The Characteristics of the English language

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      English is now an international language. It is now not the monopoly of the English people. It is spoken and read in many countries of the East and the West. It is now read as a second language in many countries of the world including India. There are historical, political and economic factors contributing to this world-wide extension of the English language. But there are some qualities inherent in the language itself which have made for its international appeal.

Another important characteristic of modern English language is its inflectional simplicity.
English Language

      English language is very adaptable and flexible. It has been responsive to changes and wonderfully receptive. It has taken and assimilated words from the outside world with ease and readiness. It has now extensive vocabulary. Old English was a pure and unmixed language. It had utilized its native resources to form new words. But now it is the most composite language with various elements incorporated into the language. It is rich, varied and heterogeneous in its vocabulary with the foreign words, grammar, hybrids, shortenings, compounds included in the language. It is this adaptability to new situations and receptiveness to new elements from anywhere in the world that has made English a very suitable and attractive medium of communication in the different parts of the world.

      Another important characteristic of modern English language is its inflectional simplicity. It has reduced the endings in a remarkable manner. Inflections in the noun have been reduced to a sign of the plural and a form for the possessive case (s sign). The elaborate Teutonic inflection of the adjective has been eliminated except for the simple indication of the comparative and superlative degrees. The verb has lost all its personal endings. In old English, the ending of the verb changed from one mood to another, from one person to another, from one number to another. The relation of words in a sentence which was once indicated by means of inflections is now expressed by prepositions for the cases of nouns, and by auxiliaries for the tense of the verbs. By means of prepositions, and auxiliary verbs, it is now possible to express every shade of thought which was formerly rendered by changes in the form of the verb.

      The sound system of English is very clear and precise. The consonants and vowels are precise and independent of their surroundings and consequently, the language has become more clear-cut and distinct in phonetic structure. The predominance of consonant sounds has given English language a kind of male vigor.

      There is business-like shortness in the English language. The sense is expressed with the greatest clearness imaginable. We may notice business-like shortness in such sentences as "while fighting in Germany he was taken prisoner", etc. There are many English proverbs which possess the condensed power of the monosyllabilsm found in old Chinese. Some of the examples of such monosyllabic proverbs are first come, first served; haste makes waste; live and learn.

      The business-like virile qualities of the English language are also evident in word-order. In English, an auxiliary verb does not stand far from its main verb; an adjective nearly always stands before its noun. English has shown precision and logic in the matter of the difference in tenses. The difference between the past, he saw and the composite perfect he has seen is maintained with great consistency. Again, English is free from grammatical pedantry. Family and elegy are grammatically speaking, of the singular number, but in reality they indicate a plurality. Such words as the committee, the police, the government can take either plural verb or singular verb. This freedom is seen in the use of words. Writers are free to choose words either from the native source or from other languages. English has vast vocabulary and so Writers use the precise words to express subtle senses. The progress of English has been said to be from chaos to cosmos. This is true in the case of vocabulary grammar, spelling and pronunciation. This explains why English has now attained the dignity of international language. It is a living language always growing and developing

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