[ExI] Genes and the Great Vowel Shift

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Sun Feb 24 17:25:58 UTC 2008

On Sun, Feb 24, 2008 at 1:47 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> Invasions, migrations and the printing press.
> Oh - you want more detail??
> 1066 Norman Invasion started the end of Old English.
> The nobility (and courts, etc.) spoke Old French, the commoners - Old English.
> The Black Death, 1350, killed about one third of the population, and
> the working classes (and their language) grew in importance. By about
> 1400 or so, the mixture was complete and England spoke Middle English.
> The next wave of innovation in English, and the Great Vowel Shift,
> came with the Renaissance, 1450 -1700.
> The printing press, Shakespeare, standardised spelling, all created
> Modern English. The dialect of London, where most publishing houses
> were located, became the standard. Spelling and grammar became fixed,
> and the first English dictionary was published in 1604.
> I don't see any need to create a mystery about it. English is still
> changing as words from other languages and fashionable accents enter
> the mix.

I was about to answer, but Bill K. beat me to it.  He's exactly right.

There was also a surprising fluidity in the upper classes of
intermarriage from other countries, usually orchestrated by parents
for strategic, trade, financial or religious reasons.  This continues
to exist into modern times:

Le Bal Crillon des Debutantes in Paris and The International Ball in NY:

During that period, it was not only the Norman/French (the
conquerors), but Spanish, German, Italian, etc.  Interestingly, Lee's
fashion concept works with this as well.  For instance, when the
Spanish held greater influence at the English court during the
mid-Tudor period, Spanish as a language, as well as a cultural style
(clothing, art, music, etc.) became influential as well.  This would
also coincide with the Renaissance shift.


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