B1 Intermediate UK 859 Folder Collection
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Hello. I'm Gill from engVid,
and today... As you know, I usually teach an aspect of the English language,
but today, we're going to be looking at the English language from a different perspective, a different angle,
and looking at the history of the language
and how it has developed, because the English language hasn't always been the way it is today.
It's developed over hundreds and hundreds of years.
Now, today, hundreds of millions of people speak English all over the world, whether
it's their first language or their second language, or just one of the foreign languages
that they speak and learn at school, and so on. So, hundreds of millions of people speak
English and learn English. But hundreds of years ago, the English language that we know
today didn't really exist. It sort of got put together gradually by different historical
events. So we're going to go back in history now, and have a look at a timeline.
I don't know if you've seen a timeline before, but it is literally the time, the years going
from left to right, like you get on a graph if you've done graphs, and the time goes across
along the line. So the different developments that happened can be shown on that line. So
we're starting here in 55 BC, hundreds of years ago, and we're coming up to... Well, beyond.
We have 1066, here, but because I ran out of space on the board, the time went
on for such a long time, I couldn't get all the centuries in, but I will still tell you
about them. Okay. But these are the very interesting parts, which are on the board.
So, 55 BC, the Roman invasion of Britain, of the U.K., where we are at the moment.
So, you've heard of the Roman Empire with Julius Caesar and all the other Caesars, the Roman
Empire that spread in different directions, and Britain is one of the directions they
spread in. They came here, and stayed for a while, and built some nice buildings, and
they built a wall that goes across between Scotland and England, called Hadrian's Wall,
because the Emperor at the time was called Hadrian. So, anyway, when they came and stayed
for some time, they brought their language with them, the Latin language. Okay? And the
Latin language, it's called a dead language today, but it has influenced so many other
languages, especially in Southern Europe,
so languages like Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, they all come from Latin.
So, in this country, in the English language,
we have had the Latin influence at different times. So, the Romans brought their Latin
language with them. Okay? So that influenced the way people were speaking to each other
as time went on. And the natives of this country started learning Latin words, and it became
integrated into the language.
Okay, so let's have a look at some of the words that we use today that were influenced
or that came from Latin words. Right? And we have this pie chart, here, which you may
know if you've been studying things for IELTS and the writing task. A pie chart... So, the
whole circle represents 100%. So if you're thinking of all the words in the English language
at the moment, Latin, the Latin words that came from... Partly from the Roman invasion,
we have 29% of the words in the English language have come from a Latin origin, from a source,
Latin source. Okay. So here are just a few of very words that we use every day, really.
Words like: "human", "animal", "dental" to do with the teeth, "decimal" which is to do
with the fingers because we have 10 fingers, "decimal", and "digital", also fingers, "factory"
where things are made, manufacture, "library" where you read books, "libre" meaning book,
"library", the building where the books are kept, "manual" to do with if you do things
with your hand it comes from the Latin word for "hand", "manual". "Lunar" to do with the
moon, because the Latin word for the moon was "luna", "luna".
And "solar" to do with the sun, again, because the Latin word was like that, "solar".
"Military", anything to do with soldiers because the Latin
Roman Empire soldiers were... That was the word that was
used for "soldiers". "Melees" I think. And we also get our "mile", the distance, the
mile from that, because that was the distance that they would march, I think, before they
had a rest or something like that. So "military" is to do with soldiers. "Science" to do with
knowledge. "Science", and "station", the railway station, the bus station is a place where
you stand still before you move off, and that also comes from a Latin word to be static
in one place. Okay. Okay, so that's the Latin. You'll notice also that later on in history,
Latin kept coming back, so there and there, but that's the Latin from these three points
in history when we had visitors of one sort or another.
Okay, so let's move on then, the next major event. I've put 450 AD, but I'm going to start
putting century numbers now, because it's simpler. So, 5th... The 5th century, okay,
Germanic migration. That's people from roughly where Germany is today in the mainland Europe
moved across. Okay? From the Saxon, Saxon area of Germany. Saxony. So, the language
they brought with them was a kind of... Well, it became Anglo-Saxon, because it got merged
with the English we already had, the Anglo part, with the Saxon part added. It... And
that's another name for that is Old English, Old English, which looks totally different
from the English we have today. So they brought a different language with them, and that got
all mixed in. If you think of a big cooking pot and different ingredients being put in,
and it just keeps cooking and cooking over time, that's how it was developing. Okay.
So, Germanic. Let's have a look at how much Germanic language there is in English today.
So, looking at our pie chart again, we've got Germanic 26%, so just over a quarter of
the words in the English language today come from a Germanic source. And I've put some
little abbreviations here; Old English, Middle English, Old Norse, and Dutch.
These are all roughly sort of from the Germanic area,
and the Dutch words as well are all mixed in there, too,
because Holland isn't that far away either.
Okay. So, let's just see a few examples of
the Germanic words. They're often quite short words and words we use every day, like "above",
"again", "and", "apple", "bad" and "good",
"cake", "eat" and "drink",
parts of the body especially, "eye" and "feet" and "arm", "boy" and "girl",
these are all the Germanic type of words.
"House", "hand", "bread", so parts of the body. "Food", all of that kind of thing.
Okay, so that's that one.
So moving on, in the 6th century, before this, we had been what you call a Pagan country,
sort of pre-Christianity. In the 6th century, Saint Augustine came and started converting
people to Christianity. Okay. And that meant bringing languages with him, like the Bible
that was written in these different languages, other books, books of learning. So, again,
Latin came in. And Greek as well came in, and Hebrew all came with the Christianity,
which spread around the whole country. So we've covered Latin already. Let's just have
a look at Greek in our pie chart to see how much influence that has had on the language
today. So looking at Greek, it's actually quite small, just 6%.
But they're very sort of... They're kind of words that are used in a sort of academic life,
and the word "academic" itself is one of them; "academic" is a Greek word.
And "Android", if you have an Android
mobile phone, you wouldn't believe that it had come from an old Greek word, but it has.
"Android". Okay? A word like "basic", "cinema" even, "climate", "democracy", "economy", "geography",
"history", "idea" because philosophy, thinking, ideas is very important
and had a big... Greece had a big influence on that.
"Politics" and "technology" all come from Greek.
Okay, Hebrew, we don't have unless it's included under other one of the other influences which
is another 6%.
Okay, so moving on to a period when we had some more invasions and it wasn't
the Romans this time, it was people called the Vikings who came from Scandinavian countries,
so that's Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and they came across the sea and invaded. And it wasn't
just one invasion; it happened over three centuries, from the 8th to the 11th century.
So the Viking invasions, and they brought their Scandinavian languages with them.
And Old Norse is one of them. And as I said earlier, from this Germanic migration, this was another
sort of input into the Germanic types of languages that we have. That's why we've got 26% because
there was such a lot coming in, a lot of words, there. Okay. Right.
So, moving on again to the... This is 11th century as well, 1066, which is a big date
in English history. The Norman invasion. And if you know the area called Normandy in Northern France,
there's a connection, there. So, the Normans were French, and they invaded... They
came across the channel, they had a big battle near the south coast of Britain, and they
won so they took over. So the Norman invasion, that brought French for the first time and
some more Latin again, because anyway, French developed from Latin, so it was a mixture
of that. But French for the first time, their French that had developed from Latin,
as well as Latin itself.
So, let's have a look at some of the words we use in English today that came from French sources.
Okay. So, food, French people love food and a lot of words for food came in.
So: "beef", "pork" and "veal" all come from French words. Okay?
But then some other interesting words that maybe were Latin originally,
but they became French, and then these French
words came into English and they're still with us today,
words like: "continue", "liberty",
"justice", so a lot of legal language, words to do with the law come from French.
So "liberty", "justice". "Journey", if you go on a trip, a journey comes from a French word.
"People" comes from a French word for people. And even the little word "very".
When you say: "Oh, that's very nice", "very" just is the French word for true,
so it means "truly", "truly nice". That is truly nice, that is very nice.
So, a little word like "very" comes from the French word for "true". Okay.
Right, so we've covered Latin, French, Germanic, and Greek. And we've come up to 1066, but
of course, the English language didn't stop developing then. As I said, I ran out of space.
But other things happened, for example, in the 15th century, 16th century, people started
exploring the world, going off in ships and finding other countries, finding places like
America that they didn't know was there before; Christopher Columbus. Also going the other
way, and at the Portuguese, for example, found India and China. So, people explored. So,
from the English point of view, we had explorers who went off and found things, and came back,
and that also influenced the language because, for example, we got tobacco and potatoes from
America, so the words for those things were new. Okay.
And then 18th, 19th century, colonialism, British Empire, Britain became involved politically
in other countries, then eventually the British Empire ended and we now have the Commonwealth
instead. And now in the 20th, 21st century, the language is still developing. We've got
the internet, the speed of travel. It's very easy to get on a plane and travel thousands
of miles and go to another country, so words keep coming back from other countries, for example.
So looking at from the British Empire onwards, a lot of Asian words, words from
the Middle East and the far east, like "balcony" and "bangle", a bangle that you wear around your
wrist, "bangle". A "bungalow", that's a house which is only one storey,
a bungalow. We have quite a lot of those in this country.
A "guru" from India, someone who you go to for advice
and help, "guru". A "kiosk", "pajamas" that you wear in bed at night to sleep in, "pajamas"
are from an empire country. "Sandals" that you wear on your feet, sandals with spaces
in between for hot weather. And even "shampoo" that you wash your hair with, "shampoo" is
a foreign word from one of the empire countries.
And finally... So, we were talking about the internet and technology. If you're doing the
housework and hoovering the carpet, we also say vacuuming the carpet because you use a
vacuum cleaner, but one of the major brands of vacuum cleaner is the Hoover, and that
was the name of the maker, the Hoover. So, but that word has now become a verb "to hoover",
and "hoovering". Okay? So, names count for about 4% in the English language, so Hoover,
and more recently, Google; we all use Google, and now there is a verb "to Google",
so I am googling something. So... No, sorry, not like that, that's hoovering.
I'm googling something. So those are just two examples of names that are now part of the English
language, and it's changing all the time still. So... But it's a fascinating language to study,
as I hope you agree.
So, I hope that's been interesting for you, a bit of history.
And there is a quiz on the website, www.engvid.com,
so I hope you'll go and give that a try.
And so that's all for today.
But come back soon, and we'll have another lesson for you. Okay?
Thank you. Bye.
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Discover the History of English

859 Folder Collection
Juan Luis Garcia Rus published on February 21, 2017
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