The result of all this variation is that reading Middle English was a very different process for its original speakers than reading is today. As Modern English speakers, we don’t just need to learn a et of vocabulary and idioms that hasn’t survived today; we need to acquire a new set of skills for how to look at the words on the page. This handout is designed to get you started in the process. Although you’ll have to do much of your learning on the fly by recognising words and expressions as you encounter them repeatedly. There are a few ways in which you can help yourself by some rote memorisation up front. This is particularly the case with pronunciation and grammatical inflection.
The pronunciation of English has changed a great deal over the past six or seven hundred years. Many consonants originally pronounced (and surviving in our spelling today) have since become silent. But by far the biggest change is to the vowels. Starting roughly in the fifteenth century, English