More History of English Language

The Great Vowel Shift means a change in pronunciation of the A, E, I, O, U sounds, or combinations of them...they became shorter than in previous versions of the language.

There also took place a revival, or Renaissance, of classical learning, which led to many new words and phrases being added to Early Modern English.

Then the invention of printing came along, bringing with it the need to have a standard form of language, with predictable grammar and spelling by which printers could be guided.  Printing of books meant that, not being hand written, they became cheaper and more people learned to read.

Perhaps since most of the publishers were to be found in London, the dialect of London became the accepted standard.


In 1604 the first English dictionary was published.


LATE MODERN ENGLISH has been the standard since about 1800, for just over 200 years.  The most significate difference between it and Early Modern English, apart from style, is that many more words have been added.

Why and how did this happen?  Well, the British conquered and ruled huge parts of the globe; at its height the British Empire covered about a quarter of the world's surface (!) and incorporated or adapted words from the languages spoken in its terrortories.

The Industrial Revolution marched along, and with it the need for words and expressions to describe a whole new world of activities, needs and concepts - yet another huge spurt for this endlessly evolving tongue.

And now we have the Information Age, and the Technological Revolution...and here we go again, more development and a new landscape for English!