English (language)

  • About 380 million people use English as their first language and approximately the same number of people uses it as their second language.
  • English is an official language in almost 60states, the most commonly spoken language in the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or Canada.
  • English is the third most spoken native language in the world (after Mandarin and Spanish).
  • English prevails in science, medicine and technology, IT, business, air and sea travel, music or film industry.
  1. History of English
  2. English as an Indo – European language
  3. Dialect, Varieties, RP, slang
  4. British x American English
  5. Studying foreign language

 

  1. History of English
  • The Celts (6th cent. BC) can be considered as the original inhabitants
  • Varieties of Celtic language can be found in Welsh, Scottish and Irish Gaelic.
  • Later the Celts were driven out by the Romans (55 BC) who introduced Latin.

 

  1. Old English (5th cent. – 11th cent. AD)
  • In the 5th century, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes started to invade England.
  • They brought inflected Germanic language; it was different from Modern English; had many endings and free word order.
  • Many everyday expressions have remained from that time, most words have similar equivalents in German: water, father, house, work, have.
  • The Scandinavians influenced English in the 8th century and introduced words like sky, skin, they, their, egg, skull, trust, leg, window.
  • The best-known written work from this period is Beowulf.
  • The Old English period ended with the Norman Conquest in 1066.

 

  1. Middle English (11th – 15th century)
  • In 1066 William the Conqueror invaded England and defeated the Saxon King Harold at the battle of Hastings.
  • The Normans introduced French and it began to be spoken by the upper-class.
  • Ordinary people kept on speaking Old English.
  • That explains the existence of two different expressions for one thing: pig – pork, cow – beef, sheep – mutton.
  • Expressions for animals come from English because it was language of common people. They kept cattle but they couldn’t afford them.
  • Expressions for type of meat come from French, because it was language of upper – class. They could afford the meat.
  • French was the language of the government, law and literature.
  • Latin was the language of the church.
  • English was the language of common people.
  • English was changing into a language with a strict word order (subject – verb – object), thousands of new (mainly French) words enriched the English vocabulary.
  • The best-known writer from this period is Geoffrey Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales.
  • In 1476 William Caxton introduced a printing press to England.
  • Until this time, people had to write book yourselves.
  • Caxton contributed a lot to the spreading of the English language – he translated a lot of works into English and almost all of the books he printed were in English.
  • In 1348 –John Wycliffe translated Bible in English.
  • In 1450 – discovered of printing press.

 

  1. Early Modern English (15th – 17th century), Modern English (18th century – present)
  • It is the time of Shakespeare who invented a large number of new words, such as cold-blooded, fashionable or uncomfortable.
  • In 1755 Samuel Johnson produced A Dictionary of the English Language – an English-English dictionary which contained explanations of almost 43 000 words.

 

  • Nowadays, English it continues to be a living and growing language.

 

  1. English as an Indo – European language
  • English belong to the Indo – European language, which is divided into smaller groups like the Germanic, the Slavic, and the Celtic.
  • English is Germanic.

 

  1. Varieties, accents, slang, dialects
  • English has many varieties – Australian, Canadian, American, and Indian.
  • SE – Standard English or the Queen’s English speakers are expected to use the correct spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
  • There are also dialects – varieties of language that differ in pronunciation, grammar or vocabulary from each other.
  • Accents describe only pronunciation, so an Englishman may speak SE, but with regional accent.
  • The Standard English accent is called RP – Received Pronunciation. Surveys suggest that only 2-3% of the UK population use RP.
  • For Scottish accent is characteristic it’s rolling “r”.
  • Irishman is easy to detect by an American – sounding accent and pronunciation of “th” as “t”.
  • Slang – it contains special vocabulary and it’s used by special group of people (thieves).
  • The Cockney Rhyming Slang is a coded rhyming language invented by Cockneys in 19th century in order to they could speak in front of the Police without being understand. It uses phrases that rhymes with a certain world which you want to say.
  • I fell down apples and pears = stairs.
  • A lost my dog and bone = phone.

 

  1. British x American English
  • The American English tends to simplify grammar and spelling.
  • They also differ in vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Differences in vocabulary
  • Secondary school in B x high school in A
  • Underground x subway
  • Differences in grammar
  • In England they say “I’ve just seen her” but in America say only “I just saw her”.
  • Or “I haven’t got much time” in English language, in American language “I don’t have much time”.
  • Next differences are in spelling
  • Colour x color
  • Travelled x travelled
  • They aren’t the same in pronunciation
  • (siti) x (sidi)
  • (body) x (bady)

 

  1. Studying foreign language
  • Learning foreign language is really important.
  • It’s indispensable for communication abroad.
  • I think, that nowadays foreign language it’s also very useful when you try find a job.

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