The English language had been around for about four hundred years before it began to be called English. It first emerged sometime during the fifth century AD, when a number of Germanic tribes from the north of Europe – whom we now refer to collectively as the Anglo Saxons arrived in Britain, bringing with them their several indigenous dialects. Over the next few hundred years, these tribes established roots and began spreading out across the country, that is why the language slowly developed.
First, in the ninth century, the term of “English “began to be regularly used to refer to the language (Crystal, 2005, p. 27). English did not become English until at least four centuries into its existence. During this early period of its history, English was just one of many languages spoken in Britain. The Anglo – Saxon Chronicles – the earliest history of Britain written in English. The Britain Island is eight hundred miles and two hundred broad, there are five languages, English, Briton – Welsh, Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. For example, the Briton were the first inhabitants of the land. In the beginning, English was just one language among several; it was a language without strong identity and special status. One section of the population of an island of the western coast of continental Europe has spoken a local language. Moreover, the way of English has changed throughout history, as we can recognize the difficulties in categorizing language and varieties. But, If we ask the different varieties can be considered the same language, so we can ask to what extent modern – day English – the English we are reading now – is the same language which that introduced to the British Isles one and half Millennia ago. The English is currently spoken by 1500 to 2000 million people in hundreds of countries, and operates as the main form. In addition to that, in hundreds of countries and operates as the main form of communication in important domains such as global business and science. It is precisely because of statistics such as these that some people feel the language has developed in such a way that conceptually, it is now a quite different entity from its pre-globalised incarnation.
Second, Karchu has discussed the power of English many times in his writing (e.g. Karchu 1986c) Bolinger (cited in Karchu 1986 c: 1221). Most importantly, according to Karchu questions about language and the power go beyond linguistics into history, sociology, attitude studies, politics and economic considerations. For example, the power of language is intimately with social power. It can be manifested by using persuasion, regulation, inducement or force to add a code to a speech community or by the suppression of a particular language variety and the elevation of another. The fact is that English has spread as result of exploitation and colonisation. Especially in many ex- colonies of Britain, English is still the language of an exclusive social elite.
For instance, According to karchu (1986 c: 129 -132), the most important reason for the success of English is the historical role of England as a colonial power. Also, English came to be the language of the legal system, higher education, science and technology. In India, for example, the political power naturally attributed a power to the language of the Raj (called the linguistic elitism strategy), and it also became a symbol of political power. English came to be the language of the legal system, higher education, pan-regional administrative network, science and technology, trade and commerce – either because the indigenous languages were not equipped for these roles and English provided for a convenient vocabulary, or because the use of English was considered prestigious and powerful. English became gradually a major tool for acquiring knowledge in the sciences and the humanities. It has come to represent modernization and development, and, as a link language, it has acquired international roles over the years. So we can see that the attitudes people have towards the languages are a part of their own personal history. But this personal history is always a part of their wider history of the community in which they live .It is often the case that not only is the language of importance to the individual’s senses of identity, but it is also plays a part in the cultural identity of a group or nation. It is within this context that the history of English and especially the reason behind it is global spread- can be of great significance for the people’s attitude that they have towards the language. In the final activity we will look at the roles played by English in modern-day China, and how attitudes to the language have changed over the past decades as Chinese society has changed.
Finally, the English language has been a diverse entity always. It has changed dramatically over the centuries since it first arrived on the shores of Britain from the north of Europe, and these changes mean that the language that was spoken at that time is almost incomprehensible to us now. As the language has spread beyond Britain, it has continued to change in different ways in different contexts. It has diversified to such an extent that some scholars suggest that it is no longer accurate to talk of single’ English ‘that instead there are many different English language around the world today. At the same time, however, English exists in the world today as means of international communication- as a way for people from different social groups to communicate with each other and to full fill this function it would seem that variation in the language needs to be curtailed to certain extent. That is to say, if the language becomes too diverse it will not remain mutually comprehensible across different social groups. So we have two impulses at work that are seemingly incompatible, or perhaps even in conflict, and the question that we are facing how to render them as consistent ,as both being part of the existence of a single entity we call ‘English’. This is one of the central issues in English language studies today- and it is very modern issue because it has come about as a direct result of the unprecedented position that English now occupies in societies all around the world.