Literary Periods and Movements

  • 597

    Old English

    In the year 597, St. Augustine 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
  • Jan 1, 731

    Bede

    He was known as the Venerable. He wrote Ecclesiastical History of the English People to help teach the people about their history.
  • Jan 1, 1042

    Edward the Confessor

    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.
  • Dec 25, 1066

    William the Conqueror

    He became king of England because William had defeated the English, he got rid of the old English nobility and introduced a nobility that was French. Normans also supplanted the English church positions. The French language because the language of the upper class and greatly influenced the development of the English language.
  • Jan 1, 1204

    Middle English Begins

    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.
  • Jan 1, 1348

    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 1, 1362

    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.
  • Jan 1, 1500

    Modern English

  • Jan 1, 1564

    Shakespeare

    Shakespearean plays had a huge affect on Today's modern language
  • Cawdry

    He wrote the first dictionary of hard words
  • 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.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

    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.