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❶By the 12th century Middle English was fully developed, integrating both Norse and Norman features; it continued to be spoken until the transition to early Modern English around Speech example An example of a Texan male with a Southern U.

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English has also borrowed many words directly from Latin, the ancestor of the Romance languages, during all stages of its development.

Latin or Greek are still highly productive sources of stems used to form vocabulary of subjects learned in higher education such as the sciences, philosophy, and mathematics.

English has formal and informal speech registers ; informal registers, including child-directed speech, tend to be made up predominantly of words of Anglo-Saxon origin, while the percentage of vocabulary that is of Latinate origin is higher in legal, scientific, and academic texts. English has a strong influence on the vocabulary of other languages.

Among varieties of English, it is especially American English that influences other languages. Since the ninth century, English has been written in a Latin alphabet also called Roman alphabet.

Earlier Old English texts in Anglo-Saxon runes are only short inscriptions. The great majority of literary works in Old English that survive to today are written in the Roman alphabet.

The spelling system, or orthography , of English is multi-layered, with elements of French, Latin, and Greek spelling on top of the native Germanic system. These situations have prompted proposals for spelling reform in English. Although letters and speech sounds do not have a one-to-one correspondence in standard English spelling, spelling rules that take into account syllable structure, phonetic changes in derived words, and word accent are reliable for most English words.

While few scholars agree with Chomsky and Halle that conventional English orthography is "near-optimal", [] there is a rationale for current English spelling patterns. Readers of English can generally rely on the correspondence between spelling and pronunciation to be fairly regular for letters or digraphs used to spell consonant sounds. The differences in the pronunciations of the letters c and g are often signalled by the following letters in standard English spelling.

There are exceptions to these generalisations, often the result of loanwords being spelled according to the spelling patterns of their languages of origin [] or proposals by pedantic scholars in the early period of Modern English to mistakenly follow the spelling patterns of Latin for English words of Germanic origin.

For the vowel sounds of the English language, however, correspondences between spelling and pronunciation are more irregular. There are many more vowel phonemes in English than there are single vowel letters a , e , i , o , u , w , y. As a result, some " long vowels " are often indicated by combinations of letters like the oa in boat , the ow in how , and the ay in stay , or the historically based silent e as in note and cake.

The consequence of this complex orthographic history is that learning to read can be challenging in English. It can take longer for school pupils to become independently fluent readers of English than of many other languages, including Italian, Spanish, and German. English writing also includes a system of punctuation marks that is similar to those used in most alphabetic languages around the world.

The purpose of punctuation is to mark meaningful grammatical relationships in sentences to aid readers in understanding a text and to indicate features important for reading a text aloud.

Dialectologists identify many English dialects , which usually refer to regional varieties that differ from each other in terms of patterns of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The pronunciation of particular areas distinguishes dialects as separate regional accents.

As the place where English first evolved, the British Isles, and particularly England, are home to the most diverse dialects. Within the United Kingdom, the Received Pronunciation RP , an educated dialect of South East England , is traditionally used as the broadcast standard and is considered the most prestigious of the British dialects.

The spread of RP also known as BBC English through the media has caused many traditional dialects of rural England to recede, as youths adopt the traits of the prestige variety instead of traits from local dialects. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects , grammar and vocabulary differed across the country, but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to disappear.

Nonetheless this attrition has mostly affected dialectal variation in grammar and vocabulary, and in fact, only 3 percent of the English population actually speak RP, the remainder speaking regional accents and dialects with varying degrees of RP influence.

An example of this is H-dropping , which was historically a feature of lower-class London English, particularly Cockney, and can now be heard in the local accents of most parts of England — yet it remains largely absent in broadcasting and among the upper crust of British society. Within each of these regions several local subdialects exist: Within the Northern region, there is a division between the Yorkshire dialects, and the Geordie dialect spoken in Northumbria around Newcastle, and the Lancashire dialects with local urban dialects in Liverpool Scouse and Manchester Mancunian.

Having been the centre of Danish occupation during the Viking Invasions, Northern English dialects, particularly the Yorkshire dialect, retain Norse features not found in other English varieties. Since the 15th century, southeastern England varieties centred around London, which has been the centre from which dialectal innovations have spread to other dialects. In London, the Cockney dialect was traditionally used by the lower classes, and it was long a socially stigmatised variety.

The spread of Cockney features across the south-east led the media to talk of Estuary English as a new dialect, but the notion was criticised by many linguists on the grounds that London had influencing neighbouring regions throughout history.

Scots is today considered a separate language from English, but it has its origins in early Northern Middle English [] and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources, particularly Scots Gaelic and Old Norse. Scots itself has a number of regional dialects. And in addition to Scots, Scottish English are the varieties of Standard English spoken in Scotland, most varieties are Northern English accents, with some influence from Scots.

In Ireland , various forms of English have been spoken since the Norman invasions of the 11th century. In County Wexford , in the area surrounding Dublin , two extinct dialects known as Forth and Bargy and Fingallian developed as offshoots from Early Middle English, and were spoken until the 19th century. Modern Irish English , however, has its roots in English colonisation in the 17th century. Today Irish English is divided into Ulster English , the Northern Ireland dialect with strong influence from Scots, as well as various dialects of the Republic of Ireland.

Like Scottish and most North American accents, almost all Irish accents preserve the rhoticity which has been lost in the dialects influenced by RP. North American English is fairly homogeneous compared to British English.

Today, American accent variation is often increasing at the regional level and decreasing at the very local level, [] though most Americans still speak within a phonological continuum of similar accents, [] known collectively as General American GA , with differences hardly noticed even among Americans themselves such as Midland and Western American English.

Today spoken primarily by working- and middle-class African Americans , African-American Vernacular English AAVE is also largely non-rhotic and likely originated among enslaved Africans and African Americans influenced primarily by the non-rhotic, non-standard older Southern dialects. A minority of linguists, [] contrarily, propose that AAVE mostly traces back to African languages spoken by the slaves who had to develop a pidgin or Creole English to communicate with slaves of other ethnic and linguistic origins.

AAVE is commonly stigmatised in North America as a form of "broken" or "uneducated" English, as are white Southern accents, but linguists today recognise both as fully developed varieties of English with their own norms shared by a large speech community. Since , English has been spoken in Oceania , and Australian English has developed as a first language of the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent, its standard accent being General Australian.

The English of neighbouring New Zealand has to a lesser degree become an influential standard variety of the language. Australian and New Zealand English stand out for their innovative vowels: Australian English also has a contrast between long and short vowels, not found in most other varieties.

Australian English grammar aligns closely to British and American English; like American English, collective plural subjects take on a singular verb as in the government is rather than are. English is spoken widely in South Africa and is an official or co-official language in several countries.

In South Africa , English has been spoken since , co-existing with Afrikaans and various African languages such as the Khoe and Bantu languages. SAE is a non-rhotic variety, which tends to follow RP as a norm. It is alone among non-rhotic varieties in lacking intrusive r. There are different L2 varieties that differ based on the native language of the speakers.

Nigerian English is a dialect of English spoken in Nigeria. Additionally, some new words and collocations have emerged from the language, which come from the need to express concepts specific to the culture of the nation e. Over million population of Nigerians speak English. Each of these areas are home both to a local variety of English and a local English based creole, combining English and African languages. The most prominent varieties are Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole.

Most Caribbean varieties are based on British English and consequently, most are non-rhotic, except for formal styles of Jamaican English which are often rhotic.

Jamaican English differs from RP in its vowel inventory, which has a distinction between long and short vowels rather than tense and lax vowels as in Standard English. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see English disambiguation. Countries of the world where English is a majority native language. Countries where English is official but not a majority native language. Although, from the beginning, Englishmen had three manners of speaking, southern, northern and midlands speech in the middle of the country, … Nevertheless, through intermingling and mixing, first with Danes and then with Normans, amongst many the country language has arisen, and some use strange stammering, chattering, snarling, and grating gnashing.

List of territorial entities where English is an official language , List of countries by English-speaking population , and English-speaking world. Foreign language influences in English and Study of global communication. Stress and vowel reduction in English and Intonation in English. Do-support and Subject—auxiliary inversion.

Lists of English loanwords by country or language of origin. English alphabet , English braille , and English orthography. List of dialects of the English language , World Englishes , and regional accents of English. An example of an Essex male with a working-class Estuary accent of the region around London Russell Brand. An example of a Renfrewshire male with a Scottish accent. An example of a woman with a supraregional Irish accent Mary Robinson. An example of a Midwestern U.

An example of a Texan male with a Southern U. An example of an Ontario woman with a standard Canadian accent Margaret Atwood. Australian English and New Zealand English. An example of a male with a general Australian accent. An example of a black male with a South African accent. An example of a woman with an educated Nigerian accent Chimamanda Adichie.

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