The evolution of the English language


Blackleaf
#1
Charlie Haylock takes us on a tour of the historical origins of many of the words and phrases we still use today…

From the ‘green-eyed monster’ to ‘a stiff upper lip’: the evolution of the English language


Throughout history, thousands of words have been adopted from around the world into the English vocabulary. Writing for History Extra, Charlie Haylock takes us on a tour of the historical origins of many of the words and phrases we still use today…

Wednesday 15th March 2017
Charlie Haylock
BBC History Magazine



The evolution of spoken English began from the fifth century, with waves of attack and eventual occupation by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians. They spoke the same West Germanic tongue but with different dialects. Their intermingling created a new Germanic language; now referred to as Anglo-Saxon, or Old English.

During the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries, the Vikings would plunder and settle, bringing with them another version of the same Germanic language, now referred to as Old Norse. The English and Viking amalgamation would become the second step in establishing a spoken English and the basis for the varying English dialects today.

In a new book In a Manner of Speaking – The Story of Spoken English, Charlie Haylock, with the help of illustrations from cartoonist Barrie Appleby, explores the language from the origins of Old English in northern Europe to the abbreviated language of texts used today…

Norman influence

In 1066, the Normans had an eclectic mix of languages: a Frankish influenced northern French dialect; Old Norse from their Viking roots; Flemish from the army supporting William I's wife, Matilda of Flanders; and the Brythonic-based language of the mercenary Bretons. The Normans kept the basic structure of the English language, but during the Middle English period they introduced around 10,000 words of their own into the English tongue. Many words were related to officialdom and are evident in the vocabulary surrounding administration, parliament, government, the legal profession and the crown. Many more words filtered down into everyday matters including food production, such as beef, pork, herb, juice and poultry. They introduced words beginning with ‘con’, ‘de’, ‘dis’ and ‘en’, such as conceal, continue, demand, encounter, disengage and engage.

They also included words ending in ‘age’ and ‘ence’ as in advantage, courage, language and commence.


Thomas Elyot, a prolific writer during the English Renaissance, was an advocate for inkhorn words, says Charlie Haylock. (Photo by Print Collector/Getty Images)

The Renaissance

The English Renaissance saw thousands of Greek- and Latin-based words enter the language. This occurred via the Italian Renaissance, and was greatly helped by English poets, authors and playwrights, especially Shakespeare writing many plays centred in Italy including Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona.

These wordsmiths also made up and created many thousands of new words and the 'Inkhorn Controversy' raged. ‘Inkhorn’ was the term for an inkwell made out of a small horn and became a nickname for the new words being created by playwrights and poets.

One advocate for inkhorn words was Thomas Elyot, a prolific writer during the English Renaissance. He was well studied in both Latin and Greek, and as such, was able to introduce many new concocted words into the English vocabulary. Those academics and scholars totally against inkhorn words included Thomas Wilson who was not only an academic and scholar, but also as an author, diplomat, judge, privy councilor and Dean of Durham. He is likely best known for two publications, The Rule of Reason, conteinynge the Arte of Logique set forth in Englishe, and his most famous book, The Arte of Rhetorique. He was against the flowery extravagant speech and inkhorns of the English Renaissance and advocated a simpler way of writing, using words derived from Old English rather than from Latin and Greek.

Nevertheless, inkhorn words prevailed and Shakespeare alone made up an estimated 1,750 words and idioms, many of which are household phrases today, but many were discarded.


Many of the phrases we use today were first written by playwright William Shakespeare. (Illustration courtesy of 'In a Manner of Speaking' by Charlie Haylock and Barrie Appleby)

Overseas imports

Elizabethan exploration, privateering and piracy was another source for English vocabulary, mainly from the Spanish and Portuguese, including many Caribbean and Native American words they had adopted such as 'tobacco' and 'potato'. Words were also adopted directly into English from Native Americans and the Caribbean such as 'canoe', and 'hammock'.

Stuart colonialism on the eastern shores of America saw a great number of words from Native Americans being adopted and entering the English language direct. The Pilgrim Fathers and subsequent English settlements adopted even more.

The British Empire at its height encompassed one quarter of the Earth's land mass, and controlled hundreds of millions of different peoples throughout the world. The English language would be greatly affected, with words being adopted into the vocabulary.

Numerous words from India alone have become common in English today, such as 'pyjamas', 'khaki', 'bungalow', jodhpurs', 'juggernaut', 'curry', 'chutney', 'shampoo' and 'thug' to name but only a few.

Britain's share in world trade saw a steady rise during the Tudor and Stuarts' exploration policies through to the Victorian empire-building. This increase in trade would see another wave of new words entering the English vocabulary from foreign climes, including words from the Netherlands such as: 'landscape’; 'scone'; 'booze'; 'schooner'; 'skipper'; 'avast'; 'knapsack'; 'easel'; 'sketch' and a great deal more.

The American influence

American influence on English has been profound. American literature became more popular in England, as did films with the advent of the movies and Hollywood, along with songs, music and dance and many American programmes on television. The USA were also allies of Britain in two world wars and still use British-based USAF airfields.

All these factors together with the age of the computer, means that even more Americanisms and phrases have been adopted into the English vocabulary.

One example is the phrase ‘stiff upper lip’. It’s believed that this originated as the Americans saw the English aristocracy speaking with a strict ‘standard English’, which necessitated an immobile upper lip to pronounce it, no matter what the circumstances.

Other examples of American-influenced phrases include: no axe to grind; sitting on the fence; poker face; stake a claim; and words such as: bedrock; smooch; raincoat; skyscraper; joyride; showdown; cocktail and cookie.

The evolution continues…

The English language has never had an official standard. It has evolved through the centuries and adopted many thousands of words through overseas exploration, international trade, and the building of an empire. It has progressed from very humble beginnings as a dialect of Germanic settlers in the 5th century, to a global language in the 21st century. It is a rich language with tens of thousands more words in its vocabulary than any other language and as Maria Legg writes in her foreword to In a Manner of Speaking: “Indeed, a history of the language must necessarily be a history of its people too”.



Charlie Haylock is the author of In a Manner of Speaking – The Story of Spoken English (external - login to view)(Amberley Books 2017), which is illustrated by cartoonist Barrie Appleby

The evolution of the English language | History Extra (external - login to view)
Last edited by Blackleaf; 4 weeks ago at 07:00 AM..
 
darkbeaver
+1
#2
Catastrophic English: Mother Tongue and mtDNA (external - login to view)

Catastrophic English: English as a Dialect of Sanskrit (external - login to view)

Catastrophic English: Monier-Williams Dictionary (external - login to view)
 
Danbones
#3
There is a lot of history hidden in the spoken version of English that's for sure

very interesting stuff there DB
Somethings up with the links though, I had to search on your terms, but the links were findable that way.
Most definitely a pre "common historical age" world wide language!!!
 
Blackleaf
#4
Professor Blackleaf's Anglo-Saxon (Old English) lesson:

Ic eom - I am
Heo ys - She is
Hit wæs - It was
We wæron - We were
Ic hæbbe - I have
Heo hæfð - She has
Ic hæfde - I had
Ic wylle - I want
Ic wolde - I wanted

Ic neom - I am not
Heo nys - She is not
Hit næs - It was not
We næron - We were not
Ic næbbe - I do not have
Heo næfð - She does not have
Ic næfde - I did not have
Ic nylle - I do not want
Ic nolde - I did not want
 
darkbeaver
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

Professor Blackleaf's Anglo-Saxon (Old English) lesson:

Ic eom - I am
Heo ys - He is
Hit wæs - It was
We wæron - We were
Ic hæbbe - I have
Heo hæfð - She has
Ic hæfde - I had
Ic wylle - I want
Ic wolde - I wanted

Ic neom - I am not
Heo nys - She is not
Hit næs - It was not
We næron - We were not
Ic næbbe - I do not have
Heo næfð - She does not have
Ic næfde - I did not have
Ic nylle - I do not want
Ic nolde - I did not want

The links are complementry to your OP you Hinglish twit.

Quote: Originally Posted by DanbonesView Post

There is a lot of history hidden in the spoken version of English that's for sure

very interesting stuff there DB
Somethings up with the links though, I had to search on your terms, but the links were findable that way.
Most definitely a pre "common historical age" world wide language!!!

Adds much to the Aryan origins as well. Post catostrophic migration after an alleged great war in what is now sub Himilayan places.

Riveting reads whatever the case.

Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

Professor Blackleaf's Anglo-Saxon (Old English) lesson:

Ic eom - I am
Heo ys - She is
Hit wæs - It was
We wæron - We were
Ic hæbbe - I have
Heo hæfð - She has
Ic hæfde - I had
Ic wylle - I want
Ic wolde - I wanted

Ic neom - I am not
Heo nys - She is not
Hit næs - It was not
We næron - We were not
Ic næbbe - I do not have
Heo næfð - She does not have
Ic næfde - I did not have
Ic nylle - I do not want
Ic nolde - I did not want

Yes and where did old Anglo Saxon come from? And where did that origin come from?
 
Danbones
#6
damned straight

I like rivets
( betcha Ludlow doesn't know that along with the odd buzzard scrotum, we eats them too!)
 
darkbeaver
#7
Riveted Poached Scrotum nibblets.
 
Blackleaf
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

The links are complementry to your OP you Hinglish twit.



Adds much to the Aryan origins as well. Post catostrophic migration after an alleged great war in what is now sub Himilayan places.

Riveting reads whatever the case.



Yes and where did old Anglo Saxon come from? And where did that origin come from?

Those links are tosh. Sanskrit is not the ancestor of English. Both may share a common ancestor - Proto-Indo-European - but English is not derived from Sanskrit.

In fact, Sanskrit wasn't even a language spoken by the masses. It was just a court language.
 
darkbeaver
#9
Your pub smarts are no substitute for links, my esteemed colleque.
 
Blackleaf
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

Your pub smarts are no substitute for links, my esteemed colleque.

Well I believe that I'm right. Your links make interesting reading but are, alas, inaccurate.
 
darkbeaver
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

Well I believe that I'm right. Your links make interesting reading but are, alas, inaccurate.

In effect you are saying history is incomplete and or fabricated in many areas,Duh! Duplications, mixtures and migrations continue to build history and there is nothing you can say or do to present an English virgin birth of that language from the soil of them islands, virtually no linguistic group can do or has demonstrated that to be a fact in thier case nor any other case. Certainly history is inaccurate and incomplete and most importantly not at all a stagnant fixed unliving thing. Why do you have to be perfectly right when no one else can even approach 50% right about thier own history. That's a good question isn't it?
 
Blackleaf
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

In effect you are saying history is incomplete and or fabricated in many areas,Duh! Duplications, mixtures and migrations continue to build history and there is nothing you can say or do to present an English virgin birth of that language from the soil of them islands, virtually no linguistic group can do or has demonstrated that to be a fact in thier case nor any other case. Certainly history is inaccurate and incomplete and most importantly not at all a stagnant fixed unliving thing. Why do you have to be perfectly right when no one else can even approach 50% right about thier own history. That's a good question isn't it?

You've presented articles which state that English is descended from Sanskrit. That's nonsense.

English is a Germanic language. The Germanic languages are split into three groups:

West Germanic: English, German, Dutch, Frisian, Afrikaans, Yiddish, Scots and Limburgish;

North Germanic: Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Faroese;

East Germanic: Gothic, Burgundian, Vandalic and Crimean Gothic.

The common ancestor of all the Germanic languages is called Proto-Germanic - also known as Common Germanic - which was spoken in the middle of the 1st millennium BC in Iron Age Scandinavia.

In turn, Proto-Germanic derived from pre-Proto-Germanic, spoken in the 2nd and 1st millennia BC.

In turn, pre-Proto-Germanic would have been descended from Proto-Indo-European. Proto-Indo-European was a single language spoken around 3500BC, probably in the Pontic–Caspian steppe in eastern Europe.

All of the 445 Indo-European languages - divided into the Albanian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Indo-Iranian and Italic families - are derived from Proto-Indo-European. That means that languages such as English, Sanskrit, Armenian, Hindi and Punjabi are descended from Proto-Indo-European and are related to each other. Thus they will share some similarities in grammar, vocabulary etc.

So English is not derived from Sanskrit. Both languages are derived from Proto-Indo-European.
Last edited by Blackleaf; 4 weeks ago at 10:33 AM..
 
Durry
+1
#13
English began as a "bastardized" language, and it will always be one. That is is strength, unlike many other languages, it is infinitely changeable.

It is primarily based on Germanic languages, Romance languages and a smattering of Celtic, and other languages. But, it has added words from virtually every language known to mankind over the years.

There is NO other language on earth that can be so horribly mangled, yet still be comprehensible.

The classic example is of the Old West, when a Chinese laundryman said, "No tickee, no shirtee"! The words are not even words, but the meaning is still VERY clear.

That is EXACTLY why English is THE International language today. Unlike French, which is highly UNadaptable, you can adjust, massage and otherwise utilize English to get the message across.

Thank God for the English language, and just how wonderfully flexible it is.
 
Blackleaf
#14
Japanese probably has more loanwords than any other language. Even the very Japanese "Pokémon" comes from the English "pocket monster".

Around 42% of words in English are loanwords, although the vast majority of the words we speak in normal everyday speech are Anglo-Saxon.

Just 2% of Chinese words are loanwords.
 
darkbeaver
+1
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

You've presented articles which state that English is descended from Sanskrit. That's nonsense.

English is a Germanic language. The Germanic languages are split into three groups:

West Germanic: English, German, Dutch, Frisian, Afrikaans, Yiddish, Scots and Limburgish;

North Germanic: Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Faroese;

East Germanic: Gothic, Burgundian, Vandalic and Crimean Gothic.

The common ancestor of all the Germanic languages is called Proto-Germanic - also known as Common Germanic - which was spoken in the middle of the 1st millennium BC in Iron Age Scandinavia.

In turn, Proto-Germanic derived from pre-Proto-Germanic, spoken in the 2nd and 1st millennia BC.

In turn, pre-Proto-Germanic would have been descended from Proto-Indo-European. Proto-Indo-European was a single language spoken around 3500BC, probably in the Pontic–Caspian steppe in eastern Europe.

All of the 445 Indo-European languages - divided into the Albanian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Indo-Iranian and Italic families - are derived from Proto-Indo-European. That means that languages such as English, Sanskrit, Armenian, Hindi and Punjabi are descended from Proto-Indo-European and are related to each other. Thus they will share some similarities in grammar, vocabulary etc.

So English is not derived from Sanskrit. Both languages are derived from Proto-Indo-European.

What does "Proto-Indo" mean to you?. The receding last ice age is thought to have spurred northward trans migrations
 
Blackleaf
+2
#16  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

What does "Proto-Indo" mean to you?. The receding last ice age is thought to have spurred northward trans migrations

The last Ice Age ended thousands of years before Proto-Indo-European was spoken.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-...opean_language (external - login to view)
 
darkbeaver
+1
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

The last Ice Age ended thousands of years before Proto-Indo-European was spoken.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-...opean_language (external - login to view)

Really, and when in your estimation did the last ice age end?
 
Blackleaf
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

Really, and when in your estimation did the last ice age end?

Around 11,700 years ago, 6000 years before Proto-Indo-European was spoken.
 
taxslave
#19
Why is it that so many Brits can't speak their own language in sounds that are comprehensive to normal people?
 
Murphy
#20
I think you answered your own question. It's because they're Brits.

Brits aren't the dullest people on the planet, but they definitely make the top three. I would also add that his Google Foo isn't so hot. He should hang around with the 8 year olds and learn something.
 
Blackleaf
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

Why is it that so many Brits can't speak their own language in sounds that are comprehensive to normal people?

They're probably called "accents" and "dialects".

httpwwwyoutubecomwatchvQdzZXibW3B8



httpwwwyoutubecomwatchvZwx0-oewjsM

 
Curious Cdn
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

The last Ice Age ended thousands of years before Proto-Indo-European was spoken.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-...opean_language (external - login to view)

We're still in the "last ice age" and the ice continues to recede.
 
Blackleaf
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious CdnView Post

We're still in the "last ice age" and the ice continues to recede.

So the ice is receding even though we're still in an ice age?
 
Danbones
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

Around 11,700 years ago, 6000 years before Proto-Indo-European was spoken.

look up the word "ma"
in almost every language round the world
 
Blackleaf
#25


 
Danbones
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

So the ice is receding even though we're still in an ice age?

(t)he(y) has trouble with facts
they are so slippery
 
Curious Cdn
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

So the ice is receding even though we're still in an ice age?

When the ice finishes receding (before it advances again) the current ice cycle comes to an "official end". Just because it receded from Redding 12,000 years ago didn't mean that it ended at that point. It is till receding, just like it did from Britain but it is happening farther north, much farther south and farther up in elevation, still.
 
darkbeaver
+1
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

Around 11,700 years ago, 6000 years before Proto-Indo-European was spoken.

What source do you base your estimate of the beginning of proto indo european language at approximatly 6000 +/- 50/60 years? And where do you believe the practice to have originated?
 
Danbones
+1
#29
mama
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mama (external - login to view)

also
Geneticist Traces Mysterious Origins of Native Americans to Middle East, Ancient Greece
www.theepochtimes.com/n3/8311...ncient-greece/ (external - login to view)

my "phonecians"

also


Published on Sep 23, 2012
"White Caucasian red haired mummies were found in Florida's Windover Bog. The mummies dated to be over 7000 years old."

My celts

funny how political correctness gets in the way of the truth
Last edited by Danbones; 4 weeks ago at 02:40 AM..
 
Blackleaf
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by DanbonesView Post

look up the word "ma"
in almost every language round the world

I'm not too sure about that. There are lots of languages.

Quote: Originally Posted by Curious CdnView Post

When the ice finishes receding (before it advances again) the current ice cycle comes to an "official end". Just because it receded from Redding 12,000 years ago didn't mean that it ended at that point. It is till receding, just like it did from Britain but it is happening farther north, much farther south and farther up in elevation, still.

I don't believe the ice is receding. There's more now in the Actic sand Antarctic than there was a few years ago.
 

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