We explain the difference between Old English and Middle English with table. One of the world’s leading languages - Englishs has many classifications. This global language is mostly spoken around the world, and many people even claim that English is their native language. But, the English you hear around you now is also called modern Englishss. This is not something that was also used in the old days.
English back then was completely different from what is spoken now! The Englishs language has an enriched cultural past of almost 1,700 years, which is why it is also divided into Old English and Middles English, in addition to Modern English. A rather long and interesting journey tells us the story of how the Englishs language has changed throughout these hundreds of years.
The difference between Old-English and Middle-English is the timeline. While Old Englishs began around the 5th century, Middle English did not begin until the late 11th century.
Old English vs. Middle English Comparison Chart
|Comparison parameters||Old English||Intermediate English|
|Classification||Old Englishs can be classified into three more subdivisions: Prehistoric, Old Early England, and Late Old English.||Having developed from Late Old English, Middle English became popular and soon people began to compose in Middle Englishs. Later, Late Middle Englishs came to be known as Early Modern English.|
|Period||It is recorded in history that Old English was spoken from about the 5th century to about the 12th century.||Middle Englishs emerged from the second half of the 11th century, while Old English was still in use until the latter parts of the 15th century.|
|Source||Old English is the oldest language recorded in history books ever spoken. We are still not sure how it came about.||Middle English emerged from Late Old English after the Norman conquest.|
|Word order||Old English word order has not been corrected||Middle English word order was almost fixed|
|Standardization||Old Englishs has never been standardized.||Middle Englishs was standardized ages after its existence.|
What is Old English?
Old English is technically the oldest form of Englishs that we have come across in history.
It was predominant throughout England during this time period. It was also spoken in Scotland for a long period of time. The Anglo-Saxons brought this language with them. In fact, it was a combination of different dialects used in different tribes at the time.
Having more than three classifications, the language had its initial influence from Latin. However, we see many German words in their daily use. Prehistoric, Middle Old-Englishs, and Late Old Englishs are the three classifications. From Late Old-English, Middle Englishs developed.
When the Vikings began attacking Englishs, their Norse and Celtic languages also became part of Old English.
It is very difficult for modern Englishs readers to be able to read a fragment of Old English. The pronouns, nouns and verbs are completely different and the sentences are complex. They used many versions of pronouns for a single pronoun.
Old Englishs was not standardized. However, we do find some writings that were written in runes.
What is Middle English?
Middles English began to develop from Late Olds Englishs and derives its influence from French words. Initially it had no standardization, but over time it slowly became the language in which poets wrote.
It is much simpler than Olds English and it is also quite similar to Modern English. Prepositional construction, verb forms, and pronouns are quite simple like modern English.
We get examples of various Middles English writings from Chaucer’s verses.
- The main difference between Olds English and Middles English lies in their different influence. Latin, Celtic, and Norse were the three languages that greatly influenced Olds English. However, Middles English was influenced by the French language.
- Old-English was by no means what you would call a monolithic language – the language had great variations depending on the different regions it spread to. However, the four main variations were West Saxon, Kentish, Northumbrian, and Mercian. On the other hand, Middles English, at first, had its share of different dialects. But, after a while, it became the language in which artists composed, and thus became standardized.
- Olds English was much more complex compared to Middles English. Old-English verbs and nouns had many forms that became unnecessarily complex for people. However, Middle-Englishs was simpler compared to Old English.
- Old-English bore little or no resemblance to modern English, but Middless-Englishs closely resembled modern English.
- The Olds English vocabulary had many German and Latin words, but the Middles English vocabulary had mainly French words, and concepts and terms such as law and religion emerged.
- There were many silent letters in the Old-English alphabet system. In the case of Middles-English, the language did not initially have silent letters, but then the ‘e’ became silent in some situations.
- The cases were mainly instrumental in Old-English. In Middles English, we see a shift towards different prepositional constructions.
Old-English and Middles English are different classifications of English that were used for different periods of time. They have different sentence construction and word order. It is difficult for us to read and understand something that is written in Old English as it is very different from modern English. The verb forms and pronouns are too many and complex too.
However, Middles English has some similarities to Modern English, as the construction is simpler than Old-English. Also, Middle-English is more standardized than Old-English and derives its influence from various French words.