A History Of Our Language

Better Essays
The English Language is Rich in its history. Studying the events that formed our language is vital to understand not only why we speak the way we do, but it also enables us to understand who we are. It comprises French, Latin, German, Norse, and a few lesser known tongues. Before there was written English, our texts were primarily written in Latin, and were reserved to be read by only the Pious and Royal. We also have historical landmarks such as Stonehenge that can guide us in understanding our English heritage. The language we speak today was formed only after Centuries of fierce battling, governments being overthrown, and a period of time known as the Dark Ages. During this time, the language began as Old English. Later it was simplified into Middle English and finally refined into Modern English.
Old English is concentrated between the years 450 and 1150ad. In the year 449 Germanic Tribes known as the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded England. This is after the Romans had already built a thriving civilization, complete with a massive road system. It is thought that the tribes terrorized the natives and forced many out of their homeland. Their German language blended with those Celtic and Welsh residents who decided to stay. This is where the meld of Old English began.
In the year 697 St. Augustine and other Roman Missionaries came to spread Christianity to the savages. Latin, one of the oldest known languages, was used for all the religious ceremonies and in all of the hierarchies. St. Augustine and these missionaries introduced the technology of writing. Within a century of Augustine’s landing, primitive works of history and deeply seeded religious poetry began to surface in a language that we now consider as Old English. Bede (c.672-735) is remembered as a great historian and theologian. His Old English works provide us with a glimpse into an otherwise mysterious period known as the “Dark Ages.”
There were many invasions from 787 - 1042 primarily the Vikings or Danes. Due to them
The English Language began to be simplified along with its vocabulary. The inflected endings common to Old English were dropped off and prefixes like sc, sk, and sh were added to the melting pot.

... middle of paper ... a thousand stitches to-day to save nine tomorrow.
Although these pieces were written nearly 250 years apart, they are still dramatically close in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. We can see that it wasn’t long after the printing press was introduced to England that there were changes in the overall thinking of the common people. They now had a technology where their beliefs could be spread to many others. Political ideas were changing as illustrated in "Two Treatises of Civil Government” by John Locke in 1787.
The English Language is an empire of knowledge. It spells so clearly the history of our world, if we only choose to read between the lines. From Old English, including the Dark Ages, to Middle English and the introduction of the printing press, and finally to Modern English where all of these technologies are used to their peak, our language is a lesson in World History. In it, the tribulations as well as the triumphs of our ancestors are well reflected. It does us well to consider this from a historical standpoint. How can we trust our beliefs if we know not their origins? How can we know ourselves if we know not the reason we speak?
Get Access