A Graphic History of the English Language


Credit: Sabio Lantz

The clever diagram depicted above is the creation of Sabio Lantz, the author of a blog dubbed Triangulations.  It shows how the English language has evolved over the past 3,000 years.

“While researching for future posts, I ran into issues related to the development of the English language. To aid in illustrating those coming posts, I decided to make this graphic to capture, in one picture, the information I found scattered over several diagrams and sites. Diagrams are great memory tools for me, and I hope this helps some of you.

With gratitude, my main information source was this website: The History of English.”

English first emerged as a West Germanic language spoken in early medieval England, and its roots go as far back as the Celts 200 BCE.  Germanic settlers spread the language to various parts of the Netherlands, northwest Germany, and Denmark. One of these Germanic tribes, the Angles, eventually sailed to what is now Britain. At the time, the native population in Roman occupied Britain spoke Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, that had certain Latin features.  Thus the many Latin words still present in the English language.

The diagrams explain very didactically the various cultural influences which injected the language over the years. The language evolved from the Viking and Norman invasions through to the Renaissance mixing and empiric imports, such as Hindi and Arabic.

The evolution of the English language has been absolutely amazing.  As science and technology expands, so does this fascinating language.  Internet is an English word, as well as byte, bit, and terabyte.  More than 1.5 billion people around the world speak the language.  It is the quintessential Lingua Franca of our times.

And now you know why I love this language so much, albeit keeping track of it is almost impossible for my humble mind.  Good Day.

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