Middle English

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Middle English
Region England, some parts of Wales, south east Scotland and Scottish burghs, to some extent Ireland
Era developed into Early Modern English, Scots and Yola in Wexford by the 16th century
Language family
Early forms:
Old English
  • Middle English
Language codes
ISO 639-2 enm
ISO 639-3 enm

Middle English is an older type of the English language that was spoken after the Norman invasion in 1066 until the middle/late 1400s. It came from Old English after William the Conqueror came to England with his French nobles and stopped English from being taught in schools for a few hundred years. Over this time, English borrowed several French words.

In the 1470s, the Chancery Standard, a type of English spoken in London, started to become more common. This was partly because William Caxton brought the printing press to England in the 1470s. The type of English that people spoke in England between then and 1650 is called Early Modern English. There were many different dialects of Middle English.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales in Middle English.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Brunner, Karl (1962) Abriss der mittelenglischen Grammatik; 5. Auflage. Tübingen: M. Niemeyer (1st ed. Halle (Saale): M. Niemeyer, 1938)
  • Brunner, Karl (1963) An Outline of Middle English Grammar; translated by Grahame Johnston. Oxford: Blackwell