Middle English played an important role in the history of the English language. Middle English began about 1150-1500. Dialect diversity was major in this period that people from one part of England could not understand people in another part. Although, slowly, the dialect spoken in London was becoming the standard. Middle English develops out of the late Old English in Norman England. Middle English can be divided into three periods: Early, Central, and Late. Early Middle English still contained the Old English system of writing. Central Middle English was marked by the gradual formation of literary dialects. Late Middle English was the spread of the London dialect. Also, a series of events took place in Middle English that forever changed the English language. Early Middle English had a large Norman vocabulary, but it was greatly simplified. The grammatical relations that were expressed in Old English were replaced in the Early Middle English with constructions with prepositions. The replacement was incomplete. To this day the Old English genitive “es” in many words – we call it now “possevive” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Paragraph 1). But most of the other case word endings disappear in the Early Middle English period, including most of the one dozen forms of the word the. The grammatical number “dual” also disappeared from the English language during the Early Middle English, further simplifying the language. Deeper changes occurred in the grammar. Bit by bit, the wealthy and government anglicised again, although Norman remained the dominant language of literature and law for a few centuries. The new English language did not sound the same as the Old English, undergoing changes in vocabulary. The complex system of endings which Old English had was gradually lost or simplified in the dialects of the spoken Middle English. At the end of the Early Middle English, English remained, after all, the language of most of the population. One of the most...
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