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History of the English Language

-Indo-European Language Family Tree
-World Englishes
World Englishes
Why history of language?
Question: Why history of language?
A fascinating study in its own right
Satisfies the deep-rooted sense of curiosity about
our linguistic heritage, creating awareness of our
linguistic roots.
Promotes a sense of identity and continuity
Enables us to find coherence of the fluctuations
and conflicts of present-day English language use
A valuable perspective for the contemporary
study of the language
History Of English Before England

Four Major Language Familiies

e.g. Mandarin Chinese

e.g. Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian, etc.

e.g. Arabic and Hebrew

e.g. Romance, Germanic, Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian, and Celtic
History of the English Language
The earliest known residents of the British Isles
were the Celts, who spoke Celtic languagesa
separate branch of the Indo-European language
family tree.
Over the centuries the British Isles were invaded
and conquered by various peoples, who brought
their languages and customs with them as they
settled in their new lives. There is now very little
Celtic influence left in English. The earliest time
when we can say that English was spoken was in
the 5th century CE (Common Eraa politically
correct term used to replace AD (Anno Domini).
The Indo-European Family of
Indo-European language families in Europe
The Indo-European Family of
One language family that includes languages spoken
across Europe and into Asia, including English.
The development of English from Old English (449-
1100) to Middle English (1100-1500) to Early Modern
English (1500-1800) to Present-Day English.
The stages of English can be identified by syntactic,
morphological, phonological, and lexical differences, as
well as by differences in spelling.
English changes, hence the rise of the idea of correct
English and prescriptive grammar in eighteenth-
century England.
The Indo-European Family of
Many languages can be traced back to one
common ancestor/mother language called Proto-
English is a member of this family and part of the
subfamily of Germanic languages.
The comparative method of linguistics is used.

(Sir William Jones, 1786)

The comparative method- technique of
linguistic analysis that compares lists of
related words in a selection of languages to
find cognates
Cognates- words (with the same meaning)
descended from a common ancestor
Regular sound correspondences (predictable
sound changes across languages that show
how they are related)
Indo-European Numbers

one uno eins un yek

two dos zwei deux do

three tres drei trois seh

four quatro fier quatre chahar

five cinqo funf cinque panj

(FRH [2011]
Proto-Indo-European Word Roots
-The Comparative Method
Sanskrit Greek Latin Gothic English PIE Roots Meaning

pita Pater Pater Fadar Pater

padam Poda Pedem Fotu Ped

bhratar Phrater Frater Brothor Bhrater-

bharami Phero Fero Baira Bher-

jivah Wiwos Qius Gwei-

Sanah henee Senex Sinista Sen-

virah wir wair Wiro-

The Comparative Method
Sanskrit Greek Latin Gothic English PIE Roots Meaning

pita Pater Pater Fadar Father Pater Father

padam Poda Pedem Fotu Foot Ped Foot

bhratar Phrater Frater Brothor Brother Bhrater- Brother

bharami Phero Fero Baira Bear Bher- Carry

jivah Wiwos Qius Quick Gwei- Live

Sanah henee Senex Sinista Senile Sen- Old

virah wir wair were Wiro- man

The Indo-European Family of Languages
The most widely studies language family in the
world, reasons being:
many of the most important languages of the world are Indo-
European (mother tongue, official or co-official, important in
academic, technical, business and world organisations).
Examples: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian
Languages that are essential in multinational contexts or with
large numbers of speakers.
Examples: Portuguese, Hindi, German, Bengali.
Some of the great classical languages of religion, culture and
philosophy . Examples: Latin, Greek, Persian, Sanskrit, Pali.
Languages that are scattered around the world as their
speakers are part of diasporas
Examples:Greek, Yiddish, Polish, Armenian, Romany, Kurdish,
Italian, Punjabi, Gujarat
Tend to be inflected (verbs and nouns have
different endings depending on their part in a
The Indo-European languages stretch from the
Americas through Europe to North India.
Divided into twelve branches, ten of which
contain existing languages
Two extinct languages are Latin and Greek- no
native speakers
The Branches
The Celtic Branch The Illyric Branch
The Germanic Branch The Anatolian Branch
The Latin Branch The Thracian Branch
The Slavic Branch The Iranian Branch
The Baltic Branch The Indic Branch
The Hellenic Branch The Tokharian Branch
The Celtic Branch
now the smallest branch
the languages originated in Central Europe and once
dominated Western Europe (around 400BC).
The people migrated across to the British Isles over
2000 years ago. Later, when the Germanic speaking
Anglo Saxons arrived, the Celtic speakers were
pushed into Wales (Welsh), Ireland (Irish Gaelic) and
Scotland (Scottish Gaelic).
One group of Celts moved back to France. Their
language became Breton spoken in the Brittany
region of France. Breton is closer to Welsh than to
The Celtic Branch
Other Celtic languages have became extinct. These
include Cornish (Cornwall in England - now being
revived), Gaulish (France), Cumbrian (Cumbria),
Manx (Isle of Man - another language being
revived), Pictish (Scotland) and Galatian (spoken in
Anatolia by the Galatians.
Welsh has the word order Verb-Subject-Object in a
sentence. Irish has the third oldest literature in
Europe (after Greek and Latin).
The Germanic Branch
These languages originate from Old
Norse and Saxon. The vast majority of the
Celtic and Germanic languages use the Latin
They include English, the second most spoken
language in the world, the most widespread,
the language of technology, and the language
with the largest vocabulary.
The Germanic Branch
German has a system of four cases and
three genders for its nouns.
An example in English would be the
forms: lady, lady's, ladies and ladies'. The genders
are masculine, feminine and neuter. German has
three dialects spoken in northern Germany,
southern Germany and Austria, and a very different
form spoken in Switzerland.
English has lost gender and case. Only a few words
form their plurals like German
(ox, oxen and child, children). Most now add an s,
having been influenced by Norman French.
The Latin Branch
Also called the Italic or Romance Languages.
Latin is one of the most important classical
languages. Its alphabet (derived from the Greek
alphabet) is used by many languages of the world.
Latin had three genders and at least six cases for its
nouns and a Subject-Object-Verb sentence
structure. Most modern Romance languages have
only two genders, no cases and a Subject-Verb-
Object structure.
The Slavic Branch
These languages are confined to Eastern Europe.
The Slavic languages are famed for their consonant
clusters and large number of cases for nouns (up to
seven). Many of the languages have
three numbers for verbs: singular, dual and plural.
Macedonian has three definite articles indicating
distance; all are suffixes: VOL (ox), VOLOT (the
ox), VOLOV (the ox here), VOLON (the ox there).
The Baltic Branch
Three Baltic states but only two Baltic Languages.
Lithuanian is one of the oldest of the Indo-European
languages. Its study is important in determining the
origins and evolution of the family. Lithuanian
and Latvian both use the Latin script and have
tones. Lithuanian has three numbers: singular, dual
and plural.
Prussian is an extinct language from this branch
The Hellenic Branch
The only extant language in this branch is Modern
Greek is one of the oldest Indo-European
languages. Mycenaean dates from 1300BC. The
Ancient Greek of Homer was written from around
700BC. The major forms were
Doric (Sparta), Ionic (Cos), Aeolic (Lesbos),
and Attic (Athens). The latter is Classical Greek.
Greek has three genders and four cases for nouns
but no form of the verb infinitive.
The IIIyric Branch

Another single language branch

There are two dialects that have been
diverging for 1000 years. They are mostly
mutually intelligible. Geg is spoken in the
north of Albania and Kosovo (Kosova). Tosk is
spoken in southern Albania and north west
The Anatolian Branch

This branch includes the language of

the Hittite civilisation which once ruled
central Anatolia.
All languages in this branch are extinct.
Hittite is the earliest Indo-European language
known in Europe. It has two noun genders,
animate and inanimate. It has post-positions.
The Thracian Branch

This branch is represented by a single modern

language, Armenian. It has its own script.
The Iranian Branch

These languages are descended from Ancient

Persian, the literary language of the Persian
Empire and one of the great classical
The main language of this branch is Farsi (also
called Iranian, Dari and Persian), the main
language of Iran and much of Afghanistan.
The Indic Branch
This branch has the most languages. Most are found in
North India. They are derived from Sanskrit (the
classical language of Hinduism dating from 1000BC).

This gave rise to Pali (the language of Buddhism),

Ardhamagadhi (the language of Jainism) and the
ancestors of the modern North Indian languages.

Modern North Indian languages, Hindi and Urdu are

very similar but differ in the script
The Indic Branch

In India most of the states have their own language



The fascinating point about India is that the south

Indian languages (like Tamil) are not Indo-European. In
other words, Hindi is related to English, Greek and
French but is totally unrelated to Tamil.
The Tokharian Branch

Turfanian and Kuchean are recently identified

extinct languages once spoken in north west
World Englishes and
of English
History Of English In England
499-1066 : Old English
1066-1500 : Middle English
1500-Today : Modern English

499 : Saxons invade Britain

6th Century : Religious Literature
8th Century : Beowulf
1066 : Norman Conquest
1387 : Canterbury Tales
1476 : Caxtons Printing Press
1500 : Great Vowel Shift
1564 : Birth of Shakespeare
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 462)
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 493-494)
OLD ENGLISH: The Lords Prayer
Fder ure,
ou e eart on heofonum,
si in name gehalgod.
Tobecume in rice.
Gewure in willa on eoran swa swa on heofenum.
Urne gedghwamlican hlaf syle us to dg.
And forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfa urum
And ne geld u us on costnunge,
ac alys us of yfele.
(Roberts [2009]: 76)
MIDDLE ENGLISH, from Chaucers
Canterbury Tales
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droght of March hath perced to the

When April with its sweet showers

The drought of March has pierced to the
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2011] 489, 496)
Shakespeares Hamlet

A man may fish with the worm that

hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish
that hath fed of that worm.
(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 462)
Timeline of the History of the English Language
How many people speak English?
1500 4 million
1600 6 million
1700 8.5 million
1800 20-40 million
1900 116-123 million
Today (first language) ~ 375 million
(second language) ~ 375 million
(foreign language) ~ 750 million
Total around 1.5 billion (of the 6 billion in the world,
about 1 in 4)
(source: British Council Website - now down!)
Who speaks English today?
English as a Native Language (ENL)
- Language of those born and raised in one of the
countries where English is historically the first
language to be spoken (i.e. mainly the UK, USA,
Canada, Australia and New Zealand)
- ~ 350 million speakers

English as a Second Language (ESL)

- Language spoken in a large number of territories
which were once colonised by the English (e.g.,
India, Nigeria, Singapore)
- ~ 350 million speakers
English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
- Language of those for whom it serves no
purposes within their own countries
- Historically, EFL was learned to use the
language with its native speakers in the US and
- ~ 1 billion speakers with reasonable
World Englishes
We can no longer simply
view English as a
worldwide lingua franca;
rather, as many non-
native varieties of English
become standardised.

(Kachru, 1992)
Braj B. Kachru Braj B. Kachru
University of Illinois
(University of Illinois)
World Englishes
What is/are World English(es)?

The expression "world Englishes" is capable

of a range of meanings and interpretations.
(p. 240, Bolton, 2006):

an umbrella label referring to a wide range of

differing approaches to the description and
analysis of English(es) worldwide.

the "new Englishes" found in the Caribbean

and in West African and East African
societiesand toAsian Englishes
Why use the term Englishes?
The term symbolises: Emphasises WE-ness,
Functional & formal and not the dichotomy
variations between us and them
Divergent sociolinguistic (the native and non-
native speakers)
Ranges and varieties of
English in Creativity
Various type of
acculturisation in parts of
the Western and non-
Western world.
Government desire for standardization of
English in Singapore:
The Anti-Singlish Campaign
Use of English between two speakers, neither of
whom speak English as a native language
How English is Used Globally

English is used to make something

look more fashionable,
modern, expensive

A is for Ambrella

The very best stationery

for people who get excited
when they see English
all over everything
Kachrus Circles Theory

Many varieties of
English are found
across the globe.
Kachru (1992) has
classified these
varieties as those
used in the inner
circle, the outer
circle, and the
expanding circle.
The Expanding Circle
China, Egypt,
Indonesia, Israel,
Korea, Nepal, Japan,
Saudi Arabia, Taiwan,
Russia, Zimbabwe

The Outer Circle

Bangladesh, Ghana, India,
Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Philippines,
Singapore, Sri Lanka,
Tanzania, Zambia

The Inner Circle

USA, UK, Canada,
Australia, New
Kachrus Concentric Circles of English
Inner Circle
Represents the traditional bases of English
Dominated by the mother-tongue varieties of
the language
Outer Circle
English has been institutionalised as an
additional language
Expanding Circle
Includes the rest of the world where English is
used as the primary foreign language.
Using Kachrus Circle Theory
Studies suggest that there were (in 2001) an estimated
375 million users of English in Inner-Circle societies,
375 million in Outer-Circle (ESL) societies, and
750-1,000 million in the Expanding (EFL) Circle
(McArthur, 2001)

The vast majority of teachers of English as a second and

foreign language in the world today are non-native
teachers working in a wide range of settings in Outer-
Circle and Expanding-Circle societies. (p. 261, Bolton,

Non-native English speaking teachers = NNESTs

A Historical Overview of Kachrus Circles
The spread of Englishes
from the United Kingdom to countries where native
English speakers have settled down in large numbers
(Kachrus Inner Circle countries, 1992): Australia,
Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United
States as a first language for many
as a second language (Kachrus Outer Circle, 1992):
Examples - Hong Kong, India, Singapore

or a foreign language (Kachrus Expanding Circle,

1992): Examples - Germany, Hungary, Poland, China,
and Japan

Reasons for the spread (Kandiah, 1998):

colonisation; global village
59 Rebecca L. Oxford (c) 2008
MacArthurs circle of English
There is nothing in the center.
There is NO universal English language, nor a World Standard
English (WSE).
People construct English as suits their purposes in a given
context at a given time.
Functionality and pragmatics are more relevant than WSE.
English as a Double-edged Sword
Even though the majority of ESL & EFL teachers in
the world are NNESTs, some institutions fight to get
NESTs (e.g., some Korea universities)

Ambivalence about non-native varieties in Outer


Center still controls English language industry

professional journals (changing somewhat)
the concept of who the experts are
However, in some ESL contexts, such as
India, locally produced materials in
English may be given preference over
Center-produced materials, and locally
trained teachers are seen as legitimate
English language teacher
Why Teach World Englishes?
Provides a challenging opportunity to relate
three academic areas - language, literature and
The approach to World Englishes is cross-
cultural and cross-linguistic
The sources involve diverse cultures, languages
and literatures in contact with English
One has to have interdisciplinary
perspectives focusing on the linguistic face of
World Englishes.
Kachru believes that 1. A paradigm shift in research, teaching, and
for proper application of sociolinguistic realities to the
conceptualisation functions of English.
and study of World 2. A shift from frameworks and theories
Englishes, two types which are essentially appropriate only to
of shifts are needed: monolingual countries.

It is essential to recognise that World Englishes represent certain

linguistic, cultural, and pragmatic realities and pluralism, and that
pluralism is now an integral part of World Englishes and
literatures written in Englishes.
66 Rebecca L. Oxford (c) 2008
The Story of English
Rebecca L. Oxford (c) 2008 67
Go there for essays related to the
Rebecca L. Oxford (c) 2008 68
Who is a native speaker?
And is that important?

What things can non-native English-speaking teachers

(NNESTs) do better? What things can native English-
speaking teacher (NESTs) do better?
69 Rebecca L. Oxford (c) 2008
E-language as an example of the
morphing of English

Lol, gtg, lylas, brb, waz, nm, ctn, tmi, luvya, bf,
bff, gf, ttfn, cul8R, ttyl.

From Prensky, M. (2001).

Digital game-based learning.
New York: McGraw-Hill.

Rebecca L. Oxford (c) 2008 70

A Translation
Lol Laugh out loud Ctn Cant talk now
Gtg Got to go Tmi Too much
Lylas Love you like a information
sister Luvya Love ya
Brb Be right back Bf Boyfriend
waz Whats up? Bff Best friend
Nm Nothing much Gf Girlfriend
Ctn Cant talk now
And as we close . . .
Ttfn Tata for now
Cul8r See you later
Ttyl TalkL. to
Rebecca Oxfordyou
(c) 2008 later 71
Issues Related to World Englishes
1. How are different world Englishes (socially)
2. How recognisable are different world
Englishes? What factors influence this
3. How is English used in the world? How should
it be used? (in part, code-switching and
language policy)
4. How do world Englishes differ from each other
or how are they similar (pidgins and creoles)?
Pidgins & Creoles
Language varieties developed by speakers
in contact who share no common language.
Definition pidgin
A pidgin is a language with no native speakers: it
is no ones first language but is a contact
(Wardhaugh 2006: 613)
Definition creole
In contrast to a pidgin, a creole is often defined
as a pidgin that has become the first language of
a new generation of speakers.
(Wardhaugh 2006: 613)
- Stigmatisation as inferior, bad languages
- European expansion into Africa and Asia
during colonial period
- Contact languages between dominant
European language speakers and speakers
of mutually unintelligible indigenous African
and American languages
- Fulfils restricted communicative needs
between people who do not share a common
- Little need for grammatical redundancy
Languages developed from pidgins
First language of some members of a speech
Used for a wide range of functions

Jamaican Creole (also called patois)
Krio (Sierra Leone, Africa)
Gullah (South Carolina & Georgia)
Tutorial Tasks:
Discuss the origins and development of the
English language and the future of World
Singapore is currently promoting the anti-Singlish
campaign nationwide. In your opinion, what are
the reasons for the move?
Diversion from Standard English (Queens English)
brings more advantages than disadvantages.
If I can get by with Pidgin English, why bother
with the Queens English?. Discuss.