How did the English language develop?Mechanisms of its change?

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ako6777 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The English language is a member of the Indo-European family of languages.  The most important contributers to the English language are the Germanic and Romance languages. 

You can see the influence of these languages today in the word "father."  In German it is "vater", in Latin it is patir, and in Sanskrit it is "pitir".

English is mainly a member of the Germanic languages. It is believed that this group of languages began 3000 years ago near the Elbe River region.  From there the language split based on its geographical location.  It evolved and became the Scandinavian, German, Dutch, English,and several other languages. 

English's dominant mechanism of change was due to invasion by foreign enemys, the Renaissance, and American colonization.  When foreigners invaded a land they left behind remnants of their spoken word.  The Renaissance brought about a revival of old Greek and Latin word usage.  The colonization of American created a melting pot of languages that became infused into one dominant American English language.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The earliest source of the English language can be traced back to the prehistoric language called Proto-Indo-European, which was probably spoken till about 5000 years back by people living in area north of Black Sea. As people from this region migrated, many new languages developed out of this common root. One such language was Germanic Language the which later developed in to languages like German, English, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish.

The Language originally spoken by people of the region now known as Great Britain was the language of people called Celts. Their language was first influenced by the Romans from late first century B.C. to early fifth century A.D. Subsequently Germanic people invaded Britain. They brought with them three different dialects of Germanic languages spoken by their different tribes. One of the tribes called Angles settled in central Britain and this area came to be known as Angle-Land, which over a period changed to the name England. The language spoken by people of this region then became known as English.

The English spoken at that time, called Old English was very different from the current English. It first evolve into Middle English, under the influence of different invading people like Vikings in 800's and Saxons in late 11th century. Finally, around late fifteenth century Modern English emerged.

With the migration of British people beginning sixteenth century and expansion of British Empire, English then spread to many different countries and acquired the status of international language.