Old English (400 - 1100 AD)At that time the old inhabitants of England spoke a Celtic language. But the Celtic speakers were pushed north and west by the Germanic tribes - into what is now Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
The Angles came from Englaland. Their language was called Englisc - from which the words England and English are derived. This way English originated from several dialects, now collectively termed Old English.
Middle English (1100-1500)After the time of the Norman conquest, Old English developed into Middle English. It was influenced by French and Latin in vocabulary and pronunciation. French brought many words connected with government including royal and legal. Latin was the language of religion and learning and gave to English words such as angel, master, school and grammar.
Early Modern English (1500-1800)Modern English developed from the Middle English. During the Renaissance many words were introduced from Greek to express new ideas in medicine and philosophy. They included physics, hypothesis and species.
Late Modern English (1800-Present)By the 18th century American English was well-established and developing independently from British English. After colonists arrived in the US new words began to be added from Native American language, from French and Spanish.
Soon after Johnson’s dictionary was published, Noah Webster’s publish in the US The Elementary Spelling Book and A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language contained some spelling changes and became the basis of the American standards. During the 19th century many dictionaries and books about language were published including the Oxford English Dictionary and Dictionary of Modern English.
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