Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

History of the English Language.  A language develops and changes slowly over centuries. We do not know when the English language started.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "History of the English Language.  A language develops and changes slowly over centuries. We do not know when the English language started."— Presentation transcript:

1 History of the English Language

2  A language develops and changes slowly over centuries. We do not know when the English language started.

3 Stonehenge

4 Around 1900 B.C., Stonehenge was built. Since the people who built this huge stone circle did not leave a written record, we do not know what language they spoke. These huge stone circles align with the sun during solstices. (BBC, British History, timelines) Dictionary skills: Solstice, B.C., anno Domini

5 These people moved huge stones from miles away, raised them to a vertical position, and placed huge cap stones on top. Stonehenge stands today as an awesome accomplishment and could not have been done without a language. (BBC, British History, timelines)

6 Stonehenge Cap stone

7 Celtic People The Celts immigrated to England in the 5 th century B.C. and drove out the Stonehenge people. Since the Celts wandered over areas from Spain to Russia and Britain, the Celtic language was spoken over a vast area of the European continent. (BBC, British History, timelines) Pronunciation guide: Celt (hard c - k)

8 In Celtic culture, the Druids were the priestly class in Celtic polytheism. In Celtic culture, the Druids were the priestly class in Celtic polytheism. (BBC, British History, timelines) Celtic polytheism Celtic polytheism Dictionary skills: polytheism

9 The Celtic language survives today in the language spoken by the Scotch Gaelic, Irish, Welsh, and Breton. Celtic names are used for many places in Britain. One British town has this Celtic name: Lian \ vire \ pooll \ guin \ gill \ go \ ger \ u \ queem \ drop \ ooll \ llandus\ illo \ gogo \ goch !

10 This village wanted to have the longest train station name in the world! The name of the village means: St Mary's Church by the white hazel tree near the fierce whirlpool by the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave. It is said that an innkeeper invented the name during the last century to get travelers to buy from the shops in the village. Dictionary skills: reputedly

11 The Romans In 43 A.D., an army of 40,000 Roman soldiers invaded Celtic Britain and made it part of the Roman Empire. In the 400 years the Romans ruled Britain, they introduced Christianity, Latin, built roads, established Roman laws, and protected the Celts from the fierce Picts and Scots on the north side of Hadrian’s Wall. Research skills:

12 The Romans Internet research skills: Who was Julius Caesar? Who was Claudius? Who was Boudica (also spelled Boudicca)? Who was Hadrian?

13 BBC History of BritainTime Line Research: BBC History of BritainTime Line Research: nteractive/timelines/british/inde x.shtml nteractive/timelines/british/inde x.shtml

14 Hadrian’s Wall Hadrian’s Wall was built across the narrow part of England to keep the Pics and Scots from invading the south. Hadrian’s Wall

15 Roman Soldier Romans spoke Latin. * Roman soldiers were exellent engineers and built roads to link Rome with all the Roman Empire. *Research: Why is it important to the English language that Romans spoke Latin? (BBC, British History, timelines)

16 The Romans The Romans (Italy) Romans soldiers came from the area we call Italy today. The city of Rome is still the capital of Italy. After serving in the army, many soldiers married Celtic women and stayed in England. Rome

17 Italy and England on a map of Europe. Italy and England on a map of Europe. England Italy

18 End of Roman Rule 410 A.D. The Romans started pulling soldiers from Britain in 410 A.D. after 400 years of Roman rule. Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, was under attacks from barbaric tribes. The Celts were left without the protection of the Roman army and with no weapons to defend themselves. (BBC, British History, timelines)

19 Scandinavia After the Romans left, the Picts and Scots came south into England. Bands of Vikings came south from Scandinavia. Scandinavia

20 After 400 years of Roman protection, the Celts were civilized and accustomed to Roman laws. (Bryson 46-47) Since the Celts had Roman protection for 400 years, they were defenseless against the Pict, Scot, and Viking raiders. (BBC, British History, timelines)

21 The Jutes Come to Britain Vortigern, a Celtic chieftain, asked the Jutes, a Germanic tribe, to come to Britain and fight the Picts and Scots. In return, Vortigern promised that Jutes could have the isle of Thanet. The Jutes defeated the Picts and Scots, but when they finished fighting, the Jutes stayed in Kent. (BBC, British History, timelines)

22 Why did the Jutes want to stay? Britain is a beautiful island and located in the path of the Gulf Stream waters. This huge river of warm water provides a warmer climate than one would expect at that latitude and excellent grazing and farm land. ( BBC Weather Centre)

23 This ocean current warms Britain by 5-8C. This current moves north from the Gulf of Mexico at the equator. This air is still warm and moist when it reaches Britain. Winds from the sea often bring rain. This ocean current warms Britain by 5-8C. This current moves north from the Gulf of Mexico at the equator. This air is still warm and moist when it reaches Britain. Winds from the sea often bring rain. (BBC Weather Centre) (BBC Weather Centre)

24 The Angles and Saxons The Germanic Angle and Saxon tribes also invaded Britain and drove the Celts far to the west. King Arthur and his knights resisted the German invaders. (Bryson, 49) Some Celts fled across the English channel and settled in Brittany where a form of the Celtic language can be heard today. (Bryson, 49) Research Castles of Wales (

25 Jute, Angle, and Saxon Invasion were_the_anglo-saxons/#resources-photos

26 The Jutes, Angles, and Saxons tribes spoke German although each spoke a different dialect. (Bryson, 47) Dictionary skills: dialect

27 The Celts, renamed Wealas (foreigners), were driven west by the Angles and Saxons, settled in Wales. The present day heir to the English throne, Prince Charles, is titled the Prince of Wales. Welch is a form of the Celtic language.

28 By the middle of the 6 th century, the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons were settled on the land they had taken from the Celts. Historians decided that the Angles’ dialect was the origin of our language, Angle – ish, English. Our language could be called Saxon-ish because of a Saxon king, Alfred the Great. Research: Saxon, English, Alfred the Great (

29 King Alfred the Great was a scholar, statesman, and general who ruled the West Saxons from 871 to 899 A.D. He had the most important Latin books translated into the Saxon dialect and collected folk tales and history. King Alfred’s love of reading, writing, and language preserved our language during the Dark Ages. Research: King Alfred the Great ( ml )

30 Saxons, etc.* Saxons, etc.* *Etc. (et cetera) – and so forth (L) Latin The language known as Old English was spoken 450 A.D. – 1150 A.D. Most surviving Old English documents are in West Saxon dialect. Beowulf is one of these. Library search: “Beowulf”

31 King Alfred was also a great general. Small bands of Viking raiders had been raiding, burning, and looting English towns for a century. Then, they brought large armies to seize the land. (Bryson, 52) Alfred dealt them a smashing defeat in 878 A.D. King Alfred is the only English king with the title “the Great”. (

32 Vikings came from Scandinavia and Denmark. There were many places on the British island to beach their boats and raid the English countryside. The Vikings

33 Internet – Interactive game: Be a Viking Raider. kings/who_were_the_vikings/ kings/who_were_the_vikings/ Decide your strategy: How large will your ship be? Who will you include in the crew?

34 In the century following 878 A.D., the Viking invaders kept coming. Finally, in 1016, a Danish Viking named Canute (Cnut) was crowned King of England. Cnut ruled Denmark and Norway. He was wise and humble king. to_the_anglo-saxons/

35 The following story is told about King Canute (Cnut). Once, King Canute took all his flattering courtiers down to the sea. He asked, “Am I so powerful that I can stop the tide from coming in?” They answered, “Oh, yes!” So, he commanded the tide to stay out. Of course, they all got their feet wet. Dictionary skills: flattering, courtiers

36 The Vikings gradually stopped speaking Danish or Norse and learned English. However, they gave us such words as: they, their, them, are, skirt, sky, skin, scrub, whisk, and names ending in –son. e_vikings/

37 French Vikings, the Normans Scandinavian Viking bands invaded the northern coast of France, settled there, and learned French. They forced the French king to name their leader the Duke of Normandy and to give them the province of Normandy (Northman lands). They were called Normans (Northmen).

38 Meanwhile, England … 1066 Edward the Confessor, a descendant of King Canute, had no heir to claim the throne of England. Two Norman nobles, Harold of England and William, Duke of Normandy, said the throne had been promised to them. Upon the death of the king, Harold had himself crowned.

39 1066, the Battle of Hastings William, Duke of Normandy, and his Norman army crossed the English Channel, invaded England, and attacked army of newly crowned King Harold of England. Harold was killed when an arrow entered his visor and pierced his eye. William the Conqueror became King of England.

40 Norman Fortifications

41 The Normans built towers and castles in a style quite different from the old Celtic hill forts.


43 Normans (Northmen) The Normans nobles spoke French with a Viking accent. The peasants spoke the English of the German Saxon tribe.

44 For 200 hundred years after 1066, French was the language in the government, church, education, and the arts. English was spoken, but only by the lower classes. Modern English has inherited two different words for the same item. For example, the peasant who milked the beast called it a cow (Engl.), but the Norman lord who ate it called it beef (FR.).


46 How English Became Classy Again In 1204, the Anglo-Normans and the French king fought once more for possession of Normandy. The Anglo-Normans lost the battle and their possessions in Normandy to the French king.

47 English Became Classy The King of France added insult to the English king’s loss of Normandy. He said, “The King of England can’t fight or speak French well.” The English king was angry! He ordered all his subjects to speak English. English was the official speech of England.

48 The Anglo-Normans spoke English, but more than 10,000 of their French words remained in the English vocabulary. Old English + Norman French = a new combination called Middle English.

49 Geoffrey Chaucer The most famous writer of Middle English (1150 – 1500) is Geoffrey Chaucer. The next slide has an excerpt of a Chaucer poem. What does it say? Dictionary skills: excerpt (Classroom Chart, no source cited)

50 “The Pardoner’s Tale” (an excerpt, Geoffrey Chaucer) “Now, sires,” quod he, “if that ye be so leef To fynds Deeth, turne up this croked wey, For in that grove I lafte hym, by my fey, Under a tree, and there he wole abyde; Noght for youre boost he wole him no thyng hyde. Se ye that ook? Right there ye shal hym fynde.” (Translate.) (Classroom Chart, no source cited)

51 Translation into modern English: Three foolish men set out to kill Death. A mysterious old man in a long black cloak helps in the search for Death. Who was the mysterious old man? What do you predict happened when the foolish men found Death?

52 Interesting Facts about modern English Our language has over 600,000 words. Words from German origins are those we use most frequently because these are about us and our immediate world. (Bryson Words from Latin and Greek form most of the words in the English dictionary.

53 We use Germanic words when we talk about everyday, essential things of life, such as the parts of the human body, the sun, moon, and stars, and home. German words are the most frequently used, but words from German make up only one fifth of our total vocabulary words..

54 About three fifths of our vocabulary came originally from Latin and Greek… usually passing through French on the way. The rest of the English word stock is borrowed from dozens of other languages. (Glencoe Writer’s Choice Grammar and Composition Grade 6, 542-556)

55 The Language Family Tree The Indo-European languages are called a language family because they are believed to be the descendants of a parent language spoken in Central Europe in the late Stone Age. There are no written records; but similar words in many languages have made it possible to reconstruct the possible original forms. On the next slide there are some common Indo-European words. (Classroom chart, no origin)

56 Indo-ESanskrit Russian Modern GreekLatin Germ Early Engl. Modern PuhterPita…..PaterPaterFadarFather TreiesTrayahTreeTreisTresThreisThree KmtomSatamStawE-katonCentumHundHundred Ed-AdmiYestEdoEdoItaEat YugomYugamYarmoDzugonJugumJukYoke BheroBharami…FeroFeroBaira Bear (verb) (Classroom Chart, no source cited)

57 Works Cited Amory,, Tucking, and Cartwright. The First 1,000 Words in German. Edc Publishers, 1988. Print. Bryson, Bill. Mother Tongue, English & How It Got That Way. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000. Print. Classroom Chart. “History of the English Language”. No source cited. "Glencoe Writer's Choice Grammar and Composition Grade 6." Ed. Columbus, OH: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Glencoe, 2009. Print. "Holt Elements Of Language Grade 6." Ed. Robert R. Hoyt. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2004. Print. BBC, British History, Timeline, Interactive Games. Web. 3 May 2010.. BBC, Britain Weather. The Gulf Stream, Web. July 2009. Thomas, Jeffery L. Castles of Wales. Web. 2009.

58 Works Cited BBC Primary History glo-saxons/#resources-photos Nov. 5, 2009 glo-saxons/#resources-photos BBC Sound of the Saxons ml BBC Historic Figures ml BBC What Happened to the Anglo-Saxons? happened_to_the_anglo-saxons/ BBc What Happened to the Vikings? ned_to_the_vikings/

Download ppt "History of the English Language.  A language develops and changes slowly over centuries. We do not know when the English language started."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google