What Is English language

English language . Original language of Northwest Europe , which belongs to the Germanic branch of Indo-European Languages, and which developed in England , spread from its origin throughout the British Isles and in many of its former overseas colonies.


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  • 1 History
    • 1 Origins
    • 2 Old English
    • 3 Middle English
    • 4 Early Modern English
  • 2 Language family
  • 3 Phonology and spelling
    • 1 Phonology
    • 2 Spelling
  • 4 Grammar
    • 1 Verb tenses
    • 2 Past verbs
    • 3 Irregular verbs
    • 4 Infinitive
    • 5 Personal pronouns
    • 6 Conjugation of the present tense
  • 5 Plurization rules
  • 6 Writing system
  • 7 Language status
  • 8 regional dialects
  • 9 External links
  • 10 See also
  • 11 Sources


Extension of English in the world.

English is probably the third language in the world in number of speakers who have it as their mother tongue (between 300 and 400 million people), and the second most spoken, after the Mandarin Chinese language , if you also count those who have it as second language (200 million more people). English, with England spreading its language throughout the world ( British Empire ), and with the United States of America becoming the greatest economic and military power, has become de facto the lingua franca of today.

Despite the existence of other international languages ​​and languages ​​such as Esperanto or Interlingua that seek the use of a more neutral language, English is today the main language of international communication. This is because a dominant “civilization” usually does not adopt another language, but, on the contrary, imposes its own; This is the reason why in many European countries languages ​​derived from Latin are spoken, as this is the official language of the Roman Empire.

Currently there are proposals for neutrality in the use of an auxiliary language; however, from the economic point of view, large amounts of money that have to be paid during the teaching-learning process would be lost; These are, for example, the royalties paid for books and teaching materials in general, in addition to the certification exams that must be renewed from time to time. From this follows the refusal to adopt an international language other than English by those who profit from this business.


English descends from the language spoken by the Germanic tribes that migrated from what is now northern Germany (and part of Denmark ) to the land that was to be known as England. These tribes are traditionally identified with the names of Friesians , Britons , Anglos , Saxons and Jutes . Their language is called Old Saxon or Old Low German. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, around 449 , Vortigern , king of the British Isles, extended an invitation to some Anglos led by Hengest and Horsato help him against the Picts. In exchange, Anglos would be granted land in the southeast. More help was sought, and Anglos , Saxons, and Jutes came in response . The chronicle documents the subsequent arrival of “settlers”, who eventually established seven kingdoms: Northumbria , Mercia , East Anglia , Kent , Essex , Sussex, and Wessex . However, in the opinion of most modern scholars, this Anglo-Saxon story is legendary and politically motivated.

Old English

These Germanic invaders dominated the Celtic-speaking inhabitants, whose languages ​​survived mainly in Scotland , Wales , Cornwall, and Ireland . The dialects spoken by these invaders formed what was to be called Old English, which was a language much like Modern Frisian. Old English (also called Anglosaxon in English) was strongly influenced by another Germanic dialect, Old Norwegian, spoken by the Vikings who settled mainly in northeast Britain. The English words English and England are derived from words that referred to the Anglos: englisc and England. However, Old English was not a unified language common to the whole island, but mainly four dialects were distinguished: Mercio , Northumbrio , Kentish and Western Saxon .

From a grammatical point of view, Old English has many typological similarities with ancient Indo-European languages ​​such as Latin or Greek, and also German. Among these similarities are the presence of a morphological case in the name and the grammatical gender difference. The verbal system was more synthetic than that of modern English, which uses verbal Periphrasis and auxiliary verbs more.

Intermediate English

Middle English from the 14th and 15th centuriespresents important typological changes with respect to Old English. Middle English is typologically closer to Modern English and Romance languages ​​than Old English. The main difference between Middle English and Modern English is pronunciation. In particular, the large vowel shift greatly modified the vowel inventory, producing diphthongs from numerous long vowels and changing the opening degree of many monoptongs. The influence of the Norman nobility, coming to the island around this time, also left effects on the lexicon of Middle English that are still preserved today. This gives rise, for example, to the distinction between pig and pork,

From the 18th century on, the pronunciation of English was highly similar to that of modern English. And it is from that time that most of the phonetic changes that today are the basis of modern dialects began to take place.

Early Modern English

Early Modern English is the ancient form of English today, as a variant of the Anglo-Saxon language and Middle English in particular that was practiced until then.

It is the English that was spoken mainly during the Renaissance , and most commonly associated with the literary language of William Shakespeare .

Chronologically it is located between the 16th and 18th centuries in the areas populated by the Anglo-Normans ( approximately 1450 to 1700 ).

It is considered the most evolutionary phase and closest to English today, and was consolidated largely due to the rise of British letters in that historical period and the contribution made by other foreign languages.

Language family

English is an Indo-European language of the West Germanic group. Although due to the sociolinguistics of the British Isles since the Viking invasions and the subsequent Norman invasion, he has received important loans from the North Germanic languages ​​and French , and much of his lexicon has been reworked on the basis of Latin cultisms. The last two influences make English probably one of the most atypical Germanic languages ​​in terms of both vocabulary and grammar.

The living linguistic relative most similar to English is undoubtedly Frisian, a language spoken by approximately half a million people in the Dutch province of Friesland , close to Germany, and on a few islands in the North Sea . The similarity between Frisian and English is clearer when Old Frisian is compared to Old English, as the restructuring of English by foreign influences has made Modern English a language remarkably less similar to Frisian than it had been in old times.

Phonology and spelling

The varieties of English are very similar in terms of their pronunciation of the consonants, most of the interdialectal variations refer to the vowels.


The English consonant inventory consists of 25 items (some varieties from Scotland and North America grow to 27 by including two additional voiceless fricatives ):

Lip Dental Alveolar Alv-pal To ensure Labiovelar Glotal
Occlusive / African / p /

p it

/ t /

t in

/ tʃ /

ch eap

/ k /

c ut

/ b /

b it

/ d /

d in

/ dʒ /

j eep

/ g /

g ut

Fricative /F/

f at

/ θ /

th in

/ s /

s ap

/ ʃ /

sh e

/ x / *

what ch

/ ʍ / *

wi ch

/ h /

h am

/ v /

v at

/ ð /

th in

/ z /

z ap

/ ʒ /

mea s ure

Nasal / m /

m ap

/ n /

n ap

/ ŋ /

ba n g

approximate / l /

l eft

/ ɹ /

r a

/ j /

And it is

/ w /


The phonemes with an asterisk (*) are only present in some varieties of English (especially English from Scotland and some varieties from the USA and Canada ), the rest are universal and appear in all varieties. Each of these phonemes can present allophonic variations according to the phonetic context. For example, voiceless stops sound strongly aspirated at the beginning of the word and less aspirated preceded by s-. Compare pin [pʰɪn] / spin [spɪn], Kate [kʰeɪt] / skate [skeɪt], tone [tʰoʊn] / stone [stoʊn]


The spelling of English was set around the 15th century . Although since then the language has undergone important phonetic changes, especially in the vowels, which makes spelling not a safe guide for pronunciation. As an example we can consider the sequence -ea-, which has up to seven different pronunciations [citation required] only partially predictable from the phonetic context:

Sound Orotography AFI transcription Meaning
[e], [ɛ] head, health [hed] / [hɛd], [helθ] / [hɛlθ] ‘head’, ‘health’
[iː] heap, heat [hiːp], [hiːt] ‘heap’, ‘heat’
[ɜː], [ɝ] heard, hearse [hɜːd] / [hɝd], [hɜːs] / [hɝs] ‘ear’ (to hear), ‘hearse’
[ɑː], [ɑɹ] heart, hearken [hɑːt] / [hɑɹt], [hɑːkən] / [hɑɹkən] heart ‘,’ listen ‘
[iə] zeal, heal [ziəl], [hiəl] ‘zeal’, ‘heal’
[eɪ] break, great, steak [bɹeɪk], [gɹeɪt], [steɪk] break ‘,’ great ‘,’ steak ‘
[iːeɪ] create [kɹiːˈeɪt] ‘create’


English has many of the typical features of European languages. The name presents difference between singular and plural. In modern English unlike its predecessor Old English the name does not make distinctions of gender or case. The differences of case are restricted in modern English to the pronoun, as happens for example in the Romance languages.

In the verbal system, English, like German and Romance languages, has undergone a similar evolution. “Compound forms of perfect” have been created to express the perfect aspect and “peripheral forms” with the verb to be to express the progressive or continuous aspect. Another similarity is the development of future forms from auxiliary verbs. An important difference between English and other Germanic languages ​​and romances is the weakening of the subjunctive mood. Likewise English, like German, the Dutch Language or the Romance Languages , has created genuine definite articles from demonstrative forms.

Verb tenses

In English as in Spanish there are several fundamental verb tenses; the simple and the compound ones, those that can be combined to form derivations; among them, the progressive or continued calls, which require the use of the verb “To be” with the addition of the suffix -ing at the end of the main verb of the sentence. For example, I speak of the present simple would become I am speaking in the present continuous or progressive. Continuous, progressive, or continuous, require the verb to be, which means to be or to be; but for the continued, it is only used as being. Estar + gerundio, is used to denote actions that are being carried out at the moment in which it is spoken -I am speaking, in the present continuous, or actions that were being done at a certain time -I was speaking, which is equivalent to the past continuous, etc. Furthermore, it is necessary to highlight the importance of these verb tenses in relation to the different modes: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative.

The tenses in English can be summarized as follows:

Simple tenses

Present simple: I sleep

Past simple: I slept

Future simple: I will sleep

Conditional simple: I would sleep

Continuous tenses

Present continuous: I am sleeping

Past continuous: I was sleeping

Future continuous: I will be sleeping

Conditional continuous: I would be sleeping

Perfect tenses

Present perfect: I have slept

Past perfect: I had slept

Future perfect: I will have slept

Conditional perfect: I would have slept

Perfect continuous tenses

Present perfect continuous: I have been sleeping

Past perfect continuous: I had been sleeping

Future perfect continuous: I will have been sleeping

Conditional perfect continuous: I would have been sleeping

Special tenses

Future with going to — I am going to sleep

Future in the past — I was going to sleep

It can be added that English verbs can be classified into regular and irregular. Regular ones have a graphic mark that distinguishes them from irregular ones. The suffix -ed, which is placed at the end of a regular verb to form its past and past participle. However, this suffix has the peculiarity of being pronounced in different ways, so when doing so, the sound with which the verb ends must be taken into account, and not the letter. -ed can be pronounced / әd /, / ɪd /, / d /, / t / in correspondence with the final sound. That is, the suffix -ed in verbs ending in the sounds / t /, / d / must be pronounced / әd / or / ɪd /. Then the past of want would be wanted / ˈwɑntәd / and that of need would be needed / ˈnidәd /. But what would be the correct pronunciation of the suffix -ed in the verb crochet? Of course, they would not be / әd /, / ɪd / because that verb is a linguistic loan from French. The final sound of that verb is vowel, not consonant. Now to determine the correct pronunciation of said suffix a very important aspect must be taken into account; the presence or absence of vibration of the vocal cords. If you wanted to pronounce the suffix -ed at the end of the verb work, the first thing to do is determine the sound in which the word ends; that, although it almost always coincides with the grapheme, this is not the case on all occasions, a matter that could be seen previously. That verb ends in the / k / sound. When pronouncing that sound, no vibration of the vocal cords is felt, therefore in this case the suffix would be pronounced / t /. However, when pronouncing the same suffix in the verb listen, the presence of vibration in the vocal cords would be noticed,

It is pronounced / әd /, / ɪd / when regular verbs end in:

/ t / concentrated

/ d / kneaded

It is pronounced / t / when they end in: (voiceless sounds)

/ f / laughed

/ k / walked

/ p / jumped

/ s / kissed, danced

/ ʃ / washed

/ tʃ / watched

/ θ / betrothed

It is pronounced / d / when they end in: (voiced sounds)

/ b / dabbed

/ g / hugged

/ dʒ / judged

/ ʒ / sabotaged

/ z / pleased

/ ŋ / longed

/ m / combed

/ n / donned

/ l / unveiled

/ r / roared

/ v / loved

/ ð / bathed

/ w / followed

* Also after all the vowel sounds. *

Past tense

Depending on whether they are regular or not, verbs have different pasts, which are two:

  • Simple past, equivalent to any past in Spanish.
  • Past participle, equivalent to the Spanish participle.

Irregular verbs

This is a list of English irregular verbs:

Infinitive Simple past Participle
to be was / were ben
to become became become
to begin began begun
to bite bit bitten
to break broke broken
to bring brought brought
to build build build
to burn burned or burnt burnt
to buy bought bought
to catch caugth caught
to eat came eat
to cost cost cost
to cut cut cut
to dig dug dug
everything did donate
to draw drew drawn
to drink drank drunk
to drive drove driven
to eat tie eaten
to fall fell fail
to fell felt felt
to fight fought fought
to find found found
to fly flew flown
to get got got
to give gave given
to go went gone
to grow grew grown
to have had had
to hear heard heard
to hide hid hidden
to hit hit hit
to hold held held
to hurt hurt hurt
to keep kept kept
to know knew known
to learn learned learnt
to leave left left
to lie lay lain
to lose lost lost
to make made made
to mean meant meant
to pay paid paid
to put put put
to read read read
to ride rode ridden
to ring rang rung
to run ran run
to say said said
to see saw seen
to sell sold sold
to send sent sent
to set set set
to sing sang sung
to sink sank sunk
to sit sat sat
to smell smelled smelt
to speak spoken spoken
to spell spelled spelt
to spend spent spent
to spill spilled spilt
to spoil spoiled spoilt
to stand stood stood
to steal stolen stolen
to stick stuck stuck
to sweep swept swept
to swim swam swum
to take took taken
to teach taught taught
to tear tore torn
to tell told told
to think thought thought
to throw threw throw
to understand understood understood
to wake woke woken
to wear wore worn
to win won won
to write wrote written



As for infinitive verbs, they start with the particle to, for example:

  • To walk: walk
  • To jump: jump
  • To wear: to wear
  • To pass: approve
  • To bite: bite
  • To speak: speak

Personal pronouns

The personal pronouns that are written behind the verbs when conjugating them (me, you, he, she, we, you, they) are:

  • I: Means “I”, and should always be capitalized.
  • You: This pronoun can mean several things, depending on the situation: “you”, if it refers to in a casual tone, and “you (is)” or “you”, if it refers to a formal tone.
  • He: Referring to a man (eg He is Scottish).
  • She: Referring to a woman (ex: She is Jillian).
  • We: Referring to “We” (in Spanish: 1st person plural).
  • They: Referring to “They” or “They” (in Spanish: 3rd person plural).
  • It: Referring to “It”, that is, that we are talking about a thing, animal or object that cannot be defined as “He” or “She”.

Conjugation of the present tense

In the Present Simple , the verb continues in Infinitive , but the word to is eliminated in the forms I, You, We and “They”.


  • I: I eat
  • You: You eat
  • We: We eat
  • They: They eat

However, in the forms It, He and She, an -s is added to the verb or -es in some cases.


  • He: He stops (He stops).
  • She: She stops.
  • He: He studies. see that the verb in its simple form is studyand has been added to the end of this -es.

If the Verb ends in and the y is removed and ies is added; for example, He carry “ies” his suitcase. (“He carries his suitcase.”). (See pluralization rules) It is always necessary to write or say a subject in each sentence, even when the phrase does not require a subject in Spanish; for example, in Spanish it is acceptable to say “It is one in the afternoon” to indicate the hour of one, but in English it is necessary to use the pronoun it in front of the phrase: It is one (o’clock) in the afternoon .

Almost all verbs are regular in the present tense; notable exceptions are to be (“be” and “be”) → I am, you / we are, he / she is; to have (“have” and “have” in perfect times) → I / we / they have, he / she has; y to do (“to do”) → I / you / we / they do, he / she does. In the past, a verb is regular if its past participle and simple past tends to end in -ed. For example: arrive (“arrive”) → arrived (“arrived, arrived”). With the exception of the verb to be, each verb uses the same conjugation for each form in the past.

  • A verb is irregular if its past and / or past participle does not end in -ed. For example: write (“write”) → wrote (“wrote”, in past tense), written (“written”, in past participle). The most important English irregular verbs are (infinitive → past simple → past participle) to be → I / he / she was, we / they / you were → been; to do → did → done; to eat → ate → eaten (“eat”); to give → gave → given (“give”); to go → went → gone (“go”); to have → had → had (“have / have”); to make → made → made (“make, make”); to speak → spoke → spoken (“speak”); to spend → spent → spent (“spend”).

To form a future verb, the word will is added before the verb infinitive (sin to). For example: You will eat spaghetti. (“You will eat spaghetti”). To form the conditional, the word would be added before the verb infinitive (sin to): You would eat spaghetti. (“You would eat spaghetti”).

The progressive tense of English, in the present and the past, uses the verb to be followed by the gerund of the main verb: I am thinking (“I am thinking”); You are winning (“You are winning”); We were talking about baseball (“We were talking about baseball” or “We were talking about baseball”). Note that the imperfect in Spanish translates to the progressive past in English when it indicates an action in progress in the past.

The perfect tense of English uses the verb to have followed by the participle of the main verb. For example, I have done the work (They had seen the movie).

To write a verb in the negative in a simple tense, a form of the verb to do is used, followed by the word “not” and the infinitive of the main verb (sin to); For example: We do not have any money (“We do not have any money”), She does not dance (“She does not dance”). In the past, used did not be used anyway: He did not write the essay (“He did not write the essay”), You did not finish your homework. Note that the verb tense to do indicates the tense of the sentence; the main verb is always in the infinitive form, despite the time of the sentence.

The negative of compound tenses also uses the word not, but these tenses keep the form of the original auxiliary verb; the word not is put after the auxiliary verb. For example, I am not running (“I am not running”); They had not made the clothes. The word not can also be collapsed to n’t and added to the end of the auxiliary verb (like don’t, hadn’t, isn’t, weren’t, etc .; you can’t do this with I am not, which collapses I’m not.)

When writing questions, keep in mind that they are not formulated in the same way as in Spanish, but have a different word order: Form of the verb to do + subject + infinitive of the main verb sin to (+ noun or another word). Also, only a question mark is written at the end of the question. This order occurs in simple questions. For example: Does she draw? (“Does she draw?”), Do you understand me? (“Do you understand me?”) Did you have a question? (“Did you have a question?”). When the question uses the verb to be, the verb to do is not used. For example: Is she happy? (“Is she happy?”). Other more compound sentences use interrogative adverbs (how much, how, where …) at the beginning of the question. The most important adverbs are who (who), what (what), where (where), when (when), why (why) and how (how). When using these adverbs, it is still necessary to use the verb to do after the adverb. For example: When did he buy the car? (“When did you buy the car?”)

To answer a simple question (without an interrogative adverb), use yes (“yes”) or no (“no”) followed by a comma and the appropriate form of the auxiliary verb, accompanied by the personal pronoun. In the negative, the word not is also added after the auxiliary verb in the answer. For example: Do they go to school? Yes, they do. (“Are they going to school? Yes.”), Is she eating? No, she is not (isn’t) [eating]. (“Is she eating? No, she is not eating.”).

Plurization rules

1- For nouns or verbs ending in o, s, ss, sh, ch, xyz, -es is added.

English Spanish
Singular form Plure shape Singular form Plural form
Hero Heroes Hero Heroes
Eyelash Eyelashes Eyelash Eyelashes
Watch Watches Watch Watches
Box Boxes Box Boxes
Glass Glasses Glass Glasses


2- For nouns or verbs ending in y, but preceded by a letter conso

Writing system

English uses the Latin alphabet without any addition, except for words taken directly from other languages ​​with different alphabets. However, historically Old English had used special signs for some of its sounds: <Ā, Æ, Ǣ, Ǽ, Ċ, Ð, Ē, Ġ, Ī, Ō, Ū, Ƿ, Ȳ. Þ, Ȝ> and the corresponding lowercase <ā, æ, ǣ, ǽ, ċ, ð, ē, ġ, ī, ō, ū, ƿ, ȳ, þ, ȝ>.

Another feature of modern English spelling is characterized by the existence of a large number of contractions:

They’re, contraction of They are = They are / are. She isn’t, contraction of She is not = She is not. I’d eat, contraction of I would eat = I would eat You’ll see, contraction of You will see = You will see

It should be said that these contractions are used mostly in colloquial speech and to a lesser extent in formal speech.

Language status

  • De facto official language: United Kingdom, United States , Australia , Canada and New Zealand .

English in the EU.

  • Official language of iure in: Bahamas, Barbados , Fiji , Belize , Botswana , dependencies of the United States, dependencies of the United Kingdom, Dominica , Ghana , The Gambia , Guyana , Solomon Islands , Jamaica , Lesotho , Liberia , Malawi , Mauritius , Nauru , Nigeria , Papua New Guinea , American Samoa , Saint Lucia , Saint Christopherand Nieves , Sierra Leone , Swaziland , Trinidad and Tobago , Grenada , Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , Uganda , Zambia, and Zimbabwe .
  • Co-official language: Bangladesh, Brunei , Ireland , Israel , Kenya , Kiribati , Cameroon , Egypt , Namibia , Chagos , Diego García , Marshall Islands , India , Madagascar , Malaysia , Malta , Myanmar (formerly Burma), Philippines , Pakistan , Puerto Rico ( USA), Seychelles , Sri Lanka(formerly Ceylon), Singapore , South Africa , Thailand , Tanzania , Tokelau, and Tonga .
  • Minorities in: Netherlands Antilles, Equatorial Guinea , Hong Kong ( China ), Malaysia , Mexico , Pará , Samoa , Suriname , Tuvalu , Thailand , etc.

Regional dialects

1- British English

  • English English

North Central East West Central South West West Field

  • Scottish English
  • Welsh English
  • Irish English
  • English Manx

2- America

American English

  • Northeast
  • Atlantic environment
  • Northern interior
  • Central northern
  • Central
  • Southern
  • Western

3- Canadian English

  • English Newfoundland
  • Maritime English
  • West / Central
  • Bermudian English
  • Caribbean English
  • Anguilla English
  • Bahamian English
  • Jamaican English
  • Trinidadian English
  • English by Bélice
  • Falkland Islands English

4- Asia

  • Burmese English
  • Hong Kong English
  • Pakistani English
  • Indian english
  • Malaysian English
  • Filipino english
  • English Sri Lankan


  • Australian English

Southern western

  • Fijian English
  • New Zealand English


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