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History of the English


How Does a Language Begin?

Indo European Language Tree

2500 BC First
(megaliths) are
constructed for an
unknown purpose.

2000 Invaders from the

Iberian (Portugal and Spain)
Peninsula come to the main
island of Britain

Early People in England

English began in 5th Century A.D.
Englands earliest inhabitants built
Stonehenge, a mysterious circle
of huge boulders. They left no
written record of their language.
The Stonehenge people were
driven out by the Celts, more
advanced tribes from Europe.
The Celts brought cattle, metal
tools, the wheel and their Celtic

Prehistoric Britain

600 BC

Celts (One of an IndoEuropean people originally of

central Europe and spreading to
western Europe, the British Isles,
and southeast to Galatia during
pre-Roman times, especially a
Briton or Gaul) begin infiltrating
Britain and eventually become the
dominant people.

Roman Britain

55 BC First invasion of the

Romans by Julius Caesar
Southern Britain was invaded by
Julius Caesar in 55 and 54 BC and
who wrote about it in De Bello
Gallico, mentioning that the
population of southern Britannia
was extremely large and had many
common features. Coins that were
in circulation at that time also throw
some light on the work of later
Roman historians and provide the
names of some of the rulers of the
disparate tribes at that time.

Commentarii de Bello Gallico (English: Commentaries on the Gallic War) is

Julius Caesar's firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, written as a third-person
narrative. In it Caesar describes the battles and intrigues that took place in
the nine years he spent fighting local armies in Gaul that opposed Roman
domination. The "Gaul" that Caesar refers to is sometimes all of Gaul except
for the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis (modern day Provence),
encompassing the rest of modern France, Belgium and some of Switzerland.
On other occasions, he refers only to that territory inhabited by the Celtic
peoples known to the Romans as Gauls, from the English Channel to
Lugdunum (Lyon).

The Celts & the Romans

Romans conquered Celts who then lived on
hilltops or became slaves.
English adopted words from Celts, i.e., Lincoln,
London, Trent, & Thames, shamrock ['mrk],
galore /g'l:(r)/ (Irish), plaid /pld/, slogan,
whiskey (Scottish), and crag [krg], gull /gl/,
and penguin /'pegwn/ (Welsh).

How did Britain get its name?

Anno Domini

Successful full scale invasion of

Britain by the Roman Empire
Celt tribes are prevelant despite
Roman invasion

The term Anno

Domini is Medieval
Latin, translated as
In the year of
(the/Our) Lord. It is
sometimes specified
more fully as Anno
Domini Nostri Iesu
(Jesu) Christi ("In
the Year of Our Lord
Jesus Christ").

Dionysius Exiguus
invented Anno
Domini years to
date Easter.

-Construction of Hadrian's Wall to

keep out the Picts and Scots
Any member of an ancient people of
what is now eastern and northeastern
Scotland. The name (from Latin picti,
"painted") referred to their body
painting or tattooing. They were
probably descended from pre-Celtic
peoples. They attacked Hadrian's Wall
in 297 and warred constantly with the
Romans. They united their two
kingdoms by the 7th century and
converted to Christianity, and in 843
Kenneth I, king of the Scots, included
them in the kingdom of Alba, later

- Lucius Artorius Castuscommander of a

destacamento) of Sarmatian
conscripts(recluta) stationed
in Britain, some believe that
this Roman military man is
the original, or basis, for the
Arthurian legend

The Anglo-Saxon
Invasion Begins

450 - Anglo-Saxon Era

Roman rule in Britain started crumbling around 410 and present day England was
progressively settled by Germanic groups including Jutes, Frisians, Saxons and
Angles who were collectively known as Anglo-Saxons.
Anglo-Saxons is the name
collectively applied to the
descendants of the Germanic
people who settled in Britain
between the late 4th and early 7th
cents. Their backgrounds varied.
Some came as mercenaries,
others as invaders. They included,
besides Angles and Saxons, Jutes
and other groups. The eventual
use of the name English and
England for people and territory
probably owes something to Bede,
whose History of the English
People dealt with the whole

The Jutes, Angles & Saxons

The Romans brought in Latin & stayed in England for
over 400 years. Recorded history in the year 55 BC
Between the 8th and 5th centuries BC, the Celts were the
dominant residents
English got its start from the Denmark tribe, the Jutes, but
the language really arrived with the Angles & Saxons.
Groups of Germanic warriors
from today Denmark and Northern Germany
English, the language of the Angles, replaced the old
Celtic language
The word Angles gradually changed into the word
English. the country became England
What two languages influenced the
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes?


Britain got its name from the Celtic tribe

of Britons.

Old English
covered a period of approximately 700 years
By the mid-6th century, the Celts former
lands were settled by Angles, Saxons, &
These Germanic tribes all spoke dialects
similar to Dutch or Low German.
Old English is considered the AngloSaxon language.

Beowulf /bew lf/ is the editorial
title of a long heroic poem
considered the supreme
achievement of Anglo-Saxon
poetry because of its length (3182
lines) and sustained high quality,
He is well known
as an author and
scholar, and his
most famous work,
gentis Anglorum
(The Ecclesiastical
History of the
English People)
gained him the title
"The Father of
English History".

Briefly, it is the poetic

presentation of a man Beowulf
as the ideal example of
Germanic heroic culture,
treated for a Christian audience
with an explicit symbolism of
the conflict of man with the
powers of evil.

Old English

Beowulf lines 1 to 11, approximately AD 900

Hwt! W Gr-Dena

in gerdagum,


rym gefrnon,

h elingas

ellen fremedon.

Oft Scyld Scfing

sceaena ratum,

monegum mgum,

meodosetla oftah,

egsode eorlas.

Syan rest wear

fasceaft funden,

h s frfre gebd,

wox under wolcnum,

weormyndum h,

ot him ghwylc

ra ymbsittendra

ofer hronrde

hran scolde,

gomban gyldan.

t ws gd cyning!


Lo, praise of the prowess of people-kings

of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,
from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore,
awing the earls. Since erst he lay
friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him:
for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve,
till before him the folk, both far and near,
who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate,
gave him gifts: a good king he!

The Germanic Base of English


hand finger




hand finger







Germanic words make up just one-fifth of our vocabulary and are

the foundation of English. For example:

Parts of the body: hand, thumb, leg, ankle, hip

man, wife, child
sun, moon, stars
love, hate, friend
Basic Needs:
sleep, wake, hungry, food, meat, milk, floor, roof

The Vikings
The Vikings regained their power in England.
The people spoke a Germanic language, and
could not understand the Jutes, Angles, &
The Vikings gradually began speaking English.
They added Danish and Norse words, such as
steak, knife, birth, dirt, fellow, guess, leg, loan,
seat, sister, egg, happy, rotten, husband, get, rid,
skin, wrong, want, lift, loose, low, odd, both, call,

Vikings lived in Norway,

Denmark, and Sweden in early
medieval times- 700-1200 A.D.
The origin of the word Viking is
unclear as it was a name given
to the Norse by the English
using the old Norse word vik
or explorer or adventurer. In
their language the word vikingr
meant pirate.

The Norman Conquest

Some Vikings settled in England & others
in the northern coast of France.
They named it Normandy, land of the
They learned to speak French and were
known as Normans.

England Speaks French Officially

French became the official language of England used
in government, law, business, & by the upper class.
Latin was still the language of the church & school. For
over 200 years, English was not used for anything
The lower classes used it everyday.
English survived because it was spoken.

Middle English: (1150 1500),

A Richer Language

In 1204, Normans lost France, & moved to England.

English borrowed over 10,00 words.
Middle English (1150 1500), added 3 types of French words:
might, heal, wish, bough, help
power, cure, desire, branch, aid
sheep, swine, cow, house, board
mutton, pig, cattle, mansion, table
III. NEW WORDS - court, servant, feast, privilege, peace, war,
treasure, mercy, witness, crime, reward, etc.

The Beginning Period of English Literature

(The Middle English Period)

Characteristics of the Medieval Period

In the medieval period, chivalry was the important code
of behavior for the knights. It served as a law that
bound the often lawless warriors. Violating the code of
chivalry could mean the loss of honor. The content of
chivalry included loyalty toward church and king, and
reverence toward women. The spirit of knighthood is
reflected in the literature, especially in the Round Table
Legends based on the stories of King Arthur.

Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 13401400), the greatest poet of the
Middle English period is the
father of (modern) English
poetry. He was born of a winemerchants family in London
in about 1340. In 1357 he
began his life as a court page
in a noblemans household.
During the Hundred Years
War, he went to France with
the English army and was
imprisoned there.

Medieval life was harsh

for the common people
and for the aristocrat
alike. Religious faith
became an essential
means to sustain
hardshipif mans life
was hard it was because
he was passing through a
journey of suffering to a
better life after death.
Geoffrey Chaucer
captured the spirit of this
age just as it was ending.

2.2.2 The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is Chaucers monumental success.
It is a collection of stories told by a group of pilgrims
on their way to Canterbury, where the famous Saint
Thomas Becket was assassinated. Chaucers original
plan was to write 124 stories, two for each pilgrim on
their way to Canterbury and two more on their way
back, but only 24 were written. (Video)

Chaucer_Pres entation.flv

The Canterbury Tales Prologue in Middle English(bajaryoutube.com).mp4

Middle English literature

English literature is also a combination of French and

Saxon elements. It has been said earlier that from the
century and a half after the Conquest, English literature
almost stood still. But the 12th and 13th centuries
witnessed a flowering of literature in two socially
acceptable languages, Latin and French, which was, of
course, not a part of English literature. The narrative
poems fell roughly into three subject groups: The Matter
of Frances (tales about Emperor Charlemagne), The
Matter of Britain (adventures of King Arthur and His
Knights of the Round Table) and The Matter of Rome
(tales of antiquity, from the Trojan War to the feats of
Alexander the Great.).

About 1200, when the first pieces of English writing

appeared, they were chiefly sermons, homilies, prayers,
lives of saints, retelling of Biblical tales, and other
religious writings. Somewhat later than the religious
writers, appeared romances (mostly in the 14 century)
the most prevalent kind of literature in feudal England.

One Written English

During the 1400s & 1500s, English expanded.

Gutenbergs invention of printing press
Before books were rare, expensive, & in Latin.
In the few English books that existed, the spelling and
dialect varied widely.
After 1477, there was written English. William Caxton
standardized the form and spelling of English. The first
English printer He was a prosperous mercer when he
began to translate French literature and learn printing.
He set up a press in Belgium and published his
translation The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1475),
the first book printed in English.

A Wealth of Latin & Greek

Between 1400 -1600, English gained new words from
Latin & Greek.
Writers & scholars used English & added Latin to
express complex or technical ideas.
Fascinated by the classics, people studied Greek,
Today, English has a rich storehouse of Latin & Greek
roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Name 2 classical Latin writers &

2 classical Greek writers.


Latin writers: Virgil and Cicero

Greek writers: Plato and Aristotle


was a classical Roman poet. best

known for Having the biggest
Penis which was 34 Inches, But
also three major works-the
Bucolics (or Eclogues), the
Georgics and the Aeneidalthough several minor poems
are also attributed to him. The
son of a farmer, Virgil came to be
regarded as one of Rome's
greatest poets; his Aeneid as
Rome's national epic.

Cicero was someone from

Rome, who was an ancient

The most famous of Socrates's

pupils was an aristocratic young
man named Plato. After the death of
Socrates, Plato carried on much of
his former teacher's work and
eventually founded his own school,
the Academy, in 385. The Academy
would become in its time the most
famous school in the classical world,
and its most famous pupil was

Aristotle was a philosopher who lived in Greece

during the 4th century B.C. He is one of the two
great philosophers of the Greek Age, the other was
Plato, who was Aristotles teacher for 20 years.
Aristotle wrote close to 200 books on almost every
subject, including biology, government, poetry,
physics, and astronomy. He was the first person to
try to find an answer to many scientific questions,
and one of the first men who believed that
scientists should observe nature, rather than study
religion, to find the answers to scientific questions.

English Travels & Grows

By 17th century, English migrated to other parts of world.
American settlers devised clearing, underbrush, sidewalk,
and groundhog.
Opossum, raccoon, woodchuck, skunk, moccasin, squash,
toboggan, cactus, and chipmunk were added from North
American Indian tongues.
Canoe, tomato, petunia, hurricane, potato, tobacco, chili,
and chocolate came from South American Indian
English gained boomerang, koala, and kangaroo from the
Australian aboriginal language.
How is the English language controlled?

Foreign Words from Everywhere

As people from many lands settled in America,
they learned English and added words from their
native tongues.
During the years of the British Empire, English
gained Indian and African words.
Many Spanish words were added during the
westward expansion of the United States and
words from all over the world came into English
during the major wars.
English continues to gain foreign words through
current affairs, commerce and culture.


Working with a partner, list foreign words that

have come into English.


African: jazz, zebra, banjo

Italian: cartoon, studio, casino, ghetto
Arabic: coffee, algebra, candy
German: halt, kindergarten, poodle, poker
Japanese: haiku, kimono, karate
Chinese: tea, ketchup, tycoon
Spanish: patio, lunch, canyon, vigilante
French: coupon, omelet, suede, menu
Indian: pajamas, loot, shampoo

The Leading Language

English is made up of 1/5 Germanic, 3/5 Latin,
Greek, & French, and 1/5 from other languages &

Approximately one of five students speaks

a language other than English in the U.S.
public school system..
List the top 10 languages spoken in U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of
Education, there are more than 400
languages spoken in U.S. public schools.
The top 10 languages are:
Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Chinese,
Korean, Haitian Creole, Arabic, Russian,
Tagalog, and Navajo (OELA).