The English Language
History of the English language:
The English Language has always been a medium for exchanging thoughts and expressions. It forms the basis of communication done at every level in the world up till today. English has already become a global language, by virtue of the economic and political progress made by English-speaking nations in the past 200 years1. English is now an important language for communication at the social and business level. It is a language that transmits the thoughts between people and allowed the governments to govern the masses. It is the lingua franca of global trade and commerce in the current Information Age. English is mostly used in the publishing of scientific research and literature, which is the backbone of a nation's growth from the perspective of knowledge. As such, English is seen as the most important language that is needed to be studied because it has some indirect impact on the educative and economic masses of the whole nation.
Influence of English on work:
The English of the present time has not always been this way. This is a result of decades of development that has transformed English to what it is now. There had been a series of socio-political events that affected the language and had a transforming impact on it. In addition, English has experienced major transformations throughout the centuries, which was the result of the many cultural mixes.
In AD 597, England was bought in contact with Latin civilizations that added many words to the English vocabulary, making a number of significant changes to the language. Subsequently, the Scandinavian invasion and Norman Conquest brought about some cultural influence on the English language resulting in some changes to its vocabulary and grammar.
The English language eventually gained supremacy due to the growth of business, literature and sciences during the expansion of the British Empire. The English language was then available in many forms, some popular ones of which are Indian English, Caribbean English and West African English.
The importance of English as a language:
Out of the world’s population, around 20% speak English (around 1.5 billion people out of a total population of 7.5 billion). Surprisingly, not all of them are native English speakers. About 400 million people speak English as their first language. About 600 million people speak English as a second language. Another 600 million people are fluent users of English as a foreign language. The figures above is a huge increase since the 1950s, which is a clear indication that this language is going to be an important language for many decades to come.
The fact that English being an international language adds more to its importance. Thus, for a wider span of communication, the knowledge of English has become necessary. It has been a major medium of communication all over the world in business, social and political issues and scientific advancements. The future of the language can be predicted by its currently set statistics and it won’t be wrong to say that English would occupy a visible part in future as a supreme language.
The English writing system:
The written and spoken symbols in English language are highly interlinked. Taking the example of the word ‘dollar’, it is sounded as /dɒlə/ when read. And the pronunciation is also decided through this symbolic representation of the sound. There is also a direct relationship found between the written symbol and the meaning of the word. Like for the above example, the symbol [$] would tell us that it is some kind of currency.
Also, the meanings of a same symbol could vary geographically because the dollar is a currency in Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore, and many others. They differ in value and to differentiate among them vocally, they are called Canadian dollar, US dollar, Australian dollar, or Singapore dollar respectively. Thus, for a single symbol, we can have a multiple understandings of it based on the different geographic locations.
Phonology deals with the pattern of speech and sounds used in the language. The English phonology is somewhat complicated because some English alphabets have an established disparity of more than one sounds to it.
The sound patterns for English consonants are 17 sounds from the Roman alphabet:
[ /b/, /d/, /f/, /g/, /h/, /j/, /k/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /p/, /r/, /s/, /t/, /v/, /w/, /z/ ]
And 7 sounds from different letters like:
[ /θ/, /ð/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/ /ŋ/ ]
All 26 letters of the English language are known as Roman alphabets.
The table below illustrates the sound of English consonants and their Roman alphabets:
Grammar is the way in which you put words, phrases, clauses, and sentences together to express an idea clearly. It is a set of rules that describes various kinds of words and their uses in a sentence. There are 8 word classes in the English language and they form the parts of speech:
Nouns are words used to refer to things such as people (i.e. man), objects (i.e. suitcase), animals (i.e. wolf), places (i.e. classroom), qualities (i.e. thickness), phenomena (i.e. storm), and intangible concepts (i.e. love). Proper nouns, on the other hand, are nouns beginning with a capital letter (i.e. England, American, or Anthony).
|Abstract Nouns||Concrete Nouns|
Non-specific people, places, or things, and not capitalized unless they are at the start of a sentence.
e.g. man, country, author
Names of specific people, places, or things, and always begin with a Capital letter.
e.g. England, American, Anthony
Abstract objects such as ideas, concepts, feelings, states, or qualities. Things that cannot be seen.
e.g. love, beauty, justice
Physical objects that can be seen, heard, tasted, smelled, touched, or felt with all your five senses.
e.g. storm, house, cake
|Countable Nouns||Uncountable Nouns
Things that can be expressed in plural forms, and usually ends with an ‘-s’.
e.g. cow(s), house(s), heart(s)
Things that cannot be counted, thus are considered as singular, and takes a singular verb.
e.g. water, lightning, milk
A group of more than one person or thing. They are usually expressed as singular (e.g. 1), unless the members within the group are acting as individuals (e.g. 2).
e.g. 1: The audience were clapping their hands in the theater.
e.g. 2: The jury agree on the guilt of the accused.
Indicate more than one thing, person, or idea. They usually have endings with: an ‘-s’, an ‘-es’, a ‘-ves’, or an ‘-ies’. Several nouns also have irregular plural forms at the end of the word.
Nouns usually end with an ‘-s’ to indicate more than one item:
boy — boys
dog — dogs
fan — fans
table — tables
Nouns with s, sh, ch, or x at the end of the word, forms the plural by adding an ‘-es’:
bus — buses
bush — bushes
watch — watches
box — boxes
Nouns with an f at the end of the word needs to drop the f and add a ‘-ves’ to indicate the plural form:
loaf — loaves
self — selves
Nouns with a consonant + y needs to drop the y and add an ‘-ies’ to indicate the plural form:
spy — spies
baby — babies
Nouns ending in an ‘o’ preceded by a consonant add ‘-es’:
potato — potatoes
zero — zeroes
Nouns with hyphenated compound words need to add an ‘-s’ to the main word:
guest-of-honor — guests-of-honor
sister-in-law — sisters-in-law
Nouns with irregular plural forms are written differently at the end of the word:
man — men
mouse — mice
child — children
Nouns that keep their Greek and Latin plural forms are also written differently:
crisis — crises
fungus — fungi
nucleus — nuclei
|Noun as a Subject||Noun as a Direct Object||Noun as an Indirect Object||Noun as an Object of Preposition|
Matt (subj.) is my brother.
I read the book (dir. obj.).
We gave John (indir. obj.) the book.
My family went to the beach (obj. of prep.).
Express ownership of a noun previously mentioned. Most possessive nouns are formed by adding an ‘-’s’.
e.g. 1: The coat belongs to Peter. It is Peter’s.
e.g. 2: Thomas’ pen is inside the drawer.
Pronouns are words used in replacement of noun phrases and they usually refer to things or people already known. (i.e. They said she talks to herself).
|Types of Pronouns||Examples|
|Personal||he, she, it, they|
|Demonstrative||this, these, those, that|
|Interrogative||which, who, whom, what, where|
|Indefinite||anybody, nobody, others, all, none, some|
|Possessive||his, hers, yours, mine, ours|
|Reciprocal||each other, one another|
|Relative||which, where, who, whom, whose, that|
|Reflexive/Intensive||himself, herself, yourself, themselves|
Verbs in English are used to represent various kinds of actions involving people and things in events. Verbs are an important part of an English sentence and it is not possible to communicate something appropriately without the usage of verbs.
|Transitive Verbs||Intransitive Verbs||Infinitives|
Action is done to a direct object.
e.g. He built a house last month.
Action is not done to anyone or any direct object.
e.g. I slept early last night.
Verbs that can be used as a noun or an adjective. (to + verb)
e.g. I want to tell you a story.
Participles can be used as adjectives to modify nouns or pronouns. They are based on verbs and express action or a state of being.
Present participles: end with ‘-ing’.
Past participles: end with ‘-ed', ‘-en', ‘-d', ‘-t', ‘-n'.
Present: The boy is cycling in the park.
Past: Tired and exhausted after a long day, I went back to sleep.
Past: The bridge was broken.
Adjectives are words used to provide more information about the quality of objects or things, and are usually used together with nouns in an English sentence.
|Nominal Adjectives||Attributive Adjectives||Predicative Adjectives|
Nominal Adjectives act like nouns.
e.g. Out with the old (nom. adj.), and in with the new (nom. adj.).
Attributive Adjectives usually precede their nouns in simple phrases.
e.g. 1: Happy (attr. adj.) children (noun).
e.g. 2: She saw a playful (attr. adj.) child (noun).
Predicative Adjectives are usually linked via a linking mechanism to the noun or pronoun they modify.
e.g. 1: She made me sad (pred. adj.).
e.g. 2: Work makes me tired (pred. adj.).
Adverbs are words or phrases typically used with verbs to provide more information about the action, state and event (i.e. quickly, tomorrow). Some adverbs are used with adjectives to modify the information and meaning of things (i.e. very, extremely). It plays a vital part in constituting the sentence structure to better communicate the meaning of a speech.
|Adverbs that modify verbs||Adverbs that modify adjectives||Adverbs that modify adverbs|
Adverbs that usually end with the suffix ‘-ly’.
e.g. 1: He snored loudly.
e.g. 2: She jogs regularly.
Adverbs that always come before the adjectives they modify.
e.g. 1: I am totally exhausted.
e.g. 2: The room is strangely quiet.
Adverbs that always come before the adverb they modify.
e.g. 1: She sobbed quite softly because she was sad.
e.g. 2: They spoke rather loudly in the hall.
|Adverbs that are used within a sentence to join two clauses together. Often preceded with a semicolon and followed by a comma. Conjunctive adverbs are namely: also, consequently, meanwhile, next, still, finally, nevertheless, furthermore, otherwise, then, however, indeed, thus, therefore, likewise, and instead.
e.g.: I should have gone to school; instead, I played truant.
Prepositions are meant to provide information about the details of the environment within a sentence, such as time (i.e. in the evening, at dawn), place (i.e. beside the chair, on the floor), and other connections (i.e. with a kick, without a word) involving actions and things.
Conjunctions are words or phrases used to indicate relationships between events.
|Coordinating Conjunction||Subordinating Conjunction||Correlative Conjunction|
|Coordinating conjunctions join words and clauses of equal status||Subordinating conjunctions connect one clause to another, whereby one clause is dependent on the other.||Correlative conjunctions join elements that are alike or similar.|
|We ate apples and pears.||While we were walking in the park, it rained.||Either you go after your dreams, or you will work to fulfil someone else's dreams.|
|Word examples||Word examples||Word examples|
|so||when||whether||not only... but also|
Articles are words used with nouns within English sentences to form noun phrases in order to classify things or identify things that are already known.
|Types of English Articles|
|i.e. I have a book.||i.e. You eat an apple.||i.e. I will eat the banana.|
We began this section with a brief introduction of the English language - its history, development, and global influence on nation states, political affairs, and commence. By studying the origin of the English language, it forms the basis of learning it as a language. In addition to that, it allows us to better appreciate the evolution of the many cultures that made the language to what it is today.
The formation of the words in the English language depends on its alphabets like any other language that uses the alphabetic writing system. We have also covered the 8 word classes that form the parts of speech, which is one of the most important components to master in English Grammar.
There is more to learn for English Grammar and consider that it has many strict rules for combining words in a specific order to create phrases and sentences, we will leave that for another day.
Alternatively, you can contact me if you want to learn English as a second language. I will be delighted to help you out on this!