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IF FORCED to pick my favourite part of the history of English, I’d be torn. There are so many to choose from. Would I pick the Great Vowel Shift, the mid-millennium change in pronunciation that largely explains English’s inconsistent spelling? Perhaps I’d turn to colonial times, when English vocabulary ballooned. I do like Noah Webster’s attempts to change American English spelling in the name of efficiency, too.
But my favourite must be the Norman invasion of 1066. When the Normans, who spoke a dialect of Old French, ruled over England, they changed the face of English.
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