History of the English language
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History of the English language

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Basic power point for ESO students

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  • 1. HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
    • Do languages change and evolve?
    • 2. Where does the ENGLISH we speak today come from?
  • The answer lies in the History of the British Isles
    THE CELTS
    The Celts settled in England more than 2500 years ago.
    First known languages: the celtic ones: Welsh and Scots-Gaelic.
    Some Celtic words survive today (whisky “water of life”)
  • 3. THE ROMANS
    55 BC: Roman Invasion.
    The Romans spoke Latin.
    Latin names to places: any place name containing “chester” comes from the Roman word for “camp.” Can you think of any??
  • 4. OLD ENGLISH (450 – 1100 AD)
    5th century AD; three Germanic tribes invaded Britain, the Angles, the Jutes and the Saxons.
    The invaders spoke languages of Germanic origin
    Similarity between many English and German words: the numbers (seven/sieben, eight/acht,nine/neun, ten/zehn) or the pronouns (mine//mein, me/mich).
    Half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots: be, strong, water
  • 5. OLD ENGLISH (cont.)
    But old English did not sound or look like English today. Native English speakers now would have great difficulty understanding Old English!
    Beowulf (anonymous)
  • 6. MIDDLE ENGLISH (1100 – 1500 )
    1066: Battle of Hastings. The Normands, led by William the Conqueror, invaded Britain.
    They spoke a kind of French.
    More than 10,000 French words came into English; beef/bœuf, veal/veau, pork/ porcliberty/liberté)
  • 7. MIDDLE ENGLISH (cont.)
    This was the language of the great poet Geoffrey Chaucer, (1340 – 1400) but it would still be difficult for native English speakers to understand today!)
    The Canterbury Tales, G. Chaucer.
  • 8. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH (1500– 1800)
    1476; William Caxton introduced the printing press in London.
    Many more books could be published.
    Books became cheaper
    More people learned to read.
    English needed to be written in a standard way.
    Spelling and grammar became fixed.
    1604 First English dictionary.
  • 9. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH (cont.)
    William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) is the most famous writer from this period. Many people call him “”the father of modern English” because he invented many new words and took many others that were used only in spoken English.
    Hamlet, W. Shakespeare
  • 10. MODERN ENGLISH (1800– present)
    Many more languages got introduced into English due to:
    The industrial revolution.
    The expansion of the British Empire.
    Technology.
  • 11. some VARIETIES OF ENGLISH today
    British English
    chips
    colour
    garden
    autumn
    American English
    truck
    fries
    color
    yard
    fall
    lorry