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Varieties of English

Varieties of English

• English Language is the chief medium of communication of people in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and numerous other countries, among the biggest and probably most important is India (it was a British colony until 1949). It is the official language of many nations in the Commonwealth of Nations and is widely understood and used in all of them. It is spoken in more parts of the world than any other language and by more people (420 million speak it all over the world) than any other tongue except Chinese.

• English as a first language is the one that children learn as their first and is also the official in the country; second language know most of the people in the country and is official too (English as a second language is learned in many countries to understand foreigners, when the first language is not very spread among foreign people); and English as a foreign language is the one we learn to know an international language, is not official in the state and it depends to each country how many people learn it

• we know 5 types of English - British, Indian, African, American and Australian

• English that is learned in schools is called Standard English (SE), but people on the top of the social scale (about 3%) speak with Received Pronounciation (RP)

• The most distinguishing differences between American English and British English are in pronunciation and vocabulary. There are slighter differences in spelling, pitch, and stress as well. It is often difficult to determine whether a work was written in England, the United States, or any other part of the English-speaking world.

• in American English there are series of spelling reforms (-er instead of British -re, -or to replace-our, check instead of cheque) and sometimes Americans use different words for the same thing that British (bug, to mean insects in general rather than bedbug in Great Britain, corn, to designate what the British call maize, elevator X lift, truck X lorry, windshield X windscreen, sidewalk X pavment, commercial X advertisment)

• English is the main language of science (especially computer science, medicine) and after the WWII. English became the main language of diplomacy

History of the English language
• about 5000 B.C. a tribe called the Indo-Europeans lived in central Europe, they had their own language, and when they discovered the wheel around 3000 B.C., they were able to travel; some went on east, some on west and those, who came to Britain, were the Celts

• today the Celts live still in Scotland, Western Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany (northern France)

• after more than 2000 years the Celts were the only people living in Britain; than the Romans arrived and Julius Caesar with his army brought there new language - Latin; but Romans lived only in England, so only very few words entered the Celtic language

• the Romans left in 410 A.D., but 40 years later the Anglo-Saxon invaded the Britain - they came from Holland, Denmark and Germany (England means ‘land of the Angels’); their language was Old English and many of their words are still in dictionaries (sheep, earth, dog, work, field; the, is, you)

• in 597 A.D. Saint Augistine brought Christianity to Britain and hundreds of Latin and Greek words entered Old English

• another words (get, wrong, leg, want, skin, same and low) have their roots in Norse - a language of Vikings, who lived in Scandinavia and invaded Britain between the years 750 and 1050

• 1066 - Norman duke William beat the English king Harold at the battle of Hastings and French words became an important part of English

• in next 200 years, English with Latin, Norse and French changed into Middle English; in this period the first great English writer Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales

• around 1480 the printing press was invented, which played an important role because it fixed the English grammar and spelling

• since William Shakespeare’s times (16th - 17th century) we call the English modern

• when the Normans invaded Britain, the official languages used for government, law, learning or the army were Latin and French (words like judge, military, professor, legal come from these two languages); the daily used language among people was Old English

• from 14th century, many English words were invented or borrowed from other languages, e.g. Ancient Greek (earth + writing > geography, soul + word > psychology), other common Greek words are phone, photo, philo, sophy, mono, poly

• words from Latin : multi, super, sub, mare ...
some words came from outside Europe - alcohol, algebra - Arabic, jungle - India

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