A Brief History of the English Language (英语语言简史)
Old English, until 1066
Immigrants from Denmark and NW Germany arrived in Britain in the 5th and 6th Centuries A.D., speaking in related dialects belonging to the Germanic and Teutonic branches of the Indo-European language family. Today, English is most closely related to Flemish, Dutch, and German, and is somewhat related to Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. Icelandic, unchanged for 1,000 years, is very close to Old English. Viking invasions, begun in the 8th Century, gave English a Norwegian and Danish influence which lasted until the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Old English Words
The Angles came from an angle-shaped land area in contemporary Germany. Their name "Angli" from the Latin and commonly-spoken, pre-5th Century German mutated into the Old English "Engle". Later, "Engle" changed to "Angel-cyn" meaning "Angle-race" by A.D. 1000, changing to "Engla-land". Some Old English words which have survived intact include: feet, geese, teeth, men, women, lice, and mice. The modern word "like" can be a noun, adjective, verb, and preposition. In Old English, though, the word was different for each type: gelica as a noun, geic as an adjective, lician as a verb, and gelice as a preposition.
Middle English, from 1066 until the 15th Century
The Norman Invasion and Conquest of Britain in 1066 and the resulting French Court of William the Conqueror gave the Norwegian-Dutch influenced English a Norman-Parisian-French effect. From 1066 until about 1400, Latin, French, and English were spoken. English almost disappeared entirely into obscurity during this period by the French and Latin dominated court and government. However, in 1362, the Parliament opened with English as the language of choice, and the language was saved from extinction. Present-day English is approximately 50% Germanic (English and Scandinavian) and 50% Romance (French and Latin).
Middle English Words
Many new words added to Middle English during this period came from Norman French, Parisian French, and Scandinavian. Norman French words imported into Middle English include: catch, wage, warden, reward, and warrant. Parisian French gave Middle English: chase, guarantee, regard, guardian, and gage. Scandinavian gave to Middle English the important word of law. English nobility had titles which were derived from both Middle English and French. French provided: prince, duke, peer, marquis, viscount, and baron. Middle English independently developed king, queen, lord, lady, and earl. Governmental administrative divisions from French include county, city, village, justice, palace, mansion, and residence. Middle English words include town, home, house, and hall.
Early Modern English, from the 15th Century to the 17th Century
During this period, English became more organized and began to resemble the modern version of English. Although the word order and sentence construction was still slightly different, Early Modern English was at least recognizable to the Early Modern English speaker. For example, the Old English "To us pleases sailing" became "We like sailing." Classical elements, from Greek and Latin, profoundly influenced work creation and origin. From Greek, Early Modern English received grammar, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Also, the "tele-" prefix meaning "far" later used to develop telephone and television was taken.
Modern English, from the 17th Century to Modern Times
Modern English developed through the efforts of literary and political writings, where literacy was uniformly found. Modern English was heavily influenced by classical usage, the emergence of the university-educated class, Shakespeare, the common language found in the East Midlands se