English is derived from England, one would think. But in fact the language name is found long before the country name.The latter first appears as Englaland around the year 1000 and means "the land of the Engle," that is, the Angles. The Angles,Saxons, and Jutes were the three Germanic tribes that emigrated from what is now Denmark and northern Germany and settled inEngland around the fourth century ad. Early on, the Angles enjoyed a rise to power that must have made them seem more importantthan the other two tribes, for all three tribes are indiscriminately referred to in early documents as Angles. The speech of the threetribes was conflated in the same way: they all spoke what would have been called *Anglisc, or "Anglish," as it were. By the earliestrecorded Old English, this had changed to Englisc. In Middle English, the first vowel, originally pronounced (ĕ) in Old English, changedfurther and became the familiar (ĭ) of today, as reflected in the occasional spellings Ingland and Inglish. The same change in thepronunciation of the short vowel (ĕ) to (ĭ) before the sound (ng) also occurred in other Middle English words, such as streng and weng.In Modern English, these words are now always spelled string and wing with an i, but the old spelling with e, reflecting the vowel'searlier pronunciation, has been kept in the case of England and English.