The history o the English language shows the evolutionary growth and development of the English language from the Teutonic origin. The early Germanic settlers like Angles, Saxons, Jutes contributed to the creation of Anglo-Saxon language and literature. It is also known as Old English Literature (400 AD. - 1200 AD.). Later it developed in the form of Middle English (1200 AD. - 1500 AD.) and Modern English (1500 AD. - till the present age). The essential character of the British is orthodox and conservative. It is also known as the King's English. Along with the standard form, there were dialectical diversities.
The English language was brought to America by the colonists from England who settled along with the Atlantic in the 17th century. It was therefore, the language employed by Shakespeare and Milton. Gradually the colonists spread over the geographical land of America at a rapid rate. In 1790, the population was around 40 lakhs and of then 90% were from various parts of the British isles. Another expansion took place in the 19th century. The period of immigration resulted in the influx of foreigners. The United States of America was really integrated by the establishment of federal Govt. It was Abraham Lincoln who maybe called the father of modern America, abolished the Negro slavery by parliamentary laws. His address and orations to the American people are among the treasures of the American language. Step by step, a kind of linguistic uniformity was witnessed among the different states. The process of standardization begun with the national consciousness. Credits goes to the Noah Webster to compile the dictionary of the American language. Besides he also compiled a spelling book. a grammar an a reader. in 1789 he wrote, "Dissertations on the English Language" with notes, historical and critical. "A Grammatical Institute of the English Language" is a book which was sold in 8 crore copies. "An American Dictionary of the English Language" was published in 1828 in quarto volumes. He said "As an independent nation, our honor requests us to have a system of our own, in language as well as in grammar. Great Britain whose children we are, should no longer be our standard; for the taste of her writers is already corrupted and language on the decline.
Language is the expression of ideas and it also preserved the idiom and identity of the particular nation. The American language witnessed revolutionary change in spelling and pronunciation. A list of American and British spellings may be cited:
The basic different between Londoners and Americans lies in the predominance of the slang in the latter. Indeed the slangy nature comes from the younger generation and it has entered in to the main stream of the English language. Slang is like everyday dress and standard language is made for the special festive occasion. The American slangs are preserved in the essential colloquialism and usage. The recent American influence has enough vigor and power to revitalize the British English. It is in the British newspapers, Americanism often invades the conservative language. Sir Winston Churchill, the shrewd British diplomat and prime minister, with his talent for simple beauty of phrase has shown the impact of the Americanism and Shakespeare by beginning a speech with the words "before the fall of the autumn leaves".
Americanism has invaded the four corners of the world in respect of language, politics and culture. This is not to say that the British has lost her glory. The American tongue spoken almost uniformly by nearly twenty crores, while standard English spoken by a minority. The tremendous influence exercised by the American films and commerce upon the English life may also act as a powerful force in making Americanism prevail over Standard English.
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