I've read so many questions in ELL on the origin of English words. But I've never found the origin of the word English itself.

I'm also curious about the history of English as a language. I mean, in my country, our language (Indonesian) originated from a "mother" language (Malay) which also has developed into some other languages such as in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and East Timor.

I read that English was influenced by German, Latin, French, and so on. But I don't really know the dominant language that affected English existence. Google just told me about "Old English", nothing more on how, when, and where the "Old English" came out.

So, questions:

  1. What originated the word English?
  2. What language did English come from (a "mother" language perhaps)? Did it affect English the most?
  3. When did English appeared to this world?

1 Answer 1


English "people of England; the speech of England," Old English Englisc (contrasted to Denisc, Frencisce, etc.), from Engle (plural) "the Angles," the name of one of the Germanic groups that overran the island 5c., supposedly so-called because Angul, the land they inhabited on the Jutland coast, was shaped like a fish hook (see angle (n.)).

The term was used from earliest times without distinction for all the Germanic invaders -- Angles, Saxon, Jutes (Bede's gens Anglorum) -- and applied to their group of related languages by Alfred the Great. After 1066, of the population of England (as distinguished from Normans and French), a distinction which lasted only about a generation.

In pronunciation, "En-" has become "In-," but the older spelling has remained. Meaning "English language or literature as a subject at school" is from 1889. As an adjective, "of or belonging to England," from late 13c. Old English is from early 13c.

Etymonline.com is one if not the valid references for the etymology of words.


As for the history of English language you may love The Adventure of English, The Biography of a Language

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