Your gateway to a wide range of online information resources
Here at the OU we offer a brilliant range of Language degrees – and the OU Library is full of resources that support all of our language students in their studies.
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Starting with the English Language itself - which has developed from its roots in early Medieval England to become the third most common language in the world – with over 60 countries using English as their official language, and over 350 million people speaking English as their first language.
English originally evolved from the language of a Germanic tribe called the Angles who migrated to England in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. The language developed from Old English to Middle English after the Norman invasion of 1066 – when it was heavily influenced by the French language spoken by the new rulers, and then to early Modern English which began to form in the 16th century.
Since then, the language has continued to evolve and branch out – for example American English has hundreds of minor differences in spelling and grammar that make it distinct from British English.
‘A Companion to the History of the English Language’ is a detailed survey of the English Language from its Germanic roots through to modern day.
With its Germanic roots, the English Language is very different to the Romance languages that are found in Europe. Italian is one of these languages, with its roots in the Roman language of Latin it shares many similarities (over 80% in each case) with other Romance languages such as Spanish and French.
The sounds and spelling of Italian are quite different to those found in English, but grammar is one area where the real differences between the two languages becomes apparent. From assigning gender to nouns to sentence structure, anyone learning Italian needs to become familiar with the grammatical building blocks of the language to move beyond simply parroting words and phrases to being able to communicate clearly and fluently.
Luckily, there’s lots of help available to those starting out on their linguistic journey. To get you started in Italian, “Italian Grammar for Dummies” provides a simple, no nonsense guide for beginners.
Alongside English and Italian, the nearly 7,000 distinct languages around the world are not just ways of saying the same things with different words – they are an expression of the culture, history, politics and society that created them. And in todays globalised world, knowing the history and culture behind the language that you are studying is more important than ever.
The culture of a country is what adds “spice” and nuance to the language – learning the language without the culture can be done, but it’s like cooking a curry without the herbs and spices.
‘The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture’ is an authoritative work on the history and development of German culture from national identity, class structure and the arts.