3.en.13 From Old English to Modern English

Languages are never static. They are in a constant process of change, which is triggered when two languages are in contact. The history of England, and later Britain, is full of moments of contact: wars, conquests, invasions, scientific developments…

As you know, English is a Germanic language. While it holds a certain resemblance to nowadays German, it also has lots of borrowings from Romance languages. In fact, we can say things in different ways in English, using Germanic and Romance words, and they will have different connotations. In this video, you can see why:

Now that we have learnt there is a difference in register between Germanic words (informal) and Latinate words (formal), we can also consider other giant leaps that changed the way we speak English today: Shakespeare, who coined many words and idioms; the British Empire, with all the borrowings from countries all over the world; the invention of the Internet, etc.

Here you are a brief, but illustrative video of all these changes if you want to learn more:

With all this information, you can sure review the activities we did in class:


So, if you had to choose 5 turning points for the English Language, which would they be? And, most importantly, what are the ones to come?


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