Language Arts by eNotes

Start Your Free Trial

Why is English an important language? What can be learned from studying the history of the English language?

Expert Answers info

Colin Cavendish-Jones, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Lawyer

bookM.A. from Oxford University

bookPh.D. from St. Andrews University


calendarEducator since 2019

write1,261 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

English is an important language for many reasons. It is very widely spoken, both as a first and second language. It is, in its most basic form, comparatively easy to learn, due to its grammatical simplicity, making it a suitable lingua franca (where atrtificial attempts, such as Esperanto, have failed). It has a remarkable corpus of literature, much of which (particularly lyric poetry) does not respond well to attempts at translation.

The entire history of Old, Middle, and Modern English is barely 1,500 years, affording the chance for the linguistic historian to study a great deal of development over a relatively short time. The recent history of English has produced a new discipline, that of "World Englishes," in which cultures where English has been introduced and where it is in widespread use—such as India, the United States of America, South Africa, and Australia—are studied through the unique developments English has undergone in those countries.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Related Questions

Ashly Hintz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), Professional Tutor

bookB.S. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


calendarEducator since 2019

write726 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The English language is important...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 669 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write2,422 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial