English Language Timeline

  • 200

    Celtic Era - Celts 600 BC

    Celtic Era - Celts 600 BC
    First language ever!! We dont know much about this language because it was spoken and not written. But we do know that it had its inspiration from the runic alphabet - we can also see that there are words that have survived to this day which are mainly place names as Thames, Dover and London.
  • Period: 200 to

    The history

  • 290

    Celtic Era - Romans 43BC - 410 AC

    Celtic Era - Romans 43BC - 410 AC
    England was invaded by the Romans in 55 BC. The language was influeded by the Romans who spoke latin. We can also see the influence today where a lot of cities containing "chester" which is derived from the Roman name of that place. The Romans gave places names which are still used today. The language was still spoken and not writen so the information is little.
  • 410

    The first Germanic tribes

    The first Germanic tribes
    The Goths (speakers of a now extinct East Germanic language) sack Rome. The first Germanic tribes arrive in Britain.
  • 450

    Old English - Germanic Tribes: Anglo Saxons and Jutes 450

    Old English - Germanic Tribes: Anglo Saxons and Jutes 450
    The British was invaded again - now by the Angles (northern Germany), the Saxons (Germany) and the Jutes (Jutland/Denmark) - who spoke a language which is the English we know today. The "new" English nearly obliterating the "old" English which was spoken before the invasion. About one third of the words we use to day are of Old English origin.
  • 450

    450-1066 THE OLD ENGLISH (OR ANGLO-SAXON) PERIOD

    450-1066 THE OLD ENGLISH (OR ANGLO-SAXON) PERIOD
    450-1066
  • 480

    The Invasion

    The Invasion
    Three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. At that time the people of Britain spoke a Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders. The Angles came from Englaland and their language was called Englisc - from which the words England and English are like the same.
  • 500

    West Germanic dialects

    West Germanic dialects
    5th-6th centuries Germanic peoples (Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians) speaking West Germanic dialects settle most of Britain. Celts retreat to distant areas of Britain: Ireland, Scotland, Wales.
  • 587

    Christian missionaries 587

    Christian missionaries 587
    The Christan Missionaries spoke Latin and gave English a lot of Latin words in connection with religion, church and school because they also teached the children in the school. Etc altar, angel, apostel, candle, demon, grammatical, hymn, priest are words which the Christian Missionaries brought to the English language and they are still used today.
  • 597

    Christianity

    Christianity
    Christianity was introduced among Anglo-Saxons by St.Augustine, missionary from Rome. Irish missioners also spread Celtic form of Christianity to mainland Britain.
  • May 15, 673

    Birth of the Venerable Bede

    Birth of the Venerable Bede
    Birth of the Venerable Bede, the monk who composed (in Latin) The Ecclesiastical History of the English People (c. 731), a key source of information about Anglo Saxon settlement.
  • May 15, 700

    7th century Essex and Middlesex; the Angle kingdoms of Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria.

    7th century Essex and Middlesex; the Angle kingdoms of Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria.
    Rise of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex; the Saxon kingdoms of Essex and Middlesex; the Angle kingdoms of Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria. St. Augustine and Irish missionaries convert Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, introducing new religious words borrowed from Latin and Greek. Latin speakers begin referring to the country as Anglia and later as Englaland.
  • May 15, 700

    The earliest manuscript records of Old English.

    The earliest manuscript records of Old English.
    Approximate date of the earliest manuscript records of Old English.
  • May 15, 800

    Old English - The Vikings 800

    Old English - The Vikings 800
    The Vikings started to invade Britain and letf behind a lot of words which the English language adopted etc egg, dirt, harbour, knife, birth, slaughter, die, bull, outlaw and rotten. The Vikings settled as farmers in the North and gave everyday words to the English Landuage
  • May 15, 820

    England begins to emerge

    England begins to emerge
    Egbert of Wessex incorporates Cornwall into his kingdom and is recognized as overlord of the seven kingdoms of the Angles and Saxons (the Heptarchy): England begins to emerge.
  • May 15, 850

    Danish begins to influence English.

    Danish begins to influence English.
    Danes raid England, occupy Northumbria, and establish a kingdom at York. Danish begins to influence English.
  • May 16, 865

    The Danes occupy Northumbria

    The Danes occupy Northumbria
  • May 16, 878

    Dialects of Old English

    Dialects of Old English
    The four main dialectal forms of Old English were Northumbrian, spoken north of the river Humber; Mercian, spoken in the midlands; Kentish, spoken in Kent (the southeastern part); and West Saxon, spoken in the southwest. Each of those dialects was associated with an independent kingdom on the island. Of these, all of Northumbria and most of Mercia were overrun by the Vikings during the 9th century. The portion of Mercia and all of Kent that were successfully defended were then integrated into We
  • May 15, 880

    Prose in English

    Prose in English
    King Alfred of Wessex (Alfred the Great) leads the Anglo-Saxons to victory over the Vikings, translates Latin works into English, and establishes the writing of prose in English. He uses the English language to foster a sense of national identity. England is divided into a kingdom ruled by the Anglo-Saxons (under Alfred) and another ruled by the Scandinavians.
  • May 15, 910

    English and Danes mix

    English and Danes mix
    English and Danes mix fairly peacefully, and many Scandinavian (or Old Norse)loanwords enter the language, including such common words as sister, wish, skin, and die.
  • May 15, 1000

    English epic poem Beowulf

    English epic poem Beowulf
    Approximate date of the only surviving manuscript of the Old English epic poem Beowulf, composed by an anonymous poet between the 8th century and the early 11th century.
  • May 15, 1010

    Danes attack England

    Danes attack England
    Danes attack England, and the English king (Ethelred the Unready) escapes to Normandy. The Battle of Maldon becomes the subject of one of the few surviving poems in Old English. The Danish king (Canute) rules over England and encourages the growth of Anglo-Saxon culture and literature.
  • May 15, 1066

    Normans

    Normans
    England was invaded again - now by the Normans from France which spoke an early vision of French. Therefore also iFrench got an influence on the English we know today. At that time French was only spoken by the king, his nobles and the elite and became therefore a high status language in England. The words which came to England was catch, wage and reward and a lot of words containing food. Common peopple still spoke Old English and the church, the priets and bishops spoked Latin.
  • May 15, 1066

    THE MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD

    THE MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD
    1066-1475
  • May 15, 1150

    Texts in Middle English.

    Texts in Middle English.
    Approximate date of the earliest surviving texts in Middle English.
  • May 15, 1171

    the University of Oxford is founded

    the University of Oxford is founded
    Henry II declares himself overlord of Ireland, introducing Norman French and English to the country. About this time the University of Oxford is founded.
  • May 15, 1204

    home of the Norman French/English

    home of the Norman French/English
    King John loses control of the Duchy of Normandy and other French lands; England is now the only home of the Norman French/English.
  • May 15, 1209

    The University of Cambridge

    The University of Cambridge
    The University of Cambridge is formed by scholars from Oxford.
  • May 15, 1258

    England's first written constitution

    England's first written constitution
    King Henry III is forced to accept the Provisions of Oxford, which establish a Privy Council to oversee the administration of the government. These documents, though annulled a few years later, are generally regarded as England's first written constitution.
  • May 15, 1290

    English becomes the dominant language of all classes

    English becomes the dominant language of all classes
    Under Edward I, royal authority is consolidated in England and Wales. English becomes the dominant language of all classes.
  • May 16, 1300

    London dialect In the 14th and 15th

    London dialect  In the 14th and 15th
    The most important event in the changing linguistic situation was the rise of the London dialect as the prevalent written form of language. The history of the London dialect reveals the sources of the literary language in Late ME and also the main source and basis of the Literary Standard, both in its written and spoken forms. The Early ME written records made in London – beginning with the PROCLAMATION of 1258 – show that the dialect of London was fundamentally East Saxon. Later records indicat
  • May 15, 1350

    The Great Vowel Shift begins

    The Great Vowel Shift begins
    The Hundred Years War between England and France leads to the loss of almost all of England's French possessions. The Black Death kills roughly one-third of England's population. Geoffrey Chaucer composes The Canterbury Tales in Middle English. English becomes the official language of the law courts and replaces Latin as the medium of instruction at most schools. John Wycliffe's English translation of the Latin Bible is published. The Great Vowel Shift begins, marking the loss of the so-called "
  • May 15, 1362

    Parliament is opened

    Parliament is opened
    The Statute of Pleading makes English the official language in England. Parliament is opened with its first speech delivered in English.
  • May 15, 1380

    Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

    Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.
    William Caxton brings to Westminster (from the Rhineland) the first printing press and publishes Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Literacy rates increase significantly, and printers begin to standardize English spelling. The monk Galfridus Grammaticus (also known as Geoffrey the Grammarian) publishes Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae, the first English-to-Latin wordbook.
  • May 16, 1474

    First printing press

    First printing press
    William Caxton brings to Westminster (from the Rhineland) the first printing press and publishes Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Literacy rates increase significantly, and printers begin to standardize English spelling. The monk Galfridus Grammaticus (also known as Geoffrey the Grammarian) publishes Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae, the first English-to-Latin wordbook.
  • May 15, 1475

    1475-1660 THE EARLY NEW ENGLISH PERIOD

    1475-1660	THE EARLY NEW ENGLISH PERIOD
  • May 15, 1520

    Many Greek and Latin borrowings enter English

    Many Greek and Latin borrowings enter English
    Early 16th century

    The first English settlements are made in North America. William Tyndale's English translation of the Bible is published. Many Greek and Latin borrowings enter English.
  • May 15, 1549

    the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England is published

    the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England is published
    The first version of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England is published.
  • May 15, 1553

    he Art of Rhetorique

    he Art of Rhetorique
    Thomas Wilson publishes The Art of Rhetorique, one of the first works on logic and rhetoric in English.
  • May 15, 1577

    The Garden of Eloquence

    The Garden of Eloquence
    Henry Peacham publishes The Garden of Eloquence, a treatise on rhetoric.
  • The first grammar of English

    The first grammar of English
    The first grammar of English--William Bullokar's Pamphlet for Grammar--is published.
  • The Art of English Poesie

    The Art of English Poesie
    The Art of English Poesie (attributed to George Puttenham) is published.
  • William Shakespeare writes his Sonnets

    William Shakespeare writes his Sonnets
    1590-1611 William Shakespeare writes his Sonnets and the majority of his plays.
  • Varieties of English (1600-Present)

    Varieties of English (1600-Present)
    From around 1600, the English colonization of North America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety of English. In some ways, American English is more like the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is.
  • the first English dictionary is published.

    the first English dictionary is published.
    Robert Cawdrey's Table Alphabeticall, the first English dictionary, is published.
  • the first English newspaper

    the first English newspaper
    Weekly News, the first English newspaper, is published in London.
  • English as a language of science

    English as a language of science
    The Royal Society of London appoints a committee to consider ways of “improving” English as a language of science.
  • 1660-1945 THE NEW ENGLISH OR MODERN ENGLISH PERIOD

    1660-1945	THE NEW ENGLISH OR MODERN ENGLISH PERIOD
  • Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave.

    Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave.
    Aphra Behn, the first woman novelist in England, publishes Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave.
  • The Daily Courant

    The Daily Courant
    The Daily Courant, the first regular daily newspaper in English, is published in London.
  • The first grammar of Old English.

    The first grammar of Old English.
    Elisabeth Elstob publishes the first grammar of Old English.
  • Universal Etymological Dictionary of the English Language

    Universal Etymological Dictionary of the English Language
    Nathaniel Bailey publishes his Universal Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, a pioneer study in English lexicography: the first to feature current usage, etymology,syllabification, clarifying quotations, illustrations, and indications of pronunciation.
  • Dictionary of the English Language.

    Dictionary of the English Language.
    Samuel Johnson publishes his two-volume Dictionary of the English Language.
  • homas Sheridan, George Campbell, William Ward, and Lindley Murray

    homas Sheridan, George Campbell, William Ward, and Lindley Murray
    1760-1795

    This period marks the rise of the English grammarians (Joseph Priestly, Robert Lowth, James Buchanan, John Ash, Thomas Sheridan, George Campbell, William Ward, and Lindley Murray), whose rule books, primarily based on prescriptive notions of grammar, become increasingly popular.
  • Short Introduction to English Grammar.

    Short Introduction to English Grammar.
    Robert Lowth publishes his Short Introduction to English Grammar.
  • American Spelling Book.

    Noah Webster publishes his American Spelling Book.
  • The Daily Universal Register (The Times)

    The Daily Universal Register (renamed The Times in 1788) begins publication in London.
  • The Observer,

    The Observer,
    The Observer, the oldest national Sunday newspaper in Britain, begins publication.
  • Grimm’s Law

    Grimm’s Law
    Early 19th century

    Grimm’s Law (discovered by Friedrich von Schlegel and Rasmus Rask, later elaborated by Jacob Grimm) identifies relationships between certain consonants in Germanic languages (including English) and their originals in Indo-European. The formulation of Grimm’s Law marks a major advance in the development of linguistics as a scholarly field of study.
  • A New and Improved Grammar of the English Language.

    A New and Improved Grammar of the English Language.
    William Hazlitt publishes A New and Improved Grammar of the English Language.
  • The first dictionary of Americanisms

    The first dictionary of Americanisms
    John Pickering compiles the first dictionary of Americanisms
  • American Dictionary of the English Language

    American Dictionary of the English Language
    Noah Webster publishes his American Dictionary of the English Language. Richard Whateley publishes Elements of Rhetoric.
  • The first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus is published.

    The first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus is published.
  • Oxford English Dictionary

    Oxford English Dictionary
    James A.H. Murray begins editing the Philological Society’s New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (later renamed the Oxford English Dictionary).
  • The New Yorker magazine

    The New Yorker magazine
    The New Yorker magazine is founded by Harold Ross and Jane Grant.
  • Dictionary of Modern English Usage

    Dictionary of Modern English Usage
    Henry Fowler publishes the first edition of his Dictionary of Modern English Usage.
  • Basic English

    Basic English
    British linguist C.K. Ogden introduces Basic English
  • 1945-… THE PRESENT-DAY ENGLISH PERIOD

    1945-…	THE PRESENT-DAY ENGLISH PERIOD