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.