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Early Middle English for today

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grammar of Early Middle English

at a glance

There are two key differences between Early Middle English (eME) and Modern English (ModE):

  1. a hoard of Anglo-Saxon words have disappeared, replaced by words borrowed from French or Latin;
  2. spelling and pronunciation have changed significantly;

Grammatical differences, on the other hand, are slight. They do exist however, moreso in verbs than in other parts of speech, and are briefly outlined below. But it is the wholesale replacement of vocabulary and the revamp of the various spelling systems in the late Middle English period, as well as the great vowel shift from 1450 to 1750 approx., which give Early Middle English the look and sound of a foreign language, to most Modern English speakers.