The history of the English language

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In History
  • -550 BCE

    The Celts

    The Celtic language was one of the first known to be recorded in Britain before the following invasions of the island.
    Celtic tribes (coming from Europe) lived in Britain in the Iron Age for over 500 years until the arrival of the Romans.
  • -55 BCE

    The Roman invasion

    Julius Caesar conquered Britain in 55 BC and Claudius in 43 AD, but it wasn’t permanent or really influential.
    Latin was never the language of the people, it was only the language of the ruling class.
  • 449

    Anglo Saxons

    They were a mix of tribes from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. The three biggest were the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. The land they settled in was 'Angle-land', or England.
    The Angles and the Saxons were very important and gave English its basic vocabulary and structures.
    The Anglo-Saxon language is also known as Old English and it is the primitive form of modern English.
  • 800

    Vikings

    The Vikings came from three countries of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The name 'Viking' comes from a language called 'Old Norse' and means 'a pirate raid'.
    Their language, Old Norse (connected with the Anglo-Saxon), gave many words to the English language.
  • 1066

    The Norman conquest

    The Norman conquest of England was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army of Norman, Breton, and French soldiers led by Duke William II of Normandy ( William the Conqueror).
    The Normans brought more than 10,000 words into English, 75% still in use and no longer felt as foreign.
    By the 13th / 14th centuries only the top class uses French. By 15th century it disappears but always as a favourite foreign language.
    With French also came a lot of Latin vocabulary.
  • 1100

    Foremation of Middle English

    the duke of Normandy invaded and took over England. the Normans brought over a type of French which became the language of the royal court. in the 14th century Britain was speaking English again with a few french words which developed into what we call today, Middle English.
  • 1500

    Early Modern English

    printers were invented and books became cheaper so the british already knew that pronunciation would have changed and how vowels were pronounced. the entire grammar and pronunciation concept had changed during this time period.
  • The English Bible (the "King James" Bible)

    The Authorized Version of the English Bible (the "King James" Bible) is published, greatly influencing the development of the written language.
  • The First Folio edition of Shakespeare's plays is published.

    The First Folio edition of Shakespeare's plays is published.
  • Universal Etymological Dictionary of the English Language

    Nathaniel Bailey publishes his Universal Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, a pioneer study in English lexicography: the first to feature current usage, etymology, syllabification, clarifying quotations, illustrations, and indications of pronunciation.
  • Late Modern English

    Many new vocabulary terms and phrases were added to the English Language, Many people started noticing the difference between Modern English and Late Modern English.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary is published.

  • The English language is always changing

    The English language is always changing
    Since so much of our communication today happens online, the Internet has developed almost its own language. This language is even more casual and has many abbreviations (shortenings of words and phrases).
  • Period: to

    The Internet

    The Internet (under development for more than 20 years) is opened to commercial interests.
    Text messaging is introduced, and the first modern blogs go online.
    The first social networking site (SixDegrees.com) is launched. (Friendster is introduced in 2002, and both MySpace and Facebook begin operating in 2004.)
    Twitter, a social networking and microblogging service, is created by Jack Dorsey.