Old English vs Middle English vs Modern English
Old English, Middle English, and Modern English are the classification of English language, and they exhibit some differences between them. English is being termed as the world’s third most widely spoken native language following Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. There is one significant fact that would be known to many of us. This fact is that English has become the official language of so many other countries where it is not considered as the native language. This is the popularity of this language that sets it apart from many other languages that are spoken all around the globe. In addition to all this, English is also termed as a global language which is being used in all the sects of life. But, with this, comes another interesting fact that modern English, which gets to be spoken in this modern era, tends to be completely different from that which was spoken in the olden times. Now, the modern speakers of this language cannot recognize the older version of this language. This is due to the fact that this language has a history of around 1700 years where it can be classified into three categories, the Old English, the Middle English, and the Modern English.
English language has been bifurcated into three most important periods ranging from Old English to Middle English, and then to lastly, the Modern English. English started its journey when it was first brought to the Britain by the Germanic invaders. These three periods of English language can be classified in the years as following.
Old English (450 AD- 1100 AD/ Mid 5th century to Mid 11th century)
Middle English (1100 AD-1500 AD/ late 11th century to late 15th century)
Modern English ( from 1500 AD till present day/ late 15th century to the present)
More about Old English
The origin of the English language lies in the West Germanic languages which were brought to the Britain when Germanics invaded this great continent. That language was an assortment of different dialects because there were three most important tribes that invaded Britain that time. Anglos, Saxons and Jutes were these tribes and language dialects spoken by these became the dialects of the original English language.
More about Middle English
In the eleventh century, there were various Norman conquests going in the region of Britain, and this brought a huge difference in the development of the English language. The duke of Normandy, William, the conqueror, conquered Britain in 1066 and, with this conquest, many newer impressions got fixed into the English language. The most significant and important one was the French language impression which got mixed with the English language being spoken at that time. This is the reason for the modern English of today can be seen having its roots in French language.
More about Modern English
Right from the fifteenth century, English language took a great shift. This flux could be seen in the context of vowel pronunciation. The vowel pronunciation became shorter and thus, it took the form which is now reigning in most of the countries in this modern era. With that vowel shift, started the classical renaissance period, the Romantic Movement, and after that period, came the industrial revolution in Britain which added more towards the final evolution of English language. The changes which came into the English language after the industrial revolution gave it the name of the late modern English language which tends to have a more varied vocabulary as compared to the early version of modern English.
Hence, through this journey, English has become what is being spoken as native and official language in most of the countries around the whole world. In Anglo-Saxon, words tended to have inflectional endings that depicted their persona in the sentence. The word order in Anglo-Saxon sentence was not as essential to ascertain what the sentence implied as it is now. In Middle English, several of these endings were dropped off, and the role a word represented in the sentence was ascertained by word order, like it is nowadays. There are differences naturally, but as a whole, a Middle English phrase structure is similar to a Modern English sentence. Old English also had grammatical factors that other two have forgotten.
What is the difference between Old English and Middle English and Modern English?
Old English: Old English was from 450 AD to 1100 AD or, in other words, from Mid 5th century to Mid 11th century.
Middle English: Middle English was from 1100 AD to 1500 AD or, in other words, from late 11th century to late 15th century.
Modern English: Modern English was from 1500 AD till the present day, or from late 15th century to the present.
Old English: Old English had Latin influence.
Middle English: Middle English had French influence.
Modern English: Modern English developed as a language of its own as a developed version of the language.
Old English: The word order and the sentence structure were rather free.
Middle English: Middle English has the same sentence structure as the Modern English (Subject-verb-object).
Modern English: Modern English follows the subject-verb-object sentence structure.
Middle English: Middle English exhibits a variety of pronouns for the same pronoun in the same case. For example, hir, hire, heore, her, here for her in the genitive case.
Modern English: Modern English exhibits, usually, one pronoun for each case of the pronoun. For example, his for genitive case.
Old English: Old English had some silent letters. For example, in sēċean, you will not pronounce c. That means the word is pronounced as ‘seek.’
Middle English: All written letters were pronounced in Middle English.
Modern English: Some letters are not pronounced in Modern English. For example, K in knight is silent.