English

Main

Old English Inscription in Runic Letters

400

Was the way of writing in Old English, until the Latin alphabet came along

Angles change to Engles

450

This started the process of calling England, England, and not Angland.

St. Augustine Comes to Britain

Approx. 597

This brings many new words into the English lexicon from Latin. Also converts many people into Christianity

Latin Language of Schools and Church

600

Latin brought many new words into the Old English lexicon, mainly religious words but there were others.

Beowolf

1016

One of the oldest surviving pieces of Old English Literature and has been a reference point for many great poets since about 1800. Before that it was much ignored

Rennaisance

1300

About 10,000 words were added to the English lexicon during the Renaissance period, words such as democratic and imaginary

French Language of Courts and Law

1330

Forces people to learn French and English if they wish to have legal proceedings, also b
rings new words into the lexicon such as attorney, culprit and jury.

Geoffrey Chaucer

Approx. 1343

Considered the Father of English Literature, the term dialect first appearing in one of his books

English Replaces Latin as School Language

1348

This diminishes the amount of people who are bilingual, but also increases the general populations standard of English as more people speak it, therefore it evolves faster

Great Vowel Shift

1350

Standardized the English language by setting out how words should be pronounced and spelt

English Replaces French as Language of Court and Law

1362

Many new Law words are added to the English lexicon from French so that the courts can properly communicate

Canterbury Tales

1475

This book showed that in a time where English was considered rough and inelegant, it can be a beautiful and poetic language.

Printing Press

1476

Many new words entered the lexicon, as well as the literacy and numeracy rates of people improved, with greater access to materials and books.

Reformation

1517

The formation of the Protestant Church, the bible circulated more frequently which increased English speakers vocabulary and the split from the Roman Church poured an influx of new words into English

New Testament Transcribed

1525

Allowed people who only knew english to read the bible for the first time, as well as introducing new religious words from other languages to correctly translate the bible

William Shakespeare Born

1564

Shakespeare invented over 1700 words during his life and his plays had a profound impact on audiences back then and today.

First English Dictionary

1604

Allowed people access to a greater standard of English, filling in the blanks in their vocabulary

King James Bible

1611

The first great bible, commissioned by King Henry VIII. It brings new religious words into the lexicon

The Royal Slave

1688

One of the first English philosophical novels, akin to the works of Shakespeare which has themes of modern importance such as racism

The Daily Courant

1702

First regular newspaper published, allowed people to access written works more easily and improved literacy rates.

A Proposal for Improving the English Tongue

1712

Showed people how to properly pronounce words which were difficult to do so. Allowed people access to a higher standard of English

Johnson's Dictionary

1755

One of the most influential dictionaries, took about 9 years to write by himself. Created a standard for how dictionaries should be layed out

Short Introduction of English Grammar

1762

Showed people the correct way to use English grammar, which in turn lifted their level of English

First Telegraph Washington - Baltimore

1844

New shorthand words emerge as people pay for every word in telegraphs.

Fox's Movietime News

1928

First moving image, brought new film words into the lexicon for movie making.

First Commercial Computers in Britain and USA

1951

This brings many new words for computer parts into the metalanguage of english

Launch of Internet

1969

Brought in new metalanguage into the lexicon, and reintroduced others like trojan and virus

Periods

Old English

500 - 1050

Middle English

1050 - 1450

Early Modern English

1450 - 1700

Modern English

1700 - 2014