The English language is a complex system and it is difficult to know what to expect, when a language develops a worldwide presence to the extent that English has. The history of English is a fascinating system of its own. The sound, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary – every aspect of the language has a rich history of development, influenced by other languages during its journey towards standardization.
This paper focuses on one aspect – the spelling. Its development will be traced through all the important periods of the English language (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Modern English) in section two (The English language). The Early Modern English period was the period of the English Renaissance and the spelling reforms. The wish for standardization was at its highest state. In section three, some of the changes that occured in the spelling system, will be taken from some of the most important works of English literature (Beowulf, The Peterborough Chronicles, The Ormulum, The Canterbury Tales) and language development (A Guide to the English Tongue, The Universal Spelling-Book or, A New and Easy Guide to the English Language, The American Spelling Book: Containing the Rudiments of the English Language, for the Use of Schools in the United States), as well as named and compared.
In the conclusion, all the important facts connected with the history of the English language and the historical development of its spelling system, will be briefly summarized.