English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now the most widely used language in the world. It is spoken as a first language by a majority of the inhabitants of several states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean nations. It is the third-most-common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many world organisations.
English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now southeast Scotland. Following the extensive influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 17th century to the mid-20th century, through the British Empire, and also of the United States since the mid-20th century, it has been widely propagated around the world, becoming the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions.
Historically, English originated from the fusion of closely related dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic settlers (Anglo-Saxons) by the 5th century – with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles, and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin, because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. The language was further influenced by the Old Norse language because of Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.
The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from Norman-French, and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages to what had then become Middle English. The Great Vowel Shift that began in the south of England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that mark the emergence of Modern English from Middle English.
Owing to the assimilation of words from many other languages throughout history, modern English contains a very large vocabulary, with complex and irregular spelling, particularly of vowels. Modern English has not only assimilated words from other European languages, but from all over the world. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250,000 distinct words, not including many technical, scientific, and slang terms.
Other articles related to "language, english language, english, languages":
... operations moved to the Education Building in 1984 to facilitate expansion of the "Cantonese Language School" SVCC Language Schools was founded in 1980 under the name "Student Volunteer Campus ... Originally, SVCC was an English Language School intended for new immigrants from Vietnam and the Orient learning English as a second language ... Those English as a Second Language classes were held at St ...
... English has been used throughout the recorded history of South Georgia, from the earliest explorations by Anthony de la Roché and James Cook to the present day ... The majority of the area's toponyms are either in English or anglicised, and have been given by both British and American explorers - e.g ...
... Since around the 9th century, English has been written in the Latin script, which replaced Anglo-Saxon runes ... The modern English alphabet contains 26 letters of the Latin script a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z (which also have majuscule, capital or uppercase forms A, B, C, D, E ... Other symbols used in writing English include the ligatures, æ and œ (though these are no longer common) ...
... was known as the Workingmen's Party of the United States (WPUS), and the native English-speaking Philip Van Patten was elected as the party's first "Correspond ... Arbeiter-Zeitung, Joseph Brucker's Milwaukee Socialist, and an English-language weekly also published in Milwaukee called The Emancipator ... Schilling maintained an active English-speaking section ...
... Although various other research supports the use of SMS language, the popular notion that text messaging is damaging to the linguistic development of young people ... and television reporter John Humphrys has criticized SMS language as "wrecking our language" ... that ambiguous words and statements have always been present within languages ...
Famous quotes containing the words language and/or english:
“There is ... in every child a painstaking teacher, so skilful that he obtains identical results in all children in all parts of the world. The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!”
—Maria Montessori (18701952)
“The boneless quality of English conversation, which, so far as I have heard it, is all form and no content. Listening to Britons dining out is like watching people play first-class tennis with imaginary balls.”
—Margaret Halsey (b. 1910)