English language

EnglishEnglish-languageenanglophoneEnglish-speakingEng.:EngEnglish:English as a Second LanguageEnglish translation
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca.wikipedia
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Germanic weak verb

weakweak verbsweak verb
Some shared features of Germanic languages include the division of verbs into strong and weak classes, the use of modal verbs, and the sound changes affecting Proto-Indo-European consonants, known as Grimm's and Verner's laws.


The English system of grammatical person no longer has a distinction between formal and informal pronouns of address (the old 2nd person singular familiar pronoun thou acquired a pejorative or inferior tinge of meaning and was abandoned), and the forms for 2nd person plural and singular are identical except in the reflexive form.
The word thou is a second-person singular pronoun in English.

David Crystal

Crystal, DavidCrystalD. Crystal
Linguist David Crystal estimates that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.
His many academic interests include English language learning and teaching, clinical linguistics, forensic linguistics, language death, "ludic linguistics" (Crystal's neologism for the study of language play), style, English genre, Shakespeare, indexing, and lexicography.

Great Britain

It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England.

Colon (punctuation)

In RP, vowel length is phonemic; long vowels are marked with a triangular colon in the table above, such as the vowel of need as opposed to bid.
In modern English-language printing, no space is placed before a colon and a single space is placed after it.

Grammatical case

casecasescase marking
Modern English has case forms in pronouns (he, him, his) and has a few verb inflections (speak, speaks, speaking, spoke, spoken), but Old English had case endings in nouns as well, and verbs had more person and number endings.
English has largely lost its inflected case system although personal pronouns still have three cases, which are simplified forms of the nominative, accusative and genitive cases.

English-language idioms

List of idioms in the English languageList of English-language idiomsidiomatic
Examples of phrasal verbs are to get up, to ask out, to back up, to give up, to get together, to hang out, to put up with, etc. The phrasal verb frequently has a highly idiomatic meaning that is more specialised and restricted than what can be simply extrapolated from the combination of verb and preposition complement (e.g. lay off meaning terminate someone's employment).
For example, an English speaker would understand the phrase "kick the bucket" to mean "to die" – and also to actually kick a bucket.

Personal pronoun

personal pronounspersonalWeak pronoun
Only the personal pronouns retain morphological case more strongly than any other word class.
Examples are the majestic plural in English and the use of "vous" in place of "tu" in French.

Henry V of England

Henry VKing Henry VHenry of Monmouth
English began to rise in prestige, relative to Norman French, during the reign of Henry V.
Starting in August 1417, Henry V promoted the use of the English language in government and his reign marks the appearance of Chancery Standard English as well as the adoption of English as the language of record within government.


The class of determiners is used to specify the noun they precede in terms of definiteness, where the marks a definite noun and a or an an indefinite one.
For example, in English definiteness is usually marked by the selection of determiner.

Mass noun

mass nounsuncountable noununcountable
Common nouns are in turn divided into concrete and abstract nouns, and grammatically into count nouns and mass nouns.
In English, mass nouns are characterized by the fact that they cannot be directly modified by a numeral without specifying a unit of measurement, and that they cannot combine with an indefinite article (a or an).

Second language

L2 speakersL2second-language
Estimates of the numbers of second language and foreign-language English speakers vary greatly from 470 million to more than 1 billion, depending on how proficiency is defined.
For example, English in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, the Nordic countries and the Netherlands is considered a second language by many of its speakers, because they learn it young and use it regularly; indeed in parts of southern Asia it is the official language of the courts, government and business.

Otto Jespersen

Jespersen, OttoJespersen
While grammarians such as Henry Sweet and Otto Jespersen noted that the English cases did not correspond to the traditional Latin based system, some contemporary grammars, for example, retain traditional labels for the cases, calling them nominative and accusative cases respectively.
Jens Otto Harry Jespersen (16 July 1860 – 30 April 1943) was a Danish linguist who specialized in the grammar of the English language.

Who (pronoun)

whowhomuse of "to whom" as opposed to "to who
The personal interrogative pronoun who is the only interrogative pronoun to still show inflection for case, with the variant whom serving as the objective case form, although this form may be going out of use in many contexts.
The pronoun who, in English, is an interrogative pronoun and a relative pronoun, used chiefly to refer to humans.

Interrogative word

interrogative pronouninterrogativeinterrogative pronouns
In most cases, interrogative words (wh-words; e.g. what, who, where, when, why, how) appear in a fronted position.
They are sometimes called wh-words, because in English most of them start with wh- (compare Five Ws).


In most cases, interrogative words (wh-words; e.g. what, who, where, when, why, how) appear in a fronted position. Questions are marked by do-support, wh-movement (fronting of question words beginning with wh-) and word order inversion with some verbs.
Interrogative forms, whatever the language, are known within linguistics as wh-words because most question words in the English language start with a wh-; such as what, when, where, who, and why.

Forth and Bargy dialect

YolaYola languageForth and Bargy (Yola)
Particular dialects of Old and Middle English also developed into a number of other Anglic languages, including Scots and the extinct Fingallian and Forth and Bargy (Yola) dialects of Ireland.

Republic of Ireland

English is the majority native language in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia.

English words of Greek origin

Greekenfor upsilon in Greek loan-words
A process more common in Old English than in Modern English, but still productive in Modern English, is the use of derivational suffixes (-hood, -ness, -ing, -ility) to derive new words from existing words (especially those of Germanic origin) or stems (especially for words of Latin or Greek origin).

Morphosyntactic alignment

alignmentcore relationdistinguishing between their relations
As is typical of an Indo-European language, English follows accusative morphosyntactic alignment.
In a nominative–accusative system, S and A are grouped together, contrasting O. In an ergative–absolutive system, S and O are one group and contrast with A. The English language represents a typical nominative–accusative system (accusative for short).


There is one count that puts the English vocabulary at about 1 million words—but that count presumably includes words such as Latin species names, scientific terminology, botanical terms, prefixed and suffixed words, jargon, foreign words of extremely limited English use, and technical acronyms.
In English, there are no inflectional prefixes; English uses suffixes instead for that purpose.

Aspirated consonant

English voiceless stops are aspirated for most native speakers when they are word-initial or begin a stressed syllable.

Relative articulation

In English, the back vowel is farther forward than what is normally indicated by the IPA letter.

Oblique case

obliqueobjectiveobjective case
The subjective case corresponds to the Old English nominative case, and the objective case is used both in the sense of the previous accusative case (in the role of patient, or direct object of a transitive verb), and in the sense of the Old English dative case (in the role of a recipient or indirect object of a transitive verb).
The term objective case is generally preferred by modern English grammarians, where it supplanted Old English's dative and accusative.