In 1582, Richard Mulcaster, headmaster of the Merchant Tailors’ school, wrote that “our English tung is of small reatch, it stretcheth no further than this Iland of ours”. It didn’t stay that way. Today, English is spoken by more than a billion people all over the world.
It is a colourful, vibrant and diverse tongue, that long has picked up words from the many languages with which its speakers have come into contact. Here are five words that illustrate the English language’s fascinating history.