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How Unrecognizable Was The English Language Just 300 Years Ago?

When we accuse teenagers of mutilating English to an unrecognizable form, we sometimes forget that in the grand scheme of things, the version of English we hold near and dear to our hearts has only been around for a short time.

A language is an ever-changing entity, a tool that gets slowly reinvented throughout the ages to be appropriate for its increasingly modern users. The ability for it to transform itself with time seems to be the key to its survival.

Today many of us find it difficult to understand the language of Shakespeare, who wrote barely 400 years ago. Step back another 600 years, and English is almost unrecognizable.

This video travels through time, exploring the evolution of the sound and vocabulary of the English language. How far back do you think you could recognize and understand the English language? We bet you’ll be surprised!

Find out more about how languages evolve!

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