How Well Do You Know the History of the English Language?

The Merchant from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"
The Merchant from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales". Getty Images

Where has the English language been for the past 1,500 years, who has been using it, what habits has it acquired, and why does it refuse to stand still? Test your knowledge! Give yourself a couple of minutes to complete this multiple-choice quiz.

1. The ultimate origins of the English language lie in which language family?

2. What is another name for Old English?

3. Which one of the following texts was composed during the Old English period?

4. During the Middle English period, many words were borrowed from which two languages?

6. Which Anglo-Irish writer proposed the creation of an English Academy to regulate English usage and "ascertain" the language?

7. Who published the book Dissertations on the English Language (1789), which advocated an American standard of usage?

8. Which late-19th-century novel introduced a colloquial prose style that significantly influenced the writing of fiction in the U.S.?

9. The Philological Society's New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, begun in 1879, was eventually published under which title in 1928?

10. During which decade did the number of speakers of English as a second language exceed the number of native speakers for the first time?

How Well Do You Know the History of the English Language?

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How Well Do You Know the History of the English Language?

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How Well Do You Know the History of the English Language?

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