The History of the English Language

The English Language came a long way before becoming what is now a mixture of profanity and Tumblr-inspired nonsense. And like all great tales, this one starts at sea. During the 5th century, barbaric tribes from Germany and current-day Denmark sailed across the North Sea and took over Britain. These were the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, which are the ancestors of the now British People. The Celtic speaking locals were quickly pushed aside to the drunken isles of Scotland and Ireland while the Barbarian invaders imposed their “Englisc” language. The Old English spoken until the 1100s was quite similar to a five-year old bashing his head against a German keyboard. It’s impossible to read or recognize, even for native modern-English speakers. In 1066 though, the rise of the English language came to a brief stop. William the Conqueror (AKA William the Bastard) and his Normans invaded Britain and imposed their own French language. For 200 years, Britain was shamed with a French-speaking royal court and an English-speaking lower class.

Fortunately for the Brits though, the 14th century saw the empowerment of the lower class merchants and a separation from France, and so a French-influenced “Middle English” rose to popularity in all of England. Progressively, the language developed into Early Modern English from the 1500s to the 1800s thanks to the Renaissance, the Printing Press, and the likes of Shakespeare. This revolution is conveniently called the Great Vowel Shift (not to be confused with Bowel Shift) because the vowels were getting shorter.

Later on, modern-day English, influenced by other cultures and numerous British colonies, finally flourished into a rich language, before being ruined by lazy teenagers on the Internet. As a side note, the difference between the American and the British English comes from the fact that they each developed separately. The American English was influenced by Spanish, by French through Louisiana, and by West African because of the slave trade. English is one of the most resilient and adaptive languages of our time, and that’s why it’s so popular. It is expressive, easy to learn, and so widespread that it has become an International medium of communication, surpassing geographical and cultural boundaries.

As found on Youtube