There were human settlements in grasslands of Eurasia during the period of 2500 BC. Both Asia and Europe continents together formed Eurasia. Natives in these grasslands used a language called proto-Indo-European and the different forms of this language could be seen with the migration of some of these natives to different parts of the country. Proto-Germanic, a new language was formed by the people who came to Western Europe after mixing with the natives therein. Thereafter, these people were known as Germanics.

Later, Germanics also divided into many parts and the Western Germanics had migrated into Britain in the middle half of the fifth century AD. Some had moved to the Northern part (Angles) and some moved to the Southern part. (Saxons & Jutes) All these groups successfully established their ruling power over these parts. Therefore the language which was used by these people was known as Anglo-Saxon or old English. This language had been lasted for about 600 years. (From AD 550 to 1150) The first written sources of English were runic inscriptions which belonged to the above era. These contained literary, documentary and religious information.

From the end of the eighth century AD to the first half of the eleventh century AD, Anglo-Saxons were being invaded by Vikings. Then the Vikings had settled in the Eastern England and mixed with the natives therein. This made a greater impact on the lexicon of the existing language. This language was further influenced with the French invasion in AD 1066. Both lexicon and orthography of the language were modified as a result of the invasion. Therefore this period was known as the middle age of English. (AD 1150 to 1500)

The modern era of English was begun with the expansion of human settlements all over the world. From the second half of the eighteenth century AD, the British emperor had begun to spread English all over the world. This gave birth to the modern English. Now there are more than 400 million of people all over the world who use English as their mother tongue and more than a billion use English as their second language.

Now there are many varieties of English language. Grammar, pronunciation & orthography are the main factors which differentiate those varieties. In Britain, the Received Pronunciation, which is used by the upper class people in London, (RP) is accepted as the standard among those varieties.  However, in modern world, American & British English can be identified as the two main varieties of English.

KWD Sandun Sirikumara

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