The origins of the English Language go back to 430 AD when a band of tribes (each with a different Germanic Language) cohabitated in Britain.
These inhabitants started colonizing different parts of the land, leading to the domination of Anglo Saxons.
As a result of this dominancy, a language known as "Englisc" (now commonly called the "Old English") emerged.
Although it's quite hard to know the exact date of birth of the language, the first distinctive qualities of English appeared in four dialects: Mercian, Kentish, Northumbrian, and West Saxon.
And even though the majority of the Old English has now died out, some words remain to form part of Modern English.
Want to know more about the colorful English Language history? Read our quick recap of the evolution of the now global lingua franca.
And if you're looking for interactive English lessons for adults, then choose Superprof!
English Language And The Early Era
The first documented English discourse reportedly took place in 1010 by an Oxfordshire abbot, a two-way communique between a student and master.
Shortly after, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was written to list all known historical events/developments in chronological order.
It wasn't until the 12th century that people began translating existing Latin sermons to English with a modern rhythm and pattern.
And by the 1300s, newer literary pieces began emerging, such as "The Forme of Cury" and the medieval encyclopedia.
By the 14th century, the English Language, particularly English literature, began taking shape with the works of Geoffrey Chaucer – the famous English poet and the author of "The Canterbury Tales."
English Language And The Middle Era
In the early 15th century, the Bible was translated into English by W. Tyndale. Some phrases used by Tyndale in his works are still used widely; these include:
- The apple of his eye
But perhaps the next century underlined why English became what it now has; it birthed the brightest minds that elevated the usefulness and reach of the language.
Thanks to William Shakespeare's publications, the 16th century turned out to be the turning point in English language and literature history.
And if you want to learn more about the English language and Shakespeare's work? Take English lessons with a tutor in Houston!
Shakespeare had a powerful vocabulary and normalized phrases and words used even today by a significant population. The way he used the language to express his emotions is still relevant.
Read our thorough writing guide to improve your English writing so you can blaze your own literary path like Shakespeare!
Moreover, the 17th and 18th centuries continued the legacy of the great English playwright. Several revolutionary authors took a leaf out of his book and further refined the English language and literature.
Some of the more notable names of this era included:
- William Blake
- Horace Walpole
- Jane Austen
- William Wordsworth
- Robert Browning
- Oscar Wilde
- Emily Bronte
Are you looking for private English lessons near you? Choose Superprof!
English Language And The Modern Period
With industrialization, urbanization, and scientific discoveries, the 19th century brought revolutionary changes in the English language.
Within this era, printing technology advanced further, giving writers and authors the ability to spread their word and publish their work for the masses to consume.
Additionally, the phonograph invention allowed people to record voices and different dialects, which helped people understand spoken English.
During this time, the British dominated the world, ruling 25% of the surface with the 400M people who inhabited it.
With the British expansion, many new words and phrases were introduced into English from India and North America.
Overall, the modern period of English has been aided by the scientific revolution. And if you want to improve your English grammar and English writing skills, take online English classes here!
Writers Who Have Redefined The English Language
The progress of any language, including English, emanates from evolution. Traditional communication methods are swayed by external ways, adapting with time and ultimately becoming the language we now know.
Though technology and the scientific revolution played a key part in disseminating writings and redefining the English Language, none were as central as the writers themselves.
So, without further ado, here are some of the most notable writers of the English Language:
Unquestionably, Shakespeare is one of the most studied and influential writers among all. Everyone, including high school students, will admit that they have read, if not all, some of Shakespeare's works.
His influence on the world was such that, even now, several filmmakers, authors, and musicians regularly seek inspiration from his works.
Shakespeare was a celebrity back then and still is. Through his writings, he managed to capture the world in his view, including the monumental geographical and political shifts relevant to the time.
He has penned many books and plays on culture, betrayal, economy, family, love, politics, and more – and the important thing is they are still relevant!
Want to write like William Shakespeare but afraid you don't have good writing skills? Join Superprof's beginner English classes!
After William Shakespeare, there was a massive vacuum in the literary sphere that needed filling. Forty years after his demise, English literature revived with Paradise Lost – a notable, meaningful work by John Milton.
He was a famous English poet who used everything in his toolbox to convey a story: rhythm, sound, imagery, adjectives, syntax, and other elements essential to scene-setting.
Milton wasn't an ordinary poet who just penned poetry lines after lines; in fact, he writes poetry as prose, full of details, interesting stories, etc.
If you want to capitalize on the many benefits of writing, you must learn how to write from scratch!
As Milton did for Shakespeare, William Blake filled the void left by John Milton after his death. Some even say that he was better than Milton with his energized, vivid writings.
His poems were full of thoughts and illustrations. And his creativity helped him become a storyteller like no other, making his poems visible through his word.
Furthermore, William Blake is also credited with introducing free verse – verse without meter or rhyme!
Samuel Becket addressed some serious themes such as decay, despair, waiting, death, and more with great humor. You may find his works shorter than other writers; however, they are incredibly poetic and moving.
His unique take on tragedy through comedy resulted in creating a whole new audience for the written arts.
English – The Most Spoken Language In The World
English literary works are famous all over the world – and not just in English-speaking nations. For example, William Shakespeare and his works were appreciated in both English-speaking and non-English speaking countries.
People often refer to English as the "Lingua Franca" or a global language. There are more than 370M native English speakers worldwide and approximately 743M non-native English speakers (ones who speak English as a foreign language).
Also, International businesses depend on English quite heavily, making it the official language of several important global organizations and MNCs.
Therefore, if you aim to work for them, you will have to improve your English writing skills and begin working towards perfect English grammar.
In addition to that, some of the world's top universities open their doors to people who speak good English and possess the required qualifications.
What Will The English Language Be Like In The Future?
External factors have a massive sway on how a language evolves, no matter how insignificant they may appear.
The age of digitization has introduced a wide variety of new trends and terms such as email or IM (instant messaging). As a result, the convenience of communication overshadowed correctness.
Suddenly, newer, more ridiculous-sounding terms were born, often reading like acronyms or ill-thought-out haikus! These terms have become part of everyday life – known as the internet language.
For instance, "LOL," which is an acronym for laughing out loud, or "ROFL," which stands for rolling on the floor laughing, are commonly used by people to express their emotions.
And if you think the internet language has ruined your spelling skills, you should take English lessons with Superprof! Since abbreviations and abbreviated or shortened terminology are trendy, does correct spelling still count?
Today, English is the most spoken language globally with more than 1.3 billion speakers and has several forms. However, interestingly, British English has now become a minority!
With many people adopting the English language, the time is near when the entire world will speak it. This leads one to think:
Will English become the universal language in the future? And if it does, will it keep relying on the now-popular emoticons and emojis to convey emotions in everyday life?
No one can predict the future of a language. However, through the help of scientific developments and innovations, we can accelerate its progress and reach. And the English language has proven to progress tremendously, leaving room for further adoption and growth.
Therefore, if you want to improve your writing skills, ensure that you maintain regular writing exercises and if you need a helping hand, check out our top tips for writing impressive essays!
The platform that connects tutors and students