Main distinction – Old vs middle English

The English language have the right to be divided into three basic periods called Old English, center English, and modern English. Old English is the Anglo-Saxon language supplied from 400s to around 1100; middle English was supplied from the 1100s to about 1400s, and modern English is the language offered from 1400 onwards. Although center English developed out the Old English, there were drastic differences in between the two in terms of grammar, pronunciation, and orthography. The main difference between Old English and also Middle English deserve to be described as the simplification of grammar; in middle English, plenty of grammatical instances of Old English saw a reduction and inflections in Old English were simplified. 

This article explores, 

1. What is Old English? – Origins, Features, Characteristics

2. What is the center English? – Origins, Features, Characteristics

3. What is the difference between Old and Middle English?


What is Old English

Old English is the faster historical kind of the English language, i beg your pardon was talked in England and some parts of Scotland during the early Middle Ages. That was carried to England by the Anglo-Saxon settlers throughout the fifth century. That was provided in Britain native 400s with the 1100s. 

Old English has four main dialectal forms: Northumbrian, Kentish, Mercian, and West Saxon. That closest family members are Old Saxon and also Old Frisian. The grammar of Old English is somewhat comparable to contemporary German. The word order is lot freer, however nouns, pronouns, adjectives and also verbs have many inflectional forms and endings. Like any other old language, the is really different indigenous its modern version; therefore, speakers of modern-day English find it very complicated to understand it there is no study. Old English vocabulary mostly had Germanic words; many of this words execute not exist in the modern-day English vocabulary together these indigenous were later on replaced by Latin and French words. Words through Latin origins such as cleric, abbot, nun, hymn, temple, silk, purple, beet, lentil, pear, radish, doe, oyster, cannon, ark, alter, and alms gone into into the English vocabulary during the later Old English period.

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The more quickly Old English engravings used a runic system, yet this was changed by a variation of the Latin alphabet from about the ninth century. The faster written work-related in Old English dates back to the 7th century.


The very first page the Beowulf

What is middle English

Middle English describes a repertoire of the arrays of English that replaced Old English after ~ the Norman quest (1066). Center English arisen out of so late Old English, yet there are drastic transforms in grammar, pronunciation, and also spelling between these two versions. Countless Old English grammatical features were simplified; because that examples, noun, verb, and adjective inflections were streamlined in modern-day English so as the palliation of numerous grammatical cases. The dative and also instrumental cases of Old English were changed by through prepositional constructions in early on Middle English.

Everyday vocabulary greatly remained Germanic, but areas such as law, politics, religion and arts witnessed an fostering of Norman French vocabulary. Return the writing customs varied widely throughout this period, a standard based on the London dialect ended up being established aided by the innovation of the to press press. This conventional is the foundation of modern English spelling. Therefore, contemporary English speakers can understand middle English much better than Old English. Wycliffe and Geoffrey Chaucer are remarkable writers that wrote in middle English.


A web page from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Difference between Old and Middle English


Old English is the earliest historical type of the English language.

Middle English developed out that Old English after ~ the Norman conquest in 1066.


Old English was used from 400s come 1100s.

Middle English was used from the 1100s to 1400s.


Old English go not have actually a addressed word order.

Middle English started to have a addressed word order.

Grammar – Inflections

Old English nouns, pronouns, adjectives and also verbs have countless inflectional forms and endings.

Middle English simplified plenty of inflectional creates of nouns, adjectives and verbs.

Grammar – Case

Old English had dative and instrumental cases.

Middle English moved to prepositional constructions.

Relation to contemporary English

Old English is really different from contemporary English. A contemporary English speak cannot recognize it there is no study.

Middle English is somewhat comparable to contemporary English 보다 Old English.


Old English vocabulary was affected by Latin and Germanic languages.

Middle English day-to-day vocabulary mostly remained Germanic, but specific fields such together law and religion were affected by Old French.


Old English engravings originally offered a runic system, however this was replaced by a variation of the Latin alphabet in the later on part.

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Middle English occurred a standard towards the finish of the period, v the development of the to press press.

Image Courtesy:

“Chaucer-canterbury tales-miller” By Unknown – distinct Collections Dept., Glasgow university Library (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 

“Beowulf.first page” By originally uploaded to English Wikipedia through Jwrosenzweig.(Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia