Ever since my first days of learning English I have been puzzled by this simple phenomenon:
Why the word "English" can both mean the English language, and the English people?
Is there any historical reason for this? By "historical", I mean, is the usage already like this a long time ago?
I am asking this because "people" and "language" are two related but very different concepts. Why use the same word for two different things? (Well, of course a single word can have two or more completely different and unrelated meanings, but that's not what I am asking here.)
I am a Chinese. In Chinese the words for people of a country and the language of that country are different. For example, for English people, we would just say "English people", and for the language, we would say "English language". I don't know what is the case in other languages.