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Who Invented the English Language and What Were We Speaking Before it Was Invented?

Updated on May 4, 2015

Every area of the country has an “accent” so we are pronouncing the same phrase or word with different emphasis on various syllables which makes it difficult to communicate at times. A New York native may pronounce a word quite differently from a native from Georgia.

Amazon has a great book on accents and dialects. It is amazing how stars on stage and screen are able to mimic them all. Find out more

A person from North Dakota speaks the same words differently than a person from North Carolina

Anyone not a native born American learning to speak the English language is able to admit how difficult it is. English is one of the hardest languages written, spoken or learned around the world today. The simple explanation for the difficulty is the spoken word in America is actually a combination of many spoken forms of communication from countless peoples over centuries. Therefore, what did people speak before it was invented?

What influenced the words?

Countless people have come to believe the contributions to the English tongue was acquired from our country's melting pot. Tons of people from all around the world are what makes up the country. Imagine immigrants coming from everywhere and having to communicate with on another.There had to be a singular type of verbal interaction where a concrete idea or notion is expressed and understood.

There were certainly some common verses of tongues, but a majority of semantics were created to form a singular word. Coming up with the lingo was only half the battle. The other half was determining a spelling. This proved to be more of an issue than speaking it.

Why so complicated?

Tons of other linguistics have rules which are simple and straight forward but continuous throughout the language. For example, there are numerous vocalized words in other tongues which have 2 or 3 pronouns. These pronouns are he, she or an inanimate object such as a desk. One example is French or Portuguese.

  • pronouns

In the English phonetics we have he, she, them, us and variations for these. Why not have a simple two or three? This is one of the most difficult aspects foreign speaking people encounter and get wrong.

  • silent letters

Why do we use silent letters? Letters which are written when printing out a word but never spoken. These are sitting alone or in combinations. Phonetically there is no sound. This rule of thumb is very confusing.

  • letters never found without the other

The letter Q is never used without the letter U. Why? There are other examples where one or two letters come together, but there is only the sound of one when saying the word out loud.

Rules are a pain in the u know what

Students in grade school receive the basics of reading and writing the verbal communication of English. The lessons focus on the “rules” of the English language. These are taught to never be broken. Most teachers stress the fact. Though, nearly all of these have an exception.

We all remember the "i" before "e" except after “c”. Yet, it is broken several times in the grammatical form of speaking as well as written content. There are no basically very few if any of these rules not broken and all rules make no sense. For instance, one moose is moose. More than one is also moose. There is no singular form or plural form of moose. All words have a singular and plural, but there are exceptions and moose is one.

An exception of speaking of goose as a singular is the plural of geese.Even though moose and goose are identical writing with the exception of the first letter. We say house and houses but we say mouse and mice, not to mention goose and geese (?)

Where a person lives affects speech

There is a difference in the American language depending on where a person lives in the country. Folks drinking a can of Pepsi identifies it in more than one way. For example, some people say they are drinking a soda others say it is a pop or soda pop. Pop is typically verbalized in the Midwest while the Southern states and the East coast say soda.

What is an accent and how does it affect the words?

The dialect is the same but the semantics change the words. This is what happens when an accept is focused on speaking English. For example, North Dakota and Minnesota have a different accent than someone in New Jersey. There is an alteration of the emphasis placed on a syllable within a word. Expressing a simple word like car is spoken with a singular tongue from a New Jersey native, an Illinois dweller and even the South Dakota farmer.

Accents coming from other places

When English is a second language the spoken word is really tangled up. Identifying the rules is one obstacle while pronunciation is another. How a word is spelled phonetically is different than how it is said. Additionally, other tongues around the world pronounce the same letter combination with a unique idiom or even emphasis. When absorbing these other words into English from various tongues we changed the pronunciation and another spoken word from other places actually pronounce it as intended. This makes things even more of a jumble.

Northern states that border Canada typically have citizens that have a Canadian accent but our southern citizens don’t have a Mexican accent.

It pays to have some accents

Did you know in the Midwest the chances of being on television or broadcasting increase substantially? Television producers advised Midwestern “accents” are desired because they speak faster than anyone else in the country and they have the least amount of inflection when pronouncing different words and phrases.

Changing a word over the years to have a different meaning

There was a time when the word gay meant carefree and happy. This is certainly not the case in this day and age. As we evolve as a people so does how we communicate and speak to one another. This will continue for years to come.

Slang is a great example. Communication among generations is sometimes difficult because of it. Slang spoken in the 80s is totally irrelevant from slang used in the 90s or currently. Events went from cool, to sweet and now they are off the chain or hook.

Slang words make the most changes in the shortest amount of time when compared with other words. The slang is typically altered with each generation. Though, there are still some words which are retained, but the meaning changed. The word bad meant great in the 80s, but before and after it meant something spoiled or filthy.

Being politically correct using some words

Words change but mean the same thing over the years because we have to be politically correct. Our disabled are now challenged is an example of this English language encounter. The words colored and black are synonymous with African American.

Borrowing from other countries

Another great example is comparing the English spoken in Great Britain with America. A fag is a cigarette in Britain and a derogatory name in the US. They identify a french fry as a chip. We made these alterations from the true original form of English to accommodate our country for some unknown reason.

Borrowing from other peoples

In the Midwest we have almost all of our county names taken directly from the American Indian language. Why do we pronounce Arkansas and Kansas differently? Kansas is part of the word Arkansas; shouldn’t we pronounce them the same?

The state of Iowa is a Native American word. It has not been changed in the pronunciation or spelling. The state has 99 counties which have all been named with the same cause. Take the county of Kossuth or Keokuk, both fall under the same umbrella.

Tech is touching how we speak

Technology has even affected written content. The technology language of speaking to each other on the computer is confusing and not related to anything we learned in school when it comes to writing and communicating with one another. Because writing altered, like in texting, reading went south as well. The library is a lonely place.

Texting and speaking on social networking sites has developed a shorthand method of verbal communication that has its own rules and regulations.

In conclusion

English is a combination of every language ever spoken, written or thought of. It’s the hardest language to learn, read, write or speak, but alas, it’s ours. It will continue to evolve, sometimes not for the better as we move on.

Imagine the nation before we "civilized" the country. There were people traveling all the way from Christopher Columbus' day from Italy and Spain and exchanging words with the natives inhabiting this great country. This is how a common form of talking came together which is alive till this day.

© 2011 smcopywrite


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    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 5 years ago from North York, Canada

      Anyone who thinks English is difficult should be made to learn Russian. They will run screaming back to embrace the English language with open arms.

    • profile image

      larry willson 5 years ago

      English is the easiest language in the world and it nice to learn but has to have way to many rule. And it has way to many thing to learn and rule in the english books.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web


      thank you for your comments. what facts were you searching for? can i ask what details you perceive as wrong? you didn't provide any details or information to support your viewpoint. shame on you for leaving a general comment about not finding research for your book and dinging an article that many found very useful and informative.

    • profile image

      Wesa 6 years ago

      I ran across this as I was doing research for a book. This is a terrible article. Almost every detail is wrong and apparently guessed at by someone who doesn't have a basis for writing about language. Shame on you for trying to pass this off as fact.

    • DorthyJanes profile image

      DorthyJanes 6 years ago

      Couldn't have said it better myself (ha, ha) and apparently didn't. I hear that Mandarin Chinese is all the rage in nursery schools. Yikes, I'm still trying to conquer English.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada


      You don't have to apologize at all. It is my fault for leaving a negative comment - I am afraid I am too frustrated and I just could not help myself. I really should know better. But it has nothing to do with you, so please accept my apologies and feel free to delete my comment, I think it is the best you can do with it.

      I don't look down on people who speak only one language, yet to understand your own language you must know at least one more. Everything can be learned and known only in comparison. People who compare a foreign language to their own - of course, they will be under impression that English is SO! difficult. But what they essentially compare? Ease of mother tongue to the nightmare of a foreign language? Because it is a sheer torture not to be able to express yourself with ease.

      Add to it another foreign language. German or French or Russian (I only take those, because Russian is my mother tongue, I learned German and some French). In all three - every noun has a gender, from one language to the second to the third - they are not the same. Memorize everything.

      You are lucky you don't have to deal with declension. In Russian, nominal declension is subject to six cases. Meaning you have to memorize 6 variations of the same noun (on top of its gender) and coordination as well with verbs, adverbs and adjectives. Everything changes.

      Do I blame Americans they don't want to study foreign languages? I don't. It is a nightmare. And I speak lovingly because I love languages. They say Japanese is really tough. I have no idea, but I believe it.

      But again I apologize. It is a fairly difficult subject to discuss.

      But to lighten things up, I will give a link on Intolerance (of course, I am laughing at myself - being the one who came first)

      All the best,

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      i apologize. i didn't mean to exclude or offend.

      i suppose my content was related to the type of english spoken in america. english spoken in american is not the english that is taught in other countries.

      i speak only 3 languages total if you dont count languages such as "tex-mex" which is another english language variation. i enjoy hearing other languages spoken, such as russian, italian and spanish.

      can i ask why that is relevant?

      my nationality is of mixed origin and i have many languages spoken at my families table depending upon which member of my family i have dinner with.

      my hub was more satire than factual and i apologize if i offended you.

      the only reason that english would be spoken as a national language is if america bullied the world into accepting it.

      its similar to the way that we were supposed to go metric with the rest of the world and chose not to. America typically does what it wants without regard to other countries.

      i have spoken with several people that have english as a second or third language and they have advised me english is the most difficult language they have had to learn.

      thank you for leaving your thoughts on this hub. please do so again.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Smcopywrite, I am afraid your hub does not answer the question asked. Not even remotely. When you say "our country", you forget that people who write on HubPages are not all Americans. Far from it.

      To say that English is the most difficult language to learn - that is a judgment call. How many foreign languages do you speak?

      English is a living language. What? Other languages are dead? Every language is a living organism with rules and exceptions to them.

      Pronouns? You need to have a really good command, no not of Enlgish, but of grammar and grammar is something you should know if you learn another language. You can get away without really understanding grammar in your own language, but when you start learning another language it is a must. I mean understanding is a must.

      There is no war between languages, French wanted to rule the world - well, too bad. Now English is the dominant language. But who knows? One day it might be Arabic, Chinese, Hindu.

      Who could foretell? Same rules apply. There are origins, there is development and history of every language and they are interconnected, nothing wrong with that. There is no purity in any language or bastardization, only history.

    • randslam profile image

      Rand Zacharias 6 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

      English is a living language that will always change. It is actually a derivative of the old Germanic tribes, but filled with Latin, French, Spanish, etc.

      English is the lingua franca, a French word, but that's because the French wanted to rule the world--the only problem was they lost the wars against the English.

      English is a bastardized result of the history of humanity. I could say hub, smcopywrite.