Transformation of English Language: From Ancient England to the Modern one
Guest post written by Dominic Lester on July 31, 2017
The last reported population of the England was 53.01 million. However, there are 1.5 billion speakers of the English language right now in the world. This is the impact of the English language in all over the world. The English language also has the honors like the language of the air, which means a pilot regardless of his or her origin, should know English and has to communicate in the English on the radio. If I start listing the facts and honors of the English language, the length of an article would not be enough. That is why we will stick to our main topic of this article and is going to discuss the transformation of the English language from the ancient England to the modern one in the next lines.
From 450 to 1100 AD:
Very few people know that the English language is the heritage that the Germanic tribes from the era of 450 AD brought with them when they invaded the medieval England. These invading Germanic tribes were also used to speaking similar kind of languages which through the course of the time become the old English in 1100 AD. That old English was so much sufficient of transformation that we still can find its roots in the modern English words like to be, strong and water.
The Germanic tribes that invaded the England were Angles, Saxon and Jutes. However, the English was most closely related to the Frisian languages. That is why the English and Frisian form the Anglo-Frisian group in the West Germanic. This was the root of the English language that further transformed in next 1,400 years.
From 1100 to 1500 AD:
Just like the West Germanic tribes came to England with their languages, the France in 1066 also came to England with the gift of language. In the 1066 William, the conqueror of France invaded the England and conquered it. Now those invaders are called as the Normans who brought a kind of French language with them, which later became the official language of the Royal Court of England. Now there were two languages were start hearing in the England. One is the old English from the West Germanic tribes which were used to be spoken by the lower class of England. The second language which French came with in England became the language of the ruling and business class of England. However, due to the struggle of England working and lower class, in the 14th century the old English finally becomes the dominant language in England, but due to the oppression of the French people, many French words added into the old English which transform into the Middle English.
Very few people know that the J. R. R. Tolkien was also one of the authors who used the Middle English in his novels and books. He also used many major Middle English sentences and words in his historical book the Hobbit and an unexpected journey. Moreover, in the Middle English period, the authors used to use the regional dialects in their writing, which also become their dialect traits.
From 1500 to 1800 AD:
Despite many invasions in the England and by the England around the world, the English as a language kept changing and transforming into a much better pace. Towards the end of the Middle English era which is 1500 AD, a sudden change in the pronunciation of the words due to the great vowel shift. The vowels start getting the pronounced shorter and shorter that keep changing the sound and pronunciations of different words changed. Because England was busy in invading different countries in that era, they also start getting connected with various people by using the form of English which belonged to the end of the middle and the start of the early modern English.
The best thing that happened to the English in that era was the invention of the printing. This invention helped England a lot to promote their language all over the world. Moreover, the English also starts considering to be the language of the printing and all the books of that time start getting printed in the early English language. The more printing process gets advanced; the books become cheaper and more people started to learn to read the English language. Due to the printing, the spellings of the English words and the grammar become the standard for many publishing houses. Moreover, the dialect of the London also become standardized in the printing of this era because most of the publishing house was situated in the London.
In the year 1604, the English as a language achieved its biggest milestone because in this year the first dictionary of the English language got published in London.
From 1800 to Present:
We all know that this is the era of the modern English. However, this is also the slowest era of the transformation of the English language. There are only two major differences in the early modern English and today’s modern English which is also called as the late modern English. One major difference happened in the era of the industrial and technological revolution which created thousands of new words in the English language. This is the era from which most of our vocabulary of modern English comes from. These words were not created by any government or any council, but by the authors and other English language experts. There were more authors and writers in that era as compared to any other era due to the printing facility. It is said that alone Shakespeare created 1700 English words. Now consider how many words would the writers of the past 1800 era would have created.
The second major difference came in late modern English with the dominance of the British Empire on the earth. On one side where the British Empire was dominant on other nations of the earth, the English as a language got dominated by other languages of the world. That is why now you can find many English words which you will find similar in different words of languages too.
The Dominic Lester is a Master’s degree holder in the University of the Westminster. He is a professional blogger and article writer who loves to write on different niches, especially the English as a language. He also provides his writing services to the academic writing companies which give essay help to those students who struggle with writing their own assignments.