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  1. Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period.

  2. The Middle English period (1150-1500) was marked by significant changes in the English language. Because of the Norman Conquest and the circumstances afterward and the way that the language began changing during the Old English period, Middle English had changes in its grammar and its vocabulary. As a result, the changes in grammar changed the English language from a “highly inflected language to an extremely analytic one, and those in vocabulary, “involved the loss of a large part of ...

  3. Middle English is the form of English used in England from roughly the time of the Norman conquest (1066) until about 1500. After the conquest, French largely displaced English as the language of the upper classes and of sophisticated literature.

  4. Middle English language, the vernacular spoken and written in England from about 1100 to about 1500, the descendant of the Old English language and the ancestor of Modern English. The history of Middle English is often divided into three periods: (1) Early Middle English, from about 1100 to about 1250, during which the Old English system of writing was still in use; (2) the Central Middle English period from about 1250 to about 1400, which was marked by the gradual formation of literary ...

    • Middle English in Academics
    • Chaucer and Middle English
    • "Troilus and Criseyde"

    Academicians and others have explained the use of Middle English in everything from its importance in English grammar, and modern English in general, to fatherhood, as the following quotes demonstrate.

    Probably the most famous author who wrote during the Middle English period was Geoffrey Chaucer, who penned the classic 14th-century work, "The Canterbury Tales," but also other works, which present fine examples of how the language was used in the same time period. The modern-English translation is presented in brackets following the Middle English passage.

    "Ye knowe ek that in forme of speeche is chaunge Withinne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho That hadden pris, now wonder nyce and straunge Us thinketh hem, and yet thei spake hem so, And spedde as wel in love as men now do; Ek for to wynnen love in sondry ages, In sondry londes, sondry ben usages." ["You know also that in (the) form of speech (there) is change Within a thousand years, and words then That had value, now wonderfully curious and strange (To) us they seem, and yet they spoke them so, And succeeded as well in love as men now do; Also to win love in sundry ages, In sundry lands, (there) are many usages."] (Translation by Roger Lass in "Phonology and Morphology." A History of the English Language, edited by Richard M. Hogg and David Denison. Cambridge University Press, 2008)

    • Richard Nordquist
    • English And Rhetoric Professor
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  6. Texts in Middle English (as opposed to French or Latin) begin as a trickle in the 13th Century, with works such as the debate poem “The Owl and the Nightingale” (probably composed around 1200) and the long historical poem known as Layamon's “Brut” (from around the same period). Most of Middle English literature, at least up until the flurry of literary activity in the latter part of the 14th Century, is of unknown authorship.

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