Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

English descends from a set of Germanic dialects spoken 4,000 years or so ago in a small area of the far south of Scandinavia. The arrival of Germanic speakers on the island of Britain a millennium and a half ago led to the growth of the language we now call English. This language remained confined to this island for most of its history and, indeed, was not spoken in all parts of the island until extremely recently. During the last five centuries native-speaker English also spread to the Western Hemisphere and then to the Southern Hemisphere, leading to the development of new varieties of the language in the colonised areas, but also to the massive loss of indigenous languages in the Americas and Australia.

Keywords: Germanic, Celtic, spread, language shift, language death, settlement, colonisation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.