Language Change: Language Timeline

  • Created by: niamhkm08
  • Created on: 23-12-20 15:07

Old English

  • 5th century.
  • Before English, the languages of Britain were: 
    • Celtic English - developed from the Anglo-Saxons. 
  • Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse had significant influence on the english language, with vocab drawn from both.
  • Latin was associated with high status and civilisation and it remained very influential upon the formation of English from this time onwards.
  • Different areas of settlement resulted in different dialects!
  • As English was a largely phonetic language at this time, this meant thre was little consistency in the written language.
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Middle English

  • 11th century.
  • The Norman Invasion was a significant event on the history of English. 
  • French was the verbal language used.
  • Latin remained important in written documentation, especially by the church. 
  • English came to prominence near the end of the Middle English period - writers such as Chaucer chose to write in English instead of French.
  • Dialectal differences remained with marked differences around the country. 
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Early Modern English

  • 15th century.
  • William Caxton introduced the printing press from Europe and printed many works in English; this helped to contribute to a standard form of English.
  • The basis of this new standard form was from the South-East.
  • This period saw a growing interest and pride in English as a language.
  • Many writers now chose to write in English, for example Shakespeare and his plays and James I with the authorised version of the Bible. 
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Modern English

  • 18th century.
  • English had grown at an incredible rate.
  • Words were being borrowed from Latin, Greek and around the world.
  • Grammarians began to examine the structure and the grammar of the language to establish patterns in the way people used language. 
  • This in turn led them to propose correct ways of speaking and writing.
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Present Day English

  • 20th century.
  • English has developed quickly through the influence of: 
    • Media
    • Technology
    • Travel
    • War
    • Scienfic Development
    • Migration
  • These have helped to establish English as a global language. 
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  • It should be remembered change is a gradual process.
  • Therefore, these dates cannot be seen, or referred to, as fixed points of change. 
  • The origins of English show that it is a hybrid or scavenger language mad up of other different languages.
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