In today’s world, many of us simply accept modern language as a given. English is so widely spoken that it seems almost impossible to consider that it is actually a relatively new tongue. All languages have been on an incredible journey, shaped by human migration, politics, colonialism, and war, and English is no exception. With its roots in Germany and the Netherlands, English has evolved over many years, and still it continues to grow.
Originating from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders and various settler groups, English has been developed out of the West-Germanic language groups. With the kingdom of Britain being built from such a diversity of roots, Old English was initially a conglomeration of a number of dialects, until eventually Late West Saxon became the dominant voice.
During the Middle Ages the language was shaped into more of what we see today in modern English. In 1000 AD, the vocabulary and grammar of Old English was more akin to that of old Germanic languages like Old High German and Old Norse, but by 1400 AD, the language was largely recognisable to what we see today. This alteration in the language came as result of two further waves of invasion, bringing Scandinavian and Norman dialects into the language; the Scandinavian influence simplifying the language grammatically and the Normans developing Anglo-Norman where a large quantity of modern English vocabulary has its origins.
Via Charles Tiayon