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Early Modern English

stage of development of English, starting c. 16th century

Early Modern English is the period of the English language when both the written and the spoken English language begins to be familiar to English speakers today, or speakers of Late Modern English. This is the period in which William Shakespeare wrote his plays. What sets Early Modern English apart from Middle English is the Great Vowel Shift, when all the long vowel sounds changed to what they sound like to English speakers today.