English is the world’s most widespread language, and, with an estimated over 2 billion people communicating in English, it has become a global lingua franca. Modern English is a West Germanic language with many influences from Scandinavian and French languages. It has a well-documented history and an interesting evolution from Old English to the standard modern version.
The Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians settled in Britain around the fifth century. The merging of their dialects transformed into Old English. The oldest known English poem, “Caedmon's Hymn,” dates from the seventh century. Of the numerous dialects, the West Saxon dialect became dominant. Viking and Norman invasions played a considerable role in later developments in English.
The Viking invasion influenced Old English in breaking the case system. In 1066, William the Conqueror led the Norman invasion that established a new ruling class. The transition to Middle English simultaneously occurred, and many French words were introduced. English become the primary language in Britain in the 14th century, as evidenced in the work of the poet Chaucer.
The era of Early Modern English began in the 16th century with a distinct change in pronunciation known as Great Vowel Shift. With the advent of printing, English dominated the world of literature, in particular, in the London dialect. In 1604, the first English dictionary was published. The Late Modern English era started around 1800. The British Empire spread the language globally, and modern pop culture propagates its continuing influence.
A non-English speaker should expect to learn English in about 500 hours.
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Words or phrases used in the English language derived from French are frequently seen as more formal whereas words derived from Old English are regarded as more casual.
Unlike Modern English, Old English had terms for three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.
Well-known poetry and novels dominate English literature. This tradition began with four influential texts of Old English literature dating from the late 10th and early 11th centuries.
Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
Author and journalist
A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.
Art critic and author
Not all those who wander are lost.
Writer, poet and academic