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English is a West Germanic language that originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain in the mid 5th to 7th centuries AD by Anglo-Saxon migrants from what is now northwest Germany, southern Denmark and the Netherlands.
The Anglo-Saxons settled in the British Isles from the mid-5th century and came to dominate the bulk of southern Great Britain. Their language, now called Old English, originated as a group of Anglo-Frisian dialects which were spoken, at least by the settlers, in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages, displacing the Celtic languages (and, possibly, British Latin) that had previously been dominant. Old English reflected the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms established in different parts of Britain. The Late West Saxon dialect eventually became dominant. A significant subsequent influence on the shaping of Old English came from contact with the North Germanic languages spoken by the Scandinavian Vikings who conquered and colonized parts of Britain during the 8th and 9th centuries, which led to much lexical borrowing and grammatical simplification. The Anglian dialects had a greater influence on Middle English. After the Norman conquest in 1066, Old English was replaced, for a time, by Anglo-Norman as the language of the upper classes. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English or Anglo-Saxon era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English. The conquering Normans spoke a Romance langue d’oïl called Old Norman, which in Britain developed into Anglo-Norman. Many Norman and French loanwords entered the local language in this period, especially in vocabulary related to the church, the court system and the government. As Normans are descendants of Vikings who invaded France, Norman French was influenced by Old Norse, and many Norse loanwords in English came directly from French. Middle English was spoken to the late 15th century. The system of orthography that was established during the Middle English period is largely still in use today. Later changes in pronunciation, however, combined with the adoption of various foreign spellings, mean that the spelling of modern English words appears highly irregular. Early Modern English – the language used by William Shakespeare – is dated from around 1500. It incorporated many Renaissance-era loans from Latin and Ancient Greek, as well as borrowings from other European languages, including French, German and Dutch. Significant pronunciation changes in this period included the ongoing Great Vowel Shift, which affected the qualities of most long vowels. Modern English proper, similar in most respects to that spoken today, was in place by the late 17th century. The English language came to be exported to other parts of the world through British colonisation, and is now the dominant language in Britain and Ireland, the United States and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many smaller former colonies, as well as being widely spoken in India, parts of Africa, and elsewhere. Partially due to United States influence, English gradually took on the status of a global lingua franca in the second half of the 20th century. This is especially true in Europe, where English has largely taken over the former roles of French and (much earlier) Latin as a common language used to conduct business and diplomacy, share scientific and technological information, and otherwise communicate across national boundaries. The efforts of English-speaking Christian missionaries has resulted in English becoming a second language for many other groups. Global variation among different English dialects and accents remains significant today. Scots, a form of English traditionally spoken in parts of Scotland and the north of Ireland, is sometimes treated as a separate language. Speak English You don’t need to live in an English-speaking country to become fluent in English. If you are smart about the way you learn English, you don’t even need to leave your home town. Use these 10 top tips and see how to learn English without even leaving your city. 1. Surround yourself with English You don’t need to be in an English-speaking country to surround yourself with English. Find ways to make English part of your everyday life at home, like writing your shopping list, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, writing a diary in English, or listening to English on your cellphone while traveling to work. 2. Make English friends Even if you don’t live in an English-speaking country, there are probably many foreigners living nearby. Find ways to meet native English-speakers: going to foreign bars and restaurants, joining sport and social clubs, or arranging language exchanges. You could even volunteer as a guide at a local tourist attraction to meet English-speakers from all over the world. 3. Find study partners You don’t need native speakers to practice your English. Find a study partner, or form an English club and meet regularly to speak English. You can motivate each other, and you will learn by helping others with their problems. What Are Basic English Grammar Rules? There are hundreds of grammar rules but the basics refer to sentence structure and parts of speech, including nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions The eight parts of speech are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. Noun – A noun is generally defined as a person, place, or thing; however, ideas are also nouns. Verb – A verb is a word that expresses an action or a state of being. Adverb – An adverb describes how the action is performed. They tell how much, how often, when and where something is done. Noun – A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns are the subject of a sentence. Common Noun – A noun that does not name a specific person, place or thing. Proper Noun – The pronoun is a word used in place of one or more nouns. It may stand for a person, place, thing, or idea. Adjective – An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. It tells what kind, how many, or which one. Conjunction – A conjunction is a word that joins words or word groups together. Some examples conjunctions are: and, but, or, nor, although, yet, so, either, and also. Preposition – A preposition is a word that shows position or, direction. Some examples are in, out, under, over, after, out, into, up, down, for, and between. Homophones – Homophones are words that sound alike but they have different meanings and different spellings. Homographs – Homographs are words that may or may not sound alike but have the same spelling but a different meaning. Complex Sentence – A complex sentence is an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. Interjection – An interjection is a word that shows strong emotion. Such examples are Wow!, Ouch!, Hurray!, and Oh no!. Interjections can really liven up a sentence. They help to add voice to your writing 🌐 a2z Global NEWS®