Describe the process of standardization of the English language from Old English onwards. What kind of factors (status, economic profit, nation building, identity, etc.) may have driven this development?
English is derived from the Roman alphabet that Christian missionaries brought to Anglo-Saxon England in the 600s and that built on an earlier Germanic alphabet called runes. Monks, who were largely the people who wrote in Old English, added new sounds to represent Anglo-Saxon words that could not be written with the Roman alphabet. At this point, there was no standard orthography, or system of spelling words consistently, as the language was changing quickly. In addition, the norms for writing always lagged behind the norms for pronunciation, so it took time for new dialects to be represented in writing.
After the Norman Conquest in 1066, English was replaced by French as the language for writing official documents related to law and government. Scribes at this point were trained in French, and they used different...
(The entire section contains 386 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial