The Firsts In English

The English language has a beautiful history behind it. In this article, we will look at the first events that marked the beginning of a great moment in the language.

The most iconic pioneer moments, or as we call them the firsts in English, are below:

  • The First Book Printed In English: The book, The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye was the first book printed in English. This happened in 1473, and the book was a compilation of Trojan war stories which was originally written in the French language.
  • The First Printer to Publish a Book in English: William Caxton was the first person to introduce a printing press in 1476 in the whole of England. He was also the first to own a printing press in the country, and is the pioneer of selling retail printed books.
  • The First Novel Written in English: This credit is usually given to Daniel Defoe for his book, Robinson Crusoe, which was published in 1719 (learn about the rise of English novel). The novel is about a man who was deserted on an Island for 28 years, and his experiences on this island. However, there are a list of other books which are usually considered the first book written in English. They include:
  • Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur
  • John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim Progress
  • Samuel Richardson’s Pamela
  • William Baldwin’s Beware the Cat
  • Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko
  • Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World
  • The First Poem in English: It is quite impossible to know the first poem in the English language, but the earliest known poem is a hymn of creation which is usually attributed to Cædmon, who was considered to be an illiterate herdsman who wrote poetry at a monastery. This poem is used to mark the beginning of Anglo-Saxon poetry.
  • The First Person to Translate the Bible to English From Greek and Hebrew Texts: William Tyndale is considered to as the first person to translate the Bible (Translation tips) directly from Hebrew and Greek texts to the English language. Even though this is considered one of the most important events in history today, it perhaps might have happened too early. In 1536, William Tyndale is burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. He was also the first translator to use the printing press in disseminating his translated work.
  • The First Person to Translate the Bible to English: The first translation is usually credited to John Wycliffe.
  • The First English Dictionary: The first English dictionary was published in 1604, and it is the Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall. It is regarded to as the first single-language dictionary, which contained over 3000 words. Each one of these words have a brief explanation, and an example to accompany it. The aim of this book — or dictionary — was to explain seemingly “hard” words to people who were unfamiliar with them.
  • The First Detective Novel: The first detective novel is attributed to Mary Elizabeth Brandon’s The Trail of the Serpent, which was published in the 1860s, and was referred to as sensation fiction.
  • The First Recipe Book in English: The first recipe book in English is the Forme of Cury which was published in the 14th century. It is the first book to make mention of ingredients such as olive oil, cloves, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and so on.
  • The First English Book for Children: The first English book written for children is the Spiritual Milk for Boston Babies, which was written by John Cotton, and published in 1646. The book was available in England and Boston. On the same hand, the English Primer who was first printed in 1691 was one of the first children books to be used in schools.

The firsts in English language

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