An Introduction To The English Language

An Introduction To The English Language
The English language is a mix of words derived from Latin, Greek, the Germanic languages, Norse, the late branch of the West Saxon dialect and Old English, with its recognisable form today based on Middle English. Early Modern English began in the 15th century and was soon adapted by the invention of printing. The first English dictionary was published in 1604.

Nowadays the complicated structure of English grammar and the language’s huge vocabulary is colourfully flavoured with adaptations of foreign words and sentence formats from the many lands of the British Empire and peppered with slang words and expressions from across the world as well as new words related to the rapid development of technology.

International English is a modern concept relating to the language as the accepted means of communication worldwide, although it’s held back by its use of traditional spellings. Standard English as used in the UK for speaking and writing is the version taught by language schools and colleges all over the UK.

Standard English is more formal than say, American English, and has a number of varying styles. For example, Standard English is used in the popular media and also in academic papers, but the two versions read completely differently. Spoken standards are even more varied and include many quaint dialect words still in use across the UK’s regions, especially in the North of England, the West Country, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

English grammar comprises the structure of sentences, clauses, phrases and the arrangement of words within a sentence, with social and regional variations common across the country. Getting to grips with the full basis of English grammar is not an easy task, made even more complicated by spelling variations.

The expression ‘parts of speech’ in English grammar refers simply to words, classifying them as nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, prepositions and conjunctions, with patterns of speech such as ‘subject plus verb’ and ‘object after verb’ making it easier to speak correctly when the basic rules are understood. The most important classifications are nouns – places, people, objects, etc – and verbs – actions, processes, etc.

Written English is generally more formal than the spoken form, especially in business communications. For those in employment, or planning to become employed, a course in business English is a great help, even if casual speech in the language comes easily to the applicant or employee. Courses are easily found in vocation colleges and locally run evening classes.