English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria. Following the economic, political, military, scientific, cultural, and colonial influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 18th century, via the British Empire, and of the United States since the mid-20th century, it has been widely dispersed around the world, become the leading language of international discourse, and has acquired use as lingua franca in many regions. It is widely learned as a second language and used as an official language of the European Union and many Commonwealth countries, as well as in many world organizations. It is the third most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
Historically, English originated from the fusion of languages and dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) settlers by the 5th century - with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles. A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin, because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. The language was further influenced by the Old Norse language with Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries.
The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from Norman-French, and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the superficial appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages to what had now become Middle English. The Great Vowel Shift that began in the south of England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that mark the emergence of Modern English from Middle English.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language
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Irish (Gaeilge) is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language only by a small minority of the Irish population, and as a second language by a larger minority. However, it is widely considered to be an important part of the island's culture and heritage. It enjoys constitutional status as the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland. It is also an official language of the European Union and an officially recognised minority language in Northern Ireland.
Irish was the predominant language of the Irish people for most of their recorded history, and they brought their Gaelic speech with them to other countries, notably Scotland and the Isle of Man where it gave rise to Scottish Gaelic and Manx. It has the oldest vernacular literature in Western Europe. However, it began to decline under British rule after the seventeenth century. The nineteenth century saw a dramatic fall in the number of speakers partly due to the Great Famine of 1845–1852 (where Ireland lost half its population either to emigration or death) and partly due to government language policies. Irish speaking areas were especially hit hard. By its end, while the language never died out, it was spoken by less than 15% of the national population. Since then, Irish speakers have been a minority except in some areas known as Gaeltachtaí (singular: Gaeltacht), and efforts have been made to preserve and promote the language.
Estimates of fully native speakers range from 40,000 to 80,000 people. In the republic, there are just over 72,000 people who use Irish as a daily language outside education, as well as a larger minority of the population who are fluent but do not use it on a daily basis. (While census figures indicate 1.66 million people in the republic with some knowledge a significant percentage of these know only a little Irish). Smaller numbers of Irish speakers exist in Britain, the United States and other countries.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_language
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