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The Basics of English Linguistics Vol.1 - What Is English Language -

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English Language

Contents

1. The Indo-European Language Families

1-1. The Language Family of English Language

Languages are divided into a variety of families based on their historical derivations.
Here is a brief chart.

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The Indo-European Languages(borrowed from "The Roots of English")

Language Family Language
Germanic
English
German
Dutch
Flemish
Danish
Swedish
Norwegian
Romance
Portuguese
Spanish
Catalan
Provençal(Occitan)
French
Celtic
Welsh
Breton
Irish
Scottish Gaelic

English belongs to the Germanic language family.

1-2. Language Families and Difficulties in Mastering Another Language

How difficult mastering a language largely depends on what family the language belongs to.
For example, native Dutch or German speakers take less efforts in learning English because these languages belong to Germanic language family.
In fact, English learners of these native speakers need as less as 480 hours till they achieve the daily conversational level, whereas native Japanese speakers spend at least 2,500 hours according to an article published on 29 October 2017 by The Japan Times, Why do Japanese have trouble learning English?

www.japantimes.co.jp

2. 4 Periods of English Language

English language has 4 historical periods as follows.

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Old English(borrowed from "A HISTORY OF ENGLISH LANGAUGE sixth edition")

3. The Features of Present-Day English

Category Number Feature Details
Assets
1 Cosmopolitan vocabulary Borrowings from other languages all over the world provides a variety of expressions and familiarity
2 Natural gender All nouns are basically neutral and others agree with its gender
3 Infectional simplicity Remains only in pronouns(e.g. I-my-me, they-their-them)
Liabilities
1 Lack of correlation between spelling and pronunciation Gaps between spellings and actual pronunciations which make it quite difficult to accurately pronounce words(e.g. name, foreign, archive, bouquet, draught, indict etc.)
2 Too many idioms Lack of inflections and development of propositions have born a lot of idioms which enriches English expressions such that even native English speakers take a lot of pains at knowing and using all properly.
Others
1 The number of native speakers 400 millions
2 The number of those who speak English as the second / a foreign language 1.2 billions
3 The number of countries and areas where English language is dominant and prevailing 30
4 Market share in post industry 75%
5 Market share in tech industry 80%
6 The number of words in The Oxford English Dictionary 500,000 words
7 The number of languages English borrows words from 350 languages
8 French and Latin origin in the whole of English vocabulary 50%
9 The history of English language 1,500 years

4. Conclusion

  1. The Language Family of English Language: Germanic language
  2. 4 Periods of English Language: Old English, Middle English, Modern English(Early Modern English) and Present-Day English(Late modern English)
  3. The Assets of Present-Day English: Cosmopolitan vocabulary, Natural gender, Infectional simplicity
  4. The Liabilities of Present-Day English: Lack of correlation between spelling and pronunciation, Too many idioms

5. Reference