During this unit of study, we will analyze the deep history of the English language. We will also take a look at some of the literature that symbolizes each historical era. The study of language. One who studies language is a linguist. The study of words within the language is etymology. The English language is constantly changing through the addition of new words and phrases. i.e. cyber school, online, Internet, etc. Today, there are over 1 billion words in the English language. English has been traced back to its prehistoric ancestor called IndoEuropean. Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire brought Latin to England in 44BC. Beowulf 1 An epic poem written around 800 A.D. 1 – an epic is a long narrative poem about heroic deeds West Germanic invaders pushed the Celtics out of the British Isle to what is now Scotland. It was created by the combination of Latin and Western Germanic, the language brought by the invasion of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Few words in modern English come from Old English. Therefore, it is very difficult to interpret text written in Old English. However, about ½ of the MOST COMMONLY used English words used today were derived from old English roots. Ex. “be”, “water”, and “strong”. The Canterbury Tales Written by Geoffrey Chaucer approx. 1380 AD Norman Conquest – William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066. These new rulers spoke a French. (Anglo-Norman) This brought French words to the language. However, it created a language gap between upper and lower classes. 1349 – Black Death killed about 1/3 of English population, creating the middle class and more adopted the English language rather than the Anglo-Norman. The language gap between the commoners and nobility was shrinking. 1362 – Statute of Pleading declare English as the official language of the courts. William Shakespeare The English language’s most famous playwright and poet wrote around 1600 A.D. Renaissance Era – French word means rebirth (transition from medieval to modern times) Brought classic Greek and Latin terms into the language by scholars. Many did not take to this kindly, but many terms are still alive today. Shakespeare coined many idioms used today. Ex. “flesh and blood” and “vanish into thin air” Great Vowel Shift also influenced Modern English and still does today. Ex. Lyf pronounced leef became modern life; doon became down Printing press had a major influence in standardizing English words. Many more were able to read because it was quicker and less expensive to make books. Most books were printed in London and therefore the dialect used there became the standard. First English dictionary published in 1604 Basically the only difference from Early Modern English is that there are more words. We have a wider vocabulary. Industrial Revolution and the age of technology require new words to be coined. Ex. Byte, cyber, hard-drive Most of these words borrow from other languages like Latin or Greek. The English language has borrowed from practically every language in the world.