OLD ENGLISH (449-1066 CE)
The Old English language (Anglo-Saxon) dates back to 449 CE. The Celts had been living in England when the Romans invaded. They did not conquer the Celts until 43 CE andLatin never overtook the Celtic language. The Romans left England in 410 CE as the Roman Empire was collapsing, leaving the Celts defenseless. The four main tribes were the Angles, Saxons, Jutes andFrisians. These tribes set up seven kingdoms called the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy that included: Mercia, Northumbria, Kent, Wessex, Sussex, Essex, and East Anglia. Four dialects were spoken in thesekingdoms: West Saxon, Kentish, Mercian and Northumbrian.
Alfred the Great was the King of Wessex from 871-899 while Wessex was the dominant kingdom. Alfred also settled a truce with the Vikings whorepeatedly invaded the area. The Treaty also Wedmore was signed in 878 CE and this “Danelaw” gave the northeast half of England to the Danes for settlement. The Danes quickly assimilated and intermarriedinto the English society.
MIDDLE ENGLISH (1066-1500 CE)
The period of Middle English begins with the Norman invasion of 1066 CE. King Edward the Confessor had died, and William, Duke of Normandy,believed that he would become the next king. Harold was crowned king, William invaded England, killed Harold and crowned himself king during the famous Battle of Hastings. William spoke only French.The upper class in England began to speak French while the lower classes spoke English.
But by 1250 CE, French began to lose its prestige. After king John the king Edward I spoke only English. Manyforeigners entered England which made the nobility feel more “English” and so encouraged more use of the English language. The upper class tried to learn English.
EARLY MODERN ENGLISH(1500-1650/1700 CE)
William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476 and the East Midland dialect became the literary standard of English. The printing press helped to standardize the spelling...
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