Evolution of the English Language

  • May 5, 731

    Old English (Bede)

    He was known as the Venerable. He wrote Ecclesiastical History of the English People to help teach the people about their history.
    This gained him the title "The Father of English History"
  • Feb 7, 1042

    Old English (Edward the Confessor)

    He was the son of Aethelred. He grew up in France.
    When he was restored to the English throne he wanted to incorporate many of the French ways and give high positions to his Norman friends.
  • Nov 3, 1066

    Old English (William the Conqueror)

    He was the first Norman King of England.
    It has been famously said that "English is the result of Norman soliders trying to pick up Saxon barmaids."
  • Jan 26, 1204

    Middle English (The Hundred Years' War)

    A war between England and France. It had a significant impact on the development of English because France
    became the enemy. The English people didn't want to use French words or terms anymore so the upper class began to want to learn and speak English.
  • Apr 3, 1342

    Middle English (Chaucer)

    He was the writer of the Canterbury Tales.
    Is known as the Father of English literature.
  • Dec 22, 1348

    Middle English (The Black Death)

    The disease that killed a vast majority of the people. It had a significant impact on the development of English because
    since so many people died there was a shortage of laborers. Because laborers were valued more, their language became more important too.
    The lower class moved up to the middle class and brought their language to a higher status too.
  • Jan 20, 1362

    Middle English (Statute of Pleading)

    This law is the offical recognition of the English language in England.
    Parliament was opened with its first speech made in English in this year.
  • Apr 26, 1564

    Modern English (Shakespeare)

    English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.
  • Modern English (Robert Cawdrey)

    He wrote the first dictionary of hard words.
  • Modern English (Academy)

    A group of people who were the guardians and rule-makers of the English language.
    It reached its height when Dean Jonathan Swift wrote his Proposal. The idea failed however, and gave way to the prominence of dictionaries.
  • Modern English (Samuel Johnson)

    He wrote a dictionary, which he hoped would help refine the English language.
  • Modern English (Noah Webster)

    He was a lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author. He has been called the "Father of American Scholarship and Education".
  • Modern English (Grim's Law)

    Jacob Grim found that Germanic consonants are tied to Sanskirt, Greek and Latin.
    His law states that there was a sound change sometime after the Germanic language broke from the neighboring dialects of the parent tongue.
  • Modern English (Webster's Dictionary)

    The line of dictionaries first developed by Noah Webster in the early 19th century. The term is a genericized trademark in the U.S.A. for comprehensive dictionaries of the English language.
  • Modern English (Oxford English Dictionary)

    It was orginally known as A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (NED).
    It took forty-four year to compile the first edition and it is updated about every forty years.
  • Old English (St. Augustine)

    He wanted to convert Britain to Christianity. This influenced the English language because
    it introduced many new religious words and concepts to the English people. These words were based on examples
    from Latin and Greek. These two classic languages brought a large influence to the English tongue.