The history of english

History of development and feature of English language at different stages - from the Celtic times to language of the Middle Ages and modern English. Riches of literary and folklore language of Englishmen, features of English proverbs and tongue twisters.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид реферат
Язык английский
Дата добавления 19.02.2010
Размер файла 40,6 K

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At first they were English, Irish, German and Scandinavian. Then Italians, Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Russians and Poles came. Most immigrants came because economic conditions at home were bad. But there were also other problems in Europe. About three million Jews came to the USA between 1880 and 1910 because of religious persecution in Russia and other countries.

Today the USA is still much richer than most of its neighbors. Its most recent new citizens are many Spanish-speaking people from Puerto Rico, Mexico and South America.

The population of Britain is only about 58 million. But throughout the world English is spoken by over 700 million people.

About 350 million people speak English as their first language in 12 countries such as Britain, the USA. Canada Australia. New Zealand. South Africa.

About 300 million use English as a second or official language in over 60 countries, for example, in India. They usually use it when doing business, or when completing official documents and forms.

It is estimated that at least 100 million people throughout the world use English fluently as a foreign language.

There are over 3.000 languages in the world. So why has English become so widely spoken?

Today the English language is almost the same all over the world. You can tell a person's nationality from their accent - Australian, Scottish, Canadian and so on. But the words are more or less international.

It's strange that the differences in Britain itself are greater than those between Britain and other English-speaking countries. For a Londoner, it's easy to understand an American, but quite difficult to understand the dialect of Newcastle in the North of England!

But not many people speak dialects in Britain these days. A hundred years ago (before radio and television) all ordinary working people did. In Emily Bronte's book Wuthering Heights the old man Joseph speaks Yorkshire dialect:

“Take these in tuh t'maister, lad. Un' bide theare. Aw's gang up tuh my awn rahm.” (Take these in to the master, boy. And stay there. I'm going up to my own room.)

Don't worry. Joseph doesn't say very much in the book - the rest is in normal English!

In a country like New Zealand, English is the first language. In fact it's the only language for most people. About 100,000 Maoris have their own language, but they also speak English. Most of this book is about countries where English is the first language - Canada, Ireland, the USA and so on.

But in more than sixty other countries English is a second language. The government, business and universities use it. Some of the people, but not all, speak it well and use it for certain parts of their lives.

IV. Conclusion

I enjoy learning English, it is really great' I like to learn new words, to look up in the dictionary their meanings. English grammar is difficult, but I try hard to understand it, to learn the rules, to put them into practice.

I think it is very interesting to read English books, newspapers, magazines. I came to know a lot of exciting facts and new things. It is like a new world where you can enter if you know the language.

English folklore is very rich. I believe, it is good to know English proverbs and tongue-twisters, English rhymes and limericks. English sayings and songs.

When you learn tongue-twisters, it helps you to improve your phonetics.

I know quite a number of them. Here is a good one:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper:

A peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked:

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper

Where's the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked!

This one is my favorite:

A thatcher of Thatchwood went to Thatchet a-thatching

Did a thatcher of Thatchwood go to Thatchet a-thatching?

If a thatchcr of Thatchwood went to Thatchet a-thatching

Where's the thatching the thatcher of Thatchwood has thatched?

While writing my research paper report I had to read a lot of books on English History I came to know a lot of English folk songs, they are simple and nice. Some of them help me to learn words. Solomon Grundy is a folk song it helps you to remember the days of the week. It is a sad song/ but 1 the same it's funny too.

Solomon Grundy

Born on Monday

Christened on Tuesday

Married on Wednesday

Ill on Thursday

Worse on Friday

Died on Saturday

Buried on Sunday

This is the end

Of poor old Solomon Grundy.

English proverbs are useful in many situations. Here are a few examples. When there's a will, there's a way. Or: All's well that ends well. No sweet without sweat. Lend money and lose a friend. East or West, home is best.

English jokes are very funny. They often laugh at nationalities of the British Isles. Here is a typical one. “An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman were alone on a desert island.” One day the Englishman found an old bottle. He broke it and out came a genie. The genie said: “I'll give you and your friends three wishes. But choose well, because you may have only one wish each” “My wish is quite simple”, - said the Englishman, - “I wish to be taken home”. “Your wish is my command”, - said the genie, and the Englishman disappeared. “Yes, I'd like the same”, - said the Scotsman. And in a minute he was at home as well. Then the genie turned to the Irishman. “And what about you? What's your wish?” The Irishman thought a little and then said: “I'm very lonely without my friends. I wish they were back here with me.”

English literature has very rich traditions. English poetry is well known in the world best Russian poets translated English poetry into Russian. But of course, when you study English it's a pleasure to learn English poems in the original. My favorite poem is “If by R. Kipling. I think, he gives very good advice for the young people in this poem.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are loosing theirs and blaming it on you*

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master:

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same.

You can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build them up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginning

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the will which says to them; “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue

Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, out non much;

If you can *ill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run.

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Yes, to learn English is such a fun, indeed!!!

List of Literature

1. Speak Out 3/2001 - pages 2-4 Издательство «ГЛОССА».

2. Борисов В.С., Борисова Л.М. «Английский не для всех»

3. Mark Farrell «The World Of English» England Longman 1995.

4. James O'Driscoll «Britain» Oxford University England Press 1995.

5. «Treasures Of Historical English» Борисова Л.М.

6. «History And Mystery Of The English Words» Борисова Л.М.

7. G.C. Thorney «An Outline Of English Literature» England Longman 1984.




Description; Position; Pronunciation




Short back vowel; Mainly in open syllables, when the following one contains a back vowel; English cup

macian (to make), habban (to have)



Long back [a] vowel; In any kind of syllables; English star

stбn (a stone), hбtan (to call)



Short back vowel; Met mainly in closed syllables, or in open ones, if the next syllable contains a front vowel; English bad

dжg (a day), wжter (water)

ж '

й, б

Long back vowel; as Gothic й found only in some verbal forms, as Gothic б is the result of the so - called i - mutation; German za "hlen

stж ' lon (stolen), hж ' lan (to cure)


i, ai, a

Short front vowel; as Gothic i, ai noticed only in some infinitives, otherwise is result of the mutation of i; English bed

sengean (to sing)



Long front [e] vowel; resulted from the i - mutation of у; German Meer

dйman (to judge)


i, ie

Short front vowel; can be either stable or unstable, the unstable sound can interchange with ie and y; English still

bindan (to bind), niht - nyht (a night)



Long front [i] vowel; also stable and unstable (mutating to э); English steal

wrнtan (to write), hн - hэ (they)


u, au

Short back vowel; English cost

coren (chosen)



Long back [o] vowel; English store

scуc (divided)


u, au

Short back vowel; used only when the next syllable contains another back vowel; English book

curon (they chose)



Long back [u] vowel; English stool

lъcan (to look)



Short front vowel; i - mutation of u; German fu" nf

gylden (golden)



Long front [y] vowel; i - mutation of ъ, German glu "hen

mэs (mice)



A special short sound met only before nasals in closed syllables

monn (a man)

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