English is a West Germanic language originating from the anglofrisias languages, anglofrisios dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders from various parts of what is now northwest Germany, southern Denmark and northern Netherlands. With early modern English, it is believed that there was a vowel evolution of English (Great Vowel Shift), which happened mainly in the 15th century. English was standardized from the London dialect and extended by the government and administration, as well as by the effects of the printing press. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid-sixteenth century), the language is already recognized as modern English. In 1604 the first English dictionary (Table Alphabetical) was published. English continued to adopt foreign words, especially from Latin and Greek since the Renaissance, in the seventeenth century Latin words were often used with the original declination but this practice eventually disappeared. In 1755, Samuel Johnson published the first dictionary of English (A Dictionary of the English Language).
The main difference between early modern English and late modern English is vocabulary. The modern English delayed has more words arisen from two factors: the Industrial Revolution and the technology and the British Empire, that would cover a quarter of the world with which the English will adopt many words of many countries. Modern English comes from a Germanic language that came to Britain in the 5th century with the Anglo-Saxon tribes. Those who already lived there spoke Celtic languages but it is this Germanic language that prevailed in many of them that would become the basis of English that is known today. This Anglo-Saxon invasion coincided with the fall of the Roman Empire in Britain. The Romans were in Britain for 400 years but there is no evidence of the development of an English Romance language; although this could be because the Romance languages have developed more in areas of the empire that received Germanic invasions. In the year 793 d.C.
occurred the invasion of the Vikings and the subsequent division of the territory in two: Danelaw of the Danes (Vikings) in the northeast and West Saxon of the Anglo-Saxons in the southwest. In the southern part there was already a living written tradition that is witnessed in documents such as the Anglo-Saxon chronicle. This language, which is mostly the Wessex dialect, is what is known today as Old English or Anglo-Saxon. However, this language would not become easily recognizable as English until after the conquest by the Normans. In 1066 the Normans arrived and at the Battle of Hastings they defeated the army of King Harold II of West Saxon. William the Conquerer settled as king and the Normans began to rule the country. He introduced the feudal system in England and from the conquest, the French were the feudal elite and the English served as serfs.
In 1154, Henry II ascended the throne and brought influences from France instead of Normandy. The French kings of England lost their Norman territories in 1204 under King John I but it was not until the reign of Henry IV in 1399 that the English once again had a monarch who spoke English as their mother tongue. The Norman conquest erased up to 85% of Anglo-Saxon words in the English lexicon, however today 96 of the 100 most common words in the language are of Anglo-Saxon origin. When the English took up his position official language of England in the century XIV only remained about 4500 words of Old English, compared to the 10,000 loans adopted from the French.
However, these 4500 words are the fundamental words of the language. These are the words such as: child, fight, love, sleep, eat, live and wife. The lexicon borrowed from French, then, serves as a layer that adds distinctions and refinement to the language without erasing its Anglo-Saxon core. This has given English nuanced differences between synonyms such as wish and desire, start and commence and freedom and liberty. It is still common that the word derived from French is considered more cultivated than the Anglo-Saxon equivalente and it is suggested that this stratification is due to the situation of the languages under the Normans.