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The periods in the history of the English language PRE-ENGLISH PERIOD (- C. AD 450) Local languages in Britain are Celtic.

After the Roman invasion c. 55 BC Latin becomes the dominant language of culture and government. Many communities in Britain are bilingual Celtic-Latin. OLD ENGLISH (450- 1066) Early Old English (450 c. 850) Anglo-Saxon invasion c. AD 449 when Romans leave. Settlers bring a variety of Germanic dialects from mainland Europe. First English literature appears c. AD 700. English borrows many words from Latin via the church. Later Old English (c. 850-1066) Extensive invasion and settlement from Scandinavia. In the north of England dialects of English become strongly influenced by Scandinavian languages. In the south King Alfred arranges for many Latin texts to be translated. MIDDLE ENGLISH (1066-1500) Early Middle English (1066-1300) Norman conquest and Norman rule. English vocabulary and spelling now affected by French, which becomes the official language in England. Educated English people trilingual (French, Latin, English). Late Middle English (1300-1500) Re-establishment of English (education, law, power centres, etc.). Chaucer. MODERN ENGLISH 1500-1800 Early Modern English (1500-1650) Includes the Renaissance, the Elizabethan era and Shakespeare. The role of the church, of Latin and of French declines and English becomes a language of science and government. Britain grows commercially and acquires overseas colonies. English taken to America. English acquires a typographic identity with the rise of printing. Spelling reform. Late Modern English (1650-1800) Britain grows commercially and acquires overseas colonies. Many attempts to standardize and fix the language with dictionaries and grammars. PRESENT DAY ENGLISH (1800-) Britain experiences industrial revolution and consolidates imperial power, introducing English medium education in many parts of the world. English becomes the international language of advertising and consumerism. Britain retreats from empire. New standardized varieties of English emerge in newly independent countries. English becomes the international language of communications technology. American English becomes the dominant world variety.
(Graddol 1996:41; Fisiak 1995:24-25)