”We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
~ James Nicoll
There was a quiet language that began on a small cluster of islands off the coast of Western Europe, it slowly developed and spread through a few different permutations until one day, in an explosion of colonialism, it suddenly spread across the world like wildfire. It became the language of what was once the most powerful nation in the world and has since become the language of commerce in countries all over the world. English Language Day celebrates this language, its history, and its oddities!
History Of English Language Day
The first origins of the English Language can be found in medieval England and takes its name from the Angles. The Angles were a West Germanic tribe that found its way to England, taking their name from the Anglia peninsula that juts out into the Baltic Sea. From its inception, it has taken on grammar, tones, and words from every language it has come into contact with. There are those who would argue that English is no longer a language of its own, but an amalgam of every language it’s come into contact with.
So powerful has English become, that it is now the Lingua Franca of the entire world, bringing together everyone for trade and communication, and serving as a required second language in almost every nation. English has become the official language of nearly 60 countries throughout the world, and it seems to gain ground with every passing year.
However, it also stands as one of the most complicated languages to learn as a second language (with Japanese standing toe to toe with it for this inauspicious award). Unsurprising when it contains words like their, there, and they’re. Or when the plural of goose is geese, but the plural of moose is… moose. English Language Day celebrates its history, its future, and its strangeness.
How To Celebrate English Language Day
Celebrate English Language Day by learning a bit about its history, and words that may not be in use at the moment. Learn about where it’s spoken, and how it’s used. Maybe take some time to help someone learning English get a little better at it, or even learn about the different variations there are. Canadian English, UK English, Scots English, and American English all have their own little colloquialisms and slang that differ broadly from each other! Wouldn’t it be interesting to learn how one language can have so many variations and still be considered a single language? English Language Day gives you the chance to do just that!