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This map shows the regions of the world where English is commonly spoken (red circles). When scholars speak of English, they typically divide the development of English into three periods: (1) the most recent is Modern English (abbreviated MnE), which is English as it has been spoken during the last five-hundred years subsequent to the Great Vowel Shift; (2) Middle English (abbreviated ME) is the way English was spoken between the years 1066 or so and the year 1400, before the Great Vowel Shift; (3) Old English (abbreviated OE) or Anglo-Saxon is the most ancient version of English spoken before the Norman Invasion of 1066. Anglo-Saxon, and hence English, descends from the West Germanic subfamily of the Germanic branch of Indo-European. English is most closely related to Modern Low German and Frisian. Most Germanic languages use grammatical declensions, but English lost its declensions when parts of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were conquered and settled by Viking invaders from Denmark. English is also different from most Germanic languages in that a large percentage of its vocabulary comes from Norman French. These words were borrowed by Middle-English speakers after the Normans conquered large parts of Britain after the Norman Invasion of 1066.


Daniel M. Short originally created this map and the other Indo-European language charts for his website at http://www.danshort.com/. I reproduce these images here with the author's permission, but they are copyrighted by Daniel Short as of 2002. These charts should not be reproduced or reused without Mr. Short's approval. You may contact him at danshort@gte.net for more information. These images are not public domain.

 

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Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 5, 2017. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.