- Shakespeare, William
- 1564 - 1582: William Shakespeare's Stratford Beginnings
- 1582 - 1592: William Shakespeare's Marriage, Parenthood and Early Occupation
- 1592 - 1594: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 1
- 1594 - 1611: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 2
- 1594 - 1611: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 3
- 1611 - 1616: William Shakespeare - Back to Stratford
- Walpole, Horace
- Social / political context
- Religious / philosophical context
- The Theatre
- Act I
- Act II
- Act III
- Act IV
- Act V
The evolution of the language
The English language has been evolving since Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, developed in Britain from the dialects spoken by the Germanic tribes called Angles and Saxons who arrived in the fifth and sixth centuries. Later invaders, such as Danes and Norman Frenchmen, added their vocabulary and also influenced the grammar of English.
Early Modern English
By the time Shakespeare was writing, the language had passed through the phase now known as Middle English (the language, for example, of such fourteenth century writers as Chaucer) and was entering the period we now call Early Modern English.
Inevitably languages continue to evolve in use:
- present-day English is still changing, for example because of the influence of America
- for readers and audiences today, Shakespeare's language is broadly comprehensible, but different in key ways from our own.
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