English language | Origin, History, & Characteristics | rhein-main-verzeichnis.info
English is classified as a (West) Germanic language, meaning that it is table with some insight on the relation of the most common words in. English is unquestionably the world's most widely used second language. See table for the names and approximate dates of the earliest recorded Germanic of relationship; they also give some indication of how Proto-Germanic actually. The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively World map showing countries where a Germanic language is the primary or official language . American English-speakers make up the majority of all native Germanic speakers, including also making up the bulk of West.
English is the only European language to employ uninflected adjectives; e. As for verbs, if the Modern English word ride is compared with the corresponding words in Old English and Modern German, it will be found that English now has only 5 forms ride, rides, rode, riding, riddenwhereas Old English ridan had 13, and Modern German reiten has In addition to the simplicity of inflections, English has two other basic characteristics: Flexibility of function has grown over the last five centuries as a consequence of the loss of inflections.
Words formerly distinguished as nouns or verbs by differences in their forms are now often used as both nouns and verbs. One can speak, for example, of planning a table or tabling a plan, booking a place or placing a book, lifting a thumb or thumbing a lift.
In the other Indo-European languagesapart from rare exceptions in Scandinavian languagesnouns and verbs are never identical because of the necessity of separate noun and verb endings.
In English, forms for traditional pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs can also function as nouns; adjectives and adverbs as verbs; and nouns, pronouns, and adverbs as adjectives. One speaks in English of the Frankfurt Book Fair, but in German one must add the suffix -er to the place-name and put attributive and noun together as a compoundFrankfurter Buchmesse.
In French one has no choice but to construct a phrase involving the use of two prepositions: Foire du Livre de Francfort. In English it is now possible to employ a plural noun as adjunct modifieras in wages board and sports editor; or even a conjunctional group, as in prices and incomes policy and parks and gardens committee.
Any word class may alter its function in this way: Openness of vocabulary implies both free admission of words from other languages and the ready creation of compounds and derivatives.
English adopts without change or adapts with slight change any word really needed to name some new object or to denote some new process. Words from more than languages have entered English in this way. Although a Germanic language in its sounds and grammarthe bulk of English vocabulary is in fact Romance or Classical in origin.
English possesses a system of orthography that does not always accurately reflect the pronunciation of words; see below Orthography.
Characteristics of Modern English Phonology British Received Pronunciation RPtraditionally defined as the standard speech used in London and southeastern Englandis one of many forms or accents of standard speech throughout the English-speaking world. Other pronunciations, although not standard, are often heard in the public domain. It is considered the prestige accent in such institutions as the civil service and the BBC and, as such, has fraught associations with wealth and privilege in Britain.
Elizabethan English pronunciationHear the original pronunciation of Elizabethan English as demonstrated and explained by British linguist David Crystal and his actor son, Ben Crystal. Actors at the rebuilt Globe Theatre, London, have used this pronunciation in performances of William Shakespeare's plays.
Inland Northern American vowels sometimes have semiconsonantal final glides i. Aside from the final glides, that American accent shows four divergences from British English: In several American accents, however, these glides do occur.
The 24 consonant sounds comprise six stops plosives: Like RussianEnglish is a strongly stressed language. Four degrees of accentuation may be differentiated: French stress may be sustained in many borrowed words; e. Pitchor musical tone, determined chiefly by the rate of vibration of the vocal cordsmay be level, falling, rising, or falling—rising.
In counting one, two, three, four, one naturally gives level pitch to each of these cardinal numerals. But if people say I want two, not one, they naturally give two a falling tone and one a falling—rising tone.
Germanic languages | Definition, Language Tree, & List | rhein-main-verzeichnis.info
In the question One? Word tone is called accentand sentence tone is referred to as intonation. The end-of-sentence cadence is important for expressing differences in meaning. Several end-of-sentence intonations are possible, but three are especially common: Falling intonation is used in completed statements, direct commands, and sometimes in general questions unanswerable by yes or no e.
Rising intonation is frequently used in open-ended statements made with some reservation, in polite requests, and in particular questions answerable by yes or no e. It reduced the Proto-Indo-European system of eight cases to six: In the adjective declensions there were two innovations: In Germanic these were reduced to indicative, imperative, and subjunctive moods; a full active voice plus passive found only in Gothic; three persons; full singular and plural forms and dual forms found only in Gothic; and one infinitive present and two participles present and past.
The Proto-Indo-European tense-aspect system present, imperfect, aorist, perfect was reshaped to a single tense contrast between present and past. The past showed two innovations: Weak verbs fell into three classes depending on the syllable following the root e. Gothic also had a fourth class: And Netherlandic still shows the alternation: English has kept the alternation in only one verb: Traces of it still survive, however, in a few now isolated forms: The emergence of Germanic languages Like every language spoken over a considerable geographic area, Proto-Germanic presumably consisted of a number of geographic varieties or dialects that over time developed in different ways into the different early and modern Germanic languages.
Lateth-century scholars used a family tree diagram to show this splitting into dialects and the relationships among the dialects: Germanic languagesDerivation of Germanic languages from Proto-Germanic. Midth-century scholars, using the findings of archaeology and the methods of geographic linguistics, attempted to correct the distortions of this family-tree model by noting also the linguistic features shared by two or more dialect areas.
Archaeological evidence suggests that about bce a relatively uniform Germanic people was located in southern Scandinavia and along the North Sea and Baltic coasts from what is now the Netherlands to the Vistula River. By roughly bce they had spread south, and five general groups are distinguishable: By about the 10th century, the varieties had diverged enough to make inter-comprehensibility difficult.
The linguistic contact of the Viking settlers of the Danelaw with the Anglo-Saxons left traces in the English language and is suspected to have facilitated the collapse of Old English grammar that resulted in Middle English from the 12th century. The East Germanic languages were marginalized from the end of the Migration period. The BurgundiansGothsand Vandals became linguistically assimilated by their respective neighbors by about the 7th century, with only Crimean Gothic lingering on until the 18th century.
During the early Middle Ages, the West Germanic languages were separated by the insular development of Middle English on one hand and by the High German consonant shift on the continent on the other, resulting in Upper German and Low Saxonwith graded intermediate Central German varieties.
By early modern times, the span had extended into considerable differences, ranging from Highest Alemannic in the South to Northern Low Saxon in the North, and, although both extremes are considered German, they are hardly mutually intelligible. The southernmost varieties had completed the second sound shift, while the northern varieties remained unaffected by the consonant shift. The North Germanic languages, on the other hand, remained unified until well past AD, and in fact the mainland Scandinavian languages still largely retain mutual intelligibility into modern times.
The main split in these languages is between the mainland languages and the island languages to the west, especially Icelandicwhich has maintained the grammar of Old Norse virtually unchanged, while the mainland languages have diverged greatly. Germanic languages possess a number of defining features compared with other Indo-European languages. Probably the most well-known are the following: The recognition of these two sound laws were seminal events in the understanding of the regular nature of linguistic sound change and the development of the comparative methodwhich forms the basis of modern historical linguistics.
The development of a strong stress on the first syllable of the word, which triggered significant phonological reduction of all other syllables. This is responsible for the reduction of most of the basic English, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish words into monosyllables, and the common impression of modern English and German as consonant-heavy languages.
Generally, back vowels were fronted, and front vowels were raised. In many languages, the modified vowels are indicated with a diaeresis e. This change resulted in pervasive alternations in related words — still extremely prominent in modern German but present only in remnants in modern English e.
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Large numbers of vowel qualities. English is typical in this respect, with around 11—12 vowels in most dialects not counting diphthongs.
Standard Swedish has 17 pure vowels monophthongs standard German and Dutch 14, and Danish at least