Evolution Of English

The English language is a tangled web that takes influence from many different european languages. Some of the influence that lead to the creation of english include French, Spanish, Latin and German. English, like most active langangues, evolves alongside the ever changing tide of cultural views and societal norms. In 1755, Samuel Johnson released Dictionary. Johnson objective for this release was to impose structure and untangle the english language. Johnson did not withhold his bias when choosing what words are acceptable to be included in his Dictionary. This attempt to control the english language studies the evolution of the language. In the preface to the book Johnson writes about the “energetic” unruliness of English. In his view, the language was a tangled mess, and was in desperate need of some discipline: “wherever I turned my view”, he wrote, “there was perplexity to be disentangled, and confusion to be regulated.” Yet through the process of attempting to fix the English language and give it structure Johnson realised that language is impossible to fix, because of its constantly changing nature, and that his role was to record the language of the day, rather than to form it.

Spreading the English language was a major aspect in British colonialism. When comparing the views of Johnson and T. B. Macaulay there are many similarities and differences. Johnson saw english as a broken language that could eventually serve the world, while Macaulay felt that “intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is indeed fully admitted by those members of the committee who support the oriental plan of education.” Basically, Macaulay viewed english as a language that could better and promote the advancement of the sciences in all corners of the british territories. Both men saw the impact and importance of English, but due to almost century long gap between these two writings the cultural view of English had evolved.

-Conor Morgan



One thought on “Evolution Of English

  1. The main idea is, “The English language is a tangled web that takes influence from many different european languages.” I do feel you should add more detail on the authors due to the fact that it doesn’t clearly explain their reason for what they did or what steps were taken to accomplish it.

    Extra Credit 10/25/3


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