How and Why Has Language Changed?


In this essay I am going to explain in detail how language has changed in time and why. Firstly, I will discuss the language changes occurred by people invading or moving into England. I will also go into new invention names and how slang and dialect can affect the language too.


Invaders and migrants changed the English language to suit their needs. When the Normans invaded England in 1066, William the Conqueror was French, and did not speak much English. He took some French words and put them in the English language – for example, the French word close equalled to the English word shut, the French word annual equalled to the English word yearly. The Anglo Saxons also changed the language with Norse by including words such as, nay (no), anger (wrath), fro (from), and quite a lot more. The English language changed because invaders like the Normans and the Anglo Saxons didn’t speak English so they put words from their own language into it so they would understand it and be able to speak it more. Many, many words entered the language by not just the Saxons and the Normans, and words like anger, reply, ill, annual, and odour are still used today.


Never ending inventions meant complex names – some even abbreviated such as LASER – Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. When new things are invented, it is usually called something which is two old words in the English language put together, or, it is a name chosen from a different language, such as Latin. Invention names like the Telephone, Television, and Telescope – are old words joined together: “Tele” & “Scope”.


Objects like “Monitors”, and “Stadium” are both borrowed words from Latin in English. The list of borrowed words is enormous!


Slang is used by almost everybody everyday. When it’s used so frequently, if we say, for example, that a cigarette is a “fag”, then the word “fag” is used all the time, and it then “replaces” the word cigarette. People then resort to saying it the slang way instead of the proper way. Slang is most used by teenagers and young adults. This encourages siblings in the family to use slang.


Dialect – Cockney English, American English and Afro Caribbean dialect can affect spelling and pronunciation - Cockney English uses words like, “innit”(isn’t it) and “ain’t” (is not, isn’t, not) and these words are used commonly everyday by most age groups. The English Language changes depending on where you live. In Liverpool, you have different slang; in Scotland they have a LOT of different and complex slang, as in Wales, Australia, and other countries which have English as a native language. In London, we have a slightly different language to people living in Scotland – Scotland has different words from us such as “wee” is “little” in London: for example, “He’s such a wee lad!” or “Can you move it to the left a wee bit”. It is usually young people who use slang the most, whether they are Welsh, Scottish, or a Londoner.


Overall, this essay has said how the English language changes because of invaders and migrants, new inventions (names for objects) and street slang. The part I found most interesting was the slang. It changes the language a lot and if a word is “replaced” by a form of slang, it travels around so quickly and everybody uses it in a matter of days! I hope you have learned a lot about the history and changes of the English language.