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Introduction – Chapter 2

“It is not the literal past, the ‘facts’ of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language … We must never cease renewing those images; because once we do we fossilize.”

Brian Friel (1929-), Translations (1980)

English is the most important lingua franca, but where did it all start and why did it spread? And how is the British society today influenced by this language expansion? The British Isles are the cradle of the English language and culture. It is important to have an understanding of their history, culture and values to comprehend what has influenced the English-speaking world.