The English Language
English is spoken practically all over the world. It is spoken as the mother tongue in Great Britain, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A lot of people speak English in China, Japan, India, Africa and other countries. It is one of 6 official languages of the United Nations. It is studied as a foreign language in many schools.
England’s history helps to understand the present condition of English. Many English words were borrowed from the language of Angles and Saxons. Hundreds of French words came into English. These French words didn’t crowd out corresponding Anglo-Saxon words. There exist «act» and «deed», «beautiful» and «pretty», «form» and «shape».
Many new words were brought by traders and travellers. These words came from all parts of the world: «umbrella» — from Italian, «skates» —from Datch, «tea» —from Chinese, «cigar» — from Spanish.
Some words came into English directly from Latin, which was the language of the church and the universities in the Middle Ages.
Some of the English words of today are derivatives. One way of creating new words is to put together two or more older English words. For example, the words «railway», «football», «newspaper» are made in this way.
Many of the new English words — especially new scientific ones — have been made from Latin and Greek words instead of English ones. «Telephone» for instance, was made from Greek words «far» and «talk».
1. In what countries is English spoken as the mother tongue?
2. From what languages are some English word borrowed?
3. Did French words crowd out corresponding Anglo-Saxon ones?
4. What English words that came from all parts of the world do you know?
5. Why are there so many words with Latin roots in English language?
6. What ways of creating new words do you know?
На английском языке говорят практически во всем мире. На нем как на родном языке говорят в Великобритании, Соединенных Штатах Америки, Канаде, Австралии и Новой Зеландии. Много людей в Китае, Индии, Африке, Японии и других странах говорят по-английски. Он является одним из шести официальных языков Организации Объединенных Наций. Его как иностранный язык изучают во многих школах.
История Англии помогает понять настоящее состояние английского языка. Многие английские слова были заим¬ствованы из языка англов и саксов. Сотни французских слов пришли в английский язык. Эти французские слова не вытеснили соответствующие англо-саксонские слова. Существует «act» и «deed», «beautiful» и «pretty», «form» и «shape».
Многие новые слова были принесены купцами и путешественниками. Эти слова пришли со всех частей света: «umbrella» (зонтик) — из итальянского, «skates» (коньки) — из голландского, «tea» (чай) — из китайского, «cigar» (сигара) — из испанского.
Некоторые слова пришли в английский непосредственно из латыни, которая была языком церкви и университетов в средние века.
Некоторые современные английские слова — производные. Один из способов создания новых слов — сложить два или больше старых английских слова. Например, слова «railway», «football», «newspaper» созданы этим способом.
Многие из новых английских слов, особенно научных, были созданы из латинских и греческих, а не английских слов. «Telephone», например, создан из греческих слов «далеко» и «говорить».
Источник: 100 тем английского языка. Авторы Каверина В. Бойко В. Жидких Н.
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Until few centuries ago there were many natives of what we call the British Isles, who didn’t speak English. The western land of Wales spoke Welsh; in the farthest north and the islands of Scotland the language was Gaelic; and a similar language, Irish Gaelic, was spoken in Ireland; Manx was the language of the Isles of Manx and Cornish that of the south-western tip of Britain.
In Scotland the Gaelic Language Society has existed for eighty years. It’s dedicated to preserving the traditions of the Gaelic songs, verse and prose. And nowadays more and more people in the Lowland areas of Scotland, as well as the islands, where Gaelic is still spoken, now want to learn the language. Since 1970s many people go to evening classes and learn Gaelic. Gaelic can be chosen for the final exam. In Wales the Welsh Language Society was founded in 1962 and since that time it has been trying to restore Welsh to an equal place with English. In 1967 Welsh was recognized as an equal language for use in law courts. In Wales some of the programmes of the IVth channel are broadcast in Welsh.
English is spoken as a native language by more than 300 million people, most of them living in North America, the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and South Africa. In several of these countries English isn’t the sole language (e. g. in Canada — French is also spoken; many Irish and Welsh speak the Celtic language). But English is the second language for governmental, commercial, social or educational activities in the countries where native language isn’t English.
In about 25 countries English has been used as an official language (either it is the sole official language there, or it shares that status with other languages).
Most of these countries are former British territories. Even more widely English is studied and used as a foreign language. It has already acquired international status. It is used for communication, listening, reading, broadcast, in commerce and travel.
Half of the world’s scientific literature is in English. It is the language of automation and computer technology. It is not only the universal language of international aviation, shipping and sport, it is also the universal language of literacy and public communication. It is the major language of diplomacy and it is the most frequently used language in the general conduct of UN business.
Only in the course of the last hundred years English has become a world language. In Shakespeare’s time it was «provincial» language of secondary importance. Only 6 million people spoke English.
From the British Isles English spread all over the world, but English hasn’t always been the language of the people of those islands. When the Romans colonized England (the 1st century of our era), the country was inhabited by the Celtic tribes. Until the 5th century only the Celtic languages were spoken by the people of Britain. About the middle of the 5th century the British Isles began to be invaded by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who spoke dialects of the language which was the ancestor of the present-day English. Now we call it Old English. During fifteen hundred years that have passed since the Anglo-Saxon invasion English has changed considerably. It was influenced by the language of the Danish (Viking) invaders (in the 8—10th century).
Between the 12th and 14th century English was influenced (both in grammar and vocabulary, and in its pronunciation) by Norman French. In the 14th—16th century quite a number of Latin and Greek words were introduced into English.
English belongs to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages.
I. Answer the questions.
1. What languages are spoken on the British Isles?
2. What language is widely spread in Scotland?
3. Since what time has English become a world language?
4. What branch of languages does English belong to?
5. In what countries is English considered to be the official language?
6. Where is it spoken as the second language?
7. What languages have influenced English since the 8th century?
II. Complete the sentences.
1. English is spoken in . . ..
2. English has become the language of . . ..
3. The Welsh Language Society was formed to . . ..
4. English is spoken as a native language by more than ….
5. English is used as an official language in . . . .
6. Most of the countries where English is spoken are … .
7. In Shakespeare’s time English was a language of . . . .
8. Until the 5th century only . . . languages were spoken by the people of Britain.
II. 1. the British Isles, North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and South Africa; 2. communication, broadcast, commerce and travel; 3. restore Welsh to an equal place with English; 4. 300 million people; 5. 25 countries; 6. former British territories; 7. secondary importance; 8. Celtic.
(Великобритания: Тексты для устных ответов и письменных работ на английском языке. Авт.-сост. И. Ю. Баканова)