English pp 48-70 | Cite as

Modern English in the Making

  • Jan Svartvik
  • Geoffrey Leech


The sixteenth century is often hailed as the golden age of the English language, though this becomes an apt description only during the Elizabethan period (Elizabeth I, 1558–1603). Yet we can see, during the whole of this century, that there was a growing pride and confidence in the English language. During the 200 years after William Caxton set up his printing press in London, the language continued to undergo great changes, especially changes that have social or cultural origins, rather than purely linguistic ones. This period, called Early Modern English, sees the forging of a modern standard English language.


Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Standard Language Printing Press 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Svartvik
    • 1
  • Geoffrey Leech
    • 2
  1. 1.Lund UniversitySweden
  2. 2.Lancaster UniversityUK

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