Alternative name(s): anglais (fr), Engels (nl), engelska (sv)

Language family: Indo-European

Language Group: Germanic

Geographical use: worldwide

Information: Historically English is divided in three periods. Old English or Anglosaxon was the language of Germanic tribes that invaded England and Scotland starting 450 AD. Based on forms written around 700, Old English is divided into Anglian, West Saxon (from 900 onwards the literary language) and Kent. Old English grammar was based on word declension and corresponded structurally with modern German. Middle English is nothing more than a generic term for various versions of English as it was spoken and written in the various parts of the country. During the Late Middle English period a number of written dialects arose. From around 1430 New English was used and became the standard language in the 18th century.

English is notorious for its pronunciation. It is unphonectical and still represents the spoken language of Middle English. Even among highly-skilled people pronunciation can differ. Grammar on the other hand is relatively simple. The vocabulary is very large and more of half of it consists –in formal language- of non-Germanic elements.

It is noteworthy that English can be found in a number of forms all over the world. There are noticeable differences between British, Irish, Australian, Canadian, and American English. These differences can be found either in vocabulary, pronunciation, or vocabulary. And then there's also pidgin English and the English spoken in African countries. This flexibility makes English into an easy language to be used internationally and it has turned English into the world language.