The English language at Shakespeare’s time

In the sixteenth century English was a respectable language alongside French and Latin.
Important to consider is that legal matters in England were conducted in French while Latin was used to write history, philosophy and theology. Most of the writers did not write in their native tongue. At that time the English language was perceived as a second class-language. Uneducated people spoke English, while French was only spoken by educated people after the Normans started conquering Britain in 1066 C.E.

During the Early Modern English period in some areas in England, Latin and French were spoken and written exclusively.
The period between 1500 and 1650 (Renaissance) was characterized by a strong interest in the classical languages and literature. New publications and scientific treatise were more regularly written in English. The demand for translations increased. Often there were no English words for certain concepts and so they were freely borrowed from other languages like Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

When English reasserted its place as a common language, the deficiency of English words led to the invention of new words, since the discovery of new animals, plants and customs in Africa and America called for the invention of new words. Therefore, many of the English words that are still used today mainly derive from Latin or Greek.
Shakespeare’s language had a great influence on the further development of the English language. Without Shakespeare, many vocabularies wouldn’t exist. He was a creative inventor of new words and often used existing words in new ways. By using fashionable words that were even new in the 16th century, Shakespeare implemented certain words in the English language.