English As We Know It

As one of the World’s most widely used #languages, #English, first termed so by Alfred the Great in the ninth century, is continually transforming, with factors such as #technology, socio-#economic, multiculturalism and youth subculture influencing and shaping the vocabulary we use today; and for language purists, how we abuse it.

The Etymology of the English language in the UK can be traced to various invasions. Most successfully to the Viking invasion through the period 793 AD to 1066 AD which affected the English language; prior to the #influence of the Scandinavian dialect, little is known about how Anglo-Saxon settlement influenced the English language, other than to say that the Celts perhaps had most influence on its grammatical development.

With a possible 600-900 word count first documented in the early 12th Century coming from the Scandinavian dialect of ‘Old Norse’, like those beginning with Th and Sk, (i.e. Then, There, Sky and Skirt), and also many of the Town names in the North East of England are Old Norse in origin. Towns ending with –by like Grimsby, Whitby and Wetherby and also Thorpe meaning ‘Village’ like in Scunthorpe are but a few of the 210 town names recorded.

The Regional dialect of the North East is also thought to have been a lasting legacy of the Viking conquests. The 11th Century Invasion and occupation of the Normans brought further changes to the language and introduced ‘Old French’. Though mainly used by nobility, how far it filtered to the mainstream can perhaps be noted in the many French words we still share; entrepreneur, milieu, boutique, voyeur…

With the continued flux of people and technology and with abbreviated words such as those used in #text speak filtering into the spoken word, shifts in how #future #generations use the English language will be interesting to observe.

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