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Jan 26, 2010

How English was created?

The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark and northern Germany. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Angles came from "Englaland" (Land of the Angles) and their language was called "Englisc" from which the words England and English are derived.

The invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages, which in Britain developed into what we now call Old English or "Anglo-Saxon". Old English did not sound or look like English today. Native English speakers now would have great difficulty understanding Old English. Nevertheless, about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The words be, strong and water, for example, derive from Old English. Old English was spoken until around 1100.

The most famous surviving work from the Old English period is the epic poem "Beowulf" composed by an unknown poet.


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