Did you ever stop to think about how the English language was formed? Did you know that it has a dynamic personality? Put your curious cap on and follow my train of thoughts.
English is a crazy language because it has a dynamic personality. It changes. When it comes into contact with other languages, it borrows and expands its identity.
Among researchers, there is still debate about how the English language was actually formed. However, they agree that the English language is an Indo-European language. They believe it belongs to the Low West Germanic language of the Indo-European family of languages. The language is also related to other languages: the Frisian, Modern and High German, Dutch, and Flemish. Throughout the years, the English language has spread from one continent to another. Let’s look at how words are formed and spread. For example, the meaning of the word lunatic came from the Latin
word Luna which means moon. The English word lunar means of the moon. The Romans believed that the mind was affected by the moon, which caused some people to suffer mentally. Today, we use the word lunatics to describe people who are insane. Thus the word lunatic came from Latin and later the Romans. Another example is the word clue. The word got its meaning from clew, which means a ball of thread. Both clue and clew came from the Old English Cliwen which means a ball. What does a ball have to do with the word clue? According to Greek myth, the Greek hero Theseus traveled to the island of Crete to kill the Minotaur. Only, the Minotaur was in a labyrinth. No one was able to find his way out of the labyrinth. Theseus, however, managed to enter the labyrinth using a ball of thread. He used the trail of thread to enter the labyrinth and kill the Minotaur and found his way out. Thus, that gave birth to the word clue.
There are three stages of the development of the English language. The first stage began with Anglo Saxon or Old English dated AD 449 to 1100. The second stage included the Middle English dated in 1450 to 1500. Modern English which consists of Early Modern English and Late Modern English was dated 1500 to 1660.
The Anglos, Saxons, and Jutes were known to speak Old English in what is now Denmark and Northern Germany. When they spoke Old English, they used a dual number for pronouns and strong and weak verbs. Some words were introduced during this period. The verb form “are” and used words like take, both and ugly were entered into the language at this time.
During the Middle English period, the English language experienced some changes. New words were borrowed and some word formations were changed. For example, the idea of adding an (s) to a noun to denote its plural form was adopted.
In the Modern Period, the English language became fancier. First, grammatical changes occurred. There were more vocabulary words, and people used one part of speech to another. Also, there was increased borrowing from the Greek language, Latin, Italy, and Spain. William Shakespeare’s writing is an example of Modern English. Additionally, the pronoun “its” was also introduced during this period.
In today’s world, the English language has extended to 20th Century English where speakers are considered educated and receive Standard English. It has also extended to American English. American English includes the English being spoken in Canada and England, although there are differences in pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary. Moreover, there is Pidgin English. This language is spoken among people living on the Asian shores of the Pacific. Their language is a simplified structure of a combination of their languages and English.
What is next? What kind of English will the later generations invent? What is in the cards for the English language? Aren’t you just a bit curious?