Selasa, 01 Desember 2009

English language

English is a West Germanic language that developed in England during the Anglo-Saxon era. As a result of the military, economic, scientific, political, and cultural influence of the British Empire during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, and of the United States since the mid 20th century,[7][8][9][10] it has become the lingua franca in many parts of the world.[11][12] It is used extensively as a second language and as an official language in Commonwealth countries and many international organisations.



Historically, English originated from several dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers beginning in the 5th century. English was further influenced by the Old Norse language of Viking invaders.

At the time of the Norman conquest, Old English developed into Middle English, borrowing heavily from the Norman (Anglo-French) vocabulary and spelling conventions. The etymology of the word "English" is a derivation from the 12th century Old English englisc or Engle, plural form Angles ("of, relating to, or characteristic of England").[13]

Modern English developed with the Great Vowel Shift that began in 15th-century England, and continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of languages, as well as coining new words. A significant number of English words, especially technical words, have been constructed based on roots from Latin and ancient Greek.

Significance
Modern English, sometimes described as the first global lingua franca,[14][15] is the dominant language or in some instances even the required international language of communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy.[16] Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire, and by the late nineteenth century its reach was truly global.[17] Following the British colonisation of North America, it became the dominant language in the United States and in Canada. The growing economic and cultural influence of the United States and its status as a global superpower since World War II have significantly accelerated the language's spread across the planet.[15]

A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields, occupations and professions such as medicine and computing; as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). It is also one of six official languages of the United Nations.

Linguists such as David Crystal recognise that one impact of this massive growth of English, in common with other global languages, has been to reduce native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world, most particularly in Australasia and North America, and its huge influence continues to play an important role in language attrition.[18] Similarly, historical linguists, aware of the complex and fluid dynamics of language change, are always aware of the potential English contains through the vast size and spread of the communities that use it and its natural internal variety, such as in its creoles and pidgins, to produce a new family of distinct languages over time.

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