The English Language

Logan Pearsall Smith

€ 7,85

Among the many living forms of human Speech, and those countless tongues which have arisen and perished in the past, the English language, which has now spread over so large a portion of the world, is 'as humble and obscure in its Origin as any other. It is, of course, in no sense native to England, but was brought thither by the German tribes who conquered the island in the Vth and vith Centuries; and its nearest relations are to be found among the humble dialects of a few barren islands on the German coast. When our Anglo -saxon ancestors came first to ravage Britain, and finally to settle there, they found the island inhabited by a people weaker, indeed, but infinitely more civilized than themselves. For several centuries theof Roman government, and shared in the civilization of the Roman Empire; they lived in walledt cities, worshipped in Christian churches, and spoke to a certain extent, at least, the Latin language; and it is possible, if this Teutonic invasion had never happened, that the inhabitants of England would be now speaking a language descended from Latin, like French or Spanish or Italian. It is true that English has become almost a half-sister to these Romance languages, as they are called, and a large part of its vocabulary is derived from Latin sources; but this is not in any way due to the Roman conquest of Britain, but to later causes. In whatever parts of Britain the'teutonic tribes settled, the Roman civilization and the Roman language perished; and we find at first a purely Germanic race, a group of related tribes, speaking dialects of What was sub stantially the same language — the language.

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