Student Question

What are the origins of the English language?

Expert Answers

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Of course, this is a very broad question.  If you want a better answer, you might ask a more specific question.

The modern English language is an Indo-European language that is descended from Old English through Middle English.  The Old English language was a Germanic language that was brought to the British Isles by invaders like the Angles and the Saxons.

The English language was strongly affected by Latin in a couple of ways.  First, it was affected by the Norman Conquest of 1066.  When the Normans came, they brought the French language which was, of course, descended from Latin.  This influenced English greatly.  Second, when scientific learning increased in the Renaissance and after, Latin (and Greek) words were increasingly used.

Finally, English has borrowed from many, many languages in more recent years.  Examples of this are words like "pajamas" which the English got from their dominance of India.

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