William the Conqueror

History of the English Language (1943) from British Council on Vimeo.


Study History of English Facts

The Greek & Latin Roots of English

The Story of English

ChaucerA Pre-History of English - Part 1

Old English/Anglo-Saxon: Beowulf (c. 410 - 1066 AD/CE) - Video of Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon| More about Anglo-Saxon & Beowulf | King Alfred the Great

Middle English (c. 1066 - 1470 AD/CE) - Highlights - Geoffrey Chaucer's General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales: Text | Audio | Rap

Early Modern English (c. 1470 - 1755 AD/CE) - Starts with the Great Vowel Shift in the 15th century, ends with the publication of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language and the Industrial Revolution. Important literature: King James Bible, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), Metaphysical poets. The familiar/singular pronoun "thou" (for "you") was generally used up until the mid-1600s.

Modern English (Late 1700s - present) - The Industrial Revolution and British colonialism led to a great increase in new words created for new things and new words brought in from other languages. The words for new inventions and concepts generally came from Greek and Latin.


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