Contextual Factors Affecting English

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 06-12-18 10:09

Early Modern English (1500-1700)

- Invention of Caxton's printing press (1476) important for standardisation

- References to health, disease, religion and royalty

- King James Bible (1611) important for standardisation

- In 1500, 1% of women were literate and around 10% of men, writing was only for the educated elite

-By 1700 male literacy had risen to 40% whereas females remained lower at 25%, readership was becoming larger

-This is of course indicative of the deep gender divide present in society at this time, a period of patriarchy

-Devotional (religious) texts were also extremely common due to the massively religious views at this time

-Strict social structure favoured the higher classes (e.g. nobles and gentry) to the lower (peasants)

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Modern English (1700-1900)

- Johnson's dictionary in 1755 an important step in the standardisation process

- The industrial revolution that occured between 1760-1840 brought with it many neologisms (machinery etc.)

-The 'age of enlightenment' (18th century) favoured science over religion, causing the prevalence of religious views to decrease

-A great amount of importance was placed on the monarchy in this period

-The Great British Empire was expanding, new terrority and business ventures were being explored and topics of texts in this period may reflect this or be overly patriotic

-Expansion allowed English to establish itself as a dominant language used worldwide

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Late Modern/Present Day English (1900-2000)

- the rise of other varieties of English (American English etc.) leads to variation in accents and dialect. 

- increased media influence on language use. 

- new technologies influence language use - internet, social media, mobile phones for example. 

- the rise of secularism (non-religion) in society - in Europe and Britain especially. 

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