Wednesday, April 2, 2008

History of the English Language (5)

Modern English is often dated from the Great Vowel Shift, which took place mainly during the 15th century. English was further transformed by the spread of a standardised London-based dialect in government and administration and by the standardising effect of printing. By the time of William Shakespeare (mid-late 16th century) the language had become clearly recognizable as Modern English.

English has continuously adopted foreign words, especially from Latin and Greek since the Renaissance. As there are many words from different languages and English spelling is variable, the risk of mispronunciation is high, but remnants of the older forms remain in a few regional dialects, most notably in the West Country.

In 1755 Samuel Johnson published the first significant English dictionary, his Dictionary of the English Language.


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