What would better way there be to observe the English language during the Victorian era than to read the most influential writer from this time period, Charles Dickens? One obvious change is that there had been a significant difference between the English language during the Victorian era and a few centuries before this when William Shakespeare was actively writing.
One of the most common things to see is that the English language by this point had been modernized. Most of Charles Dickens writing is fairly clear to understand. This is a good indication that the English grammar rules had been established. No longer was there repeating words for emphasis. Instead, to create emphasis you would frequently see similes being used throughout the writing of this time period.
Another common thing among the language is sarcasm. This was not often used in previous English writings. Charles Dickens loved it. He would frequently use it and as we know, it did have a huge impact on the way people would think as they were reading or speaking.
Still though, much of the Victorian English was extremely proper. It is safe to assume that we have become more relaxed in how we form sentences in our everyday speech. I can imagine that if people from the Victorian era could listen to us now they might be slightly confused. We do not always complete sentences or sound proper. Our writing often differs from the way we would actually talk.
English accents were still unique to regions.
However, the English spoke exactly as the literature was written. Very proper, often deep thinking, and with only slight slang. The slang terms they used were quite different from what we would use today, but our slang spans across whole sentences. Normally they would replace a word, maybe two. Overall, their English was extremely proper but very easy to understand by today’s standards.
Lost English words rediscovered! Don’t be a Momist: Exploration of English words that have fallen out of use.