The Early Modern Period Of The English Language

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England from the 16th to 18th century was undergoing an immense change in its social structure and cultural practice due to the innovations from the Renaissance (late 15th to early 17th C), the Reformation (16th to 17th C) and the Scientific Revolution (17th to 18th C). Firmly situated in this context is the Early Modern Period of the English language, starting from approximately 1500 CE and continuing through to 1700 CE, which saw the language move from Middle English (1100-1500 CE) into a language more recognisable to the one spoken by English speakers today. Crucial to these transformations are the introduction of the printing press to England by William Caxton in 1476 and the influence of role of Latin in European education during this period. These circumstances shaped the use of and attitudes towards English, especially in relation to its standardization, definition of ‘correct’ English and the spread of literacy. Ultimately, transforming English into a language respected and highly appreciated in this period.
The printing press set up in Westminster by William Caxton in 1476 was the first of its kind in England and is frequently taken to be the date that marks “the emergence of Early Modern English”. This innovation also marks the beginning of the standardization, and eventually regulation, of the English language, thus greatly impacting the use of English in this period and moving forwards into the present. Previously, English spelling was greatly varied in its
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