English is a West Germanic language that originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain in the mid 5th to 7th centuries AD by Anglo-Saxon settlers. With the end of Roman rule in 410 AD, Latin ceased to be a major influence on the Celtic languages spoken by the majority of the population. People from what is now northwest Germany, west Denmark and the Netherlands settled in the British Isles from the mid-5th century and came to culturally dominate the bulk of southern Great Britain until the 7th century. The Anglo-Saxon language, now called Old English, originated as a group of Anglo-Frisian dialects which were spoken, at least by the settlers, in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It displaced to some extent the Celtic languages that predominated previously. Old English also reflected the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms established in different parts of Britain. The Late West Saxon dialect eventually became dominant. A significant subsequent influence on the shaping of Old English came from contact with the North Germanic languages spoken by the Scandinavian Vikings who conquered and colonized parts of Britain during the 8th and 9th centuries, which led to much lexical borrowing and grammatical simplification. The Anglian dialects had a greater influence on Middle English.
After the Norman conquest in 1066, Old English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English or Anglo-Saxon era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English. The conquering Normans spoke a Romance langue d'oïl called Old Norman, which in Britain developed into Anglo-Norman. Many Norman and French loanwords entered the local language in this period, especially in vocabulary related to the church, the court system and the government. Middle English was spoken to the late 15th century. The system of orthography that was established during the Middle English period is largely still in use today. Later changes in pronunciation, however, combined with the adoption of various foreign spellings, mean that the spelling of modern English words appears highly irregular.
Early Modern English – the language used by Shakespeare – is dated from around 1500. It incorporated many Renaissance-era loans from Latin and Ancient Greek, as well as borrowings from other European languages, including French, German and Dutch. Significant pronunciation changes in this period included the ongoing Great Vowel Shift, which affected the qualities of most long vowels. Modern English proper, similar in most respects to that spoken today, was in place by the late 17th century. The English language came to be exported to other parts of the world through British colonisation, and is now the dominant language in Britain and Ireland, the United States and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many smaller former colonies, as well as being widely spoken in India, parts of Africa, and elsewhere. Partially due to United States influence, English gradually took on the status of a global lingua franca in the second half of the 20th century. This is especially true in Europe, where English has largely taken over the former roles of French and (much earlier) Latin as a common language used to conduct business and diplomacy, share scientific and technological information, and otherwise communicate across national boundaries. The efforts of English-speaking Christian missionaries has resulted in English becoming a second language for many other groups.
Global variation among different English dialects and accents remains significant today. Scots, a form of English traditionally spoken in parts of Scotland and the north of Ireland, is sometimes treated as a separate language.
English has its roots in the languages of the Germanic peoples of northern Europe. During the Roman Empire, most of the Germanic-inhabited area (Germania) remained independent from Rome, although some southwestern parts were within the empire. Some Germanics served in the Roman military, and troops from Germanic tribes such as the Tungri, Batavi, Menapii and Frisii served in Britain (Britannia) under Roman command. Germanic settlement and power expanded during the Migration Period, which saw the fall of the Western Roman Empire. A Germanic settlement of Britain took place from the 5th to the 7th century, following the end of Roman rule on the island. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle relates that around the year 449 Vortigern, king of the Britons, invited the "Angle kin" (Angles allegedly led by the Germanic brothers Hengist and Horsa) to help repel invading Picts, in return for lands in the southeast of Britain. This led to waves of settlers who eventually established seven kingdoms, known as the heptarchy. (The Chronicle was not a contemporaneous work, however, and cannot be regarded as an accurate record of such early events.) Bede, who wrote his Ecclesiastical History in AD 731, writes of invasion by Angles, Saxons and Jutes, although the precise nature of the invasion and settlement and the contributions made by these particular groups are the subject of much dispute among historians.
The languages spoken by the Germanic peoples who initially settled in Britain were part of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic language family. They consisted of dialects from the Ingvaeonic grouping, spoken mainly around the North Sea coast, in regions that lie within modern Denmark, north-west Germany and the Netherlands. Due to specific similarities between early English and Old Frisian, an Anglo-Frisian grouping is also identified.
These dialects had most of the typical West Germanic features, including a significant amount of grammatical inflection. Vocabulary came largely from the core Germanic stock, although due to the Germanic peoples' extensive contacts with the Roman world, the settlers' languages already included a number of loanwords from Latin. For instance, the predecessor of Modern English wine had been borrowed into early Germanic from the Latin vinum.
The Germanic settlers in the British Isles initially spoke a number of different dialects, which would develop into a language that came to be called Anglo-Saxon, or now more commonly Old English. It displaced the so-called indigenous Brittonic Celtic (and the Latin of the former Roman rulers) in parts of the areas of Britain that later formed the Kingdom of England, while Celtic languages remained in most of Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, and many compound Celtic-Germanic placenames survive, hinting at early language mixing. Old English continued to exhibit local variation, the remnants of which continue to be found in dialects of Modern English. The four main dialects were Mercian, Northumbrian, Kentish and West Saxon; the last of these formed the basis for the literary standard of the later Old English period, although the dominant forms of Middle and Modern English would develop mainly from Mercian.
Old English was first written using a runic script called the futhorc, but this was replaced by a version of the Latin alphabet introduced by Irish missionaries in the 9th century. Most literary output was in either the Early West Saxon of Alfred the Great's time, or the Late West Saxon (regarded as the "classical" form of Old English) of the Winchester school inspired by Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester and followed by such writers as the prolific Ælfric of Eynsham ("the Grammarian"). The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem Beowulf, composed by an unknown poet.
The introduction of Christianity from around the year 600 encouraged the addition of over 400 Latin loan words into Old English, such as the predecessors of the modern priest, paper, and school, and a smaller number of Greek loan words. The speech of eastern and northern parts of England was also subject to strong Old Norse influence due to Scandinavian rule and settlement beginning in the 9th century (see below).
Most native English speakers today find Old English unintelligible, even though about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The grammar of Old English was much more inflected than modern English, combined with freer word order, and was grammatically quite similar in some respects to modern German. The language had demonstrative pronouns (equivalent to this and that) but did not have definite article the. The Old English period is considered to have evolved into the Middle English period some time after the Norman conquest of 1066, when the language came to be influenced significantly by the new ruling class's language, Old Norman.
Vikings from modern-day Norway and Denmark began to raid parts of Britain from the late 8th century onward. In 865, however, a major invasion was launched by what the Anglo-Saxons called the Great Heathen Army, which eventually brought large parts of northern and eastern England (the Danelaw) under Scandinavian control. Most of these areas were retaken by the English under Edward the Elder in the early 10th century, although York and Northumbria were not permanently regained until the death of Eric Bloodaxe in 954. Scandinavian raids resumed in the late 10th century during the reign of Æthelred the Unready, and Sweyn Forkbeard eventually succeeded in briefly being declared king of England in 1013, followed by the longer reign of his son Cnut from 1016 to 1035, and Cnut's sons Harold Harefoot and Harthacnut until 1042.
The Scandinavians, or Norsemen, spoke dialects of a North Germanic language known as Old Norse. The Anglo-Saxons and the Scandinavians thus spoke related languages from different branches (West and North) of the Germanic family; many of their lexical roots were the same or similar, although their grammatical systems were more divergent. Probably significant numbers of Norse speakers settled in the Danelaw during the period of Scandinavian control. Many place-names in those areas are of Scandinavian provenance (those ending in -by, for example); it is believed that the settlers often established new communities in places that had not previously been developed by the Anglo-Saxons. The extensive contact between Old English and Old Norse speakers, including the possibility of intermarriage that resulted from the acceptance of Christianity by the Danes in 878, undoubtedly influenced the varieties of those languages spoken in the areas of contact. Some scholars even believe that Old English and Old Norse underwent a kind of fusion and that the resulting English language might be described as a mixed language or creole. During the rule of Cnut and other Danish kings in the first half of the 11th century, a kind of diglossia may have come about, with the West Saxon literary language existing alongside the Norse-influenced Midland dialect of English, which could have served as a koine or spoken lingua franca. When Danish rule ended, and particularly after the Norman Conquest, the status of the minority Norse language presumably declined relative to that of English, and its remaining speakers assimilated to English in a process involving language shift and language death. The widespread bilingualism that must have existed during the process possibly contributed to the rate of borrowings from Norse into English.
Only about 100 or 150 Norse words, mainly connected with government and administration, are found in Old English writing. The borrowing of words of this type was stimulated by Scandinavian rule in the Danelaw and during the later reign of Cnut. However, most surviving Old English texts are based on the West Saxon standard that developed outside the Danelaw; it is not clear to what extent Norse influenced the forms of the language spoken in eastern and northern England at that time. Later texts from the Middle English era, now based on an eastern Midland rather than a Wessex standard, reflect the significant impact that Norse had on the language. In all, English borrowed about 2000 words from Old Norse, several hundred surviving in Modern English.
Norse borrowings include many very common words, such as anger, bag, both, hit, law, leg, same, skill, sky, take, window, and even the pronoun they. Norse influence is also believed to have reinforced the adoption of the plural copular verb form are rather than alternative Old English forms like sind. It is also considered to have stimulated and accelerated the morphological simplification found in Middle English, such as the loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case (except in pronouns). That is possibly confirmed by observations that simplification of the case endings occurred earliest in the north and latest in the southwest. The spread of phrasal verbs in English is another grammatical development to which Norse may have contributed (although here a possible Celtic influence is also noted).
For centuries after the Conquest, the Norman kings and high-ranking nobles in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles spoke Anglo-Norman, a variety of Old Norman, originating from a northern langue d'oïl dialect. Merchants and lower-ranked nobles were often bilingual in Anglo-Norman and English, whilst English continued to be the language of the common people. Middle English was influenced by both Anglo-Norman, and later Anglo-French (see characteristics of the Anglo-Norman language).
Until the 14th century, Anglo-Norman and then French were the language of the courts and government. Even after the decline of Norman, standard French retained the status of a formal or prestige language, and about 10,000 French (and Norman) loan words entered Middle English, particularly terms associated with government, church, law, the military, fashion, and food (see English language word origins and List of English words of French origin). The strong influence of Old Norse on English (described in the previous section) also becomes apparent during this period. The impact of the native British Celtic languages that English continued to displace is generally held to be much smaller, although some attribute such analytic verb forms as the continuous aspect ("to be doing" or "to have been doing") to Celtic influence. Some scholars have also put forward hypotheses that Middle English was a kind of creole language resulting from contact between Old English and either Old Norse or Anglo-Norman.
English literature began to reappear after 1200, when a changing political climate and the decline in Anglo-Norman made it more respectable. The Provisions of Oxford, released in 1258, was the first English government document to be published in the English language after the Norman Conquest. In 1362, Edward III became the first king to address Parliament in English. The Pleading in English Act 1362 made English the only language in which court proceedings could be held, though the official record remained in Latin. By the end of the century, even the royal court had switched to English. Anglo-Norman remained in use in limited circles somewhat longer, but it had ceased to be a living language. Official documents began to be produced regularly in English during the 15th century. Geoffrey Chaucer, who lived in the late 14th century, is the most famous writer from the Middle English period, and The Canterbury Tales is his best-known work.
The English language changed enormously during the Middle English period, both in vocabulary and pronunciation, and in grammar. While Old English is a heavily inflected language (synthetic), the use of grammatical endings diminished in Middle English (analytic). Grammar distinctions were lost as many noun and adjective endings were levelled to -e. The older plural noun marker -en (retained in a few cases such as children and oxen) largely gave way to -s, and grammatical gender was discarded. Definite article þe appears around 1200, later spelled as the, first appearing in East and North England as a substitute for Old English se and seo, nominative forms of "that."
English spelling was also influenced by Norman in this period, with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds being spelled th rather than with the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth), which did not exist in Norman. These letters remain in the modern Icelandic and Faroese alphabets, having been borrowed from Old English via Old West Norse.
English underwent extensive sound changes during the 15th century, while its spelling conventions remained largely constant. Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift, which took place mainly during the 15th century. The language was further transformed by the spread of a standardized London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardizing effect of printing, which also tended to regularize capitalization. As a result, the language acquired self-conscious terms such as "accent" and "dialect". As most early presses come from continental Europe, a few native English letters such as þ and ð die out; for some time þe is written as ye. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid 16th - early 17th century), the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English. In 1604, the first English dictionary was published, the Table Alphabeticall.
Increased literacy and travel facilitated the adoption of many foreign words, especially borrowings from Latin and Greek from the time of the Renaissance. In the 17th century, Latin words were often used with their original inflections, but these eventually disappeared. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable, the risk of mispronunciation is high, but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects, most notably in the West Country. During the period, loan words were borrowed from Italian, German, and Yiddish. British acceptance of and resistance to Americanisms began during this period.
The first authoritative and full-featured English dictionary, the Dictionary of the English Language, was published by Samuel Johnson in 1755. To a high degree, the dictionary standardized both English spelling and word usage. Meanwhile, grammar texts by Lowth, Murray, Priestly, and others attempted to prescribe standard usage even further.
Early Modern English and Late Modern English, also called Present-Day English (PDE), differ essentially in vocabulary. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from the Industrial Revolution and technologies that created a need for new words, as well as international development of the language. The British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the Earth's land surface, and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries. British English and North American English, the two major varieties of the language, are together spoken by 400 million people. The total number of English speakers worldwide may exceed one billion. The English language will almost certainly continue to evolve over time. With the development of computer and online environments (such as chat rooms, social media expressions, and apps), and the adoption of English as a worldwide lingua franca across cultures, customs, and traditions, it should not be surprising to see further shortening of words, phrases, and/or sentences.
Over the last 1,200 years or so, English has undergone extensive changes in its vowel system but many fewer changes to its consonants.
In the Old English period, a number of umlaut processes affected vowels in complex ways, and unstressed vowels were gradually eroded, eventually leading to a loss of grammatical case and grammatical gender in the Early Middle English period. The most important umlaut process was *i-mutation (c. 500 CE), which led to pervasive alternations of all sorts, many of which survive in the modern language: e.g. in noun paradigms (foot vs. feet, mouse vs. mice, brother vs. brethren); in verb paradigms (sold vs. sell); nominal derivatives from adjectives ("strong" vs. "strength", broad vs. breadth, foul vs. filth) and from other nouns (fox vs. "vixen"); verbal derivatives ("food" vs. "to feed"); and comparative adjectives ("old" vs. "elder"). Consonants were more stable, although velar consonants were significantly modified by palatalization, which produced alternations such as speak vs. speech, drink vs. drench, wake vs. watch, bake vs. batch.
The Middle English period saw further vowel changes. Most significant was the Great Vowel Shift (c. 1500 CE), which transformed the pronunciation of all long vowels. This occurred after the spelling system was fixed, and accounts for the drastic differences in pronunciation between "short" mat, met, bit, cot vs. "long" mate, mete/meet, bite, coat. Other changes that left echoes in the modern language were homorganic lengthening before ld, mb, nd, which accounts for the long vowels in child, mind, climb, etc.; pre-cluster shortening, which resulted in the vowel alternations in child vs. children, keep vs. kept, meet vs. met; and trisyllabic laxing, which is responsible for alternations such as grateful vs. gratitude, divine vs. divinity, sole vs. solitary.
Among the more significant recent changes to the language have been the development of rhotic and non-rhotic accents (i.e. "r-dropping"); the trap-bath split in many dialects of British English; and flapping of t and d between vowels in American English and Australian English.
The following table shows the principal developments in the stressed vowels, from Old English through Modern English (C indicates any consonant):
(c. 900 AD)
(c. 1400 AD)
|Early Modern English
(c. 1600 AD)
|Modern English||Modern spelling||Examples|
|oa, oCe||oak, boat, whole, stone|
|æː, æːɑ||ɛː||eː||iː||ea||heal, beat, cheap|
|eː, eːo||eː||iː||ee, -e||feed, deep, me, be|
|iː, yː||iː||əi or ɛi||aɪ||iCe||ride, time, mice|
|oː||oː||uː||uː||oo, -o||moon, food, do|
|uː||uː||əu or ɔu||aʊ||ou||mouse, out, loud|
|ɑ, æ, æɑ||a||æ||æ||a||man, sat, wax|
|aː||ɛː||eɪ||aCe||name, bake, raven|
|e, eo||e||ɛ||ɛ||e||help, tell, seven|
|ɛː||eː||iː||ea, eCe||speak, meat, mete|
|i, y||ɪ||ɪ||ɪ||i||written, sit, kiss|
|o||god, top, beyond|
|oa, oCe||foal, nose, over|
|u||ʊ||ɤ||ʌ||u, o||buck, up, love, wonder|
The following chart shows the primary developments of English vowels in the last 600 years, in more detail, since Late Middle English of Chaucer's time. The Great Vowel Shift can be seen in the dramatic developments from c. 1400 to 1600.
Neither of the above tables covers the history of Middle English diphthongs, the changes before /r/, or various special cases and exceptions. For details, see phonological history of English as well as the articles on Old English phonology and Middle English phonology.
The vowel changes over time can be seen in the following example words, showing the changes in their form over the last 2,000 years:
|Proto-Germanic, c. AD 1||ainaz||twai||θriːz||feðwoːr||fimf||sehs||seβun||moːðeːr||hertoːː||hauzijanã|
|West Germanic, c. AD 400||ain||twai||θriju||fewwur||fimf||sehs||seβun||moːdar||herta||haurijan|
|Late Old English, c. AD 900||aːn||twaː||θreo||feowor||fiːf||siks||sĕŏvon||moːdor||hĕŏrte||heːran, hyːran|
|(Late Old English spelling)||(ān)||(twā)||(þrēo)||(fēowor)||(fīf)||(six)||(seofon)||(mōdor)||(heorte)||(hēran, hȳran)|
|Late Middle English, c. 1350||ɔːn||twoː||θreː||fowər||fiːvə||siks||sevən||moːðər||hertə||hɛːrə(n)|
|(Late Middle English spelling)||(oon)||(two)||(three)||(fower)||(five)||(six)||(seven)||(mother)||(herte)||(heere(n))|
|Early Modern English, c. 1600||oːn >! wʊn||twuː > tuː||θriː||foːr||fəiv||siks||sevən||mʊðər||hert||heːr|
|Modern English, c. 2000||wʌn||tuː||θriː||fɔː(r)||faiv||sɪks||sevən||mʌðə(r)||hɑrt/hɑːt||hiːr/hiə|
The English language once had an extensive declension system similar to Latin, modern German and Icelandic. Old English distinguished among the nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive cases, and for strongly declined adjectives and some pronouns also a separate instrumental case (which otherwise and later completely coincided with the dative). In addition, the dual number was distinguished from the singular and plural. Declension was greatly simplified during the Middle English period, when the accusative and dative cases of the pronouns merged into a single oblique case that also replaced the genitive case after prepositions. Nouns in Modern English no longer decline for case, except for the genitive.
Pronouns such as whom and him (contrasted with who and he), are a conflation of the old accusative and dative cases, as well as of the genitive case after prepositions (while her also includes the genitive case). This conflated form is called the oblique case or the object (objective) case, because it is used for objects of verbs (direct, indirect, or oblique) as well as for objects of prepositions. (See object pronoun.) The information formerly conveyed by distinct case forms is now mostly provided by prepositions and word order. In Old English as well as modern German and Icelandic as further examples, these cases had distinct forms.
Although some grammarians continue to use the traditional terms "accusative" and "dative", these are functions rather than morphological cases in Modern English. That is, the form whom may play accusative or dative roles (as well as instrumental or prepositional roles), but it is a single morphological form, contrasting with nominative who and genitive whose. Many grammarians use the labels "subjective", "objective", and "possessive" for nominative, oblique, and genitive pronouns.
Modern English nouns exhibit only one inflection of the reference form: the possessive case, which some linguists argue is not a case at all, but a clitic (see the entry for genitive case for more information).
|Case||Old English||Middle English||Modern English|
|Accusative||hwone, hwæne||whom||whom, who1|
1 - In some dialects who is used where Formal English only allows whom, though variation among dialects must be taken into account.
2 - Usually replaced by of what (postpositioned).
|Case||Old English||Middle English||Modern English|
|Singular||Nominative||iċ||I, ich, ik||I|
|Genitive||mīn||min, mi||my, mine|
|Genitive||ūser, ūre||ure, our||our, ours|
(Old English also had a separate dual, wit ("we two") etcetera; however, no later forms derive from it.)
|Case||Old English||Middle English||Modern English|
|Singular||Nominative||þū||þu, thou||thou (you)|
|Accusative||þē, þeċ||þé, thee||thee (you)|
|Genitive||þīn||þi, þīn, þīne, thy; thin, thine||thy, thine (your, yours)|
|Plural||Nominative||ġē||ye, ȝe, you||you|
|Accusative||ēow, ēowiċ||you, ya|
Note that the ye/you distinction still existed, at least optionally, in Early Modern English: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" from the King James Bible.
|Old English||Middle English||Modern English|
|Accusative||þē, þeċ||ēow, ēowiċ||thee||you|
|Genitive||þīn||ēower||your, yours||thy, thine||your, yours||your, yours|
(Old English also had a separate dual, ȝit ("ye two") etcetera; however, no later forms derive from it.)
|Case||Old English||Middle English||Modern English|
|Feminine Singular||Nominative||hēo||heo, sche, ho, he, ȝho||she|
|Accusative||hīe||hire, hure, her, heore||her|
|Genitive||hir, hire, heore, her, here||her, hers|
|Neuter Singular||Nominative||hit||hit, it||it|
|Accusative||hit, it, him|
|Plural||Nominative||hīe||he, hi, ho, hie, þai, þei||they|
|Accusative||hem, ham, heom, þaim, þem, þam||them|
|Genitive||hira||here, heore, hore, þair, þar||their, theirs|
(The origin of the modern forms is generally thought to have been a borrowing from Old Norse forms þæir, þæim, þæira. The two different roots co-existed for some time, although currently the only common remnant is the shortened form 'em. Cf. also the demonstrative pronouns.)
! Wē in, , . Oft , , , . , hē, under , , him , . Þæt wæs!
Which, as translated by Francis Barton Gummere, reads:
Lo, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,
from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore,
awing the earls. Since erst he lay
friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him:
for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve,
till before him the folk, both far and near,
who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate,
gave him gifts: a good king he!
This is the beginning of The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan, a prose text in Old English dated to the late 9th century. The full text can be found at Wikisource.
Ōhthere sǣde his hlāforde, Ælfrēde cyninge, ðæt hē ealra Norðmonna norþmest būde. Hē cwæð þæt hē būde on þǣm lande norþweardum wiþ þā Westsǣ. Hē sǣde þēah þæt þæt land sīe swīþe lang norþ þonan; ac hit is eal wēste, būton on fēawum stōwum styccemǣlum wīciað Finnas, on huntoðe on wintra, ond on sumera on fiscaþe be þǣre sǣ. Hē sǣde þæt hē æt sumum cirre wolde fandian hū longe þæt land norþryhte lǣge, oþþe hwæðer ǣnig mon be norðan þǣm wēstenne būde. Þā fōr hē norþryhte be þǣm lande: lēt him ealne weg þæt wēste land on ðæt stēorbord, ond þā wīdsǣ on ðæt bæcbord þrīe dagas. Þā wæs hē swā feor norþ swā þā hwælhuntan firrest faraþ. Þā fōr hē þā giet norþryhte swā feor swā hē meahte on þǣm ōþrum þrīm dagum gesiglau. Þā bēag þæt land, þǣr ēastryhte, oþþe sēo sǣ in on ðæt lond, hē nysse hwæðer, būton hē wisse ðæt hē ðǣr bād westanwindes ond hwōn norþan, ond siglde ðā ēast be lande swā swā hē meahte on fēower dagum gesiglan. Þā sceolde hē ðǣr bīdan ryhtnorþanwindes, for ðǣm þæt land bēag þǣr sūþryhte, oþþe sēo sǣ in on ðæt land, hē nysse hwæþer. Þā siglde hē þonan sūðryhte be lande swā swā hē meahte on fīf dagum gesiglan. Ðā læg þǣr ān micel ēa ūp on þæt land. Ðā cirdon hīe ūp in on ðā ēa for þǣm hīe ne dorston forþ bī þǣre ēa siglan for unfriþe; for þǣm ðæt land wæs eall gebūn on ōþre healfe þǣre ēas. Ne mētte hē ǣr nān gebūn land, siþþan hē from his āgnum hām fōr; ac him wæs ealne weg wēste land on þæt stēorbord, būtan fiscerum ond fugelerum ond huntum, ond þæt wǣron eall Finnas; ond him wæs āwīdsǣ on þæt bæcbord. Þā Boermas heafdon sīþe wel gebūd hira land: ac hīe ne dorston þǣr on cuman. Ac þāra Terfinna land wæs eal wēste, būton ðǣr huntan gewīcodon, oþþe fisceras, oþþe fugeleras.
Ohthere said to his lord, King Alfred, that he of all Norsemen lived north-most. He quoth that he lived in the land northward along the North Sea. He said though that the land was very long from there, but it is all wasteland, except that in a few places here and there Finns [i.e. Sami] encamp, hunting in winter and in summer fishing by the sea. He said that at some time he wanted to find out how long the land lay northward or whether any man lived north of the wasteland. Then he traveled north by the land. All the way he kept the waste land on his starboard and the wide sea on his port three days. Then he was as far north as whale hunters furthest travel. Then he traveled still north as far as he might sail in another three days. Then the land bowed east (or the sea into the land — he did not know which). But he knew that he waited there for west winds (and somewhat north), and sailed east by the land so as he might sail in four days. Then he had to wait for due-north winds, because the land bowed south (or the sea into the land — he did not know which). Then he sailed from there south by the land so as he might sail in five days. Then a large river lay there up into the land. Then they turned up into the river, because they dared not sail forth past the river for hostility, because the land was all settled on the other side of the river. He had not encountered earlier any settled land since he travelled from his own home, but all the way waste land was on his starboard (except fishers, fowlers and hunters, who were all Finns). And the wide sea was always on his port. The Bjarmians have cultivated their land very well, but they did not dare go in there. But the Terfinn’s land was all waste except where hunters encamped, or fishers or fowlers.
Nouwille þet ye hou is
þet þis boc is Engliss of Kent.
Þis boc is vor men
Vor vader and vor moder and vor oþer
vor to vram alle manyere
þet ine ne no voul .
' ase god' in his name ,
Þet þis boc made god him þet bread,
Of angles of hevene, and þerto his ,
And his þet he is . Amen.
Whan that Aprill with his shoures
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in
Of which vertu engendred is the ;
Whan Zephirus with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the his half cours ,
And smale maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open
(So in ),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge ,
To , in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they ,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That whan that they were .
Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
The evening arrived: the boys took their places; the master in his cook's uniform stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the gruel was served out, and a long grace was said over the short commons. The gruel disappeared, the boys whispered each other and winked at Oliver, while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger and reckless with misery. He rose from the table, and advancing, basin and spoon in hand, to the master, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity—
"Please, sir, I want some more."
The master was a fat, healthy man, but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder, and the boys with fear.
"What!" said the master at length, in a faint voice.
"Please, sir," replied Oliver, "I want some more."
The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle, pinioned him in his arms, and shrieked aloud for the beadle.
A History of English Food is a history of English cuisine from the Middle Ages to the end of the twentieth century written by the celebrity cook Clarissa Dickson Wright. Each era is treated in turn with a chapter. The text combines history, recipes, and anecdotes, and is illustrated with 32 pages of colour plates.
The book was marked as a future classic by The Independent; it was welcomed by critics from The Telegraph, The Spectator and The Daily Mail, but disliked by the critic in The Guardian.Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were people from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders (with a small number being captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids), who brought them to the Americas. The South Atlantic and Caribbean economies especially were dependent on the supply of secure labour for the production of commodity crops, making goods and clothing to sell in Europe. This was crucial to those western European countries which, in the late 17th and 18th centuries, were vying with each other to create overseas empires.The Portuguese, in the 16th century, were the first to engage in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1526, they completed the first transatlantic slave voyage to Brazil, and other European countries soon followed. Shipowners regarded the slaves as cargo to be transported to the Americas as quickly and cheaply as possible, there to be sold to work on coffee, tobacco, cocoa, sugar and cotton plantations, gold and silver mines, rice fields, construction industry, cutting timber for ships, in skilled labour, and as domestic servants. The first Africans imported to the English colonies were classified as "indentured servants", like workers coming from England, and also as "apprentices for life". By the middle of the 17th century, slavery had hardened as a racial caste, with the slaves and their offspring being legally the property of their owners, and children born to slave mothers were also slaves. As property, the people were considered merchandise or units of labour, and were sold at markets with other goods and services.
The major Atlantic slave trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were: the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch Empires. Several had established outposts on the African coast where they purchased slaves from local African leaders. These slaves were managed by a factor who was established on or near the coast to expedite the shipping of slaves to the New World. Slaves were kept in a factory while awaiting shipment. Current estimates are that about 12 to 12.8 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic over a span of 400 years, although the number purchased by the traders was considerably higher, as the passage had a high death rate. Near the beginning of the 19th century, various governments acted to ban the trade, although illegal smuggling still occurred. In the early 21st century, several governments issued apologies for the transatlantic slave trade.Blank verse
Blank verse is poetry written with regular metrical but unrhymed lines, almost always in iambic pentameter. It has been described as "probably the most common and influential form that English poetry has taken since the 16th century", and Paul Fussell has estimated that "about three quarters of all English poetry is in blank verse".The first documented use of blank verse in the English language was by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey in his translation of the Æneid (composed c. 1540; published posthumously, 1554–1557). He may have been inspired by the Latin original as classical Latin verse did not use rhyme; or possibly he was inspired by the Ancient Greek verse or the Italian verse form of versi sciolti, both of which also did not use rhyme.
The play Arden of Faversham (around 1590 by an unknown author) is a notable example of end-stopped blank verse.British English
British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".When distinguished from American English, the term "British English" is sometimes used broadly as a synonym for the various varieties of English spoken in some member states of the Commonwealth of Nations.Encyclopedia
An encyclopedia or encyclopædia is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge from either all branches or from a particular field or discipline.
Encyclopedias are divided into articles or entries that are often arranged alphabetically by article name and sometimes by thematic categories. Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries. Generally speaking, unlike dictionary entries—which focus on linguistic information about words, such as their etymology, meaning, pronunciation, use, and grammatical forms—encyclopedia articles focus on factual information concerning the subject named in the article's title.Encyclopedias have existed for around 2,000 years and have evolved considerably during that time as regards language (written in a major international or a vernacular language), size (few or many volumes), intent (presentation of a global or a limited range of knowledge), cultural perceptions (authoritative, ideological, didactic, utilitarian), authorship (qualifications, style), readership (education level, background, interests, capabilities), and the technologies available for their production and distribution (hand-written manuscripts, small or large print runs, internet production). As a valued source of reliable information compiled by experts, printed versions found a prominent place in libraries, schools and other educational institutions.
The appearance of digital and open-source versions in the 20th century has vastly expanded the accessibility, authorship, readership, and variety of encyclopedia entries and called into question the idea of what an encyclopedia is and the relevance of applying to such dynamic productions the traditional criteria for assembling and evaluating print encyclopedias.English billiards
English billiards, called simply billiards in the United Kingdom, where it originated, and in many former British colonies such as Australia, is a cue sport that combines the aspects of carom billiards and pocket billiards. Two cue balls (originally both white, with one marked e.g. with a black dot, but more recently one white, one yellow) and a red object ball are used. Each player or team uses a different cue ball. It is played on a billiards table with the same dimensions as a snooker table and points are scored for cannons and pocketing the balls. English billiards has also, but less frequently, been referred to as "the English game", "the all-in game" and (formerly) "the common game".English cuisine
English cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions and recipes associated with England. It has distinctive attributes of its own, but also shares much with wider British cuisine, partly through the importation of ingredients and ideas from the Americas, China, and India during the time of the British Empire and as a result of post-war immigration.
Traditional meals have ancient origins, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, boiled vegetables and broths, and freshwater and saltwater fish. The 14th-century English cookbook, the Forme of Cury, contains recipes for these, and dates from the royal court of Richard II.
English cooking has been influenced by foreign ingredients and cooking styles since the Middle Ages. Curry was introduced from the Indian subcontinent and adapted to English tastes from the eighteenth century with Hannah Glasse's recipe for chicken "currey". French cuisine influenced English recipes throughout the Victorian era. After the rationing of the Second World War, Elizabeth David's 1950 A Book of Mediterranean Food had wide influence, bringing Italian cuisine to English homes. Her success encouraged other cookery writers to describe other styles, including Chinese and Thai cuisine. England continues to absorb culinary ideas from all over the world.First Period
In colonial American architecture and design, the First Period was the time period of approximately 1626 through 1725. There are more houses constructed by America's earliest settlers in Essex County, Massachusetts than anywhere else in the country. Its successor is the Colonial Georgian Period.Grammar
In linguistics, grammar (from Greek: γραμματική) is the set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics.
Speakers of a language have a set of internalized rules for using that language, and these rules constitute that language's grammar. The vast majority of the information in the grammar is – at least in the case of one's native language – acquired not by conscious study or instruction, but by observing other speakers. Much of this work is done during early childhood; learning a language later in life usually involves a greater degree of explicit instruction. Thus, grammar is the cognitive information underlying language use.
The term "grammar" can also be used to describe the rules that govern the linguistic behavior of a group of speakers. The term "English grammar", therefore, may have several meanings. It may refer to the whole of English grammar, that is, to the grammars of all the speakers of the language, in which case, the term encompasses a great deal of variation. Alternatively, it may refer only to what is common to the grammars of all, or of the vast majority of English speakers (such as subject–verb–object word order in simple declarative sentences). Or it may refer to the rules of a particular, relatively well-defined variety of English (such as standard English for a particular region).
A specific description, study or analysis of such rules may also be referred to as a grammar. A reference book describing the grammar of a language is called a "reference grammar" or simply "a grammar" (see History of English grammars). A fully explicit grammar that exhaustively describes the grammatical constructions of a particular lect is called a descriptive grammar. This kind of linguistic description contrasts with linguistic prescription, an attempt to discourage or suppress some grammatical constructions, while codifying and promoting others, either in an absolute sense, or in reference to a standard variety. For example, preposition stranding occurs widely in Germanic languages, has a long history in English, and is generally considered standard usage. John Dryden, however, objected to it (without explanation), leading other English speakers to avoid the construction and discourage its use.Outside linguistics, the term grammar is often used in a rather different sense. In some respects, it may be used more broadly, including rules of spelling and punctuation, which linguists would not typically consider to form part of grammar, but rather as a part of orthography, the set of conventions used for writing a language. In other respects, it may be used more narrowly, to refer to a set of prescriptive norms only and excluding those aspects of a language's grammar that are not subject to variation or debate on their normative acceptability. Jeremy Butterfield claimed that, for non-linguists, "Grammar is often a generic way of referring to any aspect of English that people object to."History of English amateur cricket
Cricket, and hence English amateur cricket, probably began in England during the medieval period but the earliest known reference concerns the game being played c.1550 by children on a plot of land at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, Surrey. It is generally believed that cricket was originally a children's game as it is not until the beginning of the 17th century that reports can be found of adult participation.Originally, all cricketers were amateurs in the literal sense of the word. Village cricket developed through the 17th century and teams typically comprised players who were all resident in the same village or parish. There is no evidence of professionalism before the English Civil War or during the Commonwealth but legal cases of the period have shown that cricket was played jointly by gentry and workers.Malda, West Bengal
Malda is a city and a municipality in Malda district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It serves as the district headquarters. It is the fourth largest city in West Bengal. Malda is a municipal corporation with two municipalities, English Bazar Municipality and Old Malda municipality. This is an Undeveloped City becoming bigger since 1925-1930 and the city is rapidly growing and its population had now cross over a half of million people. English Bazar is the divisional headquarters of Malda Division in this state.Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Nicknamed "the Red Devils", the club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910.
Manchester United have won more trophies than any other club in English football, with a record 20 League titles, 12 FA Cups, 5 League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields. United have also won three UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. In 1998–99, the club became the first in the history of English football to achieve the continental European treble. By winning the UEFA Europa League in 2016–17, they became one of five clubs to have won all three main UEFA club competitions.
The 1958 Munich air disaster claimed the lives of eight players. In 1968, under the management of Matt Busby, Manchester United became the first English football club to win the European Cup. Alex Ferguson won 38 trophies as manager, including 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups and 2 UEFA Champions Leagues, between 1986 and 2013, when he announced his retirement.
Manchester United was the highest-earning football club in the world for 2016–17, with an annual revenue of €676.3 million, and the world's most valuable football club in 2018, valued at £3.1 billion. As of June 2015, it is the world's most valuable football brand, estimated to be worth $1.2 billion. After being floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1991, the club was purchased by Malcolm Glazer in May 2005 in a deal valuing the club at almost £800 million, after which the company was taken private again, before going public once more in August 2012, when they made an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Manchester United is one of the most widely supported football clubs in the world, and has rivalries with Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Leeds United.Old English
Old English (Ænglisc, Anglisc, Englisc, pronounced [ˈæŋliʃ]), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English.
Old English developed from a set of Anglo-Frisian or Ingvaeonic dialects originally spoken by Germanic tribes traditionally known as the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. As the Anglo-Saxons became dominant in England, their language replaced the languages of Roman Britain: Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, and Latin, brought to Britain by Roman invasion. Old English had four main dialects, associated with particular Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: Mercian, Northumbrian, Kentish and West Saxon. It was West Saxon that formed the basis for the literary standard of the later Old English period, although the dominant forms of Middle and Modern English would develop mainly from Mercian. The speech of eastern and northern parts of England was subject to strong Old Norse influence due to Scandinavian rule and settlement beginning in the 9th century.
Old English is one of the West Germanic languages, and its closest relatives are Old Frisian and Old Saxon. Like other old Germanic languages, it is very different from Modern English and difficult for Modern English speakers to understand without study. Old English grammar is similar to that of modern German: nouns, adjectives, pronouns and verbs have many inflectional endings and forms, and word order is much freer. The oldest Old English inscriptions were written using a runic system, but from about the 9th century this was replaced by a version of the Latin alphabet.Phonological history of English
The phonological history of English describes the changing phonology of the English language over time, starting from its roots in proto-Germanic to diverse changes in different dialects of modern English.Phonological history of English close front vowels
The close and mid-height front vowels of English (vowels of i and e type) have undergone a variety of changes over time, often varying from dialect to dialect.Phonological history of English consonant clusters
The phonological history of the English language includes various changes in the phonology of consonant clusters.Phonological history of English consonants
This article describes those aspects of the phonological history of the English language which concern consonants.Phonological history of English open back vowels
The phonology of the open back vowels of the English language has undergone changes both overall and with regional variations, through Old and Middle English to the present. The sounds heard in modern English were significantly influenced by the Great Vowel Shift, as well as more recent developments such as the cot–caught merger.Women's cricket
Women's cricket is the form of the team sport of cricket that is played by women. The first recorded match was in England on 26 July 1745.
History of English
Description of the English language