So far, we have had three phases in our English language. We began with Old English that fell between the timeline of 450 AD to 1150AD. Following that we transitioned to Middle English which ran from 1150 AD to 1500 AD. And from there we grew accustomed to Modern English which began in 1500 AD and is still the language that we have the privilege to speak today. Although the entire history of the English language is fascinating, unfortunately this paper is mainly focused on the Middle English period. As in most cases, there are important historical events that lead to the transition from Old English to Middle English. And from those events we can better understand why Old English sounds like a foreign language compared to Modern English,
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With a quick glance it can be noted that whether a word be in the nominative, accusative or dative, it is still most likely to end with an –e. In just this small excerpt, I counted nineteen words alone (not including “the”) that had the inflective ending of –e. As for nouns such as croppes, fowels, halwes (shires) (Chaucer, Kolve 3), and pilgrimages, the rule holds true that the addition of an –s ending signifies that the noun is plural. Also, some words that come from the French language, especially is they end with –n or –nt are made plural by adding an –s instead of –es (Chaucer, Manly 94). The adjectives soote (sweet), tender (tender), yonge, straunge (strange/foreign), and ferne (far off/distant) all have the same –e ending (Chaucer, Kolve 3). As stated before, there was no longer a distinction in Middle English between an adjective being plural or singular, so a common ending was necessary. In this excerpt Chaucer made use of a few pronouns that were new to Middle English. In lines 2, 4, 7, 8, and 17, Chaucer makes use of the pronoun the (Chaucer, Manly 149). In Old English, the pronouns the and that where in the form of se, seo, and þæt.
As far as verbs are concerned, this excerpt is a great representation of the scarcity of strong verbs. As said earlier, many of the strong verbs disappeared and also, many of them were converted to weak verbs with time and