Middle English marks the transition between Old English and Modern English as a result of the 1066 Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror. Old English was a Germanic language, while Norman French was a Romance language. In the Middle English period, English borrowed many new vocabulary words from French and spelling, grammar, and vocabulary changed to reflect French influence. In literature, Anglo-Saxon accentual prosody fused with French syllabic prosody to create the accentual-syllabic meter, which is the basis of modern verse. Chaucer is an important writer of the period.
The next phase of English is Modern English. Two early examples (from what is referred to as the "Early Modern" period) are Shakespeare and the King James Bible. In terms of syntax, Modern English relies increasingly on position rather than inflection as a way to identify the grammatical role of words in a sentence. In Middle English, nouns were declined, meaning taking different forms based on gender, number, and case; in modern English, we decline nouns only by number (person/people, dog/dogs), although pronouns decline by gender, number, and case (he/him/his/she/her/hers/they). Many changes also occurred in spelling and pronunciation.