The Commonwealth

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The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of Britain and 47 of her former colonies. It developed in the 1 half of the 20 century when Britain gave self-government to her dominions.

Founding members are: Great Britain

Canada

Newfoundland

Australia and

New Zealand

Later the Commounwealth included many African, Asian South American and Caribbean Nations.

Member countries co-operate to encourage:

-world peace

-social understanding

-racial equality and

-economic development

The Queen of England is the formal head in 16 member states – dominions ( Canada, Australia, New Zealand).

All the members are independent in every aspect of domestic (internal) and external affairs but for historical reasons accept the British monarch as the symbol of the free asociation of its members and as such the head of Commonwealth.

English is nowadays the most widespread language in the world. It has become a world /international language as it is used not only as a native language but also for practical purposes, for international communication in administration , bussiness, technology, education, sport, aviation etc.

But English became so important only in the 17 century with the first settlements outside Europe which in two countries of development, made up the biggest empire in human history.

The English language is of germanic origin, thus belonging to the big groups of langages called indoeuropean.

Old English had many inflections to show various grammar forms(e.g.singular, plural, tense, person). The pronunciation was diffrent as well. But over centuries , words have been simplified and nowadays they have very few inflections. Pronunciation and spelling became more difficult. Many words can be used as different parts of speech(e.g.kiss, smile, drink, etc).

Grammar has been simplified, pronnunciation and spelling became difficult.

English borrowed words from many other languages( French, Spanish, even Czech (robot)). But it is obvious that other languages are influenced by the English vocabulary.

Today there are 5 main types of English which differ in pronnunciation, spelling and vocabulary but the differences are not so crucial and thus they don’t block understanding.

1) British English

2) American English

3) Australian English

4) Indian English

5) African English

B) The English Empire

From England, the English moved into Wales , Scotland and Ireland in the Middle Ages. These contries tried to resist the power of their strong neighbour. But little by little , they lost their independence: Henry VIII , the son of Henry VII (of Welsh origin) united Wales with England in 1536, bringing it within the English legal and parliamentary systems.

Scotland was amalgamated with her southern neighbour as a result of the Union of the Crown in 1603 and of the parliaments in 1707.

Ireland – here the English authority was extended over by the Tudors in the 16 century. The political Union of Britain and Ireland took place in 1801. It lasted until 1921 when the country except of Ulster (six countries) became a DOMINION. From 1921 , the Irish Free State (with a Roman Catholic majority) until 1937 had the status of a dominion. In 1936 it became the sovereign state of Eire, before becoming the Republic of Ireland in 1949 and withdrew from the Commonwealth.

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