horrid, pathetic, iilicit, pungent, frugal, anonymous, dislocate, explain, excavate, meditate, adapt, enthusiasm, absurdity, area, complex, concept, invention, technique, temperature, capsule, premium, system, expensive, notorious, gradual, habitual, insane, ultimate, agile, fictitious, physician, anatomy, skeleton, orbit, atmosphere, catastrophe, parasite, manuscript, lexicon, comedy, tragedy, anthology, fact, biography, mythology, sarcasm, paradox, chaos, crisis, climax, etc). A good part of the reason for many of the vagaries and inconsistencies of English spelling has been attributed to the fact that words were fixed on the printed page before any orthographic consensus had emerged among teachers and writers. There were even attempts (similarly unsuccessful) to ban certain words or phrases that were considered in some way undesirable, words such as fib, banter, bigot, fop, flippant, flimsy, workmanship, selfsame, despoil, nowadays, furthermore and wherewithal, and phrases such as subject matter, drive a bargain, handle a subject and bolster an argument. Leme (Lexicons of Early Modern English) • A Table Alphabeticall, conteyning and teaching the true writing, and understanding of hard usuall English wordes, by Robert Crawdrey (1604) • A Table Alphabeticall (1617, 3 rd edition) (scanned book) It's the first English dictionary (120 pages, 3 000 words) It affected words of both native ancestry as well as borrowings from French and Latin. Even in Shakespeare’s time, though, and probably for quite some time afterwards, short vowels were almost interchangeable (e.g. Important English playwrights of the Elizabethan era include Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Webster and of course Shakespeare. Thomas Wyatt’s experimentation with different poetical forms during the early 16th Century, and particularly his introduction of the sonnet from Europe, ensured that poetry would became the proving ground for several generations of English writers during a golden age of English literature, and Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, John Dryden, Andrew Marvell, Alexander Pope and many other rose to the challenge. It is also due to irregularities and regional variations in the vowel shift that we have ended up with inconsistencies in pronunciation such as food (as compared to good, stood, blood, etc) and roof (which still has variable pronunciation), and the different pronunciations of the “o” in shove, move, hove, etc. After the Great Vowel Shift, the pronunciations of these and similar words would have been much more like they are spoken today. One such peak for the English language was the Early Modern period of the 16th to 18th Century, a period sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of English Literature (other peaks include the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th Century, and the computer and digital age of the late 20th Century, which is still continuing today). endsay for conclusion, yeartide for anniversary, foresayer for prophet, forewitr for prudence, loreless for ignorant, gainrising for resurrection, starlore for astronomy, fleshstrings for muscles, grosswitted for stupid, speechcraft for grammar, birdlore for ornithology, etc). Johnson’s dictionary included many flagrant examples of inkhorn terms which have not survived, including digladation, cubiculary, incompossibility, clancular, denominable, opiniatry, ariolation, assation, ataraxy, deuteroscopy, disubitary, esurine, estuation, indignate and others. sitting), although there was much less consensus about consonants at the end of words (e.g. A huge number of classical works were being translated into English during the 16th Century, and many new terms were introduced where a satisfactory English equivalent did not exist. It should be noted, though, that the tendency of upper-classes of southern England to pronounce a broad “a” in words like dance, bath and castle (to sound like “dahnce”, “bahth” and “cahstle”) was merely an 18th Century fashionable affectation which happened to stick, and nothing to do with a general shifting in vowel pronunciation. Printing also directly gave rise to another strange quirk: the word the had been written for centuries as þe, using the thorn character of Old English, but, as no runic characters were available on the European printing presses, the letter “y” was used instead (being closest to the handwritten thorn character of the period), resulting in the word ye, which should therefore technically still be pronounced as “the”. However, this perhaps laudable attempt to bring logic and reason into the apparent chaos of the language has actually had the effect of just adding to the chaos. However, it is interesting to note that some words initially branded as inkhorn terms have stayed in the language and now remain in common use (e.g. Anatomically modern humans arose in Africa about 300,000 years ago, and reached behavioural modernity about 50,000 years ago. Lowth was the main source of such "correct" grammar rules as a double negative always yields a positive, never end a sentence with a preposition and never split an infinitive. The English scholar and classicist Sir Thomas Elyot went out of his way to find new words, and gave us words like animate, describe, dedicate, esteem, maturity, exhaust and modesty in the early 16th Century. Early Modern English and Late Modern English, also called Present-Day English (PDE), differ essentially in vocabulary. It appears to be deliberately conservative, even backward-looking, both in its vocabulary and its grammar, and presents many forms which had already largely fallen out of use, or were at least in the process of dying out (e.g. The spellings of some words changed to reflect the change in pronunciation (e.g. Johnson also deliberately omitted from his dictionary several words he disliked or considered vulgar (including bang, budge, fuss, gambler, shabby and touchy), but these useful words have clearly survived intact regardless of his opinions. equine or equestrian for horsey, aquatic for watery), or merely as an additional synonym (e.g. The first English newspaper was the “Courante” or “Weekly News” (actually published in Amsterdam, due to the strict printing controls in force in England at that time) arrived in 1622, and the first professional newspaper of public record was the “London Gazette”, which began publishing in 1665. Sometimes, Latin-based adjectives were introduced to plug "lexical gaps" where no adjective was available for an existing Germanic noun (e.g. Past tenses were likewise still in a state of flux, and it was still acceptable to use clomb as well as climbed, clew as well as clawed, shove as well as shaved, digged as well as dug, etc. Thomas Sheridan attempted to tap into the zeitgeist, and looked to regulate English pronunciation as well as its vocabulary and spelling. name) to mark long vowels, and doubled consonants to mark a preceding short vowel (e.g. The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. Not all of Shakespeare’s many creations have stood the test of time, including barky, brisky, conflux, exsufflicate, ungenitured, unhair, questrist, cadent, perisive, abruption, appertainments, implausive, vastidity and tortive. gleeman for musician, sicker for certainly, inwit for conscience, yblent for confused, etc), or to create wholly new words from Germanic roots (e.g. For example, more than 80 different spellings of Shakespeare’s name have been recorded, and he himself spelled it differently in each of his six known signatures, including two different versions in his own will! The English of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the late 16th and early 17th Century, on the other hand, would be accented, but quite understandable, and it has much more in common with our language today than it does with the language of Chaucer. So, while modern English speakers can read Chaucer’s Middle English (with some difficulty admittedly), Chaucer’s pronunciation would have been almost completely unintelligible to the modern ear. Likewise, Ben Jonson’s ventositous and obstufact died a premature death, and John Milton’s impressive inquisiturient has likewise not lasted. The old verb ending “-en” had in general been gradually replaced by “-eth” (e.g. By some counts, almost one in ten of the words used by Shakespeare were his own invention, a truly remarkable achievement (it is the equivalent of a new word here and then, after just a few short phrases, another other new word here). The Shift comprises a series of connected changes, with changes in one vowel pushing another to change in order to "keep its distance", although there is some dispute as to the order of these movements. Realism is the most significant and outstanding quality of Modern English Drama. At the time of the introduction of printing, there were five major dialect divisions within England - Northern, West Midlands, East Midlands (a region which extended down to include London), Southern and Kentish - and even within these demarcations, there was a huge variety of different spellings. goes), a version which was ultimately to become the standard. Most of these works, Lowth’s in particular, were extremely prescriptive, stating in no uncertain terms the “correct” way of using English. At the end of the 16th Century, mother-tongue English speakers numbered just 5-7 million, almost all of them in the British Isles; over the next 350 years, this increased almost 50-fold, 80% of them living outside of Britain. However, it should be remembered that, just as with Chaucer, the Shakespeare folios we have today were compiled by followers such as John Hemming, Henry Condell and Richard Field, all of whom were not above making the odd change or “improvement” to the text, and so we can never be sure exactly what Shakespeare himself actually wrote. The “-ing” participle (e.g. A refreshing exception to such prescriptivism was the “Rudiments of English Grammar” by the scientist and polymath Joseph Priestley, which was unusual in expressing the view that grammar is defined by common usage and not prescribed by self-styled grammarians. However, such dialects provided good comic material for the burgeoning theatre industry (a well-known example being the “rude mechanicals” of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) and, paradoxically, many dialect words were introduced into general usage in that way. By the time of his death he had only completed part of the Old Testament, but others carried on his labours. In the same way, Middle English perfet and verdit became perfect and verdict (the added “c” at least being pronounced in these cases), faute and assaut became fault and assault, and aventure became adventure. goeth) appear as "-es" and "-s" in the Northern and most of the north Midland area (e.g. loves and loveth, but not the old loven). digged for dug, gat and gotten for got, bare for bore, spake for spoke, clave for cleft, holpen for helped, wist for knew, etc), and several archaic forms such as brethren, kine and twain. He had a vast vocabulary (34,000 words by some counts) and he personally coined an estimated 2,000 neologisms or new words in his many works, including, but by no means limited to, bare-faced, critical, leapfrog, monumental, castigate, majestic, obscene, frugal, aerial, gnarled, homicide, brittle, radiance, dwindle, puking, countless, submerged, vast, lack-lustre, bump, cranny, fitful, premeditated, assassination, courtship, eyeballs, ill-tuned, hot-blooded, laughable, dislocate, accommodation, eventful, pell-mell, aggravate, excellent, fretful, fragrant, gust, hint, hurry, lonely, summit, pedant, gloomy, and hundreds of other terms still commonly used today. The “King James Bible” was compiled by a committee of 54 scholars and clerics, and published in 1611, in an attempt to standardize the plethora of new Bibles that had sprung up over the preceding 70 years. modern definition: 1. designed and made using the most recent ideas and methods: 2. of the present or recent times…. soon) or a silent final "e" (e.g. Over time, the rise of nationalism led to the increased use of the native spoken language rather than Latin, even as the medium of intellectual communication. (A Shakespeare phonology & rime-index to the poems as a pronouncing vocabulary) & II (A Shakespeare reader), • John Hart's pronunciation of English (1569-1570) by Otto Jespersen (1907), • The life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell (1791) & introduction by Austin Dobson (1901): I & II, • The age of Shakespeare (1579-1631) by Thomas Seccombe & John William Allen (1904) : I (Poetry & Prose) & II (Drama), • Elizabethan literature by John Mackinnon Robertson (1914), → Old English - Anglo-Norman - Middle English - Late Modern English, → United Kingdom - England: maps & documents, conteyning and teaching the true writing, and understanding of hard usuall English wordes, or a more compleat Universal Etymological English Dictionary than any extant, in which the Words are deduced from their Originals, explained in their Different Meanings, an attempt to illustrate some of the differences between Elizabethan and modern English, with especial reference to Shakspere and Chaucer, rime-index to the poems as a pronouncing vocabulary, An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, New light on some obscure words and phrases in the works of Shakespeare. Individuals need to increase their competence and fluency in order to remain competitive in the workplace. In the wake of Johnson’s “Dictionary”, a plethora (one could even say a surfeit) of other dictionaries appeared, peaking in the period between 1840 and 1860, as well as many specialized dictionaries and glossaries. An indication of the arbitrariness of this process is that impede survived while its opposite, expede, did not; commit and transmit were allowed to continue, while demit was not; and disabuse and disagree survived, while disaccustom and disacquaint, which were coined around the same time, did not. dismiss, disagree, celebrate, encyclopaedia, commit, industrial, affability, dexterity, superiority, external, exaggerate, extol, necessitate, expectation, mundane, capacity and ingenious). A comparison of a passage from "King Lear" in the 1623 First Folio with the same passage from a more familiar modern edition below gives some idea of some of the changes that were still underway in Shakespeare's time: Other than the spellings of words such as weild, libertie, valewed and honor, the most obvious differences from modern-day spellings are the continued transposition of of "u" and "v" in loue and vnable, and the trailing silent "e" in lesse, Childe and poore, both hold-overs from Middle English and both in the process of transition at this time. Tyndale printed his “Bible” in secrecy in Germany, and smuggled them into his homeland, for which he was hounded down, found guilty of heresy and executed in 1536. genius, species, militia, radius, specimen, criterion, squalor, apparatus, focus, tedium, lens, antenna, paralysis, nausea, etc) or, more commonly, slightly altered (e.g. His near contemporary Sir Thomas More contributed absurdity, active, communicate, education, utopia, acceptance, exact, explain, exaggerate and others, largely from Latin roots. Plural noun endings had shrunk from the six of Old English to just two, “-s” and “-en”, and again Shakespeare sometimes used one and sometimes the other. But, in 1526, William Tyndale printed his New Testament, which he had translated directly from the original Greek and Hebrew. In some cases, two separate forms with different meaning continued (e.g. The "-eth" and "-th" verb endings used in the south of the country (e.g. Meetings are a key part of this modern workplace and individuals need to develop effective communication skills for them. Tyndale’s “Bible” was much clearer and more poetic than Wycliffe’s early version. The "-eth" ending is used throughout for third person singular verbs, even though "-es" was becoming much more common by the early 17th Century, and ye is used for the second person plural pronoun, rather than the more common you. running) was said as “-and” in the north, “-end” in the East Midlands, and “-ind” in the West Midlands (e.g. It is also sobering to realize that some of the greatest writers in the language have suffered from the same vagaries of fashion and fate. For example, the word church could be spelled in 30 different ways, people in 22, receive in 45, she in 60 and though in an almost unbelievable 500 variations. The effects of the vowel shift generally occurred earlier, and were more pronounced, in the south, and some northern words like uncouth and dour still retain their pre-vowel shift pronunciation (“uncooth” and “door” rather than “uncowth” and “dowr”). Thus, Chaucer’s word lyf (pronounced “leef”) became the modern word life, and the word five (originally pronounced “feef”) gradually acquired its modern pronunciation. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from the Industrial Revolution and technologies that created a need for new words, as well as international development of the language. The Great Vowel Shift gave rise to many of the oddities of English pronunciation, and now obscures the relationships between many English words and their foreign counterparts. He also introduced countless phrases in common use today, such as one fell swoop, vanish into thin air, brave new world, in my mind’s eye, laughing stock, love is blind, star-crossed lovers, as luck would have it, fast and loose, once more into the breach, sea change, there’s the rub, to the manner born, a foregone conclusion, beggars all description, it's Greek to me, a tower of strength, make a virtue of necessity, brevity is the soul of wit, with bated breath, more in sorrow than in anger, truth will out, cold comfort, cruel only to be kind, fool’s paradise and flesh and blood, among many others. We retain even today the old pronunciations of a few words like derby and clerk (as “darby” and “clark”), and place names like Berkeley and Berkshire (as “Barkley” and “Barkshire”), except in America where more phonetic pronunciations were adopted. Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, is also credited with the introduction of many common words, including damp, defunct, strenuous, clumsy and others; John Donne gave us self-preservation, valediction and others; and to Sir Philip Sydney are attributed bugbear, miniature, eye-pleasing, dumb-stricken, far-fetched and conversation in its modern meaning. In fact, some 200 works on grammar and rhetoric were published between 1750 and 1800, and no less than 800 during the 19th Century. Early Modern English Online Dictionary, Grammar, Literature. Also during the 16th Century, the virgule (an oblique stroke /), which had been a very common mark of punctuation in Middle English, was largely replaced by the comma; the period or full-stop was restricted to the end of sentences; semi-colons began to be used in additon to colons (although the rules for their use were still unclear); quotation marks were used to mark direct speech; and capital letters were used at the start of sentences and for proper names and important nouns. Genetic measurements indicate that the ape lineage which would lead to Homo sapiens diverged from the lineage that would lead to chimpanzees and bonobos, the closest living relatives of modern humans, around 4.6 to 6.2 million years ago. In 1704, Newton, having written in Latin until that time, chose to write his “Opticks” in English, introducing in the process such words as lens, refraction, etc. An impressive academic achievement in its own right, Johnson’s 43,000 word dictionary remained the pre-eminent English dictionary until the much more comprehensive “Oxford English Dictionary” 150 more years later, although it was actually riddled with inconsistencies in both spelling and definitions. Early English Books Online (EEBO) is a collection of texts created by the Text Creation Partnership.The "open source" version that we have at this site contains 755 million words in 25,368 texts from the 1470s to the 1690s.. His book “British Education”, published in 1756, and unashamedly aimed at cultured British society, particularly cultured Scottish society, purported to set the correct pronunciation of the English language, and it was both influential and popular. loveth, doth, hath, etc), although this was itself in the process of being replaced by the northern English verb ending “-es”, and Shakespeare used both (e.g. Sir Francis Bacon, however, hedged his bets and wrote many of his works in both Latin and English and, taking his inspiration mainly from Greek, coined several scientific words such as thermometer, pneumonia, skeleton and encyclopaedia. masculine and feminine in addition to manly and womanly, paternal in addition to fatherly, etc). There was even a self-conscious reaction to this perceived foreign incursion into the English language, and some writers tried to deliberately resurrect older English words (e.g. A whole category of words ending with the Greek-based suffixes “-ize” and “-ism” were also introduced around this time. • Leme (Lexicons of Early Modern English), • A Table Alphabeticall, conteyning and teaching the true writing, and understanding of hard usuall English wordes, by Robert Crawdrey (1604), • A Table Alphabeticall (1617, 3rd edition) (scanned book), It's the first English dictionary (120 pages, 3 000 words), • Dictionarium Anglo-Britannicum or a General English Dictionary, by John Kersey (1708), • Dictionarium Anglo-Britannicum or a more compleat Universal Etymological English Dictionary than any extant, by Nathan Bailey (1730), • An Universal Etymological English Dictionary by Nathan Bailey (1726) & 1737 edition (with many additions), • A Dictionary of the English language in which the Words are deduced from their Originals, explained in their Different Meanings, by Samuel Johnson (1768, 3rd edition) & 1792 edition, • Dictionary of the English language by Samuel Johnson & John Walker (1828 edition), • Glossary of Tudor and Stuart words, especially from the dramatists, by Walter Skeat & Anthony Mayhew (1914), • New light on some obscure words and phrases in the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, by Charles Mackay (1884), • Johnson's Dictionary: myths and realities, by David Crystal (2018), • A Grammar of the English tongue by Samuel Johnson (1768), • Grammar of the English tongue, Eine Grammatik der englischen Sprache, by Samuel Johnson & translation in German, by Friedrich Otto (1821), • A Shakespearian grammar, an attempt to illustrate some of the differences between Elizabethan and modern English, by Edwin Abbott (1877), • The comparison of adjectives in English (15th-18th century) by Louise Pound (1901), • On early English pronunciation with especial reference to Shakspere and Chaucer, by Alexander Ellis (1869) : I & II In addition to dictionaries, many English grammars started to appear in the 18th Century, the best-known and most influential of which were Robert Lowth's “A Short Introduction to English Grammar” (1762) and Lindley Murray's “English Grammar” (1794). I am come rather than I have come). Milton was responsible for an estimated 630 word coinages, including lovelorn, fragrance and pandemonium. stone from stan, rope from rap, dark from derk, barn from bern, heart from herte, etc), but most did not. The corpus was created as part of the SAMUELS project (2014-2016), which was funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. He was supported in this by other important writers like John Dryden and Daniel Defoe, but such an institution was never actually realized. (Interestingly, the only country ever to set up an Academy for the English language was South Africa, in 1961). This page discusses Shakespeare phrases and idioms – all of the phrases Shakespeare invented when writing his many works. Ironically, a scant few years after Tyndale’s execution, Henry VIII’s split with Roman Catholicism completely changed official attitudes to an English “Bible”, and by 1539 the idea was being wholeheartedly encouraged, and several new English language Bibles were published (including the “Coverdale Bible”, the “Matthew Bible”, the “Great Bible”, the “Geneva Bible”, the “Bishops Bible”, etc). Standardization was well under way by around 1650, but it was a slow and halting process and names in particular were often rendered in a variety of ways. With the advent of mass printing, the dialect and spelling of the East Midlands (and, more specifically, that of the national capital, London, where most publishing houses were located) became the de facto standard and, over time, spelling and grammar gradually became more and more fixed. William the Conqueror’s “Domesday Book”, for example, would have been pronounced “doomsday”, as indeed it is often erroneously spelled today. BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY® Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern Contributing Authors Chancery Standard contributed significantly to the development of a Standard English, and the political, commercial and cultural dominance of the "East Midlands triangle" (London-Oxford-Cambridge) was well established long before the 15th Century, but it was the printing press that was really responsible for carrying through the standardization process. Grammatical phrases are groups of two or more words that work together to perform a single grammatical function in a sentence. Its cause was not helped by examples such the “p” which was added to the start of ptarmigan with no etymological justification whatsoever other than the fact that the Greek word for feather, ptera, started with a "p". Chances are, you’ve used at least one of these racist words or phrases in casual conversation without knowing its problematic past. marine for sea, pedestrian for walk), or where an existing adjective had acquired unfortunate connotations (e.g. runnand, runnend, runnind). Several rather ostentatious French phrases also became naturalized in English at this juncture, including soi-disant, vis-à-vis, sang-froid, etc, as well as more mundane French borrowings such as crêpe, étiquette, etc. His son, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, later gave us the unforgettable language excesses of Mrs. Malaprop. Most of these were also short-lived. By the time of Shakespeare, word order had become more fixed in a subject-verb-object pattern, and English had developed a complex auxiliary verb system, although to be was still commonly used as the auxiliary rather than the more modern to have (e.g. Even over the period of Shakespeare’s output there was a noticeable change, with “-eth” endings outnumbering “-es” by over 3 to 1 during the early period from 1591-1599, and “-es” outnumbering “-eth” by over 6 to 1 during 1600-1613. Since the 16th Century, there had been calls for the regulation and reform of what was increasingly seen as an unwieldy English language, including John Cheke's 1569 proposal for the removal of all silent letters, and William Bullokar's 1580 recommendation of a new 37-letter alphabet (including 8 vowels, 4 "half-vowels" and 25 consonants) in order to aid and simplify spelling. John Cheke even made a valiant attempt to translate the entire "New Testament" using only native English words. It was, however, a peculiarly English phenomenon, and contemporary and neighbouring languages like French, German and Spanish were entirely unaffected. The causes of the shift are still highly debated, although an important factor may have been the very fact of the large intake of loanwords from the Romance languages of Europe during this time, which required a different kind of pronunciation. Vernacular language, once scorned as suitable for popular literature and little else - and still criticized throughout much of Europe as crude, limited and immature - had become recognized for its inherent qualities. The letters "u" and "v", which had been more or less interchangeable in Middle English, gradually became established as a vowel and a consonant respectively, as did "i" and "j". In Middle English (for instance in the time of Chaucer), the long vowels were generally pronounced very much like the Latin-derived Romance languages of Europe (e.g.