Importance of studying foreign languages-English in the system of Indo-European languages

12. března 2018 v 8:00 | Another |  Maturita Anglický jazyk

Importance of studying foreign languages-English in the system of Indo-European languages

Studying foreign languages is important for everybody in our modern society. People learn foreign languages from various reasons-They want to travel abroad a lot, they want to read foreign materials (books, newspaper, magazines, internet articles…). Many people need knowledge of foreign languages for their work, for example-translators, shop assistants, waiters etc. People working in so called tourist industry (taxi or bus driver) or in export section (a firm can't work without knowing foreign languages). The students make the largest group of people who learn foreign languages. Most students in the world study English. It is one of the compulsory subjects at school all over the world. English is the most widely spread language. It's the mother tongue for people in the English speaking countries. It means in Great Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is the second language in former British colonies (India, Pakistan, African countries…). English is working language of many international organizations and events. And if somebody wants to take place in a world congress or to be successful in business he must master 4 skills in every language. 4 skills mean reading, speaking, writing and understanding.
English began to develop in about year 450 when Anglo-Saxons came from Germany. Before this invasion the language spoken in England was a form of Celtic, similar to modern Welsh. Old English was clearly a Germanic language, more like modern German and Dutch than modern English. Then it was affected by the languages of other invaders such as Vikings (9th century) and the Normans who came from France in 1066. At the moment, English was merged from three languages-from Old German, Old Norse and French. From the 14th century onwards, many English words were invented or borrowed from other languages. Over centuries words have been simplified and in fact have very few inflections now, but pronunciation and spelling become more difficult.
English belongs together with European languages to a large family of Indo-European languages. This family has about 9 or so branches. One of the branches is called Germanic languages. These are then divided into North Germanic, West Germanic and East Germanic (East Germanic consists of nowadays extinct languages). English along with for example German or Dutch is in the West Germanic group of languages.
Nowadays there's about 400 million Native English speakers, another 400 million people use English as their second language and around 700-800 people who study and speaks English as foreign language. It is also used for practical purposes- in administrative, business, technology, education, sport, etc. English become so important only in the 17th century with the first settlements outside Europe. There are five main types of English which differ in pronunciation, spelling and vocabulary but the differences are not so crucial. There are: British English, American English, Australian English, Indian English and African English.
American English is developed from the British English as it was in 17th century. American English has been the language of American continent for more than three centuries. These two versions of English are the results of the different historical development of England and America. There is number of similar differences in vocabulary, there are also differences in spelling, grammar, intonation and pronunciation. We must not begin to mix the two, but to concentrate on learning either British or American English.

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