BLOG_English as a LF23 April is turning out to be an extremely busy day as far as celebrations are concerned. Not only are the English and Catalonians, to name a few, celebrating St George’s Day, we are also celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday (see my recent post) and World English Language Day.

In today’s post it’s the latter day (World English Language Day) that I wish to concentrate on. I was recently approached by Shane Whelan from Ulearn School in Dublin who asked me if I would be willing to share a timeline he had prepared outlining the influence of technology on the English Language over the centuries.

Shane says that: “The interactive timeline allows the reader to view images and videos of some of the inventions which have helped shape the English language, as well as providing information on some of the changes which have taken place in the language because of these technological advancements.”

My immediate response to his request was a resounding YES! I took it upon myself to assume that you, my readers, would find this timeline as interesting as I do.

This is a short introduction that Shane has prepared for this post.

World English Language day has been celebrated on the 23rd of April each year since 2010, in conjunction with the birthday anniversary of William Shakespeare. The history of the language can be dated as far back as the 5th Century AD when three Germanic tribes, Angles, Saxons and Jutes came to England and displaced the Celtic language that was spoken. The invasion of the Vikings, as well as the influence of Latin, caused the language to evolve further, and contributed a substantial amount of the vocabulary used today. This continued evolution has led to English being the second most used language in the world.

While the impact of invasions and the effect of other languages have had a significant influence on the language, it is without question that advancements in technology have played a vital role in the development of the language. The invention of the printing press led to greater availability of books and allowed the public to experience newspapers and the timeless works of Daniel Defoe and William Shakespeare. Radio contributed to the spread of the language during modern wartimes, while it could be strongly argued that the invention of television was a major factor in the increased use of English as a second language in the 1950s.

In this interactive timeline we have sought to celebrate the development of the language through the influence of technology. There are some who argue that the more recent influence of social media and the internet has led to a “dumbing down” of the language, while others believe that they have helped to spread the language further across the globe. While there will always be contrasting opinions on the negatives and positives regarding the influence of technology, without it, English would not be as widely used and spoken as it is today.

To start the timeline, all you do is click on the box that says “The Printing Press”. A new image will appear with an explanation. If you hover your cursor by the image you will see that you can then scroll along to the next image and explanation.

Thank you, Shane for sharing the timeline with my readers and me.

I hope you found the timeline as informative as I did. Do you agree that the advancement of technology, particularly in the last century has been instrumental in the widespread use of the English Language throughout the world?

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Ciao for now