The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5thcentury AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark and northern Germany. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. Butmost of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders - mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Angles came from "Englaland" [sic] and their language was called"Englisc" - from which the words "England" and "English" are derived.
The history of English is divided into three periods usually called Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), Middle English, and Modern English.The earliest period begins with the migration of the angles, the saxons and the jutes, who are Germanic tribes,from the continent to Britain, though no records of their language survive from before theseventh century, and it continues until the end of the eleventh century or a bit later. By that time Latin, Old Norse (the language of the Viking invaders), and especially the Anglo-Norman French ofthe dominant class after the Norman Conquest in 1066 had begun to have a substantial impact on the lexicon, and the well-developed inflectional system that typifies the grammar of Old English hadbegun to break down.
The first Angles, Saxons, and Jutes transferred to England their highly organized tribal units. Each tribe was ruled by a king, chosen by a witan or council of elders. Each communityhas four distinct classes.
Invading groups set up numerous small kingdoms, and at first the various kingdoms fought frequently. As time went on, however, many of these tribal differences faded.Anglo- Saxon kingdoms traded with one another. Men married women from different tribes. Kingdoms gradually absorbed one another until seven larger ones remained. All this intermingling produced a new...