Did you know that the English word “human” has a Latin origin? And did you know that the word “people” actually comes from French? Today, hundreds of millions of people speak English either as their first or second language. But hundreds of years ago, the English language that we know today did not exist. It has been evolving through the centuries and continues to do so now. In this lesson, I will teach you the history of invasions, migrations, and other influences that have helped to shape English as we know it. You will also discover English words that have origins in Latin, French, and other languages. Don’t miss this fascinating lesson!
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.