Images for Craig White's Literature Courses

Maps for History of English




Map 1

Great Britain = England, Scotland, Wales; Eire = Ireland

In prehistory Britain or England was inhabited by Celtic peoples,
whose language and genes survive throughout these lands (and elsewhere)
but particularly in peoples and languages of Ireland (Gaelic language), Wales (Welsh), and Cornwall (Cornish).




Map 2: Roman Empire around time of Christ

England was colonized by Rome from 43 CE till 410 CE, when decline of empire led to withdrawal of Roman troops.

Some limited Latin influence on language and names resulted. Roman Catholicism was introduced (and re-introduced at later periods), also contributing some Latin influence.


Map 3: Travels through Roman Empire by Apostle Paul (5-67AD?)




Map 4: Germanic Invasions of Britain, 449AD >

When Rome withdrew from England, the native Celts were threatened
by Danes, Vikings, and other Scandinavian raiders from Northeast.

The Celts recruited warriors from Germanic-speaking areas to protect them.

These Germanic people—the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes—stayed to take advantage of the situation, becoming settlers and rulers

and making "Anglo-Saxon" languages the base of modern English.

"English" < "Angles"; thus English is originally a Germanic language & still sounds more like German than like French or Spanish, both derived from Latin.

but the French language later makes a contribution, especially words.

See map 5 >>>>




Map 5: 1066 CE Norman Invasion of England

In 1066 CE, as Anglo-Saxon rule was stressed again by Danes, England was invaded by French-speaking Normans
from the region of Normandy in modern France (where World War 2's D-Day Invasion [
Saving Private Ryan] was staged.

French-speaking kings and nobles began ruling England, but common people continued to speak English,
with both groups eventually sharing each other's language to some degree.

At length the French-descended rulers became more English than French.

The language that resulted became early Modern English: still Germanic at its base, but inheriting many Latinate words through French (and also Latin itself through the Catholic Church).

Example of Anglo-Saxon & French word differences:

Common people say pig, chicken, etc.

Aristocrats and their chefs say pork (F.porc), poultry (F. Poulet), etc.

Both sets of words survive in Modern English for different applications.







Map 6: The British Empire and "World English":

The British Empire rose first in the 1600s-1700s and again in the mid-1800s till the mid-20th Century.

Through contacts with other languages, English gained many new words, and old words gained new meanings in different contexts.

In addition, non-English peoples learned or adapted English to their needs, esp. learned elites.

English rule made English a language of learned elites, professionals, diplomats, transportation leaders, etc. 

The USA, originally derived from the first British Empire, continues to play a role in the development of World English through its ubiquity as a "world power." Also the USA as an English-speaking nation of immigrants contributes new words to English through immigration and other contact with nations. Examples:

American slavery brings in African words, expressions, and idioms (e.g. banjo, okra).

Mexican-American War and Latin American immigration brings Spanish influences + "Spanglish."

Technological and cultural change constantly generate new words, and electronic media may be changing spelling more than print ever did.

The map below indicates the later British Empire (in red).

English accents still signify posh prestige for English speakers, but English no longer belongs to England alone.



Map 7: "Romance Languages"
esp. Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese.

Romance languages evolved from Latin from the sixth to the ninth centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire. Today, more than 800 million people are native speakers worldwide, mainly in Europe and the Americas and many smaller regions scattered throughout the world, as well as large numbers of non-native speakers . . .  

The five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (386 million), Portuguese (216 million), French (75 million), Italian (60 million), and Romanian. The largest have many non-native speakers; this is especially the case for French, which is in widespread use throughout Central and West Africa, Madagascar, and the Maghreb region, as well as in Canada. (Wikipedia)