Week 15  Module 6 Lesson 6.2 History of the English Language

Before we do anything else, listen to this passage. Can you guess what it is?

Any idea? Hint: It's ENGLISH (really)

How about this? 

Did you recognize these passages as The Lord's Prayer? Listen again. 

The Lord's Prayer  Late 11th Century
The Lord's Prayer Late 14th Century

F@der ure thu the eart on heofonum,
si thin nama gehalgod.
Tobecume thin rice.
Gewurthe THin willa on eorTHan swa swa on heofonum.
Urne ged@ghwamlican hlaf syle us to d@g.
And forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfaTH urum gyltendum.
And ne gel@d thu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. Sothlice.

Oure fadir that art in heuenes,
Halewid be thi name.
Thi kyngdoom come to.
Be thi wille don, in erthe as in heuene.
Yyue to vs this dai oure breed ouer othir substaunce.
And foryyue to vs oure dettis, as we foryyuen to oure dettouris;
And lede vs not in to temptacioun, but delyuere vs fro yuel. Amen.

The English language has certainly changed!

Three Broad Time Periods

The English language is nearly 1500 years old, during which time different invading and governing powers influenced the development of the language we recognize today. The history of English is organized into three broad time periods: 

  1. Old English (OE) 450 - 1100 AD

  2. Midddle English (ME) 1100 - 1500 AD

  3. Modern English (ModE) 

    1. Early ModE 1500 - 1800 

    2. Contemporary ModE 1800 - present 

The time span of English

The striking thing about English is that it was able to adapt and survive, Considering that some of these invaders -- the Romans (Latin), Vikings (Norse), and Normans (French) -- were around for a hundreds of years (the Romans the Viking (Norse) and Norman (French) periods.

Let's begin our exploration of the history of the English language.


back to Lesson 6.1

On to Lesson 6.2.1

Ling 102/WI Introduction to the Study of Language, University of Hawai'i - Leeward Community College
Professor Pat Kamalani Hurley

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