This volume of the Cambridge History of the English Language covers the period 1476-1776, beginning at the time of the establishment of Caxton's first press in England and concluding with the American Declaration of Independence, the notional birth of the first (non-insular) extraterritorial English. It encompasses three centuries which saw immense cultural change over the whole of Europe: the late middle ages, the renaissance, the reformation, the enlightenment, and the beginnings of romanticism. During this time, Middle English became Early Modern English and then developed into the early stages of indisputably 'modern', if somewhat old-fashioned, English. In this book, the distinguished team of six contributors traces these developments, covering orthography and punctuation, phonology and morphology, syntax, lexis and semantics, regional and social variation, and the literary language. The volume also contains a glossary of linguistic terms and an extensive bibliography.