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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The English language, at all grammatical levels, underwent a profound, albeit gradual, change between 1377 and 1642. These phonological changes include the Great Vowel Shift and the change in inflectional morphology. This article examines the transition from Middle English to Modern English and how English became Latin. It considers the retention of what might be called England’s sociolinguistic infrastructure, alongside a wide-ranging reconfiguration of English’s grammar and social uses. It discusses three unfamiliar constancies that characterize the decisive shift in the English language between the medieval and early modern epochs: the first involved the object of grammatical inquiry in early modern England, the second concerned the character of England’s linguistic repertoire of which diglossia was the notable organizing principle, and the third relates to the cultural significance that English was understood to project as an emerging High Language.

Keywords: English language, Middle English, Modern English, Latin, England, sociolinguistic infrastructure, grammar, diglossia, High Language, phonological changes

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