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ENGL 301-131 Prepared by: Ms. Sahar Deknash. EARLY MODERN ENGLISH 1500-1800. The Death of Chaucer at the close of the 15 th century marked the beginning of a new era in the English language history which is known as Early Modern English ( EMoE). EMoE was mainly marked by :

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ENGL 301-131

Prepared by: Ms. SaharDeknash

early modern english 1500 1800

The Death of Chaucer at the close of the 15th century marked the beginning of a new era in the English language history which is known as Early Modern English ( EMoE).


EMoE was mainly marked by:

* A major change in the vowel system which is known as the GREAT VOWEL SHIFT.

* The development of a single literary and administrative variety of the language that was later to be called STANDARD ENGLISH.


During this period, a great interest in learning arouse in England leading to the establishment of a group that is called the inkhorn people. It refers to a group of educated people who became more aware of the importance of language as they studied the writings of the Latin and Greek languages.


They called for the use of these two classic languages. Sir Thomas Elyot and Sir Thomas More represented this group.

what aspects differentiate me from emoe
What Aspects Differentiate ME from EMoE?

ME with its many variations and dialects was replaced by a new and more standardized language with a richer lexicon and an established and original literature.

the word stock of english expanded greatly for the following reasons
The Word Stock of English expanded greatly for the following reasons:

1. To meet the need for words to describe the new inventions and discoveries.

2. The expansion and extension of English abroad and the contact with other languages.

the word stock of english expanded greatly for the following reasons1
The Word Stock of English expanded greatly for the following reasons:

3. The influence of the classical languages: Latin, Greek and French remained strong and they continued to be major sources of loanwords.


4. Spanish and Portuguese became new sources for English to borrow from.

5. Many other languages as: Scandinavian, Italian, German , Arabic and other Asian languages contributed to the word stock of English.


6. The British Colonization to America which started in the 15th century. Native American languages began to influence and supply English with many words, too.


A standard language is the one that is widely spread over a large area, and respected by its people and recognized for its usefulness. English suffered once of inferiority from its speakers, but suddenly during the fifteenth century it gained a high status in the society and started developing as the only standard language that should be dealt with.


While Latin started to decline, English was studied, described, codified in order to be given its legal status. In order to gain standardization, English cared about two aspect:

* Dictionaries

* Grammar Books

early modern english dictionaries
Early Modern English Dictionaries:

I. The first dictionary appeared in

1604 by Robert Cowdrey. The

dictionary ( A table of Alphapeticall)

contained 2500 rare and borrowed



III. Henry Cockerman’s dictionary ( English Dictionarie ) appeared in 1623 for refined and vulgar words.

IV. Thomas Blount’s dictionary ( Glossographia) appeared in 1656. It contained 11000 entries with the etymology of words.

V. Edward Cocker’s dictionary ( English Dictionary) appeared in1704.


VI. Nathan Bailey’s dictionary ( Universal Etymological English Dictionary) in 1721 contained 48000 entries of ordinary words with etymologies, cognate forms and stress placement.


The most important dictionary was Dr. Jonson’s Dictionary ( A Dictionary of the English Language), an impressive academic achievement in its own right, appeared in 1755. Dr. Johnson’s goal was not to “ reform but to register the language”

It was significant for the following reasons:

It was the first English-English dictionary.


2. It contained 43.000 words which helped to fix and stable the spelling of English.

3. It contained illustrative quotations from famous works of Shakespeare and Chaucer.

4. It was a model for OED which we use it today.

early modern english literature
Early Modern English Literature
  • It is called the Golden Age of English Literature due to the extensive number of poets, writers play writers, literary works produced and the number of words that were coined and added to English at that time. The bible translation from Latin into English continued.

The most important poets are:

Edmund Spenser

EdmundSpenser was born in

East Smithfield, London around

the year 1552. As a young boy,

he was educated in London at

the Merchant Taylors\' School and



Sir Philip Sidney:was born in November 1554,

In Kent. He was the eldest

son of Sir Henry Sidney,

Lord Deputy of Ireland.

He studied at Shrewsbury School

at the age of ten. He didn’t

continue his education due to

travelling all through the

continent. Among the places

he visited were Paris,

Frankfurt, Venice, and Vienna.


Edmund Spencer’s famous works are

Letter to Queen Elizabeth I

A dialogue Between Two Shepherds

Astrophel and Stella

The Lady of May

Certain Sonnets



Christopher Marlow:

He was a great Elizabethan

playwright. He was born

in Kentin February 1564.

His family was rich, so he

he was sent to the Kings

School. His famous works

are :

* Tamburline the Great and

* Dr. Faustus.


John Milton:

Agreat English writer

of the 17th Century. He

was also a great believer

in liberty. He studied at

St Paul\'s school. He

Attended Cambridge

University in 1625.


He wrote the famous religious epic called Paradise Lost. Milton acquired a considerable reputation in his lifetime that only grew after his death and he was considered the greatest of English poets in the Victorian era.

His other famous works are:


Paradise Regained

On Christian Doctrine


Ben Johnson:

A contemporary poet and

playwright of William Shake-

speare and Marlowe. He

Wrote satirical plays as The

Alchemist. He wrote many

lyric poetry.