Millions of people are learning English. Why? Because its the most important international language in the world. But how did it become so important?
About 5000 B.C. a tribe called the Indo- Europeans lived in Central Europe. They were farmers and they had their own language. They discovered the wheel around 3000 B.C. After this they were able to travel. Some went East and others went West. The Indo-Europeans who traveled to Britain were the Celts. Today the people of Wails, Western Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall and Brittany (in Northern France) still call themselves Celts.Celts.
The Celts were the only people in Britain for over 2000 years. Then the Romans arrived. Julius Caesar and his army brought the new language – Latin. But only a few Latin words entered the Celtic languageRomans
The Romans left Britain in A.D Forty years late, a new group of invaders arrived. These were the Angles and Saxons. They came from Holland, Denmark and Germany. Angles and Saxons. Angles and Saxons.
Latin appeared again in A.D.597. Thats when Saint Augustine brought Christianity to Britain. This time, hundreds of Latin (and Greek) words entere6d Old English.
The language of Angles and Saxons was Englisc or Old English. They were farmers and many of their words are still in dictionary today. Here are some examples – sheep, earth, dog and field.
The next important step in the history of English came between the years 750 and Thats when the Vikings began to attack Britain. They came from Scandinavia and their language Norse, sounded a lot like modern Swedish. Norse words in English today include get, wrong, leg, want, skin, same and law.
One of the most important dates in British history is Thats when the French duke, William, beat the English king Harold at the Battle of Hastings. After that French words became an important part of English.
The next 200 years, Old English changed and became Middle English. Then in 1340 the first great English writer was born – Geoffrey Chaucer. His most famous book is called the Canterbury Tales.
In the next century (around 1480) a man called William Caxton printed the Canterbury Tales on a new machine. It was called printing press. Printing was very important for English because it fixed the spelling and grammar. Thanks to Caxton, English became a clearer, stronger language.
Elizabeth I was Queen of England from 1558 to These forty-five years are sometimes called The Elizabethan Age. Two famous Elizabethans were Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. Drake and Raleigh were both sailors and explorers. Their journeys to the New World (America) and the West India were very important for two reasons. First, they brought money and power. Second, they began something that still happening today – export of the English language.