Language Matters June 2009: History of English Language

Dear Language Friend,

Have you ever wondered where the word “bizarre” came from?

Well, we hope that you had a nice rest since our last journey into the depths of the English Language history, because we are about to embark on another exciting journey through time. In the last newsletter we already became familiar with our wise and strong travel guide-the distinguished knightSir English Language. Last month, our guide has taken us to the very roots of the English Language and showed us the dangers and marvels of the Old English valley. Our previous journey proved to be interesting and breathtaking. However, there is still more places to visit and more things to learn about our beloved English Language. In this newsletter we will continue our journey into the fascinating Middle English town and Early Modern English country. We will meet famous people like Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson. And so the journey begins…

Contributed by Kristina Bobrova. Thanks for reading.

Journey with the English Language Continues

After passing through the most dangerous valley of the Old English, our guide takes us to the time of his youth and establishment – the Middle English Era – that was marked by the Norman Conquest in 1066, French hierarchy, and Old English traditions. After a long and dangerous journey that we took last month the reader is probably tired of bumpy roads and stormy seas and wants to stop at some comfortable and cozy tavern and perhaps see an evening play about love and jealousy, corruption and kindness. Thus, behold the town of Middle English!

Who lives in Middle English?

In the Middle English town among English people you can also find people from all other cultures such as Normans and French.

In the Middle English town you can find all sorts of debates and the most important one is always about politics. Thus, passing through the streets our English language guide draws our attention to the arguing group of Normans and French. Listening closely we can hear that the Normans, being the invaders of Anglia, brought a lot of new political reforms that taught the English Language words like judge and jury. On the other hand, the French insisted on its own political model of aristocracy and taught the English Language words like court and crown.

Should I say “kingly”, “royal” or “regal”?

As a visitor to the town of Middle English language you might find yourself confused hearing all the different words and sayings; kingly was heard from the older English generation, royal yelled out the aristocratic French and regal was heard from the educated Latin.

Passing through the Middle English Town it is hard not to notice the Latin! With the expansion of science the Latin influence on the Middle English Town became so strong that even to this day we use words like library and genius.

Which dictionary should you take going to England?

Our English Language guide looked at the confused faces of our travelers that gathered puzzled over Norman, French, English and Latin dictionaries trying to pick one language to ask where they can find a “loo” or a “bathroom” or a “water closet” or a “restroom” or a “toilet”. Yes, during these uncertain language times, a lot of writers in England felt the pressure of having to select one of the dialects and promote it in their works. For example, Geoffrey Chaucer chose a Norman dialect that was intermingled with some French and Latin words to compose his famous Canterbury Tales – the literary work that was one of the first literatures to define the English Language as we see it today. Later, a famous 100 Years War has decreased the French influence on the English Language.

Would you like to meet Shakespeare in the Middle English town?

Our travelers are probably beginning to be bored with the entire Middle English town. But not to worry, our guide left the best part for last and all of the sudden our group takes an unexpected turn and ends up in the magnificent country of the Early Modern English. The travelers are speechless in awe. Being in the Renaissance era, in front of their eyes they can see Shakespeare,

Queeen Elizabeth, Milton and all other geniuses and miracles. It is not surprising that the Renaissance era is considered to be one of the most colourful literary times in English Language history. It is in this era, the English Language develops into the beautiful prince with spontaneous and mysterious personality who has it all: the complex vocabulary of the Latin, the beauty of the French and the simplicity of the warriors. Famous playwright William Shakespeare has been one of the greatest English writers of all times and he has demonstrated the power and sophistication of the English Language. The English Language becomes so popular, that with the emergence of the printing press introduced by Caxton it is finally declared as a number One Language in entire England!

Where did bizarre, magazines and coffee come from?

Our English Language companion tells us that during the Renaissance he liked to travel a lot to new places in the world seeking the opportunities and discoveries and bringing back new words like bizarre, magazine (from Arabic origin), coffee (from Turkish origin) and tobacco (from Spanish origin). In 17th Century the English Language is proud to present to the reader its first dictionary that was composed and published by Samuel Johnson.

Congratulations, you made it back home!

Our English Language guide now takes us back home to the Modern days where English is the official language in 53 countries and where it is considered as a global lingua franca that helps people from the entire world to come together. The world-wide English communication is facilitated by many linguistic experts who can transform information in any language into a coherent and precise translation. If you are wondering where you can find such qualified linguistic experts, you don’t need to search anymore! The professional team of LingoStar Language Services will solve any linguistic problems that you have. If you need to translate a presentation in Inuktitut, a certified document in Arabic, an urgent love letter in French, do not hesitate to contact LingoStar – the best friend of all the languages!