The spread of English and the rise of new Englishes

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It is estimated that there are over 300 million native speakers and over 300 million users of English as a second language. Apart from this there are a further 100 million users, who use it as a foreign language. So what attracts so many people to this language A very popular language the world over, English is the most common medium of communication in the world of business, and commerce.


While on the study of English, introspection on how English came into being can be elucidated here. The following figure throws light on the various cultures and sects that contributed to the development of English as we see today.
The history of English is divided into three periods since its existence way back some 1000 BCE. Though it is difficult to establish the correct year, researchers have unanimously concluded that the three periods are referred to as Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), Middle English, and Modern English. The graph above shows that the earliest period is marked with the migration of certain Germanic tribes from the continent to Britain in the fifth century A.D., though no records of their language survive from before the seventh century, and continued till the end of the eleventh century or a bit later. Before the end of the eleventh century, Britain was also being influenced by Latin. Old Norse (the language of the Viking invaders), and Anglo-Norman French of the dominant class after the Norman Conquest in 1066, had a substantial impact on the lexicon, and the well-developed inflectional system that typified that the grammar of Old English had begun to break down (Merriam-Webster, 2007)2.
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