Portal:English language

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Introduction

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English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now a global lingua franca. Named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Britain that would later take their name, England, both names ultimately deriving from the Anglia peninsula in the Baltic Sea. It is closely related to the Frisian languages, but its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse (a North Germanic language), as well as by Latin and French.

English has developed over the course of more than 1,400 years. The earliest forms of English, a set of Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century, are called Old English. Middle English began in the late 11th century with the Norman conquest of England and was a period in which the language was influenced by French. Early Modern English began in the late 15th century with the introduction of the printing press to London, the printing of the King James Bible and the start of the Great Vowel Shift.

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Did you know...

  • ... that literary scholar Hana Wirth-Nesher grew up with her father reading to her in Yiddish, her mother and grandmother speaking to her in German, and her friends conversing with her in English?
  • ... that Japanese voice actress Azumi Waki initially wished to pursue a career as a flight attendant, but gave up because she felt that her English language skills were inadequate?
  • ... that Farouk Topan described the English language as "the elephant in the room" in relation to the use of Kiswahili in East Africa?

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