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Learning English: Everything you Should Know Related to the Language of Shakespeare

From Daniela, published on 17/07/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Languages > ESOL (English) > Discover the world of the English Language

Nowadays a vast majority of the global population speak English.

We cannot stress enough the importance of learning this most widely spoken language.

But, how well do you really know English, for example, its history and its cuisine? Or is your learning of the language limited to just a few oral and written exercises?

If you are intrigued enough to visit an English speaking country, you should learn a few characteristics of the language in order to reinforce your linguistic level.

Here are some essential points to familiarise yourself with Shakespeare’s famous language!

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The History of the English Language

Zoom in on the history of English and its evolution!

The language’s history can be separated into many distinct periods:

  • Old English

Before 700, the Germanic tribes arrived in Great Britain.

The Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes and the Friesians and their migratory movement founded Old English.

The language evolved up until 1100 and a few well-known words left their mark.

Before VIII and the IV century, the arrival of the Old Icelandic, in particular by the Vikings marked a new turning point in the English language.

  • Middle English

After his victory in 1066, William the Conqueror settled in Great Britain. The Norman, the language spoken at the time was set to have a direct impact on the English language.

The French language became the language of nobility, whereas English remained the people’s language.

In 1362, English was still recognised as the official language in the courts. Then, Henry IV’s mother tongue was English and not French. Thereafter, the official documents of the nobility were exclusively in English.

  • Modern English

Early Modern English: between the XVI century and the XVII century, the English language became more structured. In fact, spelling and grammar became more ordered.

Latin and Greek, however, continued to influence the English language.

The renaissance, marked by global openness, opened its doors to all the languages that would leave a mark mark, in both a small and large scale on Shakespeare’s language.

  • Late Modern English:

Latin starts to have an increasing influence on English. Latin is in particular used as the scientific and technical language, however it was set to have an important place during the industrial revolution.

By the end of the XVIII century, the tables were turned, and English took over. It then spread into Ireland, then into North America and into Australia.

Nowadays, Contemporary English has become the most spoken language worldwide.

English worldwide

English is the most widely spoken language worldwide!

In detail:

  • More than 450 million people have English as their mother tongue.
  • More than 750 million speak English as a foreign language.
  • English remains the first taught language worldwide.

But why should you learn English in a global world?

Because Speaking English is Trendy!

Ah yes, have you ever noticed how everyone uses English words?

From speaking about dress codes or to simply using technical terms at work?

Even adverts have caught on; you must have seen Apple’s catch phrase “Think different” or Nespresso’s mythical replica “What else?”

You can find many free online courses, which will no longer make you appear like a beginner in English!

Because English is the Most Spoken Language on the Internet

If you want to keep up to date with current affairs across the globe, then you should master the English language! You should learn how to have a solid level in English to be able to understand online texts.

Stay connected!

Because English is a Considerable Asset in the World of Work.

English is the first most world widely spoken language; therefore learning it is a priority, in order to communicate in the world of business, catering, tourism, and translation.

Nowadays, every job position seems to list speaking English as a requirement.

The opening of the borders and globalisation supports this finding. Nowadays, we must communicate in English across the world, orders are done in English as well as online business.

Having good linguistic skills will allow you to stand out from others and it will reassure your future boss.

English Accents, Speaking and Pronunciation

If you would like to be perfectly bilingual, learn the different pronunciations of words and syllables!

Pronunciation is often a major problem when learning English. Why don’t we address the problem? English lessons throughout school focus on conjugation, grammar, and English vocabulary.

Comprehension and oral exercises, reading and standard pronunciation should be a priority, but there is no such thing as the perfect accent.

Even with a non-native accent, you can make yourself understood anywhere across the globe.

Why not take some private english lessons online or at home with a native? Communicate regularly to those who use English as their mother tongue, this will automatically allow you to pick up their accent.

Take an English test to judge your level in this subject!

Focus on the english accent that you wish to perfect, for example, the American accent, the one closest to the accent you are taught at school, or the British accent?

  • The American accent is easier to master for some people; for example if you speak French, the sounds produced by an American accent are closer to the French language.
  • The American accent has a distinctive characteristic: it swallows words and it ignores some letters; the “t” is often forgotten for more of a fluid pronunciation.
  • Furthermore, if you are passionate about American TV shows and films, it would be to your advantage to learn this accent so you could watch the Original Versions.

What about the English accent?

  • The accent is considered more elegant and more sophisticated, even by Americans.
  • It is a lot more difficult for the followers of other languages to understand and to practice!
  • The diphthongs (pronunciation of two vowels in one syllable) will complicate your life!
  • The plosives (accentuation on certain consonants) contribute to bringing more charm to your accent!

English Gastronomy

Discover the specialties of the English gastronomy! Often criticised, English specialities are however, worth the detour. Zoom in on the unavoidable English culinary traditions!

Roast beef

Learning English and the English cuisine will make you more cultured. The delicious British Roast beef! Yum. (Source: Photo via Visualhunt.com)

You should never miss out on the famous roast beef.

It is none other than a roast beef in gravy served with potatoes or green vegetables.

If you want to impress your guests during a gourmet meal, try it!

Fish and chips

The yummy fish and chips is a typically English dish, learn how to make it. So British and so delicious! (Source: Photo via Visualhunt.com)

This dish is fried fish accompanied by chips. If you are not on a diet, treat yourself!

The Sunday Roast

Served mostly in pubs, this meal includes meat in a sauce, cheesy potatoes, and pies. Eat in moderation.

The English Breakfast

Visit England to better your English and try the English breakfast. What a great excuse to get up in the mornings! (Source: Photo via Visualhunt.com)

If you would like to change your breakfast routine and say goodbye to croissants in the morning, why not opt for a typically English breakfast?

It includes fried eggs, bacon, grilled sausages, and toast. One thing is certain: this meal will give you a lot of energy to get you through the day!

English Desserts

Learn how to make a delicious English dessert. Too pretty to eat! (Source: Photo via Visualhunt.com)

If you fancy eating British food, don’t miss out on the greedy deserts.

Jelly, Apple Pie, Crumble and let’s not forget about the famous pudding, you are spoiled for choice!

If you’re amateurs in the kitchen, opt for simplicity: an apply or plum crumble is an easy option!

English Quotations

 If you would like to learn English, here are some English quotations that are easy to remember!

Why should you learn English quotations?

Well, being able to introduce quotations during a conversation will make you appear educated and cultured. But, also, because well-known quotations are part of our culture.

Finally, these easily remembered phrases are often beautiful life lessons that are uplifting! So, here are some famous quotations:

  • “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”

If you feel unhappy in your job, maybe this phrase from Confucius will make you think!

Many quotations are hymns to life. So, if you ever feel down, memorise these phrases to get you through the day.

  • “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”
  • “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” (Nelson Mandela)
  • “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Anglophone Newspapers

Continuous information is a wonderful way of learning, but why?

Firstly, this gives you a new outlook on information and its coverage by the international media.

Secondly, you will quickly enrich your vocabulary all whilst selecting articles, which you will be interested in.

To help you choose, we have ranked the best English written newspapers from around the world.

Learn English with Shakespeare

Even without really knowing the most famous work of the English playwright, the general public knows that we nickname English: “Shakespeare’s language”.

Like French, which is the language of Molière, Italian, the language of Dante, German, the language of Goethe, Spanish, the language of Cervantes and Portuguese, the language linked to Cristiano Ronaldo.

But, we should dig a bit further into this Anglophone language to know what William S contributed to the language?

We personify the English language through him because he introduced between 1700 and 2000 words into the English language! The majority of these words are still in use today, only 5% of the words he introduced are no longer used.

To give us a better idea of the subject, here are some expressions that were invented by the British writer and poet:

  • “Break the ice”
  • “Love is blind”
  • “Heart of gold”

These are also expressions used in languages around Europe and the world!

Concerning the linguistic creations, it seems that some of them no longer have the same meaning! This is mostly the case in the following words: “weird”, which nowadays means “bizarre”, but a few centuries ago it meant “fatality”. The same goes for the word “quick”, long ago, it meant “lively”, and before, “naughty” meant “immoral”.

In love with this language and its elegant turns-of-phrase? Why not visit the United Kingdom, to learn the real Shakespearean English? You will find many students like yourself, because 50% of those who choose to learn English choose her Majesty’s Kingdom for a language or study trip!

It is the perfect place to assimilate:

  • English grammar (oral expression, oral communication, English linking words, syntax)
  • Vocabulary (English phrases, English words, idiomatic expressions, lexicon, lexical fields) to learn by heart (the area in which the minister of National Education is at times not very good at, as for other foreign languages),
  • English conjugation (present perfect, irregular verbs, the “ing” verbs, simple present, English verbs),
  • Conversation…if you can pluck up the courage.
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