It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England.
Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea.
English has a vast vocabulary, though counting how many words any language has is impossible. Modern English grammar is the result of a gradual change from a typical Indo-European dependent marking pattern, with a rich inflectional morphology and relatively free word order, to a mostly analytic pattern with little inflection, a fairly fixed SVO word order and a complex syntax.
Modern English relies more on auxiliary verbs and word order for the expression of complex tenses, aspect and mood, as well as passive constructions, interrogatives and some negation.
Although the great influence of these languages on the vocabulary and grammar of Modern English is widely acknowledged, most specialists in language contact do not consider English to be a true mixed language.
These shared innovations show that the languages have descended from a single common ancestor called Proto-Germanic.
The Frisian languages, which together with the Anglic languages form the Anglo-Frisian languages, are the closest living relatives of English.
Unlike Icelandic and Faroese, which were isolated, the development of English was influenced by a long series of invasions of the British Isles by other peoples and languages, particularly Old Norse and Norman French.
Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs had many more inflectional endings and forms, and word order was much freer than in Modern English.
Modern English has case forms in pronouns (he, him, his) and has a few verb inflections (speak, speaks, speaking, spoke, spoken), but Old English had case endings in nouns as well, and verbs had more person and number endings.
It is estimated that there are over 2 billion speakers of English.
English is the most commonly spoken language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia.