By about the 15th century Middle English had evolved into Early Modern English, and continued to absorb numerous words from other languages, especially from Latin and Greek. Printing was introduced to Britain by William Caxton in around 1469, and as a result English became increasingly standardised. The first English dictionary, Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall, was published in 1604.
During the medieval and early modern periods English spread from England to Wales, Scotland and other parts of the British Isles, and also to Ireland. From the 17th century English was exported to other parts of the world via trade and colonization, and it developed into new varities wherever it went. English-based pidgins and creoles also developed in many places, such as on island in Caribbean and in parts of Africa.
Modern English alphabet
Vowels and diphthongs
This chart shows the vowels and diphthongs used in standard varieties of English spoken in the USA, Australia, England, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Scotland and Wales. There is significant variation in the vowel sounds used within most of these countries, and in other countries where English is spoken.
AmE = American English (General American), AuE = Australian English, BrE = British English (RP), CaE = Canadian English, IrE = Irish English, NZE = New Zealand English, SAE = South African English, ScE = Scottish English, WeE = Welsh English