Definitions for "Middle English"
The name given to the English language in its stage of development between Old English and Early Modern English. It is debatable when the Middle English phase actually began and ended. Crystal (1995) brackets the period between the dates 1066 and the mid-fifteenth century though other accounts suggest significantly later dates; for example, the 1154 continuation of The Peterborough Chronicle may be regarded as a marker of the start of the period which is sometimes seen to extend into the sixteenth century. Burnley distinguishes 'early' (1100 - 1300) from 'later' (1300 - 1500) Middle English and the texts contained in Auchinleck, which originate from the decades either side of 1300, are important to understanding this transition. At the beginnings of Middle English, changes from Old English are detectable at all linguistic levels and include simplification of the inflexional system. At its end, Middle English may be seen to give way to greater standardisation during the period when printing became established. See: ME.
English from about 1100 to 1450
The form of English spoken approximately from 1150 - 1450. Before 1150 English was highly inflected (with special endings for noun and adjective cases and for verb endings). The English spoken from about 500 - 1150 is called Old English; Modern English began to be spoken and written between 1450 and 1500.