The rich history of the English language spans centuries, from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf and beyond. But how often do we take the time to consider the origins of the language we speak? Have you ever considered why some expressions have more formal or informal overtones of meaning? What is the difference between “a hearty welcome” and “a cordial reception”? These words ultimately reveal how the English language was broadened by centuries of invasions, each one bringing new words and cultural influence to the language.
Words like beer and champagne, so common to us now, are examples of the influences that have shaped the English language. And while you might feel horrified at the idea of today’s slang becoming so ingrained into modern language, consider how a word like weird, Anglo-Saxon in origin, continues to be used in the 21st century. If you are interested in learning more, check out this quick introduction on the subject. Enjoy!