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Early Modern English Essay

941 words - 4 pages

English has developed over the many years and evolved in countless ways. Throughout the period labelled Old English, 450-1150, language was modified due to large social, political, cultural and economic influences. The invasion of the Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons and Jutes), in the 5th-8th centuries left the Celtic language displaced except in Wales and Scotland. From this, Old English developed from the invaders dialects. However, this lead to a varied language as not all dialects were the same. Majority of the basic grammatical words (e.g. the, in, was), nouns and verbs were derived from this period. Shortly after, in 8th century came the Viking invasions. The Viking’s language, Norse, ...view middle of the document...

The period considered Middle English is between 1150 and 1500. Due to the Norman invasion in 1066, there was a large French-speaking influence in England. The court, church and major landowners were mainly French speaking, while majority of the inhabitants still spoke English. Even though there was conflict both Norman French and English speakers managed to co-exist, and even learn from one another. The inevitable difference in communication found English progressively evolving and expanding with the language of the invaders. During the twelfth century, the upper class populace commonly used English as their first language, and in 1362, English was use for the first time at the state opening of Parliament. As the years progressed, the period saw many Old English word endings (inflections) being lost and replaced by prepositions e.g. by, with, from. By 1425, English was commonly used in universities, schools and general speech and writing. One of the major alterations in the English language began in this period; the Great Vowel Shift resulted in many people starting to pronounce their ‘vowels’ in a much different way. It took a couple of hundred years before the sounds started to resemble that of today’s vowels, but none the less, the Middle English time period was where it began.
In 1458 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but it wasn’t until 1475 that it was introduced to England by Caxton. With the printing press, came the publication of many books that previously hand written. However, this caused a problem as printing press was able to produce in batches but not everyone spoke the same way. The press enabled some formation of Standard English, which would be used as a basis for all publications....

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