History of EngLang

  • 55 BCE


    Proto-Indo-European was spoken by people. This was the language that is hypothesised that all languages then evolved from. This is proven by common similarities seen in multiple languages.
  • 55 BCE

    Julius Ceaser Invaded Britain

  • Period: 55 BCE to 449

    Local inhabitants spoke Celtish

    Originally the people who inhabited Brittan was the Celtic speaking tribes. they were not unified and had not common language but many dialects making it difficult to communicate.
  • 43 BCE

    The Romans conquest of Britain

    The Romans didn't impose their language (Latin) by force however it still happened to some degree as people needed to communicate.
  • 410

    The Romans

    As time passed many Britons would have learnt both English and Latin to some extent and have been bilingual. Despite having been in Britain for almost four centuries Latin had a fairly small impact on the English Language.
  • 436

    Fall of the Romans

    The Romans withdrew from Britain, this allowed more languages to spread throughout the country.
  • Period: 450 to Jan 1, 1066

    Old English

  • 597

    Birth of Christianity

    the arrival of monk augustine brought christianity to England. Missionaries would travel around the country converting communities. Christianity introduced and spread the Roman alphabet which was more useful for writing longer messages/information. Only the smarter people (scholars) knew how read and write in Latin, this gave them an elevated place in society.
    the english language absorbed many words from the religious semantic field (e.g. angle, hymn, pope)
  • Dec 24, 800

    Old Norse - Vikings

    An invasion from Sweden, Norway and Denmark (the vikings) brought with them Old Norse. Over time due to inter marriages and trade English began to absorb Old Norse. This effected inflectional endings (english lost many) and propositions (which were being used more frequently)
  • Period: Jan 1, 1066 to Jan 1, 1500

    Middle English

  • Jan 2, 1066

    William the conqueror duke of Normandy

    In the Battle of Hastings Normandy invaded and conquered England, with them they introduced a type of French that was used in the royal courts as well as in the business class. As english absorbed French the more elevated words were in french and the english words had worse connotations (perfume vs oder)
  • Dec 24, 1100

    Latin French and English

    Britain was a trilingual country with a language hierarchy. it went Latin then French (used in church, law, state and history) then English (which was the 3rd class status, however 95% of the population still spoke english as one of their primary languages, it was due to the large number of 3rd class citizens that English was able to continue despite being 'underground' for 300 years
  • Dec 24, 1200

    French Infuence

    French influence on lexicon of English is huge, (rather than grammar), French words did not replace Old English words but narrowed their meaning (e.g. Apple used to mean Fruit now is one specific kind of fruit)
  • Dec 24, 1348

    English replaced Latin as the language of instructions in most schools

  • Dec 24, 1348

    The Plague

    Ships that were for trading purposes brought rats that had the Bubonic plague. This spread quickly especially in high concentrated areas (e.g. churches), this caused all the higher class people (who spoke Latin and French) who lived in close proximity to each other to die. As the peasants (who spoke english) lived further apart there was less deaths to those who spoke english. This meant that English had an uprising after the Plague passed through.
  • Dec 24, 1350

    The Great Vowel Shift

    the great vowel shift occurred over a 300 year period where the pronunciation of vowel sounds changed. For the most part vowel sounds were being pronounced shorter. most of the short vowel sounds didn't change too much but long vowel and diphthongs were altered. (e.g. what we now pronounce as 'house' (dipthong ou) was once pronounced 'hoose' (long oo)) (e.g2 what we now pronounce as meat (diphthong ea) was once said like 'm-e-at' with a long vowel sound)
  • Dec 24, 1350

    Audited towards English Changed

    After the Plague english was able to rise up again, this caused the attitude to change, as English went from being a third class citizen language to the prominent language.
  • Dec 24, 1362

    English replaces French as the language of Law

    English is used in Parliament for the first time
  • Dec 24, 1388

    Chaucer starts writing 'The Canterbury Tales'

    Chaucer know all Latin French and English but chose to write in the common mans language (English) rather then the more prestigious Latin or French. This allowed him to showcase the depth within the English language as it absorbed new words.
  • Dec 24, 1476

    Printing Press

    William Caxton brought the Printing press (invented by Johannes Guttenberg in 1440) to England and used it to print The Canterbury Tales.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1500 to

    Early Modern English

  • Dec 24, 1564


    William Shakespeare was greatly famous writer who's works included 37 plays, 154 sonnets and 5 other major
    epic poems. His works are written in a lovely poetic format however the people at that time period didn't actually talk in that manner. Shakespeare created aprox 2000 words half of which he invented. Many of these words quickly became part of the English vehicular (e.g. bubble).
  • Samuel Johnson creates the first dictionary

    Samuel Johnson created the first dictionary, which created the first concerns as to speaking the 'correct' english. A movement towards standardisation was started with Samuel Johnson. He wrote definitions about 4000 definitions were made (these reflected prejudices and a sense of humour) (e.g. Oats – A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people)
  • Period: to

    Late Modern English

  • Industry revolution

    The industry revolution and the introduced of technology created many new words in the English lexis
  • telegram

    the first telegram was transmitted as a way of communication.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary id published