Middle English

The Litel Prynce, in Middle English. Middle English was a form of the English language, spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. This stage of the development of the English language roughly followed the High to the Late Middle Ages.

During the Middle English period, many Old English grammatical features either became simplified or disappeared altogether. Noun, adjective and verb inflections were simplified by the reduction (and eventual elimination) of most grammatical case distinctions. Middle English also saw considerable adoption of Norman French vocabulary, especially in the areas of politics, law, the arts and religion. Conventional English vocabulary retained its mostly Germanic etiology, with Old Norse influences becoming more apparent. Significant changes in pronunciation took place, particularly involving long vowels and diphthongs which in the later Middle English period, began to undergo the Great Vowel Shift.