Science Teaching Series

Internet Resources

I. Developing Scientific Literacy

II. Developing Scientific Reasoning

III. Developing Scientific Understanding

IV. Developing Scientific Problem Solving

V. Developing Scientific Research Skills

VI. Resources for Teaching Science

History of the English Language

"By ethnic origin the English are a mongrel breed. Their language is polyglot, drawn from a variety of sources, and its vocabulary has been augmented by importations from all over the world. The English language does not identify the English, for it is the main language of Wales, Scotland, Ireland, many Commonwealth countries, and the United States. The primary source of the language, however, is the main ethnic stem of the English, the Anglo-Saxons, who invaded and colonized England in the 5th and 6th centuries. Their language provides about half the words in modern English vocabulary." From Encylopedia Britannica.

Indo-European Roots

The steppe of Eastern Europe and Central Asia has served as at highway for the spread of language. Nomadic peoples could easily move across these relatively flat grasslands with their horses and cattle. Many people think that the roots of the English language, and many others, come from these Indo-European peoples.


It is thought that the Celts were part of a Great Indo-European race and settled in the Baltic states (modern dayLatvia). It is thought that most of the peoples of Europ, including the British Isles, are descended from this race. The places fformally inhabited by the Celts can be identified by the combination of G/L in place names: GaLway in Ireland, GaLIoway in Scotland, Gaul (the ancient name for France), GaLcia in northern Spain, GaLicia in Poland, GaLati in Rumania, GaLipoli in Turkey, and GaLatia in Turkey (the people to whom St. Paul wrote his epistle, Galatians). See map of Europe from Perry-CastaƱeda Library. It is helpful to emphasize the cognates between English and other languages.

55-54 BC Julius Caesar invades Britain

The Roman Empire spread to the British Isles, extending as far as Hadrian's wall by the death of Trajan in 117AD. Map of Roman Empire.

Angles, Jutes and Saxons
449AD Jutes invade led by Hengist and Horsa, followed by Angles and Saxons.

. These were Germanic people of Indo-European ancestry. Weakened by the loss of Roman leadership, the Celts were pushed westward to their present homes: Ireland , Western Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany (The term of Great Britain distinguish greater (larger) Britain and the smaller Britain (Brittany). These Celtic Nations have retained their Celtic language, which is split into six modern languages: Scots Galic, Manx, Erase (Irish Galic), Welsh, Cornish and Breton. The invading tribes brought the Germanic languages.

870 Danish invasions

1066 William the Conqueror defeats Harold III at Hastings.

The Normans invaded 1066. As the name implies, the normans were Vikings (Norman = Northman) who had settled in Normandy and had adopted the French language. King Harold and his Anglo-Saxon army were beaten by Norseman from Normandy at the battle of Hastings.

British Empire

The British Empire and Commonwealth is a worldwide system of dependencies--colonies, protectorates, and other territories. The following story shows how common words in the English language came from the many regions of the British Empire. Foreign Roots of English Language: Story showing common words from 32 languages.


Etymology of First Names: Understand what your names means.