English: The royal language

English is the world’s most widespread language, and, with an estimated over 2 billion people communicating in English, it has become a global lingua franca. Modern English is a West Germanic language with many influences from Scandinavian and French languages. It has a well-documented history and an interesting evolution from Old English to the standard modern version.

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3 interesting facts about the English language


In English, two words or phrases can be joined to form a new word, known as a portmanteau, often creating a new meaning. For example, “hangry” is formed by combining “hunger” and “angry.”


“Time” is the most often used noun.


The English language also contains tautonyms which are words formed by the repetition of a word, such as “so-so.” Most examples are scientific names for species.

Origin of the language

The Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians settled in Britain around the fifth century. The merging of their dialects transformed into Old English. The oldest known English poem, “Caedmon's Hymn,” dates from the seventh century. Of the numerous dialects, the West Saxon dialect became dominant. Viking and Norman invasions played a considerable role in later developments in English.

History of the language

The Viking invasion influenced Old English in breaking the case system. In 1066, William the Conqueror led the Norman invasion that established a new ruling class. The transition to Middle English simultaneously occurred, and many French words were introduced. English become the primary language in Britain in the 14th century, as evidenced in the work of the poet Chaucer.

The era of Early Modern English began in the 16th century with a distinct change in pronunciation known as Great Vowel Shift. With the advent of printing, English dominated the world of literature, in particular, in the London dialect. In 1604, the first English dictionary was published. The Late Modern English era started around 1800. The British Empire spread the language globally, and modern pop culture propagates its continuing influence.

Learning the language

A non-English speaker should expect to learn English in about 500 hours.

How to say 10 popular words and phrases in the English language

The following are some basic terms suitable for learners of English as a second language.

English for beginners

Ten common words to start learning in English



Good morning

Happy birthday

How are you

Good night

Thank you

I love you



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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.

George Orwell

Author and journalist

A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.

Robert Hughes

Art critic and author

Not all those who wander are lost.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Writer, poet and academic

Fun facts about the English language

Sophistication of English words

Words or phrases used in the English language derived from French are frequently seen as more formal whereas words derived from Old English are regarded as more casual.

Gender identification

Unlike Modern English, Old English had terms for three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.

Literary contribution

Well-known poetry and novels dominate English literature. This tradition began with four influential texts of Old English literature dating from the late 10th and early 11th centuries.


The exact number of dialects of English is unknown. However, estimates say there are more than 160 different English dialects globally.

The most distinctive standards of English are British English, American English, Canadian English, and South African English. The differences between these standards make each distinguishable.

Linguistic experts traced early forms of Old English to when West Germanic tribes migrated with their dialects in the 5th century. Anglo-Saxon dialects changed with the arrival of Norse-speaking Viking settlers in the 8th and 9th centuries.

Beginning in the 5th century, Anglo-Saxon immigrants brought various dialects to Britain which then developed into Old English. Modern English evolved from those West Germanic origins.

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