts of the British Isles in the 8th and 9th centuries (see Danelaw). The second was the Normans in the 11th century, who spoke Old Norman and developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. (Over the centuries, this lost the specifically Norman element under the influence of Parisian French and, later, of English, eventually turning into a distinctive dialect of Anglo-French.) These two invasions caused English to become "mixed" to some degree (though it was never a truly mixed language in the strict linguistic sense of the word; mixed languages arise from the cohabitation of speakers of different languages, who develop a hybrid tongue for basic communication).
Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a lexical supplementation of the Anglo-Frisian core of English; the later Norman occupation led to the grafting onto that Germanic core of a more elaborate layer of words from the Romance languages. This Norman influence entered English largely through the courts and government. Thus, English developed into a "borrowing" language of great flexibility and a huge vocabulary.
With the emergence and spread of the British Empire, the English language was adopted in North America, India, Africa, Australia and many other regions. The emergence of the United States as a superpower has also helped the spread of English.

Classification and related languages

The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic family, a member of the Indo-European languages. The closest living relatives of English are the Scots language, spoken primarily in Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland, and Frisian. As Scots is viewed by some linguists to be a group of English dialects rather than a separate language, Frisian is often considered to be the closest living relative.
After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages which are more distantly related, namely the non-Anglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Low German, Dutch, Afrikaans, High German), and the North Germanic languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese). With the exception of Scots, and on an extremely basic level, Frisian, none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English, owing in part to the divergences in lexis, syntax, semantics, and phonology, and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles, although some such as Dutch do show strong affinities with English. This isolation has allowed English and Scots to develop independently of the Continental Germanic languages and their influences over time.[28]
Lexical differences with the other Germanic languages can arise from several causes, such as natural semantic drift caused by isolation, and heavy usage in English of words taken from Latin (for example, "exit", vs. Dutch uitgang) (literally "out-gang" with "gang" as in "gangway") and French "change" vs. German Änderung, "movement" vs. German Bewegung (literally "othering" and "be-way-ing" ("proceeding along the way")). Preference of one synonym over another can also cause a differentiation in lexis, even where both words are Germanic (for instance, both English care and German Sorge descend from Proto-Germanic *karo and *surgo respectively, but *karo became the dominant word in English for "care" while in German, Dutch, and Scandinavian languages, the *surgo root prevailed. *Surgo still survives in English as sorrow).
Although the syntax of German is significantly different from that of English and other Germanic languages, with different rules for setting up sentences (for example, German Ich habe noch nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen, vs. English "I have never seen anything in the square"), English syntax remains extremely similar to that of the North Germanic languages, which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (e.g., Norwegian Jeg har likevel aldri sett noe i torget; Swedish Jag har ännu aldrig sett något på torget). It is for this reason that despite a lack of mutual intelligibility, English-speakers and Scandinavians can learn each others' languages relatively easily.[citation needed]
Dutch syntax is intermediate between English and German (e.g. Ik heb nog nooit iets gezien op het plein). In spite of this difference, there are many similarities between English and other Germanic languages (e.g. English bring/brought/brought, Dutch brengen/bracht/gebracht, Norwegian bringe/brakte/brakt; English eat/ate/eaten, Dutch eten/at/gegeten, Norwegian ete/åt/ett), with the most similarities occurring between English and the languages of the Low Countries (Dutch and Low German) and Scandinavia.
Semantic differences cause a number of false friends between English and its relatives (e.g. English time vs Norwegian time "hour"), and differences in phonology can obscure words which actually are genetically related ("enough" vs. German genug, Danish nok). Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit, "time", is related to English "tide", but the English word, through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval", has come primarily to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon, though the original meaning is preserved in forms like tidings and betide, and phrases such as to tide over).[citation needed] These differences, though minor, preclude mutual intelligibility, yet English is still much closer to other Germanic languages than to languages of any other family.
Finally, English has been forming compound words and affixing existing words separately from the other Germanic languages for over 1500 years and has different habits in that regard. For instance, abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "‑hood", "-ship", "-dom" and "-ness". All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages, but their usage patterns have diverged, as German "Freiheit" vs. English "freedom" (the suffix "-heit" being cognate of English "-hood", while English "-dom" is cognate with German "-tum"). Icelandic and Faroese are other Germanic languages which follow English in this respect, since, like English, they developed independent of German influences.
Many written French words are also intelligible to an English speaker (though pronunciations are often quite different) because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French, via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest and directly from French in subsequent centuries. .As a result, a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French, with some minor spelling differences (word endings, use of old French spellings, etc.^ I will speak French now because I have some difficulties as you can see speaking english...sorry!
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

), as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends: for example, compare "library" with the French "librairie", which means bookstore; in French, the word for "library" is "bibliothèque".
The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with exceptions such as mirage or phrases like coup d’état) has become completely anglicised and follows a typically English pattern of stress.[citation needed] Some North Germanic words also entered English because of the Danish invasion shortly before then (see Danelaw); these include words such as "sky", "window", "egg", and even "they" (and its forms) and "are" (the present plural form of "to be").[citation needed]

Geographical distribution

Pie chart showing the relative numbers of native English speakers in the major English-speaking countries of the world
Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language.[29] English today is probably the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.[30][31] However, when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world, though possibly second to a combination of the Chinese languages (depending on whether or not distinctions in the latter are classified as "languages" or "dialects").[6][32]
Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly from 470 million to over a billion depending on how literacy or mastery is defined and measured.[33][34] Linguistics professor David Crystal calculates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.[35]
The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are, in descending order: United States (215 million),[36] United Kingdom (61 million),[37] Canada (18.2 million),[38] Australia (15.5 million),[39] Nigeria (4 million),[40] Ireland (3.8 million),[37] South Africa (3.7 million),[41] and New Zealand (3.6 million) 2006 Census.[42] No figure is given for the number of South African native speakers, but it would be somewhere between the number of people who spoke English only (3,008,058) and the total number of English speakers (3,673,623), if one ignores the 197,187 people who did not provide a usable answer[citation needed].
Countries such as the Philippines, Jamaica and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from an English-based creole to a more standard version of English. Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language, India has the most such speakers ('Indian English'). Crystal claims that, combining native and non-native speakers, India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world.[43][44]

Countries in order of total speakers

Rank Country Total Percent of population First language As an additional language Population Comment
1 United States 251,388,301 96% 215,423,557 35,964,744 262,375,152 Source: US Census 2000: Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000, Table 1. Figure for second language speakers are respondents who reported they do not speak English at home but know it "very well" or "well". Note: figures are for population age 5 and older
2 India 125,344,736 12% 226,449 86,125,221 second language speakers.
38,993,066 third language speakers
1,028,737,436 Figures include both those who speak English as a second language and those who speak it as a third language. 2001 figures.[45][46] The figures include English speakers, but not English users.[47]
3 Nigeria 79,000,000 53% 4,000,000 >75,000,000 148,000,000 Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin, an English-based pidgin or creole. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers; the midpoint of the range is used in the table. Ihemere, Kelechukwu Uchechukwu. 2006. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296–313.
4 United Kingdom 59,600,000 98% 58,100,000 1,500,000 60,000,000 Source: Crystal (2005), p. 109.
5 Philippines 48,800,000 58%[48] 3,427,000[48] 43,974,000 84,566,000 Total speakers: Census 2000, text above Figure 7. 63.71% of the 66.7 million people aged 5 years or more could speak English. Native speakers: Census 1995, as quoted by Andrew González in The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 19 (5&6), 487–525. (1998). Ethnologue lists 3.4 million native speakers with 52% of the population speaking it as a additional language.[48]
6 Canada 25,246,220 85% 17,694,830 7,551,390 29,639,030 Source: 2001 Census – Knowledge of Official Languages and Mother Tongue. The native speakers figure comprises 122,660 people with both French and English as a mother tongue, plus 17,572,170 people with English and not French as a mother tongue.
7 Australia 18,172,989 92% 15,581,329 2,591,660 19,855,288 Source: 2006 Census.[49] The figure shown in the first language English speakers column is actually the number of Australian residents who speak only English at home. The additional language column shows the number of other residents who claim to speak English "well" or "very well". Another 5% of residents did not state their home language or English proficiency.
Note: Total = First language + Other language; Percentage = Total / Population

Countries where English is a major language

English is the primary language in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia (Australian English), the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize (Belizean Kriol), Bermuda, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, Canada (Canadian English), the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey (Channel Island English), Guyana, Ireland (Hiberno-English), The Isle of Man (Manx English), Jamaica (Jamaican English), Jersey, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand (New Zealand English), Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In some countries where English is not the most spoken language, it is an official language; these countries include Botswana, Cameroon, Dominica, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines (Philippine English), Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English). English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands),[50] and the former British colony of Hong Kong. (See List of countries where English is an official language for more details.)
English is not an official language in either the United States or the United Kingdom.[51][52] Although the United States federal government has no official languages, English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments.[53] Although falling short of official status, English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom, such as Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. English is not a de jure official language of Israel; however, the country has maintained official language use a de facto role for English since the British mandate.[54]

English as a global language

Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a "world language", the lingua franca of the modern era.[15] While English is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language around the world. Some linguists (such as David Graddol) believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers", but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow.[15] It is, by international treaty, the official language for aerial and maritime communications.[55] English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations, including the International Olympic Committee.
English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union (by 89% of schoolchildren), followed by French (32%), German (18%), Spanish (8%), and Russian; while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% English, 25% French, 22% German, and 16% Spanish.[56] Among non-English speaking EU countries, a large percentage of the population claimed to have been able to converse in English (note that the percentages are for the adult population, aged 15 and above): in Sweden (85%), Denmark (83%), the Netherlands (79%), Luxembourg (66%), Finland (60%), Slovenia (56%), Austria (53%), Belgium (52%), and Germany (51%).[57]
Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. English is also the most commonly used language in the sciences.[15] In 1997, the Science Citation Index reported that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries.
Because the English language has become the new global lingua franca and has sometimes had a large impact on other languages, it has been said to have an influence on language shift and even language death to other languages as they are "not effectively being passed on to the next generation" (Crystal, 2000)[58]. Hence, linguists gave rise to the term "English Language Imperialism" [59]. Regardless of some of its effects on other languages, the English language in itself has been the victim of language shift, especially during the Norman conquest of England. Even today, the Englishes around the world are constantly influenced by their regional counterparts.[59] For this reason, the 'English language is forever evolving' [60].

Dialects and regional varieties

The expansion of the British Empire and—since World War II—the influence of the United States have spread English throughout the globe.[15] Because of that global spread, English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins.
Two educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world—one based on educated southern British and the other based on educated Midwestern American. The former is sometimes called BBC (or the Queen's) English, and it may be noticeable by its preference for "Received Pronunciation"; it typifies the Cambridge model, which is the standard for the teaching of English to speakers of other languages in Europe, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and other areas influenced either by the British Commonwealth or by a desire not to be identified with the United States.
The latter dialect, General American, which is spread over most of the United States and much of Canada, is more typically the model for the American continents and areas (such as the Philippines) which have had either close association with the United States or desire to be so identified. Aside from those two major dialects are numerous other varieties of English, which include, in most cases, several subvarieties, such as Cockney, Scouse and Geordie within British English; Newfoundland English within Canadian English; and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. English is a pluricentric language, without a central language authority like France's Académie française; and therefore no one variety is considered "correct" or "incorrect" except in terms of the expectations of the particular audience to which the language is directed.
Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English[61] and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources, but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began, whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English, causing dialectalisation. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute, although the UK government now accepts Scots as a regional language and has recognised it as such under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[62] There are a number of regional dialects of Scots, and pronunciation, grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ, sometimes substantially, from other varieties of English.
English speakers have many different accents, which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language. For the more distinctive characteristics of regional accents, see Regional accents of English, and for the more distinctive characteristics of regional dialects, see List of dialects of the English language. Within England, variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects, grammar and vocabulary differed across the country, but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out.[63]
Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history, English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world, indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base, such as Jamaican Patois, Nigerian Pidgin, and Tok Pisin. .There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words.^ There are no words to describe how much a good guy you are.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ From the very first time (since there have many numerous) that I saw you in Garden State I have been thee biggest fan.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Constructed varieties of English

  • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners.
  • E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be.
  • English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language.
  • Manually Coded English – a variety of systems have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals, designed primarily for use in deaf education. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries, which are independent and not based on English.
  • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak, all based on restricted vocabularies, were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel.
  • Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words.

Phonology

Vowels

It is the vowels that differ most from region to region. Length is not phonemic in most varieties of North American English.
IPA Description word
monophthongs
Close front unrounded vowel bead
ɪ Near-close near-front unrounded vowel bid
ɛ Open-mid front unrounded vowel bed[vn 1]
æ Near-open front unrounded vowel bad[vn 2]
ɒ Open back rounded vowel box[vn 3]
ɔː Open-mid back rounded vowel pawed[vn 4]
ɑː Open back unrounded vowel bra
ʊ Near-close near-back vowel good
Close back rounded vowel booed[vn 5]
ʌ Open-mid back unrounded vowel, near-open central vowel[vn 6] bud.
ɜr Open-mid central unrounded vowel bird[vn 7]
ə Schwa Rosa's[vn 8]
ɨ Close central unrounded vowel roses[vn 8][vn 9]
diphthongs
Close-mid front unrounded vowel-
Close front unrounded vowel
bayed[vn 10]
Close-mid back rounded vowel-
Near-close near-back vowel
bode[vn 11][vn 10]
Open front unrounded vowel
Near-close near-front unrounded vowel
cry[vn 12] This is near-universal in Canada, and most non-Southern American English dialects also have undergone the shift, and among the more educated classes, it is considered normal; in the 2008 presidential election, both candidates as well as their vice-presidents all used [ʌɪ] for the word "right".[citation needed]
Open front unrounded vowel
Near-close near-back vowel
cow[vn 13]
ɔɪ Open-mid back rounded vowel
Close front unrounded vowel
boy
ʊər Near-close near-back vowel
Schwa
boor[vn 14]
ɛər Open-mid front unrounded vowel
Schwa
fair[vn 15]

Notes

  1. ^ In RP, this is closer to [e]
  2. ^ In younger speakers of RP, this is closer to [a]
  3. ^ Many American English dialects lack this sound; in such dialects, words with this sound elsewhere are pronounced with /ɑː/ or /ɔː/. See Lot-cloth split.
  4. ^ Some dialects of North American English do not have this vowel. See Cot-caught merger.
  5. ^ The letter <U> can represent either /uː/ or the iotated vowel /juː/. In BRP, if this iotated vowel /juː/ occurs after /t/, /d/, /s/ or /z/, it often triggers palatalisation of the preceding consonant, turning it to [t͡ɕ], [d͡ʑ], [ɕ] and [ʑ] respectively, as in tune, during, sugar, and azure. In American English, palatalisation does not generally happen unless the /juː/ is followed by r, with the result that /(t, d, s, z)juːr/ turn to [tʃər], [dʒər], [ʃər] and [ʒər] respectively, as in nature, verdure, sure, and treasure.
  6. ^ The back-vowel symbol ʌ is conventional for this English central vowel. It is actually generally closer to a [ɐ] In the northern half of England, this vowel is not used and ʊ is used in its place.
  7. ^ The North American variation of this sound is a rhotic vowel [ɝ], the RP version a long central vowel [ɜː].
  8. ^ a b Some speakers of North American English do not distinguish between these two unstressed vowels, pronounce the second vowel of roses as ɪ̈ rather than ɨ, which falls in between the two. schwa /ə/.
  9. ^ This sound is often transcribed with /ə/ or with /ɪ/.
  10. ^ a b The diphthongs /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ are monophthongal [eː] and [oː] in many dialects, including General American, Scottish, Irish and Northern English.
  11. ^ In RP and parts of North America, this is closer to [əʊ]. As a reduced vowel, it may become [ɵ] ([ɵʊ] before another vowel) or [ə], depending on accent.
  12. ^ In parts of North America /aɪ/ is pronounced [ʌɪ] before voiceless consonants, so that writer and rider and distinguished by their vowels, [ˈɹʌɪɾɚ, ˈɹaɪɾɚ], rather than their consonants.
  13. ^ In Canada, this is pronounced [ʌʊ] before a voiceless consonant.
  14. ^ In many accents, this sound is coming to be pronounced [ɔː(r)] rather than [ʊə(r)]. See English-language vowel changes before historic r.
  15. ^ In some non-rhotic accents, the schwa offglide of /ɛə/ may be dropped, monophthising and lengthening the sound to [ɛː].

Consonants

This is the English consonantal system using symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
  Bilabial Labio-
dental
Dental Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Labial-
velar
Glottal
Nasal m     n     ŋ[cn 1]  
Plosive p  b     t  d     k  ɡ  
Affricate         tʃ  dʒ[cn 2]      
Fricative   f  v θ  ð[cn 3] s  z ʃ  ʒ[cn 2] ç[cn 4] x[cn 5] h
Flap         ɾ[cn 6]      
Approximant       ɹ[cn 2]   j   ʍ  w[cn 7]  
Lateral       l        

Notes

  1. ^ The velar nasal [ŋ] is a non-phonemic allophone of /n/ in some northerly British accents, appearing only before /k/ and /ɡ/. In all other dialects it is a separate phoneme, although it only occurs in syllable codas.
  2. ^ a b c The sounds /ʃ/, /ʒ/, and /ɹ/ are labialised in some dialects. Labialisation is never contrastive in initial position and therefore is sometimes not transcribed. Most speakers of General American realise <r> (always rhoticised) as the retroflex approximant /ɻ/, whereas the same is realised in Scottish English, etc. as the alveolar trill.
  3. ^ In some dialects, such as Cockney, the interdentals /θ/ and /ð/ have usually merged with /f/ and /v/, and in others, like African American Vernacular English, /ð/ has merged with dental /d/. In some Irish varieties, /θ/ and /ð/ become dental plosives, which then contrast with the usual alveolar plosives.
  4. ^ The voiceless palatal fricative /ç/ is in most accents just an allophone of /h/ before /j/; for instance human /çjuːmən/. However, in some accents (see this), the /j/ has dropped, but the initial consonant is the same.
  5. ^ The voiceless velar fricative /x/ is used by Scottish or Welsh speakers of English for Scots/Gaelic words such as loch /lɒx/ or by some speakers for loanwords from German and Hebrew like Bach /bax/ or Chanukah /xanuka/. /x/ is also used in South African English. In some dialects such as Scouse (Liverpool) either [x] or the affricate [kx] may be used as an allophone of /k/ in words such as docker [dɒkxə].
  6. ^ The alveolar tap [ɾ] is an allophone of /t/ and /d/ in unstressed syllables in North American English and Australian English.[64] This is the sound of tt or dd in the words latter and ladder, which are homophones for many speakers of North American English. In some accents such as Scottish English and Indian English it replaces /ɹ/. This is the same sound represented by single r in most varieties of Spanish.
  7. ^ Voiceless w [ʍ] is found in Scottish and Irish English, as well as in some varieties of American, New Zealand, and English English. In most other dialects it is merged with /w/, in some dialects of Scots it is merged with /f/.

Voicing and aspiration

Voicing and aspiration of stop consonants in English depend on dialect and context, but a few general rules can be given:
  • Voiceless plosives and affricates (/p/, /t/, /k/, and /tʃ/) are aspirated when they are word-initial or begin a stressed syllable – compare pin [pʰɪn] and spin [spɪn], crap [kʰɹ̥æp] and scrap [skɹæp].
    • In some dialects, aspiration extends to unstressed syllables as well.
    • In other dialects, such as Indian English, all voiceless stops remain unaspirated.
  • Word-initial voiced plosives may be devoiced in some dialects.
  • Word-terminal voiceless plosives may be unreleased or accompanied by a glottal stop in some dialects; examples: tap [tʰæp̚], sack [sæk̚].
  • Word-terminal voiced plosives may be devoiced in some dialects (e.g. some varieties of American English) – examples: sad [sæd̥], bag [bæɡ̊]. In other dialects, they are fully voiced in final position, but only partially voiced in initial position.

Supra-segmental features

Tone groups

English is an intonation language. This means that the pitch of the voice is used syntactically; for example, to convey surprise or irony, or to change a statement into a question.
In English, intonation patterns are on groups of words, which are called tone groups, tone units, intonation groups, or sense groups. Tone groups are said on a single breath and, as a consequence, are of limited length, more often being on average five words long or lasting roughly two seconds. For example:
/duː juː ˈniːd ˈɛnɪθɪŋ/ Do you need anything?
/aɪ ˈdoʊnt | ˈnoʊ/ I don't, no
/aɪ doʊnt ˈnoʊ/ I don't know (contracted to, for example, [ˈaɪ doʊnoʊ] or [ˈaɪdənoʊ] I dunno in fast or colloquial speech that de-emphasises the pause between 'don't' and 'know' even further)

Characteristics of intonation

English is a strongly stressed language, in that certain syllables, both within words and within phrases, get a relative prominence/loudness during pronunciation while the others do not. The former kind of syllables are said to be accentuated/stressed and the latter are unaccentuated/unstressed.
Hence in a sentence, each tone group can be subdivided into syllables, which can either be stressed (strong) or unstressed (weak). The stressed syllable is called the nuclear syllable. For example:
That | was | the | best | thing | you | could | have | done!
.Here, all syllables are unstressed, except the syllables/words best and done, which are stressed.^ All the best from here in San Diego.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Hey there, I'm a first-timer here, and it's all pretty surreal to be reading those words and knowing YOU actually wrote them, and not someone pretending to be you.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ I don't know you at all, but I think you're probably a nice guy who can best let loose through the written word.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Best is stressed harder and, therefore, is the nuclear syllable.
The nuclear syllable carries the main point the speaker wishes to make. For example:
John had not stolen that money. (... Someone else had.)
John had not stolen that money. (... Someone said he had. or... Not at that time, but later he did.)
John had not stolen that money. (... He acquired the money by some other means.)
John had not stolen that money. (... He had stolen some other money.)
John had not stolen that money. (... He had stolen something else.)
Also
I did not tell her that. (... Someone else told her)
I did not tell her that. (... You said I did. or... but now I will)
I did not tell her that. (... I did not say it; she could have inferred it, etc)
I did not tell her that. (... I told someone else)
I did not tell her that. (... I told her something else)
This can also be used to express emotion:
Oh, really? (...I did not know that)
Oh, really? (...I disbelieve you. or... That is blatantly obvious)
.The nuclear syllable is spoken more loudly than the others and has a characteristic change of pitch.^ Someday I really hope that I get to meet you, because you seem like you're more down to earth than other celebrities.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The changes of pitch most commonly encountered in English are the rising pitch and the falling pitch, although the fall-rising pitch and/or the rise-falling pitch are sometimes used. .In this opposition between falling and rising pitch, which plays a larger role in English than in most other languages, falling pitch conveys certainty and rising pitch uncertainty.^ It is syndicated on about 3 different channels that all fall perfectly one after another on the weeknights, so between all of the other goob and bad (mostly bad...
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

This can have a crucial impact on meaning, specifically in relation to polarity, the positive–negative opposition; thus, falling pitch means, "polarity known", while rising pitch means "polarity unknown". This underlies the rising pitch of yes/no questions. For example:
When do you want to be paid?
Now? (Rising pitch. In this case, it denotes a question: "Can I be paid now?" or "Do you desire to pay now?")
Now. (Falling pitch. In this case, it denotes a statement: "I choose to be paid now.")

Grammar

English grammar has minimal inflection compared with most other Indo-European languages. For example, Modern English, unlike Modern German or Dutch and the Romance languages, lacks grammatical gender and adjectival agreement. Case marking has almost disappeared from the language and mainly survives in pronouns. The patterning of strong (e.g. speak/spoke/spoken) versus weak verbs inherited from its Germanic origins has declined in importance in modern English, and the remnants of inflection (such as plural marking) have become more regular.
At the same time, the language has become more analytic, and has developed features such as modal verbs and word order as resources for conveying meaning. Auxiliary verbs mark constructions such as questions, negative polarity, the passive voice and progressive aspect.

Vocabulary

The English vocabulary has changed considerably over the centuries.[65]
Like many languages deriving from Proto-Indo-European (PIE), many of the most common words in English can trace back their origin (through the Germanic branch) to PIE. Such words include the basic pronouns I, from Old English ic, (cf. German Ich, Gothic ik, Latin ego, Greek ego, Sanskrit aham), me (cf. German mich, mir, Gothic mik, mīs, Latin me, Greek eme, Sanskrit mam), numbers (e.g. one, two, three, cf. Dutch een, twee, drie, Gothic ains, twai, threis (þreis), Latin unus, duo, tres, Greek oinos "ace (on dice)", duo, treis), common family relationships such as mother, father, brother, sister etc (cf. Dutch moeder, Greek meter, Latin mater, Sanskrit matṛ; mother), names of many animals (cf. German Maus, Dutch muis, Sankrit mus, Greek mys, Latin mus; mouse), and many common verbs (cf. Old High German knājan, Old Norse knā, Greek gignōmi, Latin gnoscere, Hittite kanes; to know).
Germanic words (generally words of Old English or to a lesser extent Old Norse origin) tend to be shorter than Latinate words in Modern English, and are more common in ordinary speech, and include nearly all the basic pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, modal verbs etc. that form the basis of English syntax and grammar. The shortness of the words is generally due to syncopation in Middle English (e.g. OldEng hēafod > ModEng head, OldEng sāwol > ModEng soul) and to the loss of final syllables due to stress (e.g. OldEng gamen > ModEng game, OldEng ǣrende > ModEng errand), not because Germanic words are inherently shorter than Latinate words. (The lengthier, higher-register words of Old English were largely forgotten following the subjugation of English after the Norman Conquest, and most of the Old English lexis devoted to literature, the arts, and sciences ceased to be productive when it fell into disuse.) Longer Latinate words in Modern English are often regarded as more elegant or educated. However, the excessive use of Latinate words is considered at times to be either pretentious or an attempt to obfuscate an issue. George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language", considered an important scrutinisation of the English language, is critical of this, as well as other perceived misuse of the language.
An English speaker is in many cases able to choose between Germanic and Latinate synonyms: come or arrive; sight or vision; freedom or liberty. In some cases, there is a choice between a Germanic derived word (oversee), a Latin derived word (supervise), and a French word derived from the same Latin word (survey); or even words derived from Norman French (e.g., warranty) and Parisian French (guarantee), and even choices involving multiple Germanic and Latinate sources are possible: sick (Old English), ill (Old Norse), infirm (French), afflicted (Latin). Such synonyms harbor a variety of different meanings and nuances, enabling the speaker to express fine variations or shades of thought. Familiarity with the etymology of groups of synonyms can give English speakers greater control over their linguistic register. See: List of Germanic and Latinate equivalents in English, Doublet (linguistics).
An exception to this and a peculiarity perhaps unique to a handful of languages, English included, is that the nouns for meats are commonly different from, and unrelated to, those for the animals from which they are produced, the animal commonly having a Germanic name and the meat having a French-derived one. Examples include: deer and venison; cow and beef; swine/pig and pork; and sheep and mutton. This is assumed to be a result of the aftermath of the Norman invasion, where an Anglo-Norman-speaking elite were the consumers of the meat, produced by lower classes, which happened to be largely Anglo-Saxon.[citation needed]
There are Latinate words that are used in everyday speech. These words no longer appear Latinate and oftentimes have no Germanic equivalents. For instance, the words mountain, valley, river, aunt, uncle, move, use, push and stay ("to remain") are Latinate. Likewise, the inverse can occur: acknowledge, meaningful, understanding, mindful, behaviour, forbearance, behoove, forestall, allay, rhyme, starvation, embodiment come from Anglo-Saxon, and allegiance, abandonment, debutant, feudalism, seizure, guarantee, disregard, wardrobe, disenfranchise, disarray, bandolier, bourgeoisie, debauchery, performance, furniture, gallantry are of Germanic origin, usually through the Germanic element in French, so it is oftentimes impossible to know the origin of a word based on its register.
English easily accepts technical terms into common usage and often imports new words and phrases. Examples of this phenomenon include contemporary words such as cookie, Internet and URL (technical terms), as well as genre, über, lingua franca and amigo (imported words/phrases from French, German, Italian, and Spanish, respectively). In addition, slang often provides new meanings for old words and phrases. In fact, this fluidity is so pronounced that a distinction often needs to be made between formal forms of English and contemporary usage.
See also: sociolinguistics.

Number of words in English

The General Explanations at the beginning of the Oxford English Dictionary states:
The Vocabulary of a widely diffused and highly cultivated living language is not a fixed quantity circumscribed by definite limits... there is absolutely no defining line in any direction: the circle of the English language has a well-defined centre but no discernible circumference.
The vocabulary of English is undoubtedly vast, but assigning a specific number to its size is more a matter of definition than of calculation. Unlike other languages such as French (the Académie française), German (Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung), Spanish (Real Academia Española) and Italian (Accademia della Crusca), there is no academy to define officially accepted words and spellings. Neologisms are coined regularly in medicine, science, technology and other fields, and new slang is constantly developed. Some of these new words enter wide usage; others remain restricted to small circles. .Foreign words used in immigrant communities often make their way into wider English usage.^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Archaic, dialectal, and regional words might or might not be widely considered as "English".
The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (OED2) includes over 600,000 definitions, following a rather inclusive policy:
It embraces not only the standard language of literature and conversation, whether current at the moment, or obsolete, or archaic, but also the main technical vocabulary, and a large measure of dialectal usage and slang (Supplement to the OED, 1933).[66]
The editors of Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (475,000 main headwords) in their preface, estimate the number to be much higher. It is estimated that about 25,000 words are added to the language each year.[67]
The Global Language Monitor announced that the English language had crossed the 1,000,000-word threshold on June 10, 2009.[68] The announcement was met with strong scepticism by linguists and lexicographers,[69] though a number of non-specialist reports[70][71] accepted the figure uncritically.

Word origins

One of the consequences of the French influence is that the vocabulary of English is, to a certain extent, divided between those words which are Germanic (mostly West Germanic, with a smaller influence from the North Germanic branch) and those which are "Latinate" (Latin-derived, either directly or from Norman French or other Romance languages).
The majority (83%) of the 1,000 most common English words, and all of the 100 most common, are Germanic.[72] Conversely, a vast majority of more advanced words from subjects such as the sciences, philosophy, maths, etc. come from Latin or Greek. A noticeable number of words from astronomy, mathematics, and chemistry are from Arabic.
Numerous sets of statistics have been proposed to demonstrate the proportionate origins of English vocabulary. None, as of yet, is considered definitive by most linguists.
A computerised survey of about 80,000 words in the old Shorter Oxford Dictionary (3rd ed.) was published in Ordered Profusion by Thomas Finkenstaedt and Dieter Wolff (1973)[73] that estimated the origin of English words as follows:
Influences in English vocabulary
  • Langue d'oïl, including French and Old Norman: 28.3%
  • Latin, including modern scientific and technical Latin: 28.24%
  • Other Germanic languages (including words directly inherited from Old English; does not include Germanic words coming from the Germanic element in French, Latin or other Romance languages): 25%
  • Greek: 5.32%
  • No etymology given: 4.03%
  • Derived from proper names: 3.28%
  • All other languages: less than 1%
A survey by Joseph M. Williams in Origins of the English Language of 10,000 words taken from several thousand business letters gave this set of statistics:[74]
  • French (langue d'oïl): 41%
  • "Native" English: 33%
  • Latin: 15%
  • Old Norse: 2%
  • Dutch: 1%
  • Other: 10%

Dutch and Low German origins

Many words describing the navy, types of ships, and other objects or activities on the water are of Dutch origin. Yacht (jacht), skipper (schipper) and cruiser (kruiser) are examples. Other words pertain to art and daily life: easel (ezel), etch (etsen), slim (slim), staple (Middle Dutch stapel "market"), slip (Middle Dutch slippen). Dutch has also contributed to English slang, e.g. spook, and the now obsolete snyder (tailor) and stiver (small coin).
Words from Low German include trade (Middle Low German trade), smuggle (smuggeln), and dollar (daler/thaler).

French origins

A large portion of English vocabulary is of French or Langues d'oïl origin, and was transmitted to English via the Anglo-Norman language spoken by the upper classes in England in the centuries following the Norman Conquest. Words of French origin include competition, mountain, art, table, publicity, police, role, routine, machine, force, and thousands of others, most of which have been anglicised to fit English rules of phonology, pronunciation and spelling, rather than those of French (with a few exceptions, for example, façade and affaire de cœur.)

Writing system

Since around the ninth century, English has been written in the Latin alphabet, which replaced Anglo-Saxon runes. The spelling system, or orthography, is multilayered, with elements of French, Latin and Greek spelling on top of the native Germanic system; it has grown to vary significantly from the phonology of the language. The spelling of words often diverges considerably from how they are spoken.
Though letters and sounds may not correspond in isolation, spelling rules that take into account syllable structure, phonetics, and accents are 75% or more reliable.[75] Some phonics spelling advocates claim that English is more than 80% phonetic.[76] However, English has fewer consistent relationships between sounds and letters than many other languages; for example, the letter sequence ough can be pronounced in 10 different ways. The consequence of this complex orthographic history is that reading can be challenging.[77] It takes longer for students to become completely fluent readers of English than of many other languages, including French, Greek, and Spanish.[78] "English-speaking children take up to two years more to learn reading than do children in 12 other European countries."(Professor Philip H K Seymour, University of Dundee, 2001)[79] "[dyslexia] is twice as prevalent among dyslexics in the United States (and France) as it is among Italian dyslexics. Again, this is seen to be because of Italian's 'transparent' orthography." (Eraldo Paulesu and 11 others. Science, 2001)[79] There are many individuals and organisations whose aim is to modernise or regularise English spelling.

Basic sound-letter correspondence

IPA Alphabetic representation Dialect-specific
p p
b b
t t, th (rarely) thyme, Thames th thing (African American, New York)
d d th that (African American, New York)
k c (+ a, o, u, consonants), k, ck, ch, qu (rarely) conquer, kh (in foreign words)
g g, gh, gu (+ a, e, i), gue (final position)
m m
n n
ŋ n (before g or k), ng
f f, ph, gh (final, infrequent) laugh, rough th thing (many forms of English language in England)
v v th with (Cockney, Estuary English)
θ th thick, think, through
ð th that, this, the
s s, c (+ e, i, y), sc (+ e, i, y), ç often c (façade/facade)
z z, s (finally or occasionally medially), ss (rarely) possess, dessert, word-initial x xylophone
ʃ sh, sch, ti (before vowel) portion, ci/ce (before vowel) suspicion, ocean; si/ssi (before vowel) tension, mission; ch (esp. in words of French origin); rarely s/ss before u sugar, issue; chsi in fuchsia only
ʒ medial si (before vowel) division, medial s (before "ur") pleasure, zh (in foreign words), z before u azure, g (in words of French origin) (+e, i, y) genre, j (in words of French origin) bijou
x kh, ch, h (in foreign words) occasionally ch loch (Scottish English, Welsh English)
h h (syllable-initially, otherwise silent), j (in words of Spanish origin) jai alai
ch, tch, t before u future, culture t (+ u, ue, eu) tune, Tuesday, Teutonic (several dialects – see Phonological history of English consonant clusters)
j, g (+ e, i, y), dg (+ e, i, consonant) badge, judg(e)ment d (+ u, ue, ew) dune, due, dew (several dialects – another example of yod coalescence)
ɹ r, wr (initial) wrangle
j y (initially or surrounded by vowels), j hallelujah
l l
w w
ʍ wh (pronounced hw) Scottish and Irish English, as well as some varieties of American, New Zealand, and English English

Written accents

Unlike most other Germanic languages, English has almost no diacritics except in foreign loanwords (like the acute accent in café), and in the uncommon use of a diaeresis mark (often in formal writing) to indicate that two vowels are pronounced separately, rather than as one sound (e.g. naïve, Zoë). Words such as décor, café, résumé/resumé, entrée, fiancée and naïve are frequently spelled both with or without diacritics.
Some English words retain diacritics to distinguish them from others, such as animé, exposé, lamé, öre, øre, pâté, piqué, and rosé, though these are sometimes also dropped (for example, résumé/resumé is often spelt resume in the United States). To clarify pronunciation, a small number of loanwords may employ a diacritic that does not appear in the original word, such as maté, from Spanish yerba mate, or Malé, the capital of the Maldives, following the French usage.

Formal written English

A version of the language almost universally agreed upon by educated English speakers around the world is called formal written English. It takes virtually the same form regardless of where it is written, in contrast to spoken English, which differs significantly between dialects, accents, and varieties of slang and of colloquial and regional expressions. Local variations in the formal written version of the language are quite limited, being restricted largely to the spelling differences between British and American English, along with a few minor differences in grammar and lexis.

Basic and simplified versions

To make English easier to read, there are some simplified versions of the language. One basic version is named Basic English, a constructed language with a small number of words created by Charles Kay Ogden and described in his book Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar (1930). The language is based on a simplified version of English. Ogden said that it would take seven years to learn English, seven months for Esperanto, and seven weeks for Basic English. Thus, Basic English may be employed by companies which need to make complex books for international use, as well as by language schools that need to give people some knowledge of English in a short time.
Ogden did not put any words into Basic English that could be said with a few other words and he worked to make the words work for speakers of any other language. He put his set of words through a large number of tests and adjustments. He also made the grammar simpler, but tried to keep the grammar normal for English users.
The concept gained its greatest publicity just after the Second World War as a tool for world peace.[citation needed] Although it was not built into a program, similar simplifications were devised for various international uses.
Another version, Simplified English, exists, which is a controlled language originally developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals. It offers a carefully limited and standardised subset of English. Simplified English has a lexicon of approved words and those words can only be used in certain ways. For example, the word close can be used in the phrase "Close the door" but not "do not go close to the landing gear".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "English, a. and n." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 6 September 2007 http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50075365
  2. ^ see: Ethnologue (1984 estimate); The Triumph of English, The Economist, Dec. 20, 2001; Ethnologue (1999 estimate); "20,000 Teaching Jobs" (in English). Oxford Seminars. http://www.oxfordseminars.com/Tesol/Pages/Teach/teach_20000jobs.php. Retrieved 2007-02-18. ;
  3. ^ a b "Lecture 7: World-Wide English". EHistLing. http://www.ehistling-pub.meotod.de/01_lec06.php. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  4. ^ Ethnologue (1999 estimate);
  5. ^ Ethnologue, 2009
  6. ^ a b Languages of the World (Charts), Comrie (1998), Weber (1997), and the Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) 1999 Ethnologue Survey. Available at The World's Most Widely Spoken Languages
  7. ^ Ammon, pp. 2245–2247.
  8. ^ Schneider, p. 1.
  9. ^ Mazrui, p. 21.
  10. ^ Howatt, pp. 127–133.
  11. ^ Crystal, pp. 87–89.
  12. ^ Wardhaugh, p. 60.
  13. ^ "English - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2007-04-25. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/English. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  14. ^ "Global English: gift or curse?". http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=92238D4607726060BCBD3DB70C472D0F.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=291932. Retrieved 2005-04-04. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f David Graddol (1997). "The Future of English?" (PDF). The British Council. http://www.britishcouncil.org/de/learning-elt-future.pdf. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  16. ^ "The triumph of English". The Economist. 2001-12-20. http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=883997. Retrieved 2007-03-26. (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Lecture 7: World-Wide English". EHistLing. http://www.ehistling-pub.meotod.de/01_lec06.php. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  18. ^ Crystal, David (2002). Language Death. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.2277/0521012716. ISBN 0521012716. 
  19. ^ Cheshire, Jenny (1991). English Around The World: Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.2277/0521395658. ISBN 0521395658. 
  20. ^ Anglik English language resource
  21. ^ "Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England | Christian Classics Ethereal Library". Ccel.org. 2005-06-01. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bede/history.v.i.xiv.html. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  22. ^ Linguistics research center Texas University
  23. ^ The Germanic Invasions of Western Europe, Calgary University
  24. ^ Blench, R.; Spriggs, Matthew (1999). Archaeology and language: correlating archaeological and linguistic hypotheses. Routledge. p. 285. ISBN 0415117616. http://books.google.com/books?id=DWMHhfXxLaIC&pg=PA285&dq=brythonic+language&cd=1#v=onepage&q=brythonic%20language&f=false. 
  25. ^ History of English, Chapter 5 "From Old to Middle English"
  26. ^ David Graddol, Dick Leith, and Joan Swann, English: History, Diversity and Change (New York: Routledge, 1996), 101.
  27. ^ "Old English language - Latin influence". Spiritus-temporis.com. http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/old-english-language/latin-influence.html. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  28. ^ A History of the Entlish Language|Page: 336 | By: Albert C. Baugh and Thomas Cable | Publisher: Routledge; 5 edition (March 21, 2002)
  29. ^ Curtis, Andy. Color, Race, And English Language Teaching: Shades of Meaning. 2006, page 192.
  30. ^ Ethnologue, 1999
  31. ^ CIA World Factbook, Field Listing — Languages (World).
  32. ^ Mair, Victor H. (1991). "What Is a Chinese "Dialect/Topolect"? Reflections on Some Key Sino-English Linguistic Terms" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp029_chinese_dialect.pdf. 
  33. ^ "English language". Columbia University Press. 2005. http://columbia.tfd.com/English+language. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  34. ^ 20,000 Teaching
  35. ^ Crystal, David (2003). English as a Global Language (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 69. ISBN 9780521530323. http://books.google.com/books?id=d6jPAKxTHRYC. , cited in Power, Carla (7 March 2005). "Not the Queen's English". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/49022. 
  36. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2003, Section 1 Population" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. pp. 59 pages. http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/06statab/pop.pdf.  Table 47 gives the figure of 214,809,000 for those five years old and over who speak exclusively English at home. Based on the American Community Survey, these results exclude those living communally (such as college dormitories, institutions, and group homes), and by definition exclude native English speakers who speak more than one language at home.
  37. ^ a b The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, Second Edition, Crystal, David; Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, [1995] (2003-08-03).
  38. ^ Population by mother tongue and age groups, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories–20% sample data, Census 2006, Statistics Canada.
  39. ^ Census Data from Australian Bureau of Statistics Main Language Spoken at Home. The figure is the number of people who only speak English at home.
  40. ^ Figures are for speakers of Nigerian Pidgin, an English-based pidgin or creole. Ihemere gives a range of roughly 3 to 5 million native speakers; the midpoint of the range is used in the table. Ihemere, Kelechukwu Uchechukwu. 2006. "A Basic Description and Analytic Treatment of Noun Clauses in Nigerian Pidgin." Nordic Journal of African Studies 15(3): 296–313.
  41. ^ Census in Brief, page 15 (Table 2.5), 2001 Census, Statistics South Africa
  42. ^ "About people, Language spoken". Statistics New Zealand. 2006 census. http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006-census-data/classification-counts-tables/about-people/language-spoken.aspx. Retrieved 2009-09-28.  (links to Microsoft Excel files)
  43. ^ Subcontinent Raises Its Voice, Crystal, David; Guardian Weekly: Friday 19 November 2004.
  44. ^ Yong Zhao; Keith P. Campbell (1995). "English in China". World Englishes 14 (3): 377–390. Hong Kong contributes an additional 2.5 million speakers (1996 by-census).
  45. ^ Table C-17: Population by Bilingualism and trilingualism, 2001 Census of India [1]
  46. ^ Tropf, Herbert S. 2004. India and its Languages. Siemens AG, Munich
  47. ^ For the distinction between "English Speakers" and "English Users", see: TESOL-India (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). Their article explains the difference between the 350 million number mentioned in a previous version of this Wikipedia article and a more plausible 90 million number:
    Wikipedia's India estimate of 350 million includes two categories - "English Speakers" and "English Users". The distinction between the Speakers and Users is that Users only know how to read English words while Speakers know how to read English, understand spoken English as well as form their own sentences to converse in English. The distinction becomes clear when you consider the China numbers. China has over 200~350 million users that can read English words but, as anyone can see on the streets of China, only handful of million who are English speakers.
  48. ^ a b c "Ethnologue report for Philippines". Ethnologue.com. http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=PH. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  49. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics
  50. ^ Nancy Morris (1995). Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 62. ISBN 0275952282. http://books.google.com/books?id=vyQDYqz2kFsC&pg=RA1-PA62&lpg=RA1-PA62&dq=%22puerto+rico%22+official+language+1993&source=web&ots=AZKLran6u3&sig=8fkQ9gwM0B0kwVYMNtXr-_9dnro. 
  51. ^ Languages Spoken in the U.S., National Virtual Translation Center, 2006.
  52. ^ U.S. English Foundation, Official Language Research – United Kingdom.
  53. ^ U.S. ENGLISH, Inc.
  54. ^ Multilingualism in Israel, Language Policy Research Center
  55. ^ International Maritime Organization
  56. ^ 2006 survey by Eurobarometer, in the Official EU languages website
  57. ^ European Union
  58. ^ David Crystal (2000) Language Death, Preface; viii, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  59. ^ a b Jambor, Paul Z. 'English Language Imperialism: Points of View', Journal of English as an International Language, April 2007 - Volume 1, pages 103-123 (Accessed in 2007)
  60. ^ Albert C. Baugh & Thomas Cable (1993), A history of the English language, page 50, Fourth Edition, Routledge, London
  61. ^ Aitken, A. J. and McArthur, T. Eds. (1979) Languages of Scotland. Edinburgh,Chambers. p.87
  62. ^ Second Report submitted by the United Kingdom pursuant to article 25, paragraph 1 of the framework convention for the protection of national minorities
  63. ^ Peter Trudgill, The Dialects of England 2nd edition, page 125, Blackwell, Oxford, 2002
  64. ^ Cox, Felicity (2006). "Australian English Pronunciation into the 21st century" (PDF). Prospect 21: 3–21. http://www.shlrc.mq.edu.au/~felicity/Papers/Prospect_Erratum_v1.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-22. 
  65. ^ For the processes and triggers of English vocabulary changes cf. English and General Historical Lexicology (by Joachim Grzega and Marion Schöner)
  66. ^ It went on to clarify,
    Hence we exclude all words that had become obsolete by 1150 [the end of the Old English era]... Dialectal words and forms which occur since 1500 are not admitted, except when they continue the history of the word or sense once in general use, illustrate the history of a word, or have themselves a certain literary currency.
  67. ^ Kister, Ken. "Dictionaries defined." Library Journal, 6/15/92, Vol. 117 Issue 11, p43, 4p, 2bw
  68. ^ 'English gets millionth word on Wednesday, site says'
  69. ^ Keeping it Real on Dictionary Row
  70. ^ Winchester, Simon (2009-06-06). "1,000,000 words!". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/5454273/1000000-words.html. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  71. ^ Millionth English word' declared'
  72. ^ Old English Online
  73. ^ Finkenstaedt, Thomas; Dieter Wolff (1973). Ordered profusion; studies in dictionaries and the English lexicon. C. Winter. ISBN 3-533-02253-6. 
  74. ^ Joseph M. Willams, Origins of the English Language at Amazon.com
  75. ^ Abbott, M. (2000). Identifying reliable generalisations for spelling words: The importance of multilevel analysis. The Elementary School Journal 101(2), 233–245.
  76. ^ Moats, L. M. (2001). Speech to print: Language essentials for teachers. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Company.
  77. ^ Diane McGuinness, Why Our Children Can't Read (New York: Touchstone, 1997) pp. 156–169
  78. ^ Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages. Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 3–29.
  79. ^ a b http://www.spellingsociety.org/media/research.php

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Quotations about the English language or some aspect of it. English is one of the most widespread and most widely spoken languages in the world.

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  • To boldly go is rhythmically very neat. The Star Trek scriptwriter hasn't been linguistically bold at all.
  • The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; and (5) those who know and distinguish....
  • [A speaker who uses a multiple negative] spreads as it were a thin layer of negative colouring over the whole sentence instead of confining it to a single place.
  • The name is misleading, for the preposition to no more belongs to the infinitive as a necessary part of it, than the definite article belongs to the substantive, and no one would think of calling the good man a split substantive.
    • Otto Jespersen, referring to split infinitives, in Essentials of English Grammar
  • Fussing about split infinitives is one of the more tiresome pastimes invented by nineteenth century grammarians.

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1911 encyclopedia

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From LoveToKnow 1911

ENGLISH LANGUAGE. In its historical sense, the name English is now conveniently used to comprehend the language of the English people from their settlement in Britain to the present day, the various stages through which it has passed being distinguished as Old, Middle, and New or Modern English. In works yet recent, and even in some still current, the term is confined to the third, or at most extended to the second and third of these stages, since the language assumed in the main the vocabulary and grammatical forms which it now presents, the oldest or inflected stage being treated as a separate language, under the title of Anglo-Saxon, while the transition period which connects the two has been called Semi-Saxon. This view had the justification that, looked upon by themselves, either as vehicles of thought or as objects of study and analysis, Old English or Anglo-Saxon and Modern English are, for all practical ends, distinct languages, - as much so, for example, as Latin and Spanish. No amount of familiarity with Modern English, including its local dialects, would enable the student to read Anglo-Saxon, three-fourths of the vocabulary of which have perished and been reconstructed within 900 years. 1-nor would a knowledge even of these lost words give him the power, since the grammatical system, alike in accidence and syntax, would be entirely strange to him. Indeed, it is probable that a modern Englishman would acquire the power of reading and writing French in less time than it would cost him to attain to the same proficiency in Old English; so that if the test of distinct languages be their degree of practical difference from each other, it cannot be denied that " Anglo-Saxon " is a distinct language from Modern English. But when we view the subject historically, recognizing the fact that living speech is subject to continuous change in certain definite directions, determined by the constitution and circumstances of mankind, as an evolution or development of which we can trace the steps, and that, owing to the abundance of written materials, this evolution appears so gradual in English that we can nowhere draw distinct lines separating its successive stages, we recognize these stages as merely temporary phases of an individual whole, and speak of the English language as used alike by Cynewulf, by Chaucer, by Shakespeare and by Tennyson. 2 It must not be forgotten, however, that in this wide sense the English language includes, not only the literary or courtly forms of speech used at successive periods, but also the popular and, it may be, altogether unwritten dialects that exist by their side. Only on this basis, indeed, can we speak of Old, Middle and Modern English as the same language, since in actual fact the precise dialect which is now the cultivated language, or " Standard English," is not the descendant of that dialect which was the cultivated language or "Englisc " of Alfred, but of a sister dialect then sunk in comparative obscurity, - even as the direct descendant of Alfred's Englisc is now to be found in the non-literary rustic speech of Wiltshire and Somersetshire. Causes which, linguistically 1 A careful examination of several letters of Bosworth's AngloSaxon dictionary gives in 2000 words (including derivatives and compounds, but excluding orthographic variants) 535 which still exist as modern English words.
2 The practical convenience of having one name for what was the same thing in various stages of 3evelopment is not affected by the probability that (E. A. Freeman notwithstanding) Engle and Englisc were, at an early period, not applied to the whole of the inhabitants of Teutonic Britain, but only to a part of them. The dialects of Engle and Seaxan were alike old forms of what was afterwards English speech, and so, viewed in relation to it, Old English, whatever their contemporary names might be.
considered, are external and accidental, have shifted the political and intellectual centre of England, and along with it transferred literary and official patronage from one form of English to another; if the centre of influence had happened to be fixed at York or on the banks of the Forth, both would probably have been neglected for a third.
The English language, thus defined, is not " native " to Britain, that is, it was not found there at the dawn of history, but was introduced by foreign immigrants at a date many centuries later. At the Roman Conquest of the island the languages spoken by the natives belonged all (so far as is known) to the Celtic branch of the Indo-European or Indo-Germanic family, modern forms of which still survive in Wales, Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, Isle of Man and Brittany, while one has at no distant date become extinct in Cornwall (see Celt: Language). Brythonic dialects, allied to Welsh and Cornish, were apparently spoken over the greater part of Britain, as far north as the firths of Forth and Clyde; beyond these estuaries and in the isles to the west, including Ireland and Man, Goidelic dialects, akin to Irish and Scottish Gaelic, prevailed. The long occupation of south Britain by the Romans (A.D. 43-409) - a period, it must not be forgotten, equal to that from the Reformation to the present day, or nearly as long as the whole duration of modern English - familiarized the provincial inhabitants with Latin, which was probably the ordinary speech of the towns. Gildas, writing nearly a century and a half after the renunciation of Honorius in 410, addressed the British princes in that language; 1 and the linguistic history of Britain might have been not different from that of Gaul, Spain and the other provinces of the. Western Empire, in which a local type of Latin, giving birth to a neo-Latinic language, finally superseded the native tongue except in remote and mountainous districts, 2 had not the course of events been entirely changed by the Teutonic conquests of the 5th and 6th centuries.
The Angles, Saxons, and their allies came of the Teutonic stock, and spoke a tongue belonging to the Teutonic or Germanic branch of the Indo-Germanic (Indo-European) family, the same race and form of speech being represented in modern times by the people and languages of Holland, Germany, Denmark, the Scandinavian peninsula and Iceland, as well as by those of England and her colonies. Of the original home of the so-called primitive Aryan race, whose language was the parent Indo-European, nothing is certainly known, though the subject has called forth many conjectures; the present tendency is to seek it in Europe itself. The tribe can hardly have occupied an extensive area at first, but its language came by degrees to be diffused over the greater part of Europe and some portion of Asia. Among those whose Aryan descent is generally recognized as beyond dispute are the Teutons, to whom the Angles and Saxons belonged.
The Teutonic or Germanic people, after dwelling together in a body, appear to have scattered in various directions, their language gradually breaking up into three main groups, which can be already clearly distinguished in the 4th century A.D., North Germanic or Scandinavian, West Germanic or Low and High German, and East Germanic, of which the only important representative is Gothic. Gothic, often called Moeso-Gothic, was the language of a people of the Teutonic stock, who, passing down the Danube, invaded the borders of the Empire, and obtained settlements in the province of Moesia, where their language was committed to writing in the 4th century; its literary remains are of peculiar value as the oldest specimens, by several centuries, of Germanic speech. The dialects of the invaders of Britain belonged to the West Germanic branch, and within this to the Low German group, represented at the present 1 The works of Gildas in the original Latin were edited by Mr Stevenson for the English Historical Society. There is an English translation in Six Old English Chronicles in Bohn's Antiquarian library.
2 As to the continued existence of Latin in Britain, see further in Rhys's Lectures on Welsh Philology, pp. 226-227; also Dogatschar, Lautlehre d. gr., lat. u. roman. Lehnworte im Altengl. (Strassburg, 1888).
day by Dutch, Frisian, and the various "Platt-Deutsch" dialects of North Germany. At the dawn of history the forefathers of the English appear to have been dwelling between and about the estuaries and lower courses of the Rhine and the Weser, and the adjacent coasts and isles; at the present day the most English or Angli-form dialects of the European continent are held to be those of the North Frisian islands of Amrum and Sylt, on the west coast of Schleswig. It is well known that the greater part of the ancient Friesland has been swept away by the encroachments of the North Sea, and the disjecta membra of the Frisian race, pressed by the sea in front and more powerful nationalities behind, are found only in isolated fragments from the Zuider Zee to the coasts of Denmark. Many Frisians accompanied the Angles and Saxons to Britain, and Old English was in many respects more closely connected with Old Frisian than with any other Low German dialect. Of the Geatas, Eotas or " Jutes," who, according to Bede, occupied Kent and the Isle of Wight, and formed a third tribe along with the Angles and Saxons, it is difficult to speak linguistically. The speech of Kent certainly formed a distinct dialect in both the Old English and the Middle English periods, but it has tended to be assimilated more and more to neighbouring southern dialects, and is at the present day identical with that of Sussex, one of the old Saxon kingdoms. Whether the speech of the Isle of Wight ever showed the same characteristic differences as that of Kent cannot now be ascertained, but its modern dialect differs in no respect from that of Hampshire, and shows no special connexion with that of Kent. It is at least entirely doubtful whether Bede's Geatas came from Jutland; on linguistic grounds we should expect that they occupied a district lying not to the north of the Angles, but between these and the old Saxons.
The earliest specimens of the language of the Germanic invaders of Britain that exist point to three well-marked dialect groups: the Anglian (in which a further distinction may be made between the Northumbrian and the Mercian, or SouthHumbrian); the Saxon, generally called West-Saxon from the almost total lack of sources outside the West-Saxon domain; and the Kentish. The Kentish and West-Saxon are sometimes, especially in later times, grouped together as southern dialects as opposed to midland and northern. These three groups were distinguished from each other by characteristic points of phonology and inflection. Speaking generally, the Anglian dialects may be distinguished by the absence of certain normal West-Saxon vowel-changes, and the presence of others not found in WestSaxon, and also by a strong tendency to confuse and simplify inflections, in all which points, moreover, Northumbrian tended to deviate more widely than Mercian. Kentish, on the other hand, occupied a position intermediate between Anglian and WestSaxon, early Kentish approaching more nearly to Mercian, owing perhaps to early historical connexion between the two, and late Kentish tending to conform to West-Saxon characteristics, while retaining several points in common with Anglian. Though we cannot be certain that these dialectal divergences date from a period previous to the occupation of Britain, such evidence as can be deduced points to the existence of differences already on the continent, the three dialects corresponding in all likelihood to Bede's three tribes, the Angles, Saxons and Geatas.
As it was amongst the Engle or Angles of Northumbria that literary culture first appeared, and as an Angle or Englisc dialect was the first to be used for vernacular literature, Englisc came eventually to be a general name for all forms of the vernacular as opposed to Latin, &c.; and even when the West-Saxon of Alfred became in its turn the literary or classical form of speech, it was still called Englisc or English. The origin of the name A ngul-Seaxan (Anglo-Saxons) has been disputed, some maintaining that it means a union of Angles and Saxons, others (with better foundation) that it meant English Saxons, or Saxons of England or of the Angel-cynn as distinguished from Saxons of the Continent (see New English Dictionary, s.v.). Its modern use is mainly due to the little band of scholars who in the 16th and 17th centuries turned their attention to the long-forgotten language of Alfred and Æthic, which, as it differed so greatly from the English of their own day, they found it convenient to distinguish by a name which was applied to themselves by those who spoke it. 1 To these scholars " Anglo-Saxon " and " English " were separated by a gulf which it was reserved for later scholarship to bridge across, and show the historical continuity of the English of all ages.
As already hinted, the English language, in the wide sense, presents three main stages of development - Old, Middle and Modern - distinguished by their inflectional characteristics. The latter can be best summarized in the words of Dr Henry Sweet in his History of English Sounds: 2 "Old English is the period of full inflections (nama, gifan, caru), Middle English of levelled inflections (naame, given, caare), and Modern English of lost inflections (name, give, care = nam, giv, car). We have besides two periods of transition, one in which nama and name exist side by side, and another in which final e [with other endings] is beginning to drop." By lost inflections it is meant that only very few remain, and those mostly non-syllabic, as the -s in stones and loves, the -ed in loved, the -r in their, as contrasted with the Old English stan-as, lufa6, luf-od-e and luf-od-on, pá-ra. Each of these periods may also be divided into two or three; but from the want of materials it is difficult to make any such division for all dialects alike in the first.
As to the chronology of the successive stages, it is of course impossible to lay down any exclusive series of dates, since the linguistic changes were inevitably gradual, and also made themselves felt in some parts of the country much earlier than in others, the north being always in advance of the midland, and the south much later in its changes. It is easy to point to periods at which Old, Middle and Modern English were fully developed, but much less easy to draw lines separating these stages; and even if we recognize between each part a " transition " period or stage, the determination of the beginning and end of this will to a certain extent be a matter of opinion. But bearing these considerations in mind, and having special reference to the midland dialect from which literary English is mainly descended, the following may be given as approximate dates, which if they do not demarcate the successive stages, at least include them: Old English or Anglo-Saxon .
Transition Old English (" Semi-Saxon ") .
Early Middle English .
(Normal) Middle English Late and Transition Middle English Early Modern or Tudor English .
Seventeenth century transition .
Modern or current English. .
Dr Sweet has reckoned Transition Old English (Old Transition) from IoSo to 1150, Middle English thence to 1450, and Late or Transition Middle English (Middle Transition) 1450 to 1500. As to the Old Transition see further below.
The OLD English or Anglo-Saxon tongue, as introduced into Britain, was highly inflectional, though its inflections at the date when it becomes known to us were not so full as those of the earlier Gothic, and considerably less so than those of Greek and Latin during their classical periods. They corresponded more closely to those of modern literary German, though both in nouns and verbs the forms were more numerous and distinct; for example, the German guten answers to three Old English forms, - godne, godum, godan; guter to two - godre, Odra; liebten to two, - lufodon and lufeden. Nouns had four cases, Nominative, Accusative (only sometimes distinct), Genitive, i fEthelstan in 934 calls himself in a charter " Ongol-Saxna cyning and Brytaenwalda eallaes thyses iglandes "; Eadred in 955 is " Angul-seaxna cyning and casere totius Britanniae," and the name is of frequent occurrence in documents written in Latin. These facts ought to be remembered in the interest of the scholars of the 17th century, who have been blamed for the use of the term Anglo-Saxon, as if they had invented it. By " Anglo-Saxon " language they meant the language of the people who sometimes at least called themselves " Anglo-Saxons." Even now the name is practically useful, when we are dealing with the subject per se, as is Old English, on the other hand, when we are treating it historically or in connexion with English as a whole.
Transactions of the Philological Society (1873-1874), p. 620; new and much enlarged edition, 1888.
Dative, the latter used also with prepositions to express locative, instrumental, and most ablative relations; of a distinct instrumental case only vestiges occur. There were several declensions of nouns, the main division being that known in Germanic languages generally as strong and weak, - a distinction also extending to adjectives in such wise that every adjective assumed either the strong or the weak inflection as determined by associated grammatical forms. The first and second personal pronouns possessed a dual number = we two, ye two; the third person had a complete declension of the stem he, instead of being made up as now of the three stems seen in he, she, they. The verb distinguished the subjunctive from the indicative mood, but had only two inflected tenses, present and past (more accurately, that of incomplete and that of completed or " perfect " action) - the former also used for the future, the latter for all the shades of past time. The order of the sentence corresponded generally to that of German. Thus from King Alfred's additions to his translation of Orosius: " Donne ]'y ylcan loge hi hine to ]'a m ade beran wylla5 ponne todaelalS hi his feoh ] aet par to lafe bib' after ]'am gedrynce and pam plegan, on fif once syx, hwilum on ma, swa swa paes feos andefn bit " (" Then on the same day [that] they him to the pile bear will, then divide they his property that there to remainder shall be after the drinking and the sports, into five or six, at times into more, according as the property's value is "). The poetry was distinguished by alliteration, and the abundant use of figurative and metaphorical expressions, of bold compounds and archaic words never found in prose. Thus in the following lines from Beowulf (ed. Thorpe, 1.645, Zupitza 320) Straet waes stall-fah, stig wisode Gumum z tgeedere. 05'-byrne scan Heard hond-locen. hring-iren scir Song in searwum, fa hie to sele furkim In hyra gry're geatwum gangan cwomon.
Trans.: The street was stone-variegated, the path guided (The) men together; the war-mailcoat shone, Hard hand-locked. Ring-iron sheer (bright ring-mail) Sang in (their) cunning-trappings, as they to hall forth In their horror-accoutrements going came.
The Old English was a homogeneous language, having very few foreign elements in it, and forming its compounds and derivatives entirely from its own resources. A few Latin appellatives learned from the Romans in the German wars had been adopted into the common West Germanic tongue, and are found in English as in the allied dialects. Such were strcete street, via strata), camp (battle), cdsere (Caesar), mil (mile), pin (punishment), mynet (money), pund (pound), win (wine); probably ttlso cyrice (church), bishop (bishop), lceden (Latin language), cese (cheese), butor (butter), pipor (pepper), olfend (camel, elephantus), ynce (inch, uncia), and a few others. The relations of the first invaders to the Britons were to a great extent those of destroyers; and with the exception of the proper names of places and prominent natural features, which as is usual were retained by the new population, few British words found their way into the Old English. Among these are named broc (a badger), brec (breeches), chit (clout), pul (pool), and a few words relating to the employment of field or household menials. Still fewer words seem to have been adopted from the provincial Latin, almost the only certain ones being castra, applied to the Roman towns, which appeared in English as ccestre, ceaster, now found in composition as -caster, -chester, -tester, and culina(kitchen),which gave cylen(kiln). The introduction and gradual adoption of Christianity, brought a new series of Latin words connected with the offices of the church, the accompaniments of higher civilization, the foreign productions either actually made known, or mentioned in the Scriptures and devotional books. Such were mynster (monasterium), munuc (monk), nunne (nun), maesse (mass), schol (school), celmesse (eleemosyna), candel (candela), turtle (turtur), fic (ficus), cedar (cedrus). These words, whose number increased from the 7th to the 10th century, are commonly called Latin of the second period, the Latin of the first period including the Latin words brought by the English from the continent, as well as those picked up in Britain either from the Roman provincials or the Welsh. The Danish invasions of the 8th and 10th centuries to Imo 1100 t0 1150 1150 to 1250 1250 to 1400 1400 to 1485 1485 to 1611 161 1 to 1688 1689 onward resulted in the establishment of extensive Danish and Norwegian populations, about the basin of the Humber and its tributaries, and above Morecambe Bay. Although these Scandinavian settlers must have greatly affected the language of their own localities, but few traces of their influence are to be found in the literature of the Old English period. As with the greater part of the words adopted from the Celtic, it was not until after the dominion of the Norman had overlaid all preceding conquests, and the new English began to emerge from the ruins of the old, that Danish words in any number made their appearance in books, as equally " native " with the Anglo-Saxon.
The earliest specimens we have of English date to the end of the 7th century, and belong to the Anglian dialect, and particularly to Northumbrian, which, under the political eminence of the early Northumbrian kings from Edwin to Ecgfr16, aided perhaps by the learning of the scholars of Ireland and Iona, first attained to literary distinction. Of this literature in its original form mere fragments exist, one of the most interesting of which consists of the verses uttered by Bede on his deathbed, and preserved in a nearly contemporary MS.
Fore there neid faerae. naenig uuiurthit thonc snotturra. than him tharf sie, to ymb-hycgganna. aer his hin-iongae, huaet his gastae. godaes aeththa yflaes, aefter deoth-daege. doemid uueorthae.
Trans.: Before the inevitable journey becomes not any Thought more wise than (that) it is needful for him, To consider, ere his hence-going, What, to his ghost, of good or ill, After death-day, doomed may be.
But our chief acquaintance with Old English is in its WestSaxon form, the earliest literary remains of which date to the gth century, when under the political supremacy of Wessex and the scholarship of King Alfred it became the literary language of the English nation, the classical " Anglo-Saxon." If our materials were more extensive, it would probably be necessary to divide the Old English into several periods; as it is, considerable differences have been shown to exist between the " early West-Saxon " of King Alfred and the later language of the i z th century, the earlier language having numerous phonetic and inflectional distinctions which are "levelled" in the later, the inflectional changes showing that the tendency to pass from the synthetical to the analytical stage existed quite independently of the Norman Conquest. The northern dialect, whose literary career had been cut short in the 8th century by the Danish invasions, reappears in the 10th in the form of glosses to the Latin gospels and a service-book, often called the Ritual of Durham, where we find that, owing to the confusion which had so long reigned in the north, and to special Northumbrian tendencies, e.g. the dropping of the inflectional n in both verbs and nouns, this dialect had advanced in the process of inflectionlevelling far beyond the sister dialects of Mercian and the south, so as already to anticipate the forms of Early Middle English.
Among the literary remains of the Old English may be mentioned the epic poem of Beowulf, the original nucleus of which has been supposed to date to heathen and even continental times, though we now possess it only in a later form; the poetical works of Cynewulf; those formerly ascribed to Caedmon; several works of Alfred, two of which, his translation of Orosius and of The Pastoral Care of St Gregory, are contemporary specimens of his language; the Old English or Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; the theological works of Alfric (including translations of the Pentateuch and the gospels) and of Wulfstan; and many works both in prose and verse, of which the authors are unknown.
The earliest specimens, the inscriptions on the Ruthwell and Bewcastle crosses, are in a Runic character; but the letters used in the manuscripts generally are a British variety of the Roman alphabet which the Anglo-Saxons found in the island, and which was also used by the Welsh and Irish.' Several of the Roman letters had in Britain developed forms, and retained or acquired values, unlike those used on the continent, in particular b r a n r Z 1 See on this Rhys, Lectures on Welsh Philology, v. (d f g r s t). The letters q and z were not used, q being represented by cw, and k was a rare alternative to c; u or v was only a vowel, the consonantal power of v being represented as in Welsh by f. The Runes called thorn and wen, having the consonantal values now expressed by th and w, for which the Roman alphabet had no character, were at first expressed by th, o (a contraction for 88 or 8h), and v or u; but at a later period the characters ' and p were revived from the old Runic alphabet. Contrary to Continental usage, the letters c and g (g) had. originally only their hard or guttural powers, as in the neighbouring Celtic languages; so that words which, when the Continental Roman alphabet came to be used for Germanic languages, had to be written with k, were in Old English written with c, as cene = keen, cynd = kind.' The key to the values of the letters, and thus to the pronunciation of Old English, is also to be found in the Celtic tongues whence the letters were taken.
The Old English period is usually considered as terminating 1120, with the death of the generation who saw the Norman Conquest. The Conquest established in England a foreign court, a foreign aristocracy and a foreign hierarchy.' The French language, in its Norman dialect, became the only polite medium of intercourse. The native tongue, despised not only as unknown but as the language of a subject race, was left to the use of boors and serfs, and except in a few stray cases ceased to be written at all. The natural results followed. 4 When the educated generation that saw the arrival of the Norman died out, the language, ceasing to be read and written, lost all its literary words. The words of ordinary life whose preservation is independent of books lived on as vigorously as ever, but the literary terms, those that related to science, art and higher culture, the bold artistic compounds, the figurative terms of poetry, were speedily forgotten. The practical vocabulary shrank to a fraction of its former extent. And when, generations later, English began to be used for general literature, the only terms at hand to express ideas above those of every-day life were to be found in the French of the privileged classes, of whom alone art, science, law and theology had been for generations the inheritance. Hence each successive literary effort of the reviving English tongue showed a larger adoption of French words to supply the place of the forgotten native ones, till by the days of Chaucer they constituted a notable part of the vocabulary. Nor was it for the time being only that the French. words affected the English vocabulary. The Norman French words introduced by the Conquest, as well as the Central or Parisian French words which followed under the early Plantagenets, were mainly Latin words which had lived on among the people of Gaul, and, modified in the mouths of succeeding generations, had reached forms more or less remote from their originals. In being now adopted as English, they supplied precedents in accordance with which other Latin words might be converted into English ones, whenever required; and long before the Renascence of classical learning, though in much greater numbers after that epoch, these precedents were freely followed.
While the eventual though distant result of the Norman Conquest was thus a large reconstruction of the English vocabulary, 2 During the Old English period both c and g appear to have acquired a palatal value in conjunction with front or palatal vowelsounds, except in the north where c, and in some cases a, tended to remain guttural in such positions. This value was never distinguished in Old English writing, but may be deduced from certain phonetic changes depending upon it, and from the use of c, cc, as an alternative for tj (as in ort g eard, orceard = orchard, fetian, feccean = fetch), as well as from the normal occurrence of ch and y in these positions in later stages of the language, e.g. cild = child, ta e cean = teach, g iellan = yell, dae a =day, &c.
3 For a discriminating view of the effects of the Norman Conquest on the English Language, see Freeman, Norman Conquest, ch. xxv.
4 There is no reason to suppose that any attempt was made to proscribe or suppress the native tongue, which was indeed used in some official documents addressed to Englishmen by the Conqueror himself. Its social degradation seemed even on the point of coming to an end, when it was confirmed and prolonged for two centuries more by the accession of the Angevin dynasty, under whom everything French received a fresh impetus.
the grammar of the language vas not directly affected by it. There was no reason why it should - we might almost add, no way by which it could. While the English used their own words, they could not forget their own way of using them, the inflections and constructions by which alone the words expressed ideas - in other words, their grammar; when one by one French words were introduced into the sentence they became English by the very act of admission, and were at once subjected to all the duties and liabilities of English words in the same position. This is of course precisely what happens at the present day: telegraph and telegram make participle telegraphing and plural telegrams, and naïve the adverb natively, precisely as if they had been in the language for ages.
But indirectly the grammar was affected very quickly. In languages in the inflected or synthetic stage the terminations must be pronounced with marked distinctness, as these contain the correlation of ideas; it is all-important to hear whether a word is bonus or bonis or bonas or bonos. This implies a measured and distinct pronunciation, against which the effort for ease and rapidity of utterance is continually struggling, while indolence and carelessness continually compromise it. In the Germanic languages, as a whole, the main stress-accent falls on the radical syllable, or on the prefix of a nominal compound, and thus at or near the beginning of the word; and the result of this in English has been a growing tendency to suffer the concluding syllables to fall into obscurity. We are familiar with the cockney winder, sofer, holler, Sarer, Sunder, would yer, for window, sofa, holla, Sarah, Sunday, would you, the various final vowels sinking into an obscure neutral one now conventionally spelt er, but formerly represented by final e. Already before the Conquest, forms originally hatu, sello, tunga, appeared as hate, selle, tunge, with the terminations levelled to obscure e; but during the illiterate period of the language after the Conquest this careless obscuring of terminal vowels became universal, all unaccented vowels in the final syllable (except i) sinking into e. During the 12th century, while this change was going on, we see a great confusion of grammatical forms, the full inflections of Old English standing side by side in the same sentence with the levelled ones of Middle English. It is to this state of the language that the names Transition and Period of Confusion (Dr Abbott's appellation) point; its appearance, as that of Anglo-Saxon broken down in its endings, had previously given to it the suggestive if not logical appellation of Semi-Saxon.
Although the written remains of the transition stage are few, sufficient exist to enable us to trace the course of linguistic change in some of the dialects. Within three generations after the Conquest, faithful pens were at work transliterating the old homilies of iElfric, and other lights of the Anglo-Saxon Church, into the current idiom of their posterity.' Twice during the period, in the reigns of Stephen and Henry II., rElfric's gospels were similarly modernized so as to be " understanded of the people." Homilies and other religious works of the end of the 12th century show us the change still further advanced, and the language passing into Early Middle English in its southern form. While these southern remains carry on in unbroken sequence the history of the Old English of Alfred and IElfric, the history of the northern English is an entire blank from the 11th to the 13th century. The stubborn resistance of the north, and the terrible retaliation inflicted by William, apparently effaced northern English culture for centuries. If anything was written in the vernacular in the kingdom of Scotland during the same period, it probably perished during the calamities to which that country was subjected during the half-century of struggle for independence. In reality, however, the northern English had entered upon its transition stage two centuries earlier; the glosses of the 10th century show that the Danish inroads had there anticipated the results hastened by the Norman Conquest in the south.
1 MS. Cotton Vesp. A. 22.
2 Gospels in Anglo-Saxon, &c., ed. for Cambridge Press, by W. W. Skeat (1871-1887), second text.
Old English Homilies of Twelfth Century, first and second series, ed. R. Morris (E.E.T.S.), (1868-1873).
Meanwhile a dialect was making its appearance in another quarter of England, destined to overshadow the old literary dialects of north and south alike, and become the English of the future. The Mercian kingdom, which, as its name imports, lay along the marches of the earlier states, and was really a congeries of the outlying members of many tribes, must have presented from the beginning a linguistic mixture and transition; and it is evident that more than one intermediate form of speech arose within its confines, between Lancashire and the Thames. I he specimens of early Mercian now in existence consist mainly of glosses, in a mixed Mercian and southern dialect, dating from the 8th century; but, in a 9th-century gloss, the so-called Vespasian Psalter, representing what is generally held to be pure Mercian. Towards the close of the Old English period we find some portions of a gloss to the Rushworth Gospels, namely St Matthew and a few verses of St John xviii., to be in Mercian. These glosses, with a few charters and one or two small fragments, represent a form of Anglian which in many respects stands midway between Northumbrian and Kentish, approaching the one or the other more nearly as we have to do with North Mercian or South Mercian. And soon after the Conquest we find an undoubted midland dialect in the transition stage from Old to Middle English, in the eastern part of ancient Mercia, in a district bounded on the south and south-east by the Saxon Middlesex and Essex, and on the east and north by the East Anglian Norfolk and Suffolk and the Danish settlements on the Trent and Humber. In this district, and in the monastery of Peterborough, one of the copies of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, transcribed about 1120, was continued by two succeeding hands to the death of Stephen in 1154. The section from 1122 to 1131, probably written in the latter year, shows a notable confusion between Old English forms and those of a Middle English, impatient to rid itself of the inflectional trammels which were still, though in weakened forms, so faithfully retained south of the Thames. And in the concluding section, containing the annals from 1132 to 1154, and written somewhere about the latter year, we find Middle English fairly started on its career. A specimen of this new tongue will best show the change that had taken place: 1140 A.D. - And 4 te eorl of Angeu ward ded, and his sune Henri toc to Pe rice. And te cuen of France to-d ae lde fra Pe king, and scan corn to Pe iunge eorl Henri. and he toc hire to wiue, and al Peitou mid hire. Pa ferde he mid micel fxrd into Engleland and, wan castles - and te king ferde agenes him mid micel mare ferd. PoPwwthere fuhtten hi noht. oc ferden Pe arcebiscop and te wise men betwux heom, and makede that sahte that te king sculde ben lauerd and king wile he liuede. and after his da i ware Henri king. and he helde him for fader, and he him for sune, and sib and swhte sculde ben betwyx heom, and on al Engleland.5 With this may be contrasted a specimen of southern English, from io to 20 years later (Hatton Gospels, Luke i. 46 6): Da cwaeo Maria: Min saule mersed drihten, and min gast geblissode on gode minen haelende. For Pam Pe he geseah his Pinene eadmodnysse. Soflice henen-foro me eadige segge16 alle cneornesse; for Pam Pe me mychele Ping dyde se Pe mihtyg ys; and his name is halig. And his mildheortnysse of cneornisse on cneornesse hine ondraedende. He worhte maegne on hys earme; he to-daelde Pa ofermode, on moda heora heortan. He warp Pa rice of setlle, and Pa eadmode he up-an-hof. Hyngriende he mid gode ge-felde, and Pa ofermode ydele for-let. He afeng israel his cniht, and gemynde his mildheortnysse; Swa he sprxc to ure f ae deren, Abrahame and his sade on a weorlde.
To a still later date, apparently close upon 1200, belongs the versified chronicle of Layamon or Laweman, a priest of Ernely on the Severn, who, using as his basis the French Brut of Wace, expanded it by additions from other sources to more than twice the extent: his work of 32,250 lines is a mine of illustration for the language of his time and locality. The latter was intermediate between midland and southern, and the language, though forty years later than the specimen from the Chronicle, is much more archaic in structure, and can scarcely be considered even as Early Middle English. The following is a specimen (lines 9064-9079): ' The article Pe becomes te after a preceding t or d by assimilation. Earle, Two of the Saxon Chronicles parallel (1865), p. 265. Skeat, Anglo-Saxon and Northumbrian Gospels (1874).
On Kinbelines daeie. .. Pe king wes inne Bruttene, corn a Pissen middel aerde. anes maidenes sune, iboren wes in BePleem. of berste alre burden. He is ihaten Jesu Crist. .. Purh Pene halie gost, alre worulde wunne. .. walden englenne; faeder he is on heuenen. froure moncunnes; sune he is on eor6en. .. of sele Pon maeidene, & Pene halie gost. .. haldeo mid him seoluen.
The Middle English was pre-eminently the Dialectal period of the language. It was not till after the middle of the 14th century that English obtained official recognition. For three centuries, therefore, there was no standard form of speech which claimed any pre-eminence over the others. The writers of each district wrote in the dialect familar to them; and between extreme forms the difference was so great as to amount to unintelligibility; works written for southern Englishmen had to be translated for the benefit of the men of the north: " In sotherin Inglis was it drawin, And turnid is haue it till ur awin Langage of Pe northin lede That can na nothir Inglis rede." Cursor Mundi, 20,064.
Three main dialects were distinguished by contemporary writers, as in the often-quoted passage from Trevisa's translation of Higden's Polychronicon completed in 1387: " Also Englysche men. .. hadde fram Pe bygynnynge pre maner speche, Souperon, Norperon and Myddel speche (in Pe myddel of Pe lond) as by come of Pre maner people of Germania.. Also of Pe forseyde Saxon tonge, Pat ys deled a Pre, and ys abyde scarslyche wiP feaw uplondysche men and ys gret wondur, for men of Pe est wiP men of fe west, as hyt were under Pe same part of heyvene, acordeP more in sounynge of s p eche Pan men of Pe norP wiP men of f e sou p; Perfore hyt ys Pat Mercii, Pat buP men of myddel Engelond, as hyt were parteners of Pe endes, undurstondeP betre Pe syde longages NorPeron and SouPeron, Pan NorPern and SouPern undurstondeP oyPer oPer." The modern study of these Middle English dialects, initiated by the elder Richard Garnett, scientifically pursued by Dr Richard Morris, and elaborated by many later scholars, both English and German, has shown that they were readily distinguished by the conjugation of the present tense of the verb, which in typical specimens was as follows: - Southern. Ich singe. We singeP.
Pou singest. 3e singeP.
He singeP. Hy singeP. Midland. Ich, I, singe. We singen.
Pou singest. 3e singen.
He singeP. Hy, thei, singen. Northern. 'Ic,' I, sing(e) (I Pat singes). We sing(e), We Pat synges.
Pu singes. 3e sing(e), 3e foules synges.
He singes. Thay sing(e), Men synges. Of these the southern is simply the old West-Saxon, with the vowels levelled to e. The northern second person in -es preserves an older form than the southern and West-Saxon -est; but the -es of the third person and plural is derived from an older -eth, the change of -th into -s being found in progress in the Durham glosses of the 10th century. In the plural, when accompanied by the pronoun subject, the verb had already dropped the inflections entirely as in Modern English. The origin of the -en plural in the midland dialect, unknown to Old English, is probably an instance of form-levelling, the inflection of the present indicative being assimilated to that of the past, and the present and past subjunctive, in all of which -en was the plural termination. In the declension of nouns, adjectives and pronouns, the northern dialect had attained before the end of the 13th century to the simplicity of Modern English, while the southern dialect still retained a large number of inflections, and the midland a considerable number. The dialects differed also in phonology, for while the northern generally retained the hard or guttural values of g, sc, these were in the two other dialects palatalized before front vowels into ch, j and sh. Kirk, chirche or church, bryg, bridge; scryke, shriek, are examples. Old English hw was written in the north qu(h), but elsewhere wh, often sinking into w. The original long a in shin, mdr, preserved in the northern stane, mare, became o elsewhere, as in stone, more. So that the north presented a general aspect of conservation of old sounds with the most thorough-going dissolution of old inflections; the south, a tenacious retention of the inflections, with an extensive evolution in the sounds. In one important respect, however,phonetic decay was far ahead in the north: the final e to which all the old vowels had been levelled during the transition stage, and which is a distinguishing feature of Middle English in the midland and southern dialects, became mute, i.e., disappeared, in the northern dialect before that dialect emerged from its three centuries of obscuration, shortly before 1300. So thoroughly modern had its form consequently become that we might almost call it Modern English, and say that the Middle English stage of the northern dialect is lost. For comparison with the other dialects, however, the same nomenclature may be used, and we may class as Middle English the extensive literature which northern England produced during the 14th century. The earliest specimen is probably the Metrical Psalter in the Cotton Library,' copied during the reign of Edward II. from an original of the previous century. The gigantic versified paraphrase of Scripture history called the Cursor Mundi, 2 is held also to have been composed before 1300. The dates of the numerous alliterative romances in this dialect have not been determined with exactness, as all survive in later copies, but it is probable that some of them were written before 1300. In the 14th century appeared the theological and devotional works of Richard Rolle the anchorite of Hampole, Dan Jon Gaytrigg, William of Nassington, and other writers whose names are unknown; and towards the close of the century, specimens of the language also appear from Scotland both in official documents and in the poetical works of John Barbour, whose language, barring minute points of orthography, is identical with that of the contemporary northern English writers. From 1400 onward, the distinction between northern English and Lowland Scottish becomes clearly marked.
In the southern dialect one version of the work called the Ancren Riwle or " Rule of Nuns," adapted about 1 225 for a small sisterhood at Tarrant-Kaines, in Dorsetshire, exhibits a dialectal characteristic which had probably long prevailed in the south, though concealed by the spelling, in the use of v for f, as valle fall, vordonne fordo, vorto for to, veder father, vrom from. Not till later do we find a recognition of the parallel use of z for s. Among the writings which succeed, The Owl and the Nightingale of Nicholas de Guildford, of Portesham in Dorsetshire, before 1250, the Chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, 1298, and Trevisa's translation of Higden, 1387, are of special importance in illustrating the history of southern English. The earliest form of Langland's Piers Ploughman, 1362, as preserved in the Vernon MS., appears to be in an intermediate dialect between southern and midland. 3 The Kentish form of southern English seems to have retained specially archaic features; five short sermons in it of the middle of the 13th century were edited by Dr Morris (1866); but the great work illustrating it is the Ayenbite of Inwyt (Remorse of Conscience), 1340, 4 a translation from the French by Dan Michel of Northgate, Kent, who tells us " Pet Pis boc is y-write mid engliss of Kent; Pis boc is y-mad uor lewede men, Vor uader, and uor moder, and uor oPer ken, Ham uor to betre uram alle manyere zen, Pet ine hare inwytte ne bleue no uoul wen." In its use of v (u) and z for f and s, and its grammatical inflections, it presents an extreme type of southern speech, with peculiarities specially Kentish; and in comparison with contemporary Midland English works, it looks like a fossil of two centuries earlier.
Turning from the dialectal extremes of the Middle English to the midland speech, which we left at the closing leaves of the 1 Edited for the Surtees Society, by Rev. J. Stevenson.
2 Edited for the Early English Text Society, by Rev. Dr Morris. 3. The Vision of William concerning Piers the Ploughman exists in three different recensions, all of which have been edited for the Early English Text Society by Rev. W. W. Skeat.
4 Edited by Rev. Dr Morris for Early English Text Society, in 1866.
Peterborough Chronicle of 1154, we find a rapid development of this dialect, which was before long to become the national literary language. In this, the first great work is the Ormulum, or metrical Scripture paraphrase of Orm or Ormin, written about 1200, somewhere near the northern frontier of the midland area. The dialect has a decided smack of the north, and shows for the first time in English literature a large percentage of Scandinavian words, derived from the Danish settlers, who, in adopting English, had preserved a vast number of their ancestral forms of speech, which were in time to pass into the common language, of which they now constitute some of the most familiar words. Blunt, bull, die, dwell, ill, kid, raise, same, thrive, wand, wing, are words from this source, which appear first in the work of Orm, of which the following lines maybe quoted: " Pe Judewisshe folkess boc hemm se33de, Patt hemm birrde Twa bukkes samenn to Pe preost att kirrke-dure brinngenn; And te33 Pa didenn bliPel13, swa summ Pe boc hemm tahhte, And brohhtenn twe33enn bukkess l ? r Drihhtin p aerwiPl to lakenn.
And att 1 to kirrke-dure toc Pe preost to twe33enn bukkess, And o Patt an he le33de pier all pe33re sake and sinne, And let itt eornenn for p wiP p all At inntill wilde wesste; And toc and sna p Patt oPerr bucc Drihhtin j: erwiPI to lakenn.
All Piss wass don forr here ned, and ec forr ure nede; For hemm itt hallp biforenn Godd to clennssenn hemm of sinne; And all swa ma33 itt hellpenn Pe 31ff Patt tu willt [itt] foll3henn.
Siff Patt tu willt full innwarrdl13 wiN' fulle trowwPe lefenn All Patt tatt wass bitacnedd taer, to lefenn and to trowwenn." Ormulum, ed. White, 1.1324.
The author of the Ormulum was a phonetist, and employed a special spelling of his own to represent not only the quality but the quantities of vowels and consonants - a circumstance which gives his work a peculiar value to the investigator. He is generally assumed to have been a native of Lincolnshire or Notts, but the point is a disputed one, and there is somewhat to be said for the neighbourhood of Ormskirk in Lancashire.
It is customary to differentiate between east and west midland, and to subdivide these again into north and south. As was natural in a tract of country which stretched from Lancaster to Essex, a very considerable variety is found in the documents which agree in presenting the leading midland features, those of Lancashire and Lincolnshire approaching the northern dialect both in vocabulary, phonetic character and greater neglect of inflections. But this diversity diminishes as we advance.
Thirty years after the Ormulum, the east midland rhymed Story of Genesis and Exodus ? shows us the dialect in a more southern form, with the vowels of modern English, and from about the same date, with rather more northern characteristics, we have an east midland Bestiary. Different tests and different dates have been proposed for subdividing the Middle English period, but the most important is that of Henry Nicol, based on the observation that in the early 13th century, as in Ormin, the Old English short vowels in an open syllable still retained their short quantity, as llama, over, mete; but by 1250 or 1260 they had been lengthened to nä-me, o-ver, me-te, a change which has also taken place at a particular period in all the Germanic, and even the Romanic languages, as in buo-no for bo-num, pa-dre for pd-trem, &c. The lengthening of the penult left the final syllable by contrast shortened or weakened, and paved the way for the disappearance of final e In the century following, through the stages nel-me, 1 Here, and in tatt, tu, taer, for patt, pu, Pad, after t, d, there is the same phonetic assimilation as in the last section of the AngloSaxon Chronicle above.
2 Edited for the Early English Text Society by Dr Morris (1865).
na-me, nd-m', nam, the one long syllable in nam(e) being the quantitative equivalent of the two short syllables in nd-me; hence the notion that mute e makes a preceding vowel long, the truth being that the lengthening of the vowel led to the e becoming mute.
After 1250 we have the Lay of Havelok, and about 1300 the writings of Robert of Brunne in South Lincolnshire. In the 14th century we find a number of texts belonging to the western part of the district. South-west midland is hardly to be distinguished from southern in its south-western form, and hence texts like Piers Plowman elude any satisfactory classification, but several metrical romances exhibit what are generally considered to be west midland characteristics, and a little group of poems, Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knighte, the Pearl, Cleanness and Patience, thought to be the work of a north-west midland writer of the 14th century, bear a striking resemblance to the modern Lancashire dialect. The end of the century witnessed the prose of Wycliff and Mandeville, and the poetry of Chaucer, with whom Middle English may be said to have culminated, and in whose writings its main characteristics as distinct from Old and Modern English may be studied. Thus, we find final e in full use representing numerous original vowels and terminations as, Him thoughte that his herte wolde breke, in Old English Him Puhte p at his heorte wolde brecan, which may be compared with the modern German Ihm dauchte dass sein Herze wollte brechen.
In nouns the -es of the plural and genitive case is still syllabicReede as the berstl-es of a sow-es eer-es.
Several old genitives and plural forms continued to exist,, and the dative or prepositional case has usually a final e.. Adjectives retain so much of the old declension as to have -a in the definite form and in the plural The tend-re cropp-es and the yong-e sonne.
And smal-e fowl-es maken melodie.
Numerous old forms of comparison were in use, which have not come down to Modern English, as herre, ferre, longer, hext= higher, farther, longer, highest. In the pronouns, ich lingered alongside of I; ye was only nominative, and you objective; the northern thei had dispossessed the southern hy, but her and hem (the modern 'em) stood their ground against their and them.. The verb is I lov-e, thou lov-est, he lov-eth; but, in the plural, lov-en is interchanged with lov-e, as rhyme or euphony requires. So in the plural of the past we love-den or love-de. The infinitive also ends in en, often e, always syllabic. The present participle,. in Old English -ende, passing through -inde, has been confounded with the verbal noun in -ynge, -yng, as in Modern English. The past participle largely retains the prefix y- or i-, representing the Old English ge-, as in i-ronne, y-don, Old English zerunnen,. zedon, run, done. Many old verb forms still continued in existence. The adoption of French words, not only those of Norman introduction, but those subsequently introduced under the Angevin kings, to supply obsolete and obsolescent English ones, which had kept pace with the growth of literature since the beginning of the Middle English period, had now reached its climax; later times added many more, but they also dropped some that were in regular use with Chaucer and his contemporaries.
Chaucer's great contemporary, William Langland, in his Vision of William concerning Piers the Ploughman, and his imitator the author of Pierce the Ploughman's Crede (about 1400) used the Old English alliterative versification for the last time in the south. Rhyme had made its appearance in the language shortly after the Conquest - if not already known before; and in the south and midlands it became decidedly more popular than alliteration; the latter retained its hold much longer in the north, where it was written even after 1500: many of the northern romances are either simply alliterative, or have both alliteration and rhyme. To these characteristics of northern and southern verse respectively Chaucer alludes in the prologue of the " Persone," who, when called upon for his tale said: - But trusteth wel; I am a sotherne man, I cannot geste rom, ram, ruf, by my letter, And, God wote, rime hold I but litel better: And therefore, if you list, I wol not glose, I wol you tell a litel tale in prose." The changes from Old to Middle English may be summed up thus: Loss of a large part of the native vocabulary, and adoption of French words to fill their place; not infrequent adoption of French words as synonyms of existing native ones; modernization of the English words preserved, by vowel change in a definite direction from back to front, and from open to close, a becoming ?, original e, o, tending to ee, oo, monophthongization of the old diphthongs eo, ea, and development of new diphthongs in connexion with g, h, and w; adoption of French orthographic symbols, e.g. ou foru, qu, v, ch, and gradual loss of the symbols 7, J', 5, obscuration of vowels after the accent, and especially of final a, o, u to e; consequent confusion and loss of old inflections, and their replacement by prepositions, auxiliary verbs and rules of position; abandonment of alliteration for rhyme; and great development of dialects, in consequence of there being no standard or recognized type of English.
But the recognition came at length. Already in 1258 was issued the celebrated English proclamation of Henry III., or rather of Simon de Montfort in his name, which, as the only public recognition of the native tongue between William the Conqueror and Edward III., has sometimes been spoken of as the first specimen of English. It runs: " Henri bur3 godes fultume king on Engleneloande Lhoauerd on Yrloande. Duk on Normandie on Aquitaine and eorl on Aniow. Send igretinge to alle hise holde ilwrde and ileawede on Huntendoneschire. pant witen 3e wel alle pant we willen and vnnen pat pant vre raedesmen alle oiler Pe moare dael of heom pant beop ichosen bur3 us and pur3 rant loandes folk on vre kuneriche. habber idon and schullen don in be worpnesse of gode and on vre treowpe. for re freme of re loande. pur3 Pe bes13te of ban to-foren-iseide redesmen. beo stedef ae st and ilestinde in alle pinge a buten aende. And we hoaten alle vre treowe in Pe treowpe Pant heo vs 03en. pant heo stedefaestliche healden and swerien to healden and to werien ro isetnesses reset ben imakede and beon to makien pur3 ban to-foren iseide r a desmen. ober pur3 re moare dael of heom alswo alse hit is biforen iseid. And pant aehc oper helpe P an t for to done bi ban ilche ore a3enes alle men. R13t for to done and to foangen. And noan ne nime of loande ne of e3te. wherrur3 pis bes13te mu3e beon ilet oper iwersed on onie wise. And 31f oni oper onie cumen her on3enes; we willen and hoaten pant alle vre treowe heom healden deadliche ifoan. And for p an t we willen p an t pis beo stedefaest and lestinde; we senden 3ew pis writ open iseined wit) vre seel. to halden amanges 3ew ine hord. Witnesse vs seluen ant Lundene. Pane E3tetenpe day. on Pe Monpe of Octobre In re Two-and-fowert13Pe 3eare of vre cruninge. And pis wes idon aetforen vre isworene redesmen.. .
" And al on Po ilche worden is isend in to aeurihce ogre shcire ouer al Pare kuneriche on Engleneloande. and ek in tel Irelonde." The dialect of this document is more southern than anything else, with a slight midland admixture. It is much more archaic inflectionally than the Genesis and Exodus or Ormulum; but it closely resembles the old Kentish sermons and Proverbs of Alfred in the southern dialect of 1250. It represents no doubt the London speech of the day. London being in a Saxon county, and contiguous to Kent and Surrey, had certainly at first a southern dialect; but its position as the capital, as well as its proximity to the midland district, made its dialect more and more midland. Contemporary London documents show that Chaucer's language, which is distinctly more southern than standard English eventually became, is behind the London dialect of the day in this respect, and is at once more archaic and consequently more southern.
During the next hundred years English gained ground steadily, and by the reign of Edward III. French was so little known in England, even in the families of the great, that about 1350 " John Cornwal, a maystere of gramere, chaungede })e lore (=teaching) in gramere scole and construccion of [i.e. from] Freynsch into Englysch "; 1 and in 1362-1363 English by statute took the place of French in the pleadings in courts of law. Every reason conspired that this " English " should be the midland dialect. It was the intermediate dialect, intelligible, as Trevisa has told us, to both extremes, even when these failed 1 Trevisa, Translation of Higden's Polychronicon. to be intelligible to each other; in its south-eastern form, it was the language of London, where the supreme law courts were, the centre of political and commercial life; it was the language in which the Wycliffite versions had given the Holy Scriptures to the people; the language in which Chaucer had raised English poetry to a height of excellence admired and imitated by contemporaries and followers. And accordingly after the end of the 14th century, all Englishmen who thought they had anything to say to their countrymen generally said it in the midland speech. Trevisa's own work was almost the last literary effort of the southern dialect; henceforth it was but a rustic patois, which the dramatist might use to give local colouring to his creations, as Shakespeare uses it to complete Edgar's peasant disguise in Lear, or which 10th century research might disinter to illustrate obscure chapters in the history of language. And though the northern English proved a little more stubborn, it disappeared also from literature in England; but in Scotland, which had now become politically and socially estranged from England, it continued its course as the national language of the country, attaining in the 15th and 16th centuries a distinct development and high literary culture, for the details of which readers are referred to the article on Scottish Language.
The 15th century of English history, with its bloody French war abroad and Wars of the Roses at home, was a barren period in literature, and a transition one in language, witnessing the decay and disappearance of the final e, and most of the syllabic inflections of Middle English. Already by 1420, in Chaucer's disciple Hoccleve, final e was quite uncertain; in Lydgate it was practically gone. In 1450 the writings of Pecock against the Wycliffites show the verbal inflections in -en in a state of obsolescence; he has still the southern pronouns her and hem for the northern their, them:- " And here-a3ens holi scripture wole pat men schulden lacke re coueryng which wommen schulden haue, & thei schulden so lacke bi Pat re heeris of her heedis schulden be schorne, & schulde not growe in lengpe doun as wommanys hoer schulde growe... .
" Also here-wipal into re open s13t of ymagis in open chirchis, alle peple, men & wommen & children mowe come whanne euere Pei wolen in ech tyme of Pe day, but so mowe Pei not come in-to be vice of bokis to be delyuered to hem neiper to be red bifore hem; & Perf ore, as for to soone & ofte come into remembraunce of a long mater bi ech oon persoon, and also as forto make pat re mo persoones come into remembraunce of a mater, ymagis & picturis serven in a specialer maner pan bokis doon, Pou3 in an oper maner ful substanciali bolos seruen better into remembrauncing of Po same materis pan ymagis & picturis doon; & Perfore, Pou3 writingis seruen weel into remembrauncing upon re bifore seid pingis, 31t not at re ful: Forwhi re bokis han not re avail of remembrauncing now seid whiche ymagis han." 2 The change of the language during the second period of Transition, as well as the extent of dialectal differences, is quaintly expressed a generation later by Caxton, who in the prologue to one of the last of his works, his translation of Virgil's Eneydos (1490), speaks of the difficulty he had in pleasing all readers: " I doubted that it - shoude not please some gentylmen, whiche late blamed me, sayeng, y t in my translacyons I had ouer curyous termes, whiche coud not be vnderstande of comyn peple, and desired me to vse olde and homely termes in my translacyons. And fayn wolde I satysfy euery man; and so to doo, toke an olde boke and redde therein; and certaynly the englysshe was so rude and brood that I coude not wele vnderstande it. And also my lorde abbot of Westmynster ded do shewe to me late certayn euydences wryton in olde englysshe for to reduce it in to our englysshe now vsid. And certaynly it was wreton in suche wyse that it was more lyke to dutche than englysshe; I coude not reduce ne brynge it to be vnderstonden. And certaynly, our langage now vsed varyeth ferre from that whiche was vsed and spoken whan I was borne. For we englysshemen ben borne vnder the domynacyon of the mone, whiche is neuer stedfaste, but euer wauerynge, wexynge one season, and waneth and dycreaseth another season. And that comyn englysshe that is spoken in one shyre varyeth from a nother. In so much that in my days happened that certayn marchauntes were in a shipe in tamyse, for to haue sayled ouer the sea into zelande, and for lacke of wynde thei taryed atte forlond, and wente to lande for to refreshe them. ..And one of theym named sheffelde, a mercer, cam in to an hows and axed for mete, and specyally he axyd after eggys, And the goode wyf answerde, that she coude speke no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry, Skeat, Specimens of English Literature, pp. 49, 54.
for he also coulde speke no frenshe, but wolde haue hadde egges; and she vnderstode hym not. And thenne at laste a nother sayd that he wolde haue eyren; then the good wyf sayd that she vnderstod hym wel. Loo! what sholde a man in thyse dayes now wryte, egges or eyren? certaynly, it is harde to playse euery man, by cause of dyuersite & chaunge of langage. For in these dayes, euery man that is in ony reputacyon in his countre wyll vtter his comynycacyon and maters in suche maners & termes that f ewe men shall vnderstonde theym. And som honest and grete clerkes haue ben wyth me, and desired me to wryte the moste curyous termes that I coude fynde. And thus bytwene playn, rude and curyous, I stande abasshed; but in my Iudgemente, the comyn termes that be dayli vsed ben lyghter to be vnderstonde than the olde and auncyent englysshe." In the productions of Caxton's press we see the passage from Middle to Early Modern English completed. The earlier of these have still an occasional verbal plural in -n, especially in the word they ben; the southern her and hem of Middle English vary with the northern and Modern English their, them. In the late works, the older forms have been practically ousted, and the year 1485, which witnessed the establishment of the Tudor dynasty, may be conveniently put as that which closed the Middle English transition, and introduced Modern English. Both in the completion of this result, and in its comparative permanence, the printing press had an important share. By its exclusive patronage of the midland speech, it raised it still higher above the sister dialects, and secured its abiding victory. As books were multiplied and found their way into every corner of the land, and the art of reading became a more common acquirement, the man of Northumberland or of Somersetshire had forced upon his attention the book-English in which alone these were printed. This became in turn the model for his own writings, and by-and-by, if he made any pretensions to education, of his own speech. The written form of the language also tended to uniformity. In previous periods the scribe made his own spelling with a primary aim at expressing his own speech, according to the particular values attached by himself or his contemporaries to the letters and combinations of the alphabet, though liable to disturbance in the most common words and combinations by his ocular recollections of the spelling of others. But after the introduction of printing, this ocular recognition of words became ever more and more an aim; the book addressed the mind directly through the eye, instead of circuitously through eye and ear; and thus there was a continuous tendency for written words and parts of words to be reduced to a single form, and that the most usual, or through some accident the best known, but not necessarily that which would have been chosen had the ear been called in as umpire. Modern English spelling, with its rigid uniformity as to individual results and whimsical caprice as to principles, is the creation of the printing-office, the victory which, after a century and a half of struggle, mechanical convenience won over natural habits. Besides eventually creating a uniformity in writing, the introduction of printing made or at least ratified some important changes. The British and Old English form of the Roman alphabet has already been referred to. This at the Norman Conquest was superseded by an alphabet with the French forms and values of the letters. Thus k took the place of the older c before e and i; qu replaced cw; the Norman w took the place of the wen (p), &c.; and hence it has often been said that Middle English stands nearer to Old English in pronunciation, but to Modern English in spelling. But there were certain sounds in English for which Norman writing had no provision; and for these, in writing English, the native characters were retained. Thus the Old English g (a), beside the sound in go, had a guttural sound as in German tag, Irish magh, and in certain positions a palatalized form of this approaching y as in you (if pronounced with aspiration hyou or ghyou). These sounds continued to be written with the native form of the letter as bur3, our, while the French form was used for the sounds in go, age, - one original letter being thus represented by two. So for the sounds of th, especially the sound in that, the Old English thorn (p) continued to be used. But as these characters were not used for French and Latin, their use even in English became disturbed towards the i 5th century, and when printing was introduced, the founts, cast for continental languages, had no characters for them, so that they were dropped entirely, being replaced, by gh, yh, y, and p by th. This was a real loss to the English alphabet. In the north it is curious that the printers tried to express the forms rather than the powers of these letters, and consequently was represented by z, the'black letter form of which was confounded with it, while the p was expressed by y, which its MS. form had come to approach or in some cases simulate. So in early Scotch books we find zellow, ze, yat, yem= yellow, ye, that, them; and in Modern Scottish, such names as Menzies, Dalziel, Cockenzie, and the word gaberlunzie, in which the z stands for y. Modern English thus dates from Caxton. The language had at length reached the all but flectionless state which it now presents. A single older verbal form, the southern -elk of the third person singular, continued to be the literary prose form throughout the 26th century, but the northern form in -s was intermixed with it in poetry (where it saved a syllable), and must ere long, as we see from Shakespeare, have taken its place in familiar speech. The fuller an, none, mine, thine, in the early part of the 16th century at least, were used in positions where their shortened forms a, no, my, thy are now found (none other, mine own = no other, my own) . But with such minute exceptions, the accidence of the i 6th century was the accidence of the r 9th. While, however, the older inflections had disappeared, there was as yet no general agreement as to the mode of their replacement. Hence the 16th century shows a syntactic licence and freedom which distinguishes it strikingly from that of later times. The language seems to be in a plastic, unformed state, and its writers, as it were, experiment with it, bending it to constructions which now seem indefensible. Old distinctions of case and mood have disappeared from noun and verb, without custom having yet decided what prepositions or auxiliary verbs shall most fittingly convey their meaning. The laxity of word-order which was permitted in older states of the language by the formal expression of relations was often continued though the inflections which expressed the relations had disappeared. Partial analogy was followed in allowing forms to be identified in one case, because, in another, such identification was accidentally produced, as for instance the past participles of write and take were often made wrote and took, because the contracted participles of bind and break were bound and broke. Finally, because, in dropping inflections, the former distinctions even between parts of speech had disappeared, so that iron, e.g., was at once noun, adjective and verb, clean, adjective, verb and adverb, it appeared as if any word whatever might be used in any grammatical relation, where it conveyed the idea of the speaker. Thus, as has been pointed out by Dr Abbott, " you can happy your friend, malice or foot your enemy, or fall an axe on his neck. You can speak and act easy, free, excellent, you can talk of fair instead of beauty (fairness), and a pale instead of a paleness. A he is used for a man, and a lady is described by a gentleman as ` the fairest she he has yet beheld.' An adverb can be used as a verb, as ` they askance their eyes'; as a noun, ` the backward and abyss of time'; or as an adjective, a `seldom pleasure.' " 1 For, as he also says, "clearness was preferred to grammatical correctness, and brevity both to correctness and clearness. Hence it was common to place words in the order' in which they came uppermost in the mind without much regard to syntax, and the result was a forcible and perfectly unambiguous but ungrammatical sentence, such as The prince that feeds great natures they will slay him. Ben Jonson. or, as instances of brevity, Be guilty of my death since of my crime.
Shakespeare. It cost more to get than to lose in a day.
Ben Jonson." These characteristics, together with the presence of words now obsolete or archaic, and the use of existing words in senses I A Shakspearian Grammar, by Dr E. A. Abbott. To this book we are largely indebted for its admirable summary of the characters of Tudor English.
different from our own, as general for specific, literal for metaphorical, and vice versa, which are so apparent to every reader of the 16th-century literature, make it useful to separate Early Modern or Tudor English from the subsequent and still existing stage, since the consensus of usage has declared in favour of individual senses and constructions which are alone admissible in ordinary language.
The beginning of the Tudor period was contemporaneous with the Renaissance in art and literature, and the dawn of modern discoveries in geography and science. The revival of the study of the classical writers of Greece and Rome, and the translation of their works into the vernacular, led to the introduction of an immense number of new words derived from these languages, either to express new ideas and objects or to indicate new distinctions in or grouping of old ideas. Often also it seemed as if scholars were so pervaded with the form as well as the spirit of the old, that it came more natural to them to express themselves in words borrowed from the old than in their native tongue, and thus words of Latin origin were introduced even when English already possessed perfectly good equivalents. As has already been stated, the French words of Norman and Angevin introduction, being principally Latin words in an altered form, when used as English supplied models whereby other Latin words could be converted into English ones, and it is after these models that the Latin words introduced during and since the 16th century have been fashioned. There is nothing in the form of the words procession and progression to show that the one was used in England in the 11th, the other not till the 16th century. Moreover, as the formation of new words from Latin had gone on in French as well as in English since the Renaissance, we often cannot tell whether such words, e.g. as persuade and persuasion, were borrowed from their French equivalents or formed from Latin in England independently. With some words indeed it is impossible to say whether they were formed in England directly from Latin, borrowed from contemporary late French, or had been in England since the Norman period, even photograph, geology and telephone have the form that they would have had if they had been living words in the mouths of Greeks, Latins, French and English from the beginning, instead of formations of the 19th century.' While every writer was thus introducing new words according to his notion of their being needed, it naturally happened that a large number were not accepted by contemporaries or posterity; a long list might be formed of these mintages of the 16th and 17th centuries, which either never became current coin, or circulated only as it were for a moment. The revived study of Latin and Greek also led to modifications in the spelling of some words which had entered Middle English in the French form. So Middle English doute, dette, were changed to doubt, debt, to show a more immediate connexion with Latin dubitum, debitum; the actual derivation from the French being ignored. Similarly, words containing a Latin and French t, which might be traced back to an original Greek 0, were remodelled upon the Greek, e.g. theme, throne, for Middle English tome, trone, and, by false association with Greek, anthem, Old English antefne, Latin antiphona; Anthony, Latin Antonius; Thames, Latin Tamesis, apparently after Thomas. The voyages of English navigators in the latter part of the 16th century introduced a considerable number of Spanish words, and American words in Spanish forms, of which negro, potato, tobacco, cargo, armadillo, alligator, galleon may serve as examples.
The date of 1611, which nearly coincides with the end of Shakespeare's literary work, and marks the appearance of the Authorized Version of the Bible (a compilation from the various 16th-century versions), may be taken as marking the close of Tudor English. The language was thenceforth Modern in structure, style and expression, although the spelling did not settle down to present usage till about the revolution of 1688. The latter date also marks the disappearance from literature of 1 Evangelist, astronomy, dialogue, are words that have so lived, of which their form is the result. Photograph, geology, &c., take this form as if they had the same history.
a large number of words, chiefly of such as were derived from Latin during the 16th and 17th centuries. Of these nearly all that survived 1688 are still in use; but a long list might be made out of those that appear for the last time before that date. This sifting of the literary vocabulary and gradual fixing of the literary spelling, which went on between 1611, when the language became modern in structure, and 1689, when it became modern also in form, suggests for this period the name of Seventeenth-Century Transition. The distinctive features of Modern English have already been anticipated by way of contrast with preceding stages of the language. It is only necessary to refer to the fact that the vocabulary is now much more composite than at any previous period. The immense development of the physical sciences has called for a corresponding extension of terminology which has been supplied from Latin and especially Greek; and although these terms are in the first instance technical, yet, with the spread of education and general diffusion of the rudiments and appliances of science, the boundary line between technical and general, indefinite at the best, tends more and more to melt away - this in addition to the fact that words still technical become general in figurative or metonymic senses. Ache, diamond, stomach, comet, organ, tone, ball, carte, are none the less familiar because once technical words. Commercial, social, artistic or literary contact has also led to the adoption of numerous words from modern European languages, especially French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch (these two at a less recent period): thus from French soiree, seance, depot, debris, programme, prestige; from Italian bust, canto, folio, cartoon, concert, regatta, ruffian; from Portuguese caste, palaver; from Dutch yacht, skipper, schooner, sloop. Commercial intercourse and colonization have extended far beyond Europe, and given us words more or fewer from Hindostani, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Malay, Chinese, and from American, Australian, Polynesian and Africadlanguages. 2 More important even than these, perhaps, are the dialect words that from time to time obtain literary recognition, restoring to us obsolete Old English forms, and not seldom words of Celtic or Danish origin, which have been preserved in local dialects, and thus at length find their way into the standard language.
As to the actual proportion of the various elements of the language, it is probable that original English words do not now form more than a fourth or perhaps a fifth of the total entries in a full English dictionary; and it may seem strange, therefore, that we still identify the language with that of the 9th century, and class it as a member of the Low German division. But this explains itself, when we consider that of the total words in a dictionary only a small portion are used by any one individual in speaking or even in writing; that this portion includes the great majority of the Anglo-Saxon words, and but a minority of the others. The latter are in fact almost all names - the vast majority names of things (nouns), a smaller number names of attributes and actions (adjectives and verbs), and, from their very nature, names of the things, attributes and actions which come less usually or, it may be, very rarely under our notice. Thus in an ordinary book, a novel or story, the foreign elements will amount to from io to 15% of the whole; as the subject becomes more recondite or technical their number will increase; till in a work on chemistry or abstruse mathematics the proportion may be 40%. But after all, it is not the question whence words may have been taken, but how they are used in a language that settles its character. If new words when adopted conform themselves to the manner and usage of the adopting language, it makes absolutely no difference whether they are taken over from some other language, or invented off at the ground. either case they are new words to begin with; in either case also, if they are needed, they will become as thoroughly native, i.e. familiar from childhood to those who use them, as those that possess the longest native pedigree. In this respect English is still the same language it was in the days of Alfred; and, comparing its history with that of other Low German tongues, there is no reason to believe that 2 See extended lists of the foreign words in English in Dr Morris's Historical Outlines of English Accidence, p. 33.
its grammar or structure would have been very different, however different its vocabulary might have been, if the Norman Conquest had never taken place.
A general broad view of the sources of the English vocabulary and of the dates at which the various foreign elements flowed into the language, as well as of the great change produced in it by the Norman Conquest, and consequent influx of French and Latin elements, is given in the accompanying chart. The transverse lines represent centuries, and it will be seen how limited a period after all is occupied by modern English, how long the language had been in the country before the Norman Conquest, and how much of this is prehistoric and without any literary remains. Judging by what has happened during the historic period, great changes may and indeed must have taken place between the first arrival of the Saxons and the days of King Alfred, when literature practically begins. The chart also illustrates the continuity of the main stock of the vocabulary, the body of primary " words of common life," which, notwithstanding numerous losses and more numerous additions, has preserved its corporate identity through all the periods. But the " poetic and rhetorical," as well as the " scientific " terms of Old English have died out, and a new vocabulary of " abstract and general terms " has arisen from French, Latin and Greek, while a still newer " technical, commercial and scientific " vocabulary is composed of words not only from these, but from every civilized and many uncivilized languages.
The preceding sketch has had reference mainly to the grammatical changes which the language has undergone; distinct from, though intimately connected with these (as where the confusion or loss of inflections was a consequence of the weakening of final sounds) are the great phonetic changes which have taken place between the 8th and 19th centuries, and which result in making modern English words very different from their Anglo-Saxon originals, even where no element has been lost, as in words like stone, mine, doom, day, nail, child, bridge, shoot, Anglo-Saxon stan, 'min,' dom, dceg, ncegel, cild, brycg, sceot. The history of English sounds (see Phonetics) has been treated at length by Dr A. J. Ellis and Dr Henry Sweet; and it is only necessary here to indicate the broad facts, which are the following. (I) In an accented closed syllable, original short vowels have remained nearly unchanged; thus the words at, men, bill, God, dust are pronounced now nearly as in Old English, though the last two were more like the Scotch o and North English u respectively, and in most words the short a had a broader sound like the provincial a in man. (2) Long accented vowels and diphthongs have undergone a regular sound shift towards closer and more advanced positions, so that the words ban, hoer, soece or sece, stol (bahn or bawn, her, sok or saik, stole) are now bone, hair, seek, stool; while the two high vowels oo) and i (ee) have become diphthongs, as hits, stir, now house, shire, though the old sound of u remains in the north (hoose), and the original i in the pronunciation sheer, approved by Walker, " as in machine, and shire, and magazine." (3) Short vowels in an open syllable have usually been lengthened, as in na-ma, co fa, now name, cove; but to this there are exceptions, especially in the case of i and ii. (4) Vowels in terminal unaccented syllables have all sunk into short obscure e, and then, if final, disappeared; so oxa, seo, wudu became ox-e, se-e, wud-e, and then ox, see, wood; oxan, lufod, now oxen, loved, lov'd; settan, setton, later setten, sette, sett, now set. (5) The back consonants, c, g, sc, in connexion with front vowels, have often become palatalized to ch, j, sh, as circe, rycg, fist, now church, ridge, fish. A medial or final g has passed through a guttural or palatal continuant to w or y, forming a diphthong or new vowel, as in boga, laga, dreg, heg, drig, now bow, law, day, hay, dry. W and h have disappeared before r and 1, as in write, (w)lisp, (h)ring; h final (=gh) has become k, w or nothing, but has developed the glides u or i before itself, these combining with the preceding vowel to form a diphthong, or merging with it into a simple vowel-sound, as ruh, hoh, boh, dealt, heah, hleah, now rough, hough, bough, dough, high, laugh = ruf, hok, bow, do, hi, laf. R after a vowel has practically disappeared in standard English, or at most become vocalized, or combined with the vowel, as in hear, bar, more, her. These and other changes have taken place gradually, and in accordance with well-known phonetic laws; the details as to time and mode may be studied in special works. It may be mentioned that the total loss of grammatical gender in English, and the almost complete disappearance of cases, are purely phonetic phenomena. Gender (whatever its remote origin) was practically the use of adjectives and pronouns with certain distinctive terminations, in accordance with the genus, genre, gender or kind of nouns to which they were attached; when these distinctive terminations were uniformly levelled to final e, or other weak sounds, and thus ceased to distinguish nouns into kinds, the distinctions into genders or kinds having no other existence disappeared. Thus when Peet Bode hors, pone godan hund, pa godan Mc, became, by phonetic weakening, pe gode hors,) e gode hownd, gode boke, and later still the good horse, the good hound, the good book, the words horse, hound, book were no longer grammatically different kinds of nouns; grammatical gender had ceased to exist. The concord of adjectives has entirely disappeared; the concord of the pronouns is now regulated by rationality and sex, instead of grammatical gender, which has no existence in English. The man who lost his life; the bird which built its nest.
,. "
0
LD ENGLISH
K.
OLD Q`r. 1 _______'
?y
?
'44 111 - 111., ARLV La n E L'hro ufeera, m n <C'
E
00
MIDDLE ENGLISH a
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It
00 MIDDLE ENGLISH
LATI '
LATE MIDDLE ENGL
TUDOR ENGL SH ,'
00 ?
17 T " I? Milron ? ?
00 ODE FN - ENGLI H ?
. ?
Our remarks from the end of the 14th century have been confined to the standard or literary form of English, for of the other dialects from that date (with the exception of the northern 68113 1 15 16 17 18 19 English in Scotland, where it became in a social and literary sense a distinct language), we have little history. We know, however, that they continued to exist as local and popular forms of speech, as well from occasional specimens and from the fact that they exist still as from the statements of writers during the interval. Thus Puttenham in his Arte of English Poesie (1589) says: " Our maker [i.e. poet] therfore at these dayes shall not follow Piers Plowman, nor Gower, nor Lydgate, not yet Chaucer, for their language is now not of use with us: neither shall he take the termes of Northern-men, such as they use in dayly talke, whether they be noble men or gentle men or of their best clarkes, all is a [ =one] matter; nor in effect any speach used beyond the river of Trent, though no man can deny but that theirs is the purer English Saxon at this day, yet it is not so Courtly nor so currant as our Southerne English is, no more is the far Westerne mans speach: ye shall therefore take the usual speach of the Court, and that of London and the shires lying about London within lx myles, and not much above. I say not this but that in every shyre of England there be gentlemen and others that speake but specially write as good Southerne as we of Middlesex or Surrey do, but not the common people of every shire, to whom the gentlemen, and also their learned clarkes do for the most part condescend, but herein we are already ruled by th' English Dictionaries and other bookes written by learned men." - Arber's Reprint, p. 157.
In comparatively modern times there has been a revival of interest in these forms of English, several of which following in the wake of the revival of Lowland Scots in the 18th and 19th centuries, have produced a considerable literature in the form of local poems, tales and " folk-lore." In these respects Cumberland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, the " far north " and " far west " of Puttenham, where the dialect was felt to be so independent of literary English as not to be branded as a mere vulgar corruption of it, stand prominent. More recently the dialects have been investigated philologically, a department in which, as in other departments of English philology, the elder Richard Garnett must be named as a pioneer. The work was carried out zealously by Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte and Dr A. J. Ellis, and more recently by the English Dialect Society, founded by the Rev. Professor Skeat, for the investigation of this branch of philology. The efforts of this society resulted in the compilation and publication of glossaries or word-books, more or less complete and trustworthy, of most of the local dialects, and in the production of grammars dealing with the phonology and grammatical features of a few of these, among which that of the Windhill dialect in Yorkshire, by Professor Joseph Wright, and that of West Somerset, by the late F. T. Elworthy, deserve special mention. From the whole of the glossaries of the Dialect Society, and from all the earlier dialect works of the 18th and 19th centuries, amplified and illustrated by the contributions of local collaborators in nearly every part of the British Isles, Professor Joseph Wright has constructed his English Dialect Dictionary, recording the local words and senses, with indication of their geographical range, their pronunciation, and in most cases with illustrative quotations or phrases. To this he has added an English Dialect Grammar, dealing very fully with the phonology of the dialects, showing the various sounds which now represent each Old English sound, and endeavouring to define the area over which each modern form extends; the accidence is treated more summarily, without going minutely into that of each dialect-group, for which special dialect grammars must be consulted. The work has also a very full and valuable index of every word and form treated.
The researches of Prince L. L. Bonaparte and Dr Ellis were directed specially to the classification and mapping of the existing dialects,' and the relation of these to the dialects of Old and Middle English. They recognized a Northern dialect lying north of a line drawn from Morecambe Bay to the Humber, which, with the kindred Scottish dialects (already investigated and classed), 2 is the direct descendant of early northern English, ' See description and map in Trans. of Philol. Soc., 1875-1876, p. 570.
2 The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland, its Pronunciation, Grammar and Historical Relations, with an Appendix on the present limits of the Gaelic and Lowland Scotch, and the Dialectal Divisions of the Lowland Tongue; and a Linguistical Map of Scotland, by James A. H. Murray (London, 1873).
and a South-western dialect occupying Somerset, Wilts, Dorset, Gloucester and western Hampshire, which, with the Devonian dialect beyond it, are the descendants of early southern English and the still older West-Saxon of Alfred. This dialect must in the 14th century have been spoken everywhere south of Thames; but the influence of London caused its extinction in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, so that already in Puttenham it had become " far western." An East Midland dialect, extending from south Lincolnshire to London, occupies the cradle-land of the standard English speech, and still shows least variation from it. Between and around these typical dialects are ten others, representing the old Midland proper, or dialects between it and the others already mentioned. Thus " north of Trent " the North-western dialect of south Lancashire, Cheshire, Derby and Stafford, with that of Shropshire, represents the early West Midland English, of which several specimens remain; while the North-eastern of Nottingham and north Lincolnshire represents the dialect of the Lay of Havelok. With the North Midland dialect of south-west Yorkshire, these represent forms of speech which to the modern Londoner, as to Puttenham, are still decidedly northern, though actually intermediate between northern proper and midland, and preserving interesting traces of the midland pronouns and verbal inflections. There is an Eastern dialect in the East Anglian counties; a Midland in Leicester and Warwick shires; a Western in Hereford, Worcester and north Gloucestershire, intermediate between south-western and north-western, and representing the dialect of Piers Plowman. Finally, between the east midland and south-western, in the counties of Buckingham, Oxford, Berks, Hants, Surrey and Sussex, there is a dialect which must have once been south-western, but of which the most salient characters have been rubbed off by proximity to London and the East Midland speech. In east Sussex and Kent this South-eastern dialect attains to a more distinctive character. The Kentish form of early Southern English evidently maintained its existence more toughly than that of the counties immediately south of London. It was very distinct in the days of Sir Thomas More; and even, as we see from the dialect attributed to Edgar in Lear, was still strongly marked in the days of Shakespeare. In the south-eastern corner of Ireland, in the baronies of Forth and Bargy, in county Wexford, a very archaic form of English, of which specimens have been preserved, 3 was still spoken in the 18th century. In all probability it dated from the first English invasion. In many parts of Ulster forms of Lowland Scotch dating to the settlement under James I. are still spoken; but the English of Ireland generally seems to represent 16th and 17th century English, as in the pronunciation of tea, wheat (tay, whait), largely affected, of course, by the native Celtic. The subsequent work of the English Dialect Society, and the facts set forth in the English Dialect Dictionary, confirm in a general way the classification of Bonaparte and Ellis; but they bring out strongly the fact that only in a few cases can the boundary between dialects now be determined by precise lines. For every dialect there is a central region, larger or smaller, in which its characteristics are at a maximum; but towards the edges of the area these become mixed and blended with the features of the contiguous dialects, so that it is often impossible to define the point at which the one dialect ends and the other begins. The fact is that the various features of a dialect, whether its distinctive words, characteristic pronunciations or special grammatical features, though they may have the same centre, have not all the same circumference. Some of them extend to a certain distance round the centre; others to a much greater distance. The only approximately accurate way to map the area of any dialect, whether in England, France, Germany or elsewhere, is to take a well-chosen set of its characteristic features - words, senses, sounds or grammatical peculiarities, and draw a line round the area over which each of these extends; between the innermost and outermost of these there will often be a large border district. If the same process be followed with the contiguous dialects, ' A Glossary (with some pieces of Verse) of the Old Dialect of the English Colony of Forth and Bargy, collected by Jacob Poole, edited by W. Barnes, B.D. (London, 1867).
CHRONOLOGICAL NOMENCLATURE.
LITERARY DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEADING DIALECTS.
Divisions.
Subdivisions. Dates.
Northern English. Midland English. Southern English.
500
a
a
cv
d
G
N
600
Cadmon, 660.
(Charter Glosses), 679-770.
(Charter Glosses),692-780.
(Laws of hie, 700).
Beda,
Leiden Riddle.
(CharterGlosses),736-800.
.3
EARLY OLD ENGLISH.
Cynewulf,
Beowulf (?)
(I) a
O
C..7
800
O
(Charte r Glosses), 80 5 -.
Z c z
V Ps., c. 825. "+
Charters, 805-840.
0
y
Charters, 8 3 6 -840. `<
Charter, 847. Lorica Prayer.
Q 7.
?
Psalm 50, c. 860.
..a
a
p a
O.
TYPICAL OLD ENGLISH,
Lorica Glosses. cn
p ::
Alfred, 885.
Judith, 900-910.
or
ANGLO-SAXON
Durham Glosses, 95 0 -975. °
Lindisfarne Gospel Gloss. Rushworth Gloss, St.
Poems in O. E. Chron.,
7 979
'
Matthew, ? 975-1000. B.
Battle of Maldon, 993
1000-
1Elfric,
1000.
Wulfstan, ,016.
0
p'.
O. E. Chron., Parker MS.
ends, 1070.
LATE OLD ENGLISH
and OLD ENGLISH I 100
TRANSITION.
tt
Peterborough Chronicle,
1123-31.
II 0
5'
EARLY MIDDLE ENGLISH. 1200
F
'<,,
R
,Chronicle 1154.
5 7
a Ormulum, 1200.
G
Cotton Homilies, 1160.
Layamon, 1203.
Ancren Riwle, 1220.0
Hatton Gospels, 1170.
- 0
a
Genesiso'Exodus, c. 1250. t ,
Kentish Sermons, 1250.
1250-
n
Procl.of Henrylll., 1258...
0 >,
Z
13
Cr1 Cursor Mundi (?). `-
Harrowing of Hell, 1280.
8. `=
G
Robt. Gloucester, 1300.
W
MIDDLE ENGLISH
N 0 Robt. of Brunne, 1303-30. C
t7
Shoreham, 1320.
W 'C
(typical)
..
n tit
A yenbite, 1340.
W
a
Hampole, 1350. Pearl, Sir Gawayne.
Barbour, 1375. ? N
Q y
w
Wycliffe.
Chaucer, Gower.
co
Trevisa, 1387.
,.a
4
Mandeville (Northern ver-
L ATE MIDDLE ENGLISH
and MIDDLE ENGLISH
8 Wyntoun, 1420. Ision). Lydgate.
w Townley Mysteries.
TRANSITION.
1485 .
.- .,. ...
Henryson, Ig70. Caxton, 1477 -90.
Dunbar, ,Soo-.
Lyndesay. Tyndal, 1525.
y y
Cornishman in A. Boorde, S11 (in Sir. More.)
EARLY MODERN ENGLISH
°
1547 E'
(Tudor English).
" Archbp. Hamilton, 1552.
Homilies, 1 547- 6 3 .
Gammer Gurton, 1575. t7 ' (Edgar in Lear, 1605.)
0 James VI., 1590. Xi
(in Ben Jonson.)
cr --.
j U
8-
Montgomer y, c. 1600.
Shakspere, 1590-1613.
King James's Bible, 161,.
c
. Milton, 1626- 1.
R
Kentish Wooing Song,
1611.
161 I -
T RANSITIONAL MODERN,
or
7T CENTURY ENGLISH
1h .
Sir W. Mure, 1617-57.
YorkshireDialo Dialogue, 1 6^
g 3'
r
Somersetsh. Man's Com-
playnt, c. 1645.
O
1 689'--
Dryden, 1663 - 1700.
Nairne, Kentish Tales,
W }
V)
O
W
Q ...
1
CL RRE NT ENGLIS H. 1800
Allan Ramsay, 1717. Addison, 1717. a
Johnson, 1750.
r ,, C r
? Burn, 179 0. p
o.Coleridge, 1805.
Exmoor Scolding, 1746.
1700.
Dick and 1821.
y
S t 1815. Macaulay, 1825.
o 6 Tennyson, 1830.
t r: Ian Maclaren, Barrie,
Crockett, etc.
Barnes, 1844.
. Elworthy, 1875-88.
.
Chronological Table Of The Periods And Dialects Of The English Language The vertical lines represent the four leading forms of English-Northern, Midland, Southern, and Kentish-and the names occurring down the course of each are those of writers and works in that form of English at the given date. The thickness of the line shows the comparative literary position of this form of speech at the time: thick indicating a literary language; medium, a literary dialect; thin, a popular dialect or patois; a dotted line shows that this period is unrepresented by specimens. The horizontal lines divide the periods; these (after the first two) refer mainly to the Midland English; in inflectional decay the Northern English was at least a century in advance of the Midland, and the Southern nearly as much behind it.
it will be found that some of the lines of each intersect some of the lines of the other, and that the passing of one dialect into another is not effected by the formation of intermediate or blended forms of any one characteristic, but by the overlapping or intersecting of more or fewer of the features of each. Thus a definite border village or district may use io of the 20 features of dialect A and Io of those of B, while a village on the one side has 12 of those of A with 8 of those of B, and one on the other side has 7 of those of A with 13 of those of B. Hence a dialect boundary line can at best indicate the line within which the dialect has, on the whole, more of the features of A than of B or C; and usually no single line can be drawn as a dialect boundary, but that without it there are some features of the same dialect, and within it some features of the contiguous dialects.
Beyond the limits of the British Isles, English is the language of extensive regions, now or formerly colonies. In all these countries the presence of numerous new objects and new conditions of life has led to the supplementing of the vocabulary by the adoption of words from native languages, and special adaptation and extension of the sense of English words. The use of a common literature, however, prevents the overgrowth of these local peculiarities, and also makes them more or less familiar to Englishmen at home. It is only in the older states of the American Union that anything like a local dialect has been produced; and even there many of the so-called Americanisms are quite as much archaic English forms which have been lost or have become dialectal in England as developments of the American soil.
The steps by which English, from being the language of a few thousand invaders along the eastern and southern seaboard of Britain, has been diffused by conquest and colonization over its present area form a subject too large for the limits of this article. It need only be remarked that within the confines of Britain itself the process is not yet complete. Representatives of earlier languages survive in Wales and the Scottish Highlands, though in neither case can the substitution of English be very remote. In Ireland, where English was introduced by conquest much later, Irish is still spoken in patches all over the country; though English is understood, and probably spoken after a fashion, almost everywhere. At opposite extremities of Britain, the Cornish of Cornwall and the Norse dialects of Orkney and Shetland died out very gradually in the course of the 18th century. The Manx, or Celtic of Man, is even now in the last stage of dissolution; and in the Channel Isles the Norman patois of Jersey and Guernsey have largely yielded to English.
The table on p. 599 (a revision of that brought before the Philological Society in Jan. 1876) graphically presents the chronological and dialectal development of English. Various names have been proposed for the different stages; it seems only necessary to add to those in the table the descriptive names of Dr Abbott, who has proposed (How to Parse, p. 298) to call the Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, the " Synthetical or Inflexional Period "; the Old English Transition (Late Anglo-Saxon of Dr Skeat), the " Period of Confusion "; the Early Middle English, " Analytical Period " (1250-1350); the normal Middle English, " National Period" (1350-150o); the Tudor English, " Period of Licence "; and the Modern English, " Period of Settlement." Bibliography.-As the study of English has made immense advances within the last generation, it is only in works recently published that the student will find the subject satisfactorily handled. Among the earlier works treating of the whole subject or parts of it may be mentioned - A History of English Rhythms, by Edwin Guest (London, 1838); the Philological Essays of Richard Garnett (1835-1848), edited by his son (London, 1859); The English Language, by R. G. Latham (5th ed., London, 1862); Origin and History of the English Language, by G. P. Marsh (revised 1885); Lectures on the English Language, by the same (New York and London, 1863); Historische Grammatik der englischen Sprache, by C. F. Koch (Weimar, 1863, &c.); Englische Grammatik, by Eduard Matzner (Berlin, 1860-1865), (an English translation by C. J. Grece, LL.B., London, 1874); The Philology of the English Tongue, by John Earle, M.A. (Oxford, 1866, 5th ed. 1892); Comparative Grammar of the Anglo-Saxon Language, by F. A. March (New York, 1870); Historical Outlines of English Accidence, by the Rev. R. Morris, LL.D. (London, 1873), (new ed. by Kellner); Elementary Lessons in Historical English Grammar, by the same (London, 1874); The Sources of Standard English, by T. L. Kington Oliphant, M. A. (London, 1873); Modern English, by F. Hall (London, 1873); A Shakespearian Grammar, by E. A. Abbott, D.D. (London, 1872); How to Parse, by the same (London, 1875); Early English Pronunciation, &c., by A. J. Ellis (London, 1869); The History of English Sounds, by Henry Sweet (London, 1874, 2nd ed. 1888); as well as many separate papers by various authors in the Transactions of the Philological Society, and the publications of the Early English Text Society.
Among more recent works are: M. Kaluza, Historische Grammatik der englischen Sprache (Berlin, 1890); Professor W. W. Skeat, Principles of English Etymology (Oxford, 1887-1891); Johan Storm, Englische Philologie (Leipzig, 1892-1896); L. Kellner, Historical Outlines of English Syntax (London, 5892); O. F. Emerson, History of the English Language (London and New York, 1894); Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, with special reference to English (London, 1894); Lorenz Morsbach, Mittelenglische Grammatik, part i. (Halle, 1896); Paul, " Geschichte der englischen Sprache," in Grundriss der german. Philologie (Strassburg, 1898); Eduard Sievers, Angelsachsische Grammatik (3rd ed., Halle, 1898); Eng. transl. of same (2nd ed.), by A. S. Cook (Boston, 1887); K. D. Balbring, Altenglisches Elementarbuch (Heidelberg, 1902); Greenough and Kittredge, Words and their Ways in English Speech (London and New York, 1902); Henry Bradley, The Making of English (London, 5904). Numerous contributions to the subject have also been made in Englische Studien (ed. KOlbing, later Hoops; Leipzig, 1877 onward); Anglia (ed. Walker, Fliigel, &c.; Halle, 1878 onward); publications of Mod. Lang. Assoc. of America (J. W. Bright; Baltimore, 1884 onward), and A. M. Elliott, Modern Language Notes (Baltimore, 1886 onward). (J. A. H. M.; H. M. R. M.)


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.Books in this subject area deal with the English language.^ By Jason Kottke • Jan 19, 2007 • infoviz language snowclones English Sentences Without Overt Grammatical Subjects, or .
  • language (kottke.org) 16 January 2010 12:13 UTC www.kottke.org [Source type: General]

^ By Jason Kottke • Oct 25, 2006 • books language quotations Glossary of 1920s English slang.
  • language (kottke.org) 16 January 2010 12:13 UTC www.kottke.org [Source type: General]

^ The book contains 4448 pages and nearly every word in the English language (according to the OED).
  • language (kottke.org) 16 January 2010 12:13 UTC www.kottke.org [Source type: General]

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Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

English  
Pronunciation: /ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ/[1]
Spoken in: Listed in the article
Total speakers: First language: 309[2] – 380 million[3]
Second language: 199[4] – 600 million[5]
Overall: ≈ 1.8 billion[6] 
Ranking: 3 (native speakers)[7][8]
Total: 1 or 2 [9]
Language family: Indo-European
 Germanic
  West Germanic
   Anglo–Frisian
    Anglic
     English 
Writing system: Latin (English variant) 
Official status
Official language in: 53 countries
Template:Country data United Nations
Regulated by: no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1: en
ISO 639-2: eng
ISO 639-3: eng 
Countries where English is a primary language are dark blue; countries where it is an official but not a primary language are light blue. English is also one of the official languages of the European Union.</center>
Template:Infobox Language/IPA notice
.English is a West Germanic language originating in England, and the first language for most people in Australia, Canada, the Commonwealth Caribbean, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (also commonly known as the Anglosphere).^ Well im from New Zealand but now live in Australia we all absolutely LOVE scrubs!!!
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Oddly enough, I first saw you in Garden State - a bit backwards from most I'm sure.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

It is used extensively as a second language and as an official language throughout the world, especially in Commonwealth countries and in many international organisations.
Modern English is sometimes described as the global lingua franca.[10][11]
A working knowledge of English is required in certain fields, professions, and occupations. .As a result over a billion people speak English at least at a basic level (see English language learning and teaching).^ I will speak French now because I have some difficulties as you can see speaking english...sorry!
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

English is one of six official languages of the United Nations.

Contents

History

Main article: History of the English language
English is an Anglo-Frisian language. .Germanic-speaking peoples from northwest Germany (Saxons and Angles) and Jutland (Jutes) invaded what is now known as Eastern England around the fifth century AD. It is a matter of debate whether the Old English language spread by displacement of the original population, or the native Celts gradually adopted the language and culture of a new ruling class, or a combination of both of these processes (see Sub-Roman Britain).^ I doesn't matter whether one is a celebrity and some poor shmoe trying to make it day to day (or finish their dissertation), people are going to speak out of their asses and come up with stupid shit.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ For all the non-french speaking people out there who read this comments: vo means version originale, which means original version ...
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Whatever their origin, these Germanic dialects eventually coalesced to a degree (there remained geographical variation) and formed what is today called Old English. .Old English loosely resembles some coastal dialects in what are now northwest Germany and the Netherlands (i.e., Frisia).^ I will speak French now because I have some difficulties as you can see speaking english...sorry!
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Throughout the history of written Old English, it retained a synthetic structure closer to that of Proto-Indo-European, largely adopting West Saxon scribal conventions, while spoken Old English became increasingly analytic in nature, losing the more complex noun case system, relying more heavily on prepositions and fixed word order to convey meaning. This is evident in the Middle English period, when literature was to an increasing extent recorded with spoken dialectal variation intact, after written Old English lost its status as the literary language of the nobility. It is postulated that the early development of the language was influenced by a Celtic substratum.[12][13] .Later, it was influenced by the related North Germanic language Old Norse, spoken by the Vikings who settled mainly in the north and the east coast down to London, the area known as the Danelaw.^ I don't know if the weather up there is as hot as it is where I live here on the east coast but it helps to cool me down.
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^ Like the other day that old woman at the bus stop, who was following me with her sad eyes and I knew she probably had not spoken to anyone for a few days.
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^ You like couldn't do a fan a favor and since you are on the East coast and all and drop down and wish a girl a happy birthday could you????????????
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The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 profoundly influenced the evolution of the language. For about 300 years after this, the Normans used Anglo-Norman, which was close to Old French, as the language of the court, law and administration. .By the fourteenth century, Anglo-Norman borrowings had contributed roughly 10,000 words to English, of which 75% remain in use.^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
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These include many words pertaining to the legal and administrative fields, but also include common words for food, such as mutton and beef.[14][15] The Norman influence gave rise to what is now referred to as Middle English. .Later, during the English Renaissance, many words were borrowed directly from Latin (giving rise to a number of doublets) and Greek, leaving a parallel vocabulary that persists into modern times.^ This is the first time in a long time that I have been single in the summer, and I likewise have been greatly enjoying delving into the arts and many other summertime delights.
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By the seventeenth century there was a reaction in some circles against so-called inkhorn terms.
During the fifteenth century, Middle English was transformed by the Great Vowel Shift, the spread of a prestigious South Eastern-based dialect in the court, administration and academic life, and the standardising effect of printing. Early Modern English can be traced back to around the Elizabethan period.

Classification and related languages

The English language belongs to the western sub-branch of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages.
The question as to which is the nearest living relative of English is a matter of discussion. Apart from such English-lexified creole languages such as Tok Pisin, Scots (spoken primarily in Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland) is not a Gaelic language, but is part of the English family of languages: both Scots and modern English are descended from Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon. It is Scots' indefinite status as a language or a dialect of English which complicates definitely calling it the closest language to English. The closest relatives to English after Scots are the Frisian languages, which are spoken in the Northern Netherlands and Northwest Germany. .Other less closely related living West Germanic languages include German, Low Saxon, Dutch, and Afrikaans.^ Even though I live on the West Coast and have never experienced the magic of NYC, I can relate to what you said about talking to people about random things.
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The North Germanic languages of Scandinavia are less closely related to English than the West Germanic languages.
.Many French words are also intelligible to an English speaker (though pronunciations are often quite different) because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French, via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest and directly from French in subsequent centuries.^ I will speak French now because I have some difficulties as you can see speaking english...sorry!
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^ First of all I apologize for my poor english if you find many mistakes in my sentences because I'm just a french fan trying to write in english.
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^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
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.As a result, a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French, with some minor spelling differences (word endings, use of old French spellings, etc.^ I will speak French now because I have some difficulties as you can see speaking english...sorry!
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^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
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), as well as occasional divergences in meaning, in so-called "faux amis", or false friends.

Geographical distribution

See also: List of countries by English-speaking population
.Over 309 million people speak English as their first language, as of 2005.^ I am chilean, is the first country in latin american call Chile, I speak spanish, I hope your understand my bad english.
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[16][17] There are some who claim that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.[18]
The countries with the highest populations of native English speakers are, in descending order: United States (215 million),[19] United Kingdom (58 million),[20] Canada (17.7 million),[21] Countries such as Jamaica and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of dialect continuums ranging from an English-based creole to a more standard version of English. .Of those nations where English is spoken as a second language, India has the most such speakers ('Indian English') and linguistics professor David Crystal claims that, combining native and non-native speakers, India now has more people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world.^ I miss the Delacorte on a summer day, sitting in line and talking to people whose lives were far more interesting than mine.
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^ I'm one of those people who's perpetually behind the times in discovering good movies.
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^ But celebrities are so money conscious that our school gives up on asking fun, entertaining people and bring in speakers that put most people to sleep at their own graduation....
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[22] Following India is the People's Republic of China.[23]
Distribution of native English speakers by country (Crystal 1997)
Country Native speakers
1 214,809,000[19]
2 United Kingdom 58,200,000[20]
3 Template:Country data Canada 17,694,830[21]
4  Australia 15,013,965[24]
5 Template:Country data Republic of Ireland 4,200,000+ (Approx)[20]
6 Template:Country data South Africa 3,673,203[25]
7 Template:Country data New Zealand 3,500,000+ (Approx)[26]
8 Template:Country data Singapore 665,087[27]
.English is the primary language in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia (Australian English), the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, Canada (Canadian English), the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey (Guernsey English), Guyana, Ireland (Hiberno-English), Isle of Man (Manx English), Jamaica (Jamaican English), Jersey, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand (New Zealand English), Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the United States (various forms of American English).^ Well im from New Zealand but now live in Australia we all absolutely LOVE scrubs!!!
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^ New Jersey is such a glorious state.
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^ Also curious as to why New Jersey is nicknamed garden state?
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In many other countries, where English is not the most spoken language, it is an official language; these countries include Botswana, Cameroon, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Ghana, Gambia, India, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. .It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa ("South African English").^ I am from South Africa an I just want to say that me and my fellow South Africans love you and your show.
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English is also an important language in several former colonies or current dependent territories of the United Kingdom and the United States, such as in Hong Kong and Mauritius.
English is not an official language in either the United States or the United Kingdom.[28][29] Although the United States federal government has no official languages, English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments.[30]

English as a global language

See also: English in computer science and global language
Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a "global language", the lingua franca of the modern era.[11] While English is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a second language around the world. .Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural sign of "native English speakers", but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow.^ Glad that you aren't, and saddened that it is no longer going to continue after this final season.
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It is, by international treaty, the official language for aerial and maritime communications, as well as one of the official languages of the European Union, the United Nations, and most international athletic organisations, including the International Olympic Committee.
English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union (by 89% of schoolchildren), followed by French (32%), German (18%), and Spanish (8%).[31] In the EU, a large fraction of the population reports being able to converse to some extent in English. .Among non-English speaking countries, a large percentage of the population claimed to be able to converse in English in the Netherlands (87%), Sweden (85%), Denmark (83%), Luxembourg (66%), Finland (60%), Slovenia (56%), Austria (53%), Belgium (52%), and Germany (51%).^ I am chilean, is the first country in latin american call Chile, I speak spanish, I hope your understand my bad english.
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[32] Norway and Iceland also have a large majority of competent English-speakers. In addition, among the younger generations in the aforementioned countries, competence in English approaches 100%.
Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. English is also the most commonly used language in the sciences.[11] .In 1997, the Science Citation Index reported that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries.^ I have had a rough couple of years not only healthwise but overall, and this film spoke to me (even though I am 37 with 2 grown kids and one bitchy, but awesome, teenage daughter).
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^ I am chilean, is the first country in latin american call Chile, I speak spanish, I hope your understand my bad english.
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Dialects and regional varieties

Main article: List of dialects of the English language
The expansion of the British Empire and—since WWII—the primacy of the United States have spread English throughout the globe.[11] Because of that global spread, English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins.
The major varieties of English include, in most cases, several subvarieties, such as Cockney slang within British English; Newfoundland English within Canadian English; and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. .English is a pluricentric language, without a central language authority like France's Académie française; and, although no variety is clearly considered the only standard, there are a number of accents considered to be more prestigious, such as Received Pronunciation in Britain.^ You are my idol,there are only so many people that have a fantastic imaginative sense of humour and mine and my sisters is like yours 1000%.
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^ I like that you used the word "fellow" I've been trying forever hoping that it would become more maintstream and therefore useful in everything language.
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^ I'm really really really upset that there is only going to be 18 more episodes of Scrubs.
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Scots developed — largely independently — from the same origins, but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began, whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from English causing dialectalisation. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute. The pronunciation, grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ, sometimes substantially, from other varieties of English.
.Because of the wide use of English as a second language, English speakers have many different accents, which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language.^ First of all I apologize for my poor english if you find many mistakes in my sentences because I'm just a french fan trying to write in english.
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^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
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For the more distinctive characteristics of regional accents, see Regional accents of English speakers, and for the more distinctive characteristics of regional dialects, see List of dialects of the English language.
.Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history, English loanwords now appear in a great many languages around the world, indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers.^ First of all I apologize for my poor english if you find many mistakes in my sentences because I'm just a french fan trying to write in english.
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^ I get so much satisfaction our of riding my bike around town, listening to my ipod and being completely enveloped in my music and the world that wraps itself around my eyes.
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Several pidgins and creole languages have formed using an English base, such as Jamaican Creole, Nigerian Pidgin, and Tok Pisin. .There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words.^ There are no words to describe how much a good guy you are.
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^ From the very first time (since there have many numerous) that I saw you in Garden State I have been thee biggest fan.
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.Franglais, for example, is used to describe French with a very high English word content; it is found on the Channel Islands.^ I know this is really off the subject of your blog, but one of the french teachers at my high school (her last name is White) used to date you when you were in high school.
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^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
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Another variant, spoken in the border bilingual regions of Québec in Canada, is called FrEnglish.

Constructed varieties of English

  • Basic English is simplified for easy international use. It is used by manufacturers and other international businesses to write manuals and communicate. .Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners.
  • Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America.^ WHO CARES? Used to teach 9th grade English, and R&J was required reading ...
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    .It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words.
  • English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language.
  • Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak, all based on restricted vocabularies, were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas.^ I was only watching for a few min and within that time I heard you use the 'F' word 3 times.
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    ^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
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    There is also a tunnelspeak for use in the Channel Tunnel.
  • English as a lingua franca for Europe and Euro-English are concepts of standardising English for use as a second language in continental Europe.
  • Manually Coded English — a variety of systems have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals, designed primarily for use in deaf education. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries, which are independent and not based on English.
  • E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be.
.Euro-English (also EuroEnglish or Euro-English) terms are English translations of European concepts that are not native to English-speaking countries.^ I am chilean, is the first country in latin american call Chile, I speak spanish, I hope your understand my bad english.
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Because of the United Kingdom's (and even the Republic of Ireland's) involvement in the European Union, the usage focuses on non-British concepts. This kind of Euro-English was parodied when English was "made" one of the constituent languages of Europanto.

Phonology

Main article: English phonology

Vowels

IPA Description word
monophthongs
i/iː Close front unrounded vowel bead
ɪ Near-close near-front unrounded vowel bid
ɛ Open-mid front unrounded vowel bed
æ Near-open front unrounded vowel bad
ɒ Open back rounded vowel box 1
ɔ/ɑ Open-mid back rounded vowel pawed 2
ɑ/ɑː Open back unrounded vowel bra
ʊ Near-close near-back rounded vowel good
u/uː Close back rounded vowel booed
ʌ/ɐ/ɘ Open-mid back unrounded vowel, Near-open central vowel bud
ɝ/ɜː Open-mid central unrounded vowel bird 3
ə Schwa Rosa's 4
ɨ Close central unrounded vowel roses 5
diphthongs
e(ɪ)/eɪ Close-mid front unrounded vowel
Close front unrounded vowel
bayed 6
o(ʊ)/əʊ Close-mid back rounded vowel
Near-close near-back rounded vowel
bode 6
Open front unrounded vowel
Near-close near-front unrounded vowel
cry
Open front unrounded vowel
Near-close near-back rounded vowel
bough
ɔɪ Open-mid back rounded vowel
Close front unrounded vowel
boy
ʊɚ/ʊə Near-close near-back rounded vowel
Schwa
boor 9
ɛɚ/ɛə/eɚ Open-mid front unrounded vowel
Schwa
fair 10
Notes:
It is the vowels that differ most from region to region.
.Where symbols appear in pairs, the first corresponds to American English, General American accent; the second corresponds to British English, Received Pronunciation.^ I am chilean, is the first country in latin american call Chile, I speak spanish, I hope your understand my bad english.
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  1. American English lacks this sound; words with this sound are pronounced with /ɑ/ or /ɔ/.
  2. Many dialects of North American English do not have this vowel. .See Cot-caught merger.
  3. The North American variation of this sound is a rhotic vowel.
  4. Many speakers of North American English do not distinguish between these two unstressed vowels.^ I would love to see a collaboration between the two of you; it would brilliant.
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    ^ After seeing these two Shows, I searched the net about Scrubs and every one of you.
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    ^ I would love to see a collaboration between the two of you; it would be brilliant.
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    For them, roses and Rosa's are pronounced the same, and the symbol usually used is schwa /ə/.
  5. This sound is often transcribed with /i/ or with /ɪ/.
  6. The diphthongs /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ are monophthongal for many General American speakers, as /eː/ and /oː/.
  7. The letter <U> can represent either /u/ or the iotated vowel /ju/. In BRP, if this iotated vowel /ju/ occurs after /t/, /d/, /s/ or /z/, it often triggers palatalization of the preceding consonant, turning it to /ʨ/, /ʥ/, /ɕ/ and /ʑ/ respectively, as in tune, during, sugar, and azure. .In American English, palatalization does not generally happen unless the /ju/ is followed by r, with the result that /(t, d,s, z)jur/ turn to /tʃɚ/, /dʒɚ/, /ʃɚ/ and /ʒɚ/ respectively, as in nature, verdure, sure, and treasure.
  8. Vowel length plays a phonetic role in the majority of English dialects, and is said to be phonemic in a few dialects, such as Australian English and New Zealand English.^ New Zealand is sooo way behind in Scrub episodes...unless you have the power of the Worldwide Web!!
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    In certain dialects of the modern English language, for instance General American, there is allophonic vowel length: vowel phonemes are realized as long vowel allophones before voiced consonant phonemes in the coda of a syllable. Before the Great Vowel Shift, vowel length was phonemically contrastive.
  9. This sound only occurs in non-rhotic accents. In some accents, this sound may be, instead of /ʊə/, /ɔ:/. See pour-poor merger.
  10. This sound only occurs in non-rhotic accents. In some accents, the schwa offglide of /ɛə/ may be dropped, monophthising and lengthening the sound to /ɛ:/.

See also

Consonants

This is the English Consonantal System using symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
  bilabial labio-
dental
dental alveolar post-
alveolar
palatal velar glottal
plosive p  b     t  d     k  ɡ  
nasal m     n     ŋ 1  
flap       ɾ 2        
fricative   f  v θ  ð 3 s  z ʃ  ʒ 4 ç 5 x 6 h
affricate         tʃ  dʒ 4      
approximant       ɹ 4   j    
lateral approximant       l        
  labial-velar
approximant ʍ  w7
  1. The velar nasal [ŋ] is a non-phonemic allophone of /n/ in some northerly British accents, appearing only before /k/ and /g/. In all other dialects it is a separate phoneme, although it only occurs in syllable codas.
  2. The alveolar flap [ɾ] is an allophone of /t/ and /d/ in unstressed syllables in North American English and Australian English.[33] This is the sound of tt or dd in the words latter and ladder, which are homophones for many speakers of North American English. In some accents such as Scottish English and Indian English it replaces /ɹ/. .This is the same sound represented by single r in most varieties of Spanish.
  3. In some dialects, such as Cockney, the interdentals /θ/ and /ð/ are usually merged with /f/ and /v/, and in others, like African American Vernacular English, /ð/ is merged with dental /d/.^ Why don't you see if some other american station will sign the show.
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    ^ One reason being that you're a good on screen kisser just like shia lebouf and some others.
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    ^ Can I just say that and not sound like every other adoring fan who posts a comment on your website?
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    In some Irish varieties, /θ/ and /ð/ become the corresponding dental plosives, which then contrast with the usual alveolar plosives.
  4. The sounds /ʃ/, /ʒ/, and /ɹ/ are labialised in some dialects. Labialisation is never contrastive in initial position and therefore is sometimes not transcribed. Most speakers of General American realize <r> (always rhoticized) as the retroflex approximant /ɻ/, whereas the same is realized in Scottish English, etc. as the alveolar trill.
  5. The voiceless palatal fricative /ç/ is in most accents just an allophone of /h/ before /j/; for instance human /çjuːmən/. However, in some accents (see this), the /j/ is dropped, but the initial consonant is the same.
  6. The voiceless velar fricative /x/ is used only by Scottish or Welsh speakers of English for Scots/Gaelic words such as loch /lɒx/ or by some speakers for loanwords from German and Hebrew like Bach /bax/ or Chanukah /xanuka/. In some dialects such as Scouse (Liverpool) either [x] or the affricate [kx] may be used as an allophone of /k/ in words such as docker [dɒkxə]. Most native speakers have a great deal of trouble pronouncing it correctly when learning a foreign language. .Most speakers use the sounds [k] and [h] instead.
  7. Voiceless w [ʍ] is found in Scottish and Irish English, as well as in some varieties of American, New Zealand, and English English.^ Some lady there said I shoulda gone to New York instead..it was kind of strange.
    • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ Well im from New Zealand but now live in Australia we all absolutely LOVE scrubs!!!
    • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ I would like to get a new one xP Well, anyway, even if this is or not the last season of scrubs, I hope here in Chile we get some new movies of you!
    • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    In most other dialects it is merged with /w/, in some dialects of Scots it is merged with /f/.

Voicing and aspiration

Voicing and aspiration of stop consonants in English depend on dialect and context, but a few general rules can be given:
  • Voiceless plosives and affricates (/ p/, / t/, / k/, and / /) are aspirated when they are word-initial or begin a stressed syllable — compare pin [pʰɪn] and spin [spɪn], crap [kʰɹ̥æp] and scrap [skɹæp]. .
    • In some dialects, aspiration extends to unstressed syllables as well.
    • In other dialects, such as Indo-Pakistani English, all voiceless stops remain unaspirated.
  • Word-initial voiced plosives may be devoiced in some dialects.
  • Word-terminal voiceless plosives may be unreleased or accompanied by a glottal stop in some dialects (e.g.^ Massive fan of scrubs, all the box sets, well stupid english tv doesn't show them in order so you have to get the dvds to make sense of it.
    • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    many varieties of American English) — examples: tap [tʰæp̚], sack [sæk̚].
  • Word-terminal voiced plosives may be devoiced in some dialects (e.g. some varieties of American English) — examples: sad [sæd̥], bag [bæɡ̊]. In other dialects they are fully voiced in final position, but only partially voiced in initial position.

Supra-segmental features

Tone groups

English is an intonation language. .This means that the pitch of the voice is used syntactically, for example, to convey surprise and irony, or to change a statement into a question.^ I mean, if our dogs eat that stuff, and I know they use all the parts of animals these days for all sorts of stuff, what goes into the foods we eat.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Joy could teach Eliot how to be really mean and JD's and Earl's voice overs could bump into each other.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

In English, intonation patterns are on groups of words, which are called tone groups, tone units, intonation groups or sense groups. Tone groups are said on a single breath and, as a consequence, are of limited length, more often being on average five words long or lasting roughly two seconds. For example:
- /duː juː niːd ˈɛnɪˌθɪŋ/ Do you need anything?
- /aɪ dəʊnt | nəʊ/ I don't, no
- /aɪ dəʊnt nəʊ/ I don't know (contracted to, for example, - /aɪ dəʊnəʊ/ or /aɪ dənəʊ/ I dunno in fast or colloquial speech that de-emphasises the pause between don't and know even further)

Characteristics of intonation

English is a strongly stressed language, in that certain syllables, both within words and within phrases, get a relative prominence/loudness during pronunciation while the others do not. The former kind of syllables are said to be accentuated/stressed and the latter are unaccentuated/unstressed. .All good dictionaries of English mark the accentuated syllable(s) by either placing an apostrophe-like ( ˈ ) sign either before (as in IPA, Oxford English Dictionary, or Merriam-Webster dictionaries) or after (as in many other dictionaries) the syllable where the stress accent falls.^ I've become a Scrubs addict like so many others, what a healthy addiction.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ After Garden State I became interested in you as an actor (like so many others) But really, I never realized what an awesome person you were until I stayed up all night and read your blogs.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ I have a soft place in my heart for you and if all Jewish boys were like you, maybe I would have married a nice Jewish boy like my mom wanted.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Hence in a sentence, each tone group can be subdivided into syllables, which can either be stressed (strong) or unstressed (weak). The stressed syllable is called the nuclear syllable. For example:
That | was | the | best | thing | you | could | have | done!
.Here, all syllables are unstressed, except the syllables/words best and done, which are stressed.^ All the best from here in San Diego.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Hey there, I'm a first-timer here, and it's all pretty surreal to be reading those words and knowing YOU actually wrote them, and not someone pretending to be you.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ I don't know you at all, but I think you're probably a nice guy who can best let loose through the written word.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Best is stressed harder and, therefore, is the nuclear syllable.
The nuclear syllable carries the main point the speaker wishes to make. For example:
John hadn't stolen that money. (... Someone else had.)
John hadn't stolen that money. (... You said he had. or ... Not at that time, but later he did.)
John hadn't stolen that money. (... He acquired the money by some other means.)
John hadn't stolen that money. (... He had stolen some other money.)
John hadn't stolen that money. (... He stole something else.)
Also
I didn't tell her that. (... Someone else told her.)
I didn't tell her that. (... You said I did. or ... But now I will!)
I didn't tell her that. (... I didn't say it; she could have inferred it, etc.)
I didn't tell her that. (... I told someone else.)
I didn't tell her that. (... I told her something else.)
This can also be used to express emotion:
Oh really? (...I didn't know that)
Oh really? (...I disbelieve you)
.The nuclear syllable is spoken more loudly than the others and has a characteristic change of pitch.^ Someday I really hope that I get to meet you, because you seem like you're more down to earth than other celebrities.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The changes of pitch most commonly encountered in English are the rising pitch and the falling pitch, although the fall-rising pitch and/or the rise-falling pitch are sometimes used. .In this opposition between falling and rising pitch, which plays a larger role in English than in most other languages, falling pitch conveys certainty and rising pitch uncertainty.^ It is syndicated on about 3 different channels that all fall perfectly one after another on the weeknights, so between all of the other goob and bad (mostly bad...
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

This can have a crucial impact on meaning, specifically in relation to polarity, the positive–negative opposition; thus, falling pitch means "polarity known", while rising pitch means "polarity unknown". This underlies the rising pitch of yes/no questions. For example:
When do you want to be paid?
Now? (Rising pitch. In this case, it denotes a question: "Can I be paid now?" or "Do you desire to be paid now?")
Now. (Falling pitch. In this case, it denotes a statement: "I choose to be paid now.")

Grammar

Main article: English grammar
English grammar has minimal inflection compared with most other Indo-European languages. For example, Modern English, unlike Modern German or Dutch and the Romance languages, lacks grammatical gender and adjectival agreement. Case marking has almost disappeared from the language and mainly survives in pronouns. The patterning of strong (e.g. speak/spoke/spoken) versus weak verbs inherited from its Germanic origins has declined in importance in modern English, and the remnants of inflection (such as plural marking) have become more regular.
.At the same time, the language has become more analytic, and has developed features such as modal verbs and word order as rich resources for conveying meaning.^ I like that you used the word "fellow" I've been trying forever hoping that it would become more maintstream and therefore useful in everything language.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Auxiliary verbs mark constructions such as questions, negative polarity, the passive voice and progressive tenses.

Vocabulary

The English vocabulary has changed considerably over the centuries.[34]
.Germanic words (generally words of Old English or to a lesser extent Norse origin) which include all the basics such as pronouns (I, my, you, it) and conjunctions (and, or, but) tend to be shorter than the Latinate words of English, and more common in ordinary speech.^ If my english suck you have to deal with it.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ My family asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday, I said all of Scrubs on DVD. :) Although I'd gladly take you in it's place.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Sorry for a maybe bad English Love, Yvonne (you`re such a good one!!
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The longer Latinate words are often regarded as more elegant or educated. .However, the excessive or superfluous use of Latinate words is considered at times to be either pretentious (as in the stereotypical policeman's talk of "apprehending the suspect") or an attempt to obfuscate an issue.^ I was only watching for a few min and within that time I heard you use the 'F' word 3 times.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" is critical of this, as well as other perceived abuses of the language.
An English speaker is in many cases able to choose between Germanic and Latinate synonyms: come or arrive; sight or vision; freedom or liberty. In some cases there is a choice between a Germanic derived word (oversee), a Latin derived word (supervise), and a French word derived from the same Latin word (survey). The richness of the language arises from the variety of different meanings and nuances such synonyms harbour, enabling the speaker to express fine variations or shades of thought. Familiarity with the etymology of groups of synonyms can give English speakers greater control over their linguistic register. See: List of Germanic and Latinate equivalents.
An exception to this and a peculiarity perhaps unique to English is that the nouns for meats are commonly different from, and unrelated to, those for the animals from which they are produced, the animal commonly having a Germanic name and the meat having a French-derived one. Examples include: deer and venison; cow and beef; swine/pig and pork, or sheep and mutton. This is assumed to be a result of the aftermath of the Norman invasion, where a French-speaking elite were the consumers of the meat, produced by English-speaking lower classes.
In everyday speech, the majority of words will normally be Germanic. If a speaker wishes to make a forceful point in an argument in a very blunt way, Germanic words will usually be chosen. .A majority of Latinate words (or at least a majority of content words) will normally be used in more formal speech and writing, such as a courtroom or an encyclopedia article.^ Thanks for being a genius and writing such inspiring (yes inspiring, I went there) words.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ So If there might be something strange and / or I am using the wrong words, feel free to write me an email and just ask what I want to express!
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ I like that you used the word "fellow" I've been trying forever hoping that it would become more maintstream and therefore useful in everything language.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

However, there are other Latinate words that are used normally in everyday speech and do not sound formal; these are mainly words for concepts that no longer have Germanic words, and are generally assimilated better and in many cases do not appear Latinate. For instance, the words mountain, valley, river, aunt, uncle, move, use, push and stay are all Latinate.
English easily accepts technical terms into common usage and often imports new words and phrases. Examples of this phenomenon include: cookie, Internet and URL (technical terms), as well as genre, über, lingua franca and amigo (imported words/phrases from French, German, modern Latin, and Spanish, respectively). In addition, slang often provides new meanings for old words and phrases. In fact, this fluidity is so pronounced that a distinction often needs to be made between formal forms of English and contemporary usage. See also: sociolinguistics.

Number of words in English

English has an extraordinarily rich vocabulary and willingness to absorb new words. As the General Explanations at the beginning of the Oxford English Dictionary states:
The Vocabulary of a widely diffused and highly cultivated living language is not a fixed quantity circumscribed by definite limits... there is absolutely no defining line in any direction: the circle of the English language has a well-defined centre but no discernible circumference.

The vocabulary of English is undoubtedly vast, but assigning a specific number to its size is more a matter of definition than of calculation. Unlike other languages, there is no Academy to define officially accepted words. Neologisms are coined regularly in medicine, science and technology and other fields, and new slang is constantly developed. Some of these new words enter wide usage; others remain restricted to small circles. .Foreign words used in immigrant communities often make their way into wider English usage.^ Good Morning or so Zach, you may excuse my English and even the way I like to express myself, because I might using the wrong words.
  • : : : ZACHBRAFF : : : - Hi there. 18 January 2010 6:33 UTC www.zachbraff.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Archaic, dialectal, and regional words might or might not be widely considered as "English".
The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (OED2) includes over 600,000 definitions, following a rather inclusive policy:
{{cquote|It embraces not only the standard language of literature and conversation, whether current at the moment, or obsolete, or archaic, but also the main technical vocabulary, and a large measure of dialectal usage and slang (Supplement to the OED, 1933).Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Word origins

Influences in English vocabulary
Main article: Lists of English words of international origin
One of the consequences of the French influence is that the vocabulary of English is, to a certain extent, divided between those words which are Germanic (mostly Old English) and those which are "Latinate" (Latin-derived, either directly from Norman French or other Romance languages).
Numerous sets of statistics have been proposed to demonstrate the various origins of English vocabulary. None, as yet, are considered definitive by a majority of linguists.
A computerised survey of about 80,000 words in the old Shorter Oxford Dictionary (3rd ed.) was published in Ordered Profusion by Thomas Finkenstaedt and Dieter Wolff (1973)[35] that estimated the origin of English words as follows:
A survey by Joseph M. Williams in Origins of the English Language of 10,000 words taken from several thousand business letters gave this set of statistics:[36]
  • French (langue d'oïl), 41%
  • "Native" English, 33%
  • Latin, 15%
  • Danish, 2%
  • Dutch, 1%
  • Other, 10%
However, 83% of the 1,000 most-common English words are Anglo-Saxon in origin.[37]

Dutch origins

Main article: List of English words of Dutch origin
Words describing the navy, types of ships, and other objects or activities on the water are often from Dutch origin. Yacht (jacht) and cruiser (kruiser) are examples.

French origins

Main article: List of French phrases used by English speakers
There are many words of French origin in English, such as competition, art, table, publicity, police, role, routine, machine, force, and many others that have been and are being anglicised; they are now pronounced according to English rules of phonology, rather than French. A large portion of English vocabulary is of French or Oïl language origin, most derived from, or transmitted via, the Anglo-Norman spoken by the upper classes in England for several hundred years after the Norman Conquest.

Writing system

Main articles: English alphabet and English orthography
English has been written using the Latin alphabet since around the ninth century. (Before that, Old English had been written using the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc.) The spelling system, or orthography, is multilayered, with elements of French, Latin and Greek spelling on top of the native Germanic system; it has grown to vary significantly from the phonology of the language. The spelling of words often diverges considerably from how they are spoken. See English orthography.

Basic sound-letter correspondence

See also: hard and soft c and hard and soft g
Only the consonant letters are pronounced in a relatively regular way:
IPA Alphabetic representation Dialect-specific
p p
b b
t t, th (rarely) thyme, Thames th thing (African-American, New York)
d d th that (African-American, New York)
k c (+ a, o, u, consonants), k, ck, ch, qu (rarely) conquer, kh (in foreign words)
g g, gh, gu (+ a, e, i), gue (final position)
m m
n n
ŋ n (before g or k), ng
f f, ph, gh (final, infrequent) laugh, rough th thing (many forms of English used in England)
v v th with (Cockney, Estuary English)
θ th thick, think, through
ð th that, this, the
s s, c (+ e, i, y), sc (+ e, i, y), ç (façade)
z z, s (finally or occasionally medially), ss (rarely) possess, dessert, word-initial x xylophone
ʃImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif sh, sch, ti (before vowel) portion, ci/ce (before vowel) suspicion, ocean; si/ssi (before vowel) tension, mission; ch (esp. in words of French origin); rarely s/ss before u sugar, issue; chsi in fuchsia only
ʒImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif medial si (before vowel) division, medial s (before "ur") pleasure, zh (in foreign words), z before u azure, g (in words of French origin) (+e, i, y) genre
x kh, ch, h (in foreign words) occasionally ch loch (Scottish English, Welsh English)
h h (syllable-initially, otherwise silent)
Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ch, tch, t before u future, culture t (+ u, ue, eu) tune, Tuesday, Teutonic (most dialects - see yod coalescence)
Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif j, g (+ e, i, y), dg (+ e, i, consonant) badge, judg(e)ment d (+ u, ue, ew) dune, due, dew (most dialects - another example of yod coalescence)
ɹImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif r, wr (initial) wrangle
j y (initially or surrounded by vowels)
l l
wImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif w
ʍImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif wh (pronounced hw) Scottish and Irish English, as well as some varieties of American, New Zealand, and English English

Written accents

Main article: English words with diacritics
Unlike most other Germanic languages, English has almost no diacritics, except in foreign loanwords (like the acute accent in café) and in the uncommon use of a diaeresis mark (often in formal writing) to indicate that two vowels are pronounced separately, rather than as one sound (e.g. naïve, Zoë). And in most cases it is acceptable to leave out the marks, especially in digital communications where the QWERTY keyboard lacks any marked letters.

Formal written English

Main article: Formal written English
A version of the language almost universally agreed upon by educated English speakers around the world is called formal written English. It takes virtually the same form no matter where in the English-speaking world it is written. In spoken English, by contrast, there are a vast number of differences between dialects, accents, and varieties of slang, colloquial and regional expressions. In spite of this, local variations in the formal written version of the language are quite limited, being restricted largely to the spelling differences between British and American English.

Basic and simplified versions

To make English easier to read, there are some simplified versions of the language. One basic version is named Basic English, a constructed language with a small number of words created by Charles Kay Ogden and described in his book Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar (1930). The language is based on a simplified version of English. Ogden said that it would take seven years to learn English, seven months for Esperanto, and seven weeks for Basic English, comparable with Ido. Thus Basic English is used by companies who need to make complex books for international use, and by language schools that need to give people some knowledge of English in a short time.
Ogden did not put any words into Basic English that could be said with a few other words and he worked to make the words work for speakers of any other language. He put his set of words through a large number of tests and adjustments. He also made the grammar simpler, but tried to keep the grammar normal for English users.
The concept gained its greatest publicity just after the Second World War as a tool for world peace. Although it was not built into a program, similar simplifications were devised for various international uses.
Another version, Simplified English, exists, which is a controlled language originally developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals. It offers a carefully limited and standardised subset of English. Simplified English has a lexicon of approved words and those words can only be used in certain ways. For example, the word close can be used in the phrase "Close the door" but not "do not go close to the landing gear".

Notes

  1. ^ "English, a. and n." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 6 September 2007 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50075365
  2. ^ Ethnologue (1984 estimate)
  3. ^ The Triumph of English, The Economist, Dec. 20th, 2001
  4. ^ Ethnologue (1999 estimate)
  5. ^ 20,000 Teaching Jobs (English). Oxford Seminars. Retrieved on 2007-02-18.
  6. ^ Lecture 7: World-Wide English. EHistLing. Retrieved on 2007-03-26.
  7. ^ Ethnologue, 1999
  8. ^ CIA World Factbook, Field Listing - Languages (World).
  9. ^ Languages of the World (Charts), Comrie (1998), Weber (1997), and the Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) 1999 Ethnologue Survey. Available at The World's Most Widely Spoken Languages
  10. ^ Global English: gift or curse?. Retrieved on 2005-04-04.
  11. ^ a b c d {{cite web |url=http://www.britishcouncil.org/de/learning-elt-future.pdf |title=The Future of English? |accessdate=2007-04-15 |date=1997 |author=David Graddol
  12. ^ Venneman, Theo. "English, a Germanic dialect?". Retrieved on 2006-12-09. 
  13. ^ "What was spoken Old English like?". Retrieved on 2006-12-09. 
  14. ^ "mutton, n." The Oxford English Dictionary. Second ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 6 September 2007.
  15. ^ "beef, n." The Oxford English Dictionary. Second ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 6 September 2007 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50019353
  16. ^ {{cite web|url=http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=eng|title=Ethnologue report for language code:eng|publisher=Ethnologue
  17. ^ 20,000 Teaching
  18. ^ Not the Queen's English, Newsweek International, March 7 edition, 2007.
  19. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2003, Section 1 Population (English) (pdf) 59 pages. U.S. Census Bureau. Table 47 gives the figure of 214,809,000 for those five years old and over who speak exclusively English at home. Based on the American Community Survey, these results exclude those living communally (such as college dormitories, institutions, and group homes), and by definition exclude native English speakers who speak more than one language at home.
  20. ^ a b c The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, Second Edition, Crystal, David; Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, [1995 (2003-08-03).]
  21. ^ a b Mother Tongue, 2001 Counts for Both Sexes, for Canada, Provinces and Territories - 20% Sample Data, Census 2001, Statistics Canada. No figure is given for the number of native speakers, but it would be somewhere between the number of people who spoke English only (3,008,058) and the total number of English speakers (3,673,623), if one ignores the 197,187 people who did not provide a usable answer.
  22. ^ Subcontinent Raises Its Voice, Crystal, David; Guardian Weekly: Friday November 19, 2004.
  23. ^ Yong Zhao; Keith P. Campbell (1995). "English in China". World Englishes 14 (3): 377–390. Hong Kong contributes an additional 2.5 million speakers (1996 by-census]).
  24. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Australia_speakers
  25. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SA_speakers
  26. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NZ_speakers
  27. ^ 2000 Census. Native speakers aged 5 or more
  28. ^ Languages Spoken in the U.S., National Virtual Translation Center, 2006.
  29. ^ U.S. English Foundation, Official Language Research -- United Kingdom.
  30. ^ U.S. ENGLISH,Inc
  31. ^ The Official EU languages
  32. ^ European Union
  33. ^ Cox, Felicity (2006). "Australian English Pronunciation into the 21st century". Prospect 21: 3–21. Retrieved on 2007-07-22. 
  34. ^ For the processes and triggers of English vocabulary changes cf. English and General Historical Lexicology (by Joachim Grzega and Marion Schöner)
  35. ^ Finkenstaedt, Thomas; Dieter Wolff (1973). Ordered profusion; studies in dictionaries and the English lexicon. C. Winter. ISBN 3-533-02253-6. 
  36. ^ Joseph M. Willams, Origins of the English Language at Amazon.com
  37. ^ Old English Online

References

  • Baugh, Albert C.; Thomas Cable (2002). A history of the English language, 5th ed., Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28099-0. 
  • Bragg, Melvyn (2004). The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language. Arcade Publishing. ISBN 1-55970-710-0. 
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo (2006). The Classics of Style: The Fundamentals of Language Style from Our American Craftsmen, 1st ed., The American Academic Press. ISBN 0-9787282-0-3. 
  • Crystal, David (1997). English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53032-6. 
  • Crystal, David (2004). The Stories of English. Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9752-4. 
  • Crystal, David (2003). The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53033-4. 
  • Halliday, MAK (1994). An introduction to functional grammar, 2nd ed., London: Edward Arnold. ISBN 0-340-55782-6. 
  • Hayford, Harrison; Howard P. Vincent (1954). Reader and Writer. Houghton Mifflin Company.  [1]
  • McArthur, T. (ed.) (1992). The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-214183-X. 
  • Robinson, Orrin (1992). Old English and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-8047-2221-8. 

See also

External links

At Wikiversity, you can learn about:
Topic:English Language
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Dictionaries

English language edition of Wiktionary, the free dictionary/thesaurus
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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at English language. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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This article uses material from the "English language" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 01, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on English language, which are similar to those in the above article.








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