What is English: Definition and 313 Discussions

English is a West Germanic language first spoken in early medieval England, which has become the leading language of international discourse in the 21st century. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula on the Baltic Sea. English is most closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, while its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Old Norse (a North Germanic language), as well as Latin and French.English has developed over the course of more than 1,400 years. The earliest forms of English, a group of West Germanic (Ingvaeonic) dialects brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century, are collectively called Old English. Middle English began in the late 11th century with the Norman conquest of England; this was a period in which English was influenced by Old French, in particular through its Old Norman dialect. Early Modern English began in the late 15th century with the introduction of the printing press to London, the printing of the King James Bible and the start of the Great Vowel Shift.Modern English has been spreading around the world since the 17th century by the worldwide influence of the British Empire and the United States. Through all types of printed and electronic media of these countries, English has become the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions and professional contexts such as science, navigation and law. Modern English grammar is the result of a gradual change from a typical Indo-European dependent marking pattern, with a rich inflectional morphology and relatively free word order, to a mostly analytic pattern with little inflection, a fairly fixed subject–verb–object word order and a complex syntax. Modern English relies more on auxiliary verbs and word order for the expression of complex tenses, aspect and mood, as well as passive constructions, interrogatives and some negation.
English is the largest language by number of speakers, and the third most-spoken native language in the world, after Standard Chinese and Spanish. It is the most widely learned second language and is either the official language or one of the official languages in almost 60 sovereign states. There are more people who have learned it as a second language than there are native speakers. As of 2005, it was estimated that there were over 2 billion speakers of English. English is the majority native language in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, an official and the main language of Singapore, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It is a co-official language of the United Nations, the European Union and many other world and regional international organisations. It is the most widely spoken Germanic language, accounting for at least 70% of speakers of this Indo-European branch. English speakers are called "Anglophones". There is much variability among the many accents and dialects of English used in different countries and regions—in terms of phonetics and phonology, and sometimes also vocabulary, idioms, grammar, and spelling— but it does not typically prevent understanding by speakers of other dialects and accents, although mutual unintelligibility can occur at extreme ends of the dialect continuum.

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  1. I

    Programs Physics Bachelors in Europe taught in English

    I am looking for bachelors of physics in Europe taught in english, excluding UK and Ireland. This question was posted here: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/physics-bachelors-in-europe-taught-in-english.686730/ but got no answers.
  2. F

    Do English Unstress Syllables Use Creaky-Voiced Sounds for Lower Pitch?

    Does unstress syllable in English have creaky-voiced?To low in pitch and small in amplitude of the sound, the gap between vocal cords must be small.Is that correct?I do not know whether we narrowed the vocal cord(glottis) or not in unstress syllable in English?
  3. fresh_42

    Unreadable English Wikipedia on Chrome: Browser Extension for Solution?

    The English Wikipedia page seemingly changed from using "displaystyle" to "$" with the consequence that I can't use it anymore on Chrome. It is simply unreadable. Does anyone know a good browser extension to solve the problem?
  4. pinball1970

    Stargazing Asteroid filmed over the English Channel

    Quite rare to get one on film so worthy of a thread on its own,"It is just the seventh time an asteroid impact has been predicted in advance. The European Space Agency tweeted that it was "a sign of the rapid advancements in global asteroid detection...
  5. F

    Contractions in English: Adj + Noun

    Can we make a contraction between two any words next to each other in English? Eg Can we make contraction between adjective and noun stand next to each other in English?
  6. F

    Improve English Speaking: Blending Sounds

    I hear that when speaking English very fast, they can prepare the next sound(s)(consonant or vowel) at the time of pronouncing before sound. So there can be a partly blending of sounds when speaking very fast. Is that correct?
  7. F

    Is the pronunciation of 'where' in English commonly heard as 'w+schwa'?

    In this video that the link is below, there is a phrase: "where I spoke in Egypt" ,time is about 0:12. I hear "where" as "w+schwa".Is that correct or my ear hearing wrongly?
  8. Astronuc

    English is not normal, says John McWhorter

    I just stumbled across an essay by linguist John McWhorter from 2015. https://aeon.co/essays/why-is-english-so-weirdly-different-from-other-languages
  9. F

    Linguistics: tense and lax consonants in English

    Do tenseness and laxness of consonants in English depend on people saying them?Or are there tense and lax consonants in English?If there are, which consonants(in English) are tense and which are lax consonants?
  10. F

    B English Translation of Italian Lecture Notes: Equations & Solutions

    Hi, I am looking at some lecture notes in Italian, and I'm wondering about the correct English translation for some terms. I am afraid that in some cases the "literal" translation would sound weird. I looked online but I still have some doubts. In some cases I was not able to find a satisfactory...
  11. shivajikobardan

    Comp Sci RSA to encrypt English Alphabets, any restrictions?

    Is there some restrictions on values of p,q,d,e etc in RSA algorithm while trying to encrypt English Ciphertext? I'll present few cases of RSA encryption: ##CT=(PT)^e mod \, n## ##PT=(CT)^d mod \, n## CT= Cipher Text PT=Plain Text e*d/m should give remainder 1, where; m=(p-1)*(q-1); where...
  12. F

    Consonants in English: Pronunciation Differences

    In English, consonants are pronounced longer and more gentle than that in monosylable word language(example:Vietnamese).Except in grammatical words in English the consonants pronounced relative short. Is that right? I notice that English vowels are short compare with that in monosylable word...
  13. F

    English pronunciation: it would

    In the phrase: "I thought it would be easy to run". I hear "it would" as ""schwa"+ would". Is that possible or my ear hearing wrong?
  14. F

    English consonants in careless speech

    Can they pronounce English consonants not absolutely contact in carelessly speech? Example in pronouncing t and n the tongue does not absolutely contact the roof of mouth(on alveolar ridge)?In pronouncing p and b the two lips do not absolutely close?...
  15. F

    Lingusitics English is the soft language?

    English is a soft language. How to make the language soft? Is the tongue relax, not tense...?I ask this question because my voice is hard.English also rounded, less angular language than example Germany.Does soft voice lead to rounded, less angular voice?
  16. S

    Differential/Different Adjectives: A Non-Native English Speaker's Quandary

    I don't understand the differences between 'differential' and 'different' as adjectives in the quotations below. English isn't my first language. Why do these books use 'differential' as an adjective? Why not just write 'different'? 1. Gregory Castle, The Literary Theory Handbook (2013)...
  17. Algr

    Is pronunciation reform the key to a fully phonetic alphabet?

    I was watching a video about english spelling reform where the author, as an aside, pointed out something that I thought was rather more important than anything else in the video: A fully phonetic alphabet is impossible because we don't agree on what the words are supposed to sound like. You...
  18. mcastillo356

    Calculus Sentence in English in textbook "Calculus", by Robert A. Adams

    Hi, PF I've got a translation into spanish of the sixth edition of "Calculus", by Robert A. Adams. At the second chapter, "Differentiation", eleventh section, I would like to know: the title of the section (Could it be "Velocity and Acceleration"?); and a sentence of the Example 2 ("A point P...
  19. J

    Foundations Klein's Encyclopedia: Is an English Translation Possible?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein%27s_Encyclopedia_of_Mathematical_Sciences Originals are in German or French, the Japanese version cut all the historical content :( Do you think that some day we will see this published in English? Size is big, 20k pages, but it cannot be more interesting I...
  20. Astronuc

    The English word that hasn't changed sound or meaning in millenia

    Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University, has a favorite word - lox. “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’...
  21. Mark44

    Lingusitics Sounds of g and c in Romance languages (and some of English)

    Recently there was a discussion about the oddness in English with how the letter g is pronounced. I don't think the root of this has been discussed before now, and I've been thinking about passing on some things I've noticed over the years. Most Romance languages, or at least the ones I am...
  22. Rzbs

    Need to find a good book for speaking formal English

    Could anyone introduce a good book thet help second language English learners to speak formally in scientific position? I mean a book that learn how to ask and talk with other persons in a scientific position like seminars, online discussion and so on in a formal manner? Is it as good book for...
  23. Borek

    English Honorifics (or smth) for translation of a story

    Oh, combined wisdom of PF-ers, I seek your help again (and probably not for the last time). We are working on a translation of a story into English. Thing takes place in Poland, now and then, and at some point our main hero meets a woman (named Miecia) that fourty years ago worked as a...
  24. M

    [Engineering use of English] transition/changeover/passing/transformation

    I would like to ask you about engineering use of English, and comparison of some words with respect to their nuances. I would like to completely understand the nuances between words, especially with respect to engineering use. Would you please explain the difference between "transition"...
  25. wrobel

    Lingusitics English Language Struggles: Overcoming Problems

    I live in Russia and to keep my English fit I usually download movies from torrents and watch them. I also read books. And yesterday I tried to watch movie called "Do not knock twice" (quite silly teenagers horror) just for English. I was shocked! I understood completely nothing! When I found...
  26. E

    Quantum Springer discount code CYBERWEEK19 - English IT books only 7 Euro

    Use the discount code CYBERWEEK19 to purchase English IT eBooks from Springer online for only 7 Euro. Go to the checkout and enter the code. Afterwards, you can proceed browsing the book list and it automatically shows if the code was applied. Note: At the checkout read again if the discount...
  27. Kleio

    Classical Where Can I Find German and English Physics Textbooks for Secondary School?

    I am looking for secondary school (ages 11-14) Physics textbooks from Germany and England. Can you help me?
  28. bagasme

    Mastering a British English Accent for Sport Commentatory

    Hello, When I watched live matches of football (soccer) leagues and MotoGP, live commentators often speak British accent. If I want to be live sport commentators, will mastering British accent (RP) be helpful, assuming that many commentators speak RP and I have taken ESL course? Cheers, Bagas
  29. bagasme

    Learning American English for Computer Science

    Hello, When using computer programs (such as Microsoft Office), the default User Interface (UI) language is American English. Since this variant of English is common on computer programs, should I learn American English as ESL for Computer Science? Cheers, Bagas
  30. user366312

    What does this R command translate into in plain English?

    According to my understanding: So the mean is: (1+1+2+1)/4 = 1.25. Is my understanding correct? If I am correct, what does it actually try to achieve?
  31. fluidistic

    Name of a scientist who introduced many words into English?

    I remember having read about a scientist (I think a physicist) who introduced many scientific terms into the English language. I can't remember his name! Can someone try to guess him? It wasn't Faraday, who apparently coined the terms "anode", "cathode", "electrode" and "ion". There were more...
  32. JD_PM

    I Nuclear physics exercises translation from Dutch to English

    Google translator does not really help me translating these exercises. May you help me out? If this is not the site I should I ask for translation of physics texts, may you tell me where should I ask for that?
  33. A

    Odd Question -- creating English subtitles for an Italian TV Series for deaf and hard of hearing

    Hi Everyone, I am currently working on a project where I am creating English subtitles for an Italian TV Series, for deaf and hard of hearing. There is one particular line I am struggling to hear and it is where one of the characters is talking about a type of physics. I wondered if anyone...
  34. S

    Are you gonna listen to what I'm listening to now?

    This is in reference to post #10 and 11 in https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/i-dont-have-physics-what-can-i-do.958089/#post-6075184 These are NOT what I am listening to now, as like another of the forum topic. This is just to show an indication how widespread is this both used and...
  35. Mark44

    No wonder English is difficult for new learners

    What a difference a single letter makes. The 'o' sound is different in these words: comb -- rhymes with "foam" bomb -- rhymes with "Tom" tomb and womb -- rhyme with "doom" (or the Welsh word "cwm", one of very few examples where 'w' has a vowel sound) More examples: some dome And these...
  36. Cheesycheese213

    Himani Bannerji's "The Other Family"

    In the short story "The Other Family", what would the daughter drawing her family (the other family) on the picture be symbolic of? I get the feeling of acceptance, but I think I might be wrong. Thanks!
  37. Z

    MHB Solution to the Riemann Hypothesis in plain English

    The number line at x=1/2 is mediated by a concurrent incentive field whose shape can be extrapolated through the placement of prime numbers. Each prime number is a turning point in the n-dimensional movement of the imaginary number line, whose degree and angle can be determined through all the...
  38. A

    B Correct English convention for |Psi|^2?

    I Google and find all of the following are used: Modulus square of the wavefunction Modulus squared of the wavefunction Square modulus of the wavefunction Squared modulus of the wavefunction Which is correct? Or are these all correct? Or does it depend from... what? I'm confused, need help.
  39. Gayathri MK

    What are the benefits of seeking guidance from a student counselor and blogger?

    Hi, All! This is Gayathri, I am a Student Counselor and Blogger. I am Kerala. I like to read Books, write Blogs and listen to songs. I made my presence particularly to Ask my Doubts if any and Guide students with my Suggestions.
  40. Demystifier

    English grammar in physics

    What is correct, Einstein equation or Einstein's equation? Newton law or Newton's law? Allegedly the correct answers are Einstein equation and Newton's law, but that doesn't seem logical to me. What is the general rule?
  41. M

    Fluid mechanics and English help

    My native language is not English. I follow a series of vids about Ansys Fluent. I am not stuck in 2.59 about the part "so VR" and "so we are in a velvet in laminar regime." Would you please explain those parts. This is about my project and it is about calculation of pressure losses in pipes in...
  42. T

    Quantum Good German textbooks with English translation

    I want to learn German to read those old classic papers written in German. I think the best way is to find a good, classic German book and compare it with its English translation. I believe in this way I can pick up German quickly. So, could anyone recommend some good German books in maths...
  43. O

    Check writing program (type double variable value converted into English words)

    1. Homework Statement First, if you want to skip my explanation, I believe the error is somewhere in the last 15 lines of code or so. Heres some background on test cases: Use stating member variables to use a class that helps you convert a double number into english words. For example, if a...
  44. BillTre

    A Sudden Glacial Outflow Formed the English Channel

    Similar to the bursting of a dam holding back glacial lake Missula which created a deluge that scoured eastern Washington State and created the Columbia River Gourge, a Glacial lake in the area of the North Sea may have spilled out (twice) over a land bridge connecting England to France and...
  45. newjerseyrunner

    Did Worf / Spock speak English?

    In an episode of next generation, worf experiences deja vu during a poker game. He calls it by its Klingon name though, indicating that he speaks English and just doesn't know some words. Is this consistent throughout the Star Trek alien crewmen? I assumed he always spoke Klingon and the...
  46. B

    Programs Undergrad Programs in Physics (in English) in Europe or Asia

    Hi all, I am recently retired and would like to study Physics or Astronomy. I live on a military pension so the US is not going to happen. Tuition is just too expensive at American schools. I am looking for universities that have Physics or Astronomy Bachelor's programs taught in English...
  47. Sagant

    English Terms for Academic Scholarships

    Hey, I'm writing my CV in English right now, and because my native language is Portuguese, I got stuck on some specific terms. Two to be fair. 1) Here in my university we have a scholarship that lasts one semester (our academic year is divided into two semesters) which is given to undergraduate...
  48. Sonira

    What languages would you suggest for Biology (beyond English)?

    Hi! I'm a new member to this site. :smile: I hope this is the right place to ask for opinions on which language to learn for science purposes. I want to become a research molecular biologist working in the field of genetics. I am comfortable in English currently. I've also started learning...
  49. P

    A ball struck by a cue in billiards with English goes straight at first....

    Hi, let me ask probably dumb questions to physics experts... Why does the cue ball goes almost straight when its right (or left) side is struck by a cue (right English)? This is quite different from when a ball hits another ball, in which case the ball goes almost perpendicular from the contact...