did william shakespeare write in old, middle, or modern english?

i think he wrote in modern english, but my brother says he wrote in old english. which is it?


does anyone have a link that verifies this?

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Middle English is Chaucer, which is much more difficult to understand than Shakespeare. Therefore I must conclude that he wrote in 'modern' english. Old English is practically a different language!

  • 1 decade ago

    There are three different periods of English. Beowulf was written in Old English. Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales in Middle English. Shakespeare wrote in Modern English.

    Source(s): AP class.
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    "Early Modern English refers to the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English period (the latter half of the 15th century) to 1650. Thus, the first edition of the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare both belong to the late phase of Early Modern English, although the King James Bible intentionally keeps some archaisms that were not common even when it was published. Prior to and following the accession of James VI to the English throne the emerging English standard began to influence the spoken and written Middle Scots of Scotland. Current readers of English are generally able to understand Early Modern English, though occasionally with difficulties arising from grammar changes, changes in the meanings of some words, and spelling differences. The standardization of English spelling falls within the Early Modern English period, and is influenced by conventions predating the Great Vowel Shift, explaining much of the non-phonetic spelling of contemporary Modern English."

  • 5 years ago

    william shakespeare write middle modern english

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  • Rafael
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Middle to modern English (Or early modern/transitional modern for the pedants...). Chaucer was middle English, fairly incomprehensable, and Old English was virtually germanic, being comprised of bits of norse, saxon, jute and friesland dialects, combined with a bit of celtish and Latin.

    Shakespeare is Terry Pratchett by comparison....

    "Modern English is the form of the English language spoken since the great vowel shift, completed in roughly 1550.

    Despite some differences in vocabulary, material from the early 17th century, such as the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, is considered to be in Modern English, or more specifically, they are referred to as Early Modern English, and most people who are fluent in the English of the early 21st century can read these books with little difficulty."

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think it woud be fair to say that Shakespeare wrote in "early Modern English." Some of it is hard for us to understand, but it is still modern English. If we suddenly found ourselves in Shakespeare's London it would not take us long to cmmunicate. If we suddenly found ourselves in King Alfred's England we might never figure out the language.

  • 1 decade ago

    william shakespeare wrote in modern english; more specifically early modern english; more specifically still late early modern english.

    middle english is characterised by having large numbers of verbs forming their past participle the old germanic way (y+ stem) instead of the modern way in '-ed' (yclept, ystond, ycall - instead of 'named; 'stood', 'called'). (there are other markers for middle english, but this is one of the most visible ones).

    old english is barely recognisable as the modern language:

    Widsið maðolade, wordhord onleac, se þe monna mæst mægþa ofer eorþan,

    chaucer is a typical example of someone who wrote in middle english (langland and the gawain poet are others).

    most people would agree that modern english starts around the time of skelton (about a hundred years before shakespeare).

    by shakespeare's time it is definitely modern english.

  • 1 decade ago

    Modern english. Middle english is crazy hard to read, let alone old english.

  • 1 decade ago

    Modern English, 16th-17th-century style.

  • 1 decade ago

    Shakespeare = Modern English (it's older than what we use today, but still has all of the structure - namely the vowel shift - of Modern English): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_english

    Chaucer = Middle English (this was the "vernacular" language at the time, when most royal courts spoke Anglo-Norman French and Latin was used in the Church): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_english

    "Beowulf" = Old English (heavily influenced by Norse and Anglo-Saxon linguistic patterns): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_english

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