OLD ENGLISH / ANGLO-SAXON
(ENGLISC)
The Lord’s Prayer
Anglo-Saxon Koine (before 1000)
Fæder ure
þu þe eart on heofonum,
Si þin nama gehalgod. Tobecume þin rice.
Gewurþe ðin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg.
And forgyf us urne gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum
gyltendum.
And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele.
Soþlice.
Modern Literal Translation
Father our
You who are in Heaven
Be your name hallowed,
Come your kingdom.
Become your will on earth as on Heaven.
Our daily loaf give us today.
And forgive us our guilts as we forgive the fellow guilty.
And do not lead you us into temptation
But release us of evil. Truly.
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English is a Germanic language of the Indo-European
language family.
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It is the second most spoken language in the world.
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It is estimated that there are 300 million native speakers
and 300 million who use English as a second language and
a further 100 million use it as a foreign language.
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It is the language of science, aviation, computing,
diplomacy, and tourism.
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It is listed as the official or co-official language of over 45
countries and is spoken extensively in other countries
where it has no official status. English plays a part in the
cultural, political or economic life of the following countries.
Majority English speaking populations are shown in bold
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Antigua
Australia
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Bermuda
Botswana
Brunei (with Malay)
Cameroon (with French)
Canada (with French)
Dominica
Fiji
Gambia
Ghana
Grenada
Guyana
India (with several Indian
languages)
Ireland (with Irish Gaelic)
Jamaica
Kenya (with Swahili)
Kiribati
Lesotho (with Sotho)
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Liberia
Malawi (with Chewa)
Malta (with Maltese)
Mauritius
Namibia (with Afrikaans)
Nauru (with Nauruan)
New Zealand
Nigeria
Pakistan (with Urdu)
Papua New Guinea
Philippines (with Tagalog)
Puerto Rico (with Spanish)
St Christopher and Nevis
St Lucia
St Vincent
Senegal (with French)
Seychelles (with French)
Sierra Leone
Singapore (with Malay, Mandarin
and Tamil)
 South Africa (with Afrikaans,
Xhosa and Zulu)
 Surinam (with Dutch)
 Swaziland (with Swazi)
 Tanzania (with Swahili)
 Tonga (with Tongan)
 Trinidad and Tobago
 Tuvalu
 Uganda
 United Kingdom and its
dependences
 United States of America and
its dependencies
 Vanatu (with French)
Western Samoa (with Samoan)
 Zambia
 Zimbabwe
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This compares to 27 for French, 20 for Spanish and 17 for Arabic.
This domination is unique in history.
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Speakers of languages like French, Spanish and Arabic may
disagree, but English is on its way to becoming the world's
unofficial international language.
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Mandarin (Chinese) is spoken by more people, but English is now
the most widespread of the world's languages.
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Half of all business deals are conducted in English. Two thirds of
all scientific papers are written in English. Over 70% of all post /
mail is written and addressed in English. Most international
tourism, aviation and diplomacy is conducted in English.
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The history of the language can be traced back to the arrival of three Germanic
tribes to the British Isles during the 5th Century AD.
The Angles, Saxons and Jutes crossed the North Sea from what is the present day
Denmark and northern Germany.
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The inhabitants of Britain previously spoke a Celtic language. This was quickly
displaced. Most of the Celtic speakers were pushed into Wales, Cornwall and
Scotland. One group migrated to the Brittany Coast of France where their
descendants still speak the Celtic Language of Breton today.
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The Angles were named from Engle, their land of origin. Their language was called
Englisc from which the word, English derives.
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An Anglo-Saxon inscription dated between 450 and 480AD is the oldest sample of the
English language.
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During the next few centuries four dialects of English developed:
Northumbrian in Northumbria, north of the Humber
Mercian in the Kingdom of Mercia
West Saxon in the Kingdom of Wessex
Kentish in Kent
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During the 7th and 8th Centuries, Northumbria's culture and
language dominated Britain.
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The Viking invasions of the 9th Century brought this domination
to an end (along with the destruction of Mercia).
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Only Wessex remained as an independent kingdom.
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By the 10th Century, the West Saxon dialect became the official
language of Britain.
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At this time, the vocabulary of Old English consisted of an
Anglo Saxon base with borrowed words from the
Scandinavian languages (Danish and Norse) and Latin.
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Latin gave English words like street, kitchen, kettle, cup,
cheese, wine, angel, bishop, martyr, candle.
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The Vikings added many Norse words: sky, egg, cake, skin,
leg, window (wind eye), husband, fellow, skill, anger, flat,
odd, ugly, get, give, take, raise, call, die, they, their, them.
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Celtic words also survived mainly in place and river names
(Devon, Dover, Kent, Trent, Severn, Avon, Thames).
Written Old English
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Written Old English is mainly known from
this period.
It was written in an alphabet called Runic,
derived from the Scandinavian languages.
 The Latin Alphabet was brought over from
Ireland by Christian missionaries. This has
remained the writing system of English.
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Runic script /alphabet
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The runic alphabets are a set of related
alphabets using letters known as runes to
write various Germanic languages prior to
the adoption of the Latin alphabet.
LECTURE 4 - OLD ENGLISH
11
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The first Runic inscriptions
that have survived to the
modern day are dated
from around 200 CE.
The alphabet consists of 24
letters, 18 consonants and
6 vowels, as illustrated in
the chart:
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Many pairs of English and Norse words coexisted giving us two
words with the same or slightly differing meanings. Examples
below:
Norse
English
anger
wrath
nay
no
fro
from
raise
rear
ill
sick
bask
bathe
skill
craft
skin
hide
dike
ditch
skirt
shirt
scatter
shatter
skip
shift
In 1066 the Normans conquered Britain. French became the
language of the Norman aristocracy and added more
vocabulary to English. More pairs of similar words arose:
French
English
close
shut
reply
answer
odour
smell
annual
yearly
demand
ask
chamber
room
desire
wish
power
might
ire
wrath / anger
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Because the English underclass cooked for the Norman upper class, the
words for most domestic animals are English (ox, cow, calf, sheep, swine,
deer) while the words for the meats derived from them are French (beef,
veal, mutton, pork, bacon, venison).
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The Germanic form of plurals (house, housen; shoe, shoen) was
eventually displaced by the French method of making plurals: adding an s
(house, houses; shoe, shoes). Only a few words have retained their
Germanic plurals: men, oxen, feet, teeth, children.
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French also affected spelling so that the cw sound came to be written as
qu (eg. cween became queen).
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It wasn't till the 14th Century that English became
dominant in Britain again.
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In 1399, King Henry IV became the first king of England
since the Norman Conquest whose mother tongue was
English.
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By the end of the 14th Century, the dialect of London had
emerged as the standard dialect of what we now call
Middle English. Chaucer wrote in this language.
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Modern English began around the 16th Century and, like
all languages, is still changing. One change occurred when
the th of some verb forms became s (loveth, loves: hath,
has). auxiliary verbs also changed (he is risen, he has
risen).
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The historical influence of language in the British Isles can
best be seen in place names and their derivations.
Examples include ac (as in Acton, Oakwood) which is
Anglo-Saxon for oak; by (as in Whitby) is Old Norse for
farm or village; pwll (as in Liverpool) is Welsh for
anchorage; baile (as in Balmoral) is Gaelic for farm or
village; ceaster (as in Lancaster) is Latin for fort.
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Since the 16th Century, because of the contact that the British
had with many peoples from around the world, and the
Renaissance of Classical learning, many words have entered the
language either directly or indirectly. New words were created at
an increasing rate. Shakespeare coined over 1600 words. This
process has grown exponentially in the modern era.
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Borrowed words include names of animals (giraffe, tiger, zebra),
clothing (pyjama, turban, shawl), food (spinach, chocolate,
orange), scientific and mathematical terms (algebra, geography,
species), drinks (tea, coffee, cider), religious terms (Jesus, Islam,
nirvana), sports (checkmate, golf, billiards), vehicles (chariot, car,
coach), music and art (piano, theatre, easel), weapons (pistol,
trigger, rifle), political and military terms (commando, admiral,
parliament), and astronomical names (Saturn, Leo, Uranus).
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Languages that have contributed words to English include Latin,
Greek, French, German, Arabic, Hindi (from India), Italian, Malay,
Dutch, Farsi (from Iran and Afghanistan), Nahuatl (the Aztec
language), Sanskrit (from ancient India), Portuguese, Spanish,
Tupi (from South America) and Ewe (from Africa).
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The list of borrowed words is enormous.
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The vocabulary of English is the largest of any language.
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Even with all these borrowings the heart of the language remains
the Anglo-Saxon of Old English.
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Only about 5000 or so words from this period have remained
unchanged but they include the basic building blocks of the
language: household words, parts of the body, common animals,
natural elements, most pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and
auxiliary verbs.
English - A Historical Summary
INDO EUROPEAN LANGUAGES
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From previous chart:
Languages in the same box as English (the Germanic Languages)
are sister languages to English and are its closest relatives.
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Languages in other boxes are "cousin" languages - still related but
not as closely.
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The further the box, the more distant the relationship.
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The Indo-European family is one of many language families.
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Languages belonging to other families are not related to English.
Examples of unrelated languages include Arabic, Basque,
Hungarian, Mandarin, Malay, Quechua, Tamil, Turkish and Zulu.
The Germanic Language Family
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The Germanic language family has three branches, of which two are of
great importance in the history of English.
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West Germanic is the family to which English actually belongs. Other
members include German, Dutch and Frisian - as well as derivatives such
as Afrikaans and Flemish.
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North Germanic is the family of Scandinavian languages: Danish, Norse
and Swedish, as well as derivatives like Icelandic and Faroese.
The Germanic Language Family
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In particular, Old Norse, the language of the Vikings left its mark on the
development of Old English , and can still be traced in the northern
dialects of British English.
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All East Germanic languages are now extinct. The bestknown was Gothic, the language of some of the tribes of
raiders from central Europe that contributed to the fall of
the Roman Empire: the Ostrogoths, who under
Theodoric the Great (454 - 526) ruled Italy as well as
large parts of the eastern Adriatic; and the Visigoths
who, rather earlier, sacked Rome in 410 CE. Some
fragments of a form of Gothic spoken in the Crimea
were recorded as late as the 16th century. Other early
forms of Germanic are also associated with the invaders
of the Roman Empire, such as the Burgundians and
Vandals.
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Anglo-Saxon
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Anglo-Saxon is a term with several, related, meanings.
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Anglo-Saxon is often used to mean Old English - the form(s) of
English spoken from the beginnings in the 4th century until after
the Norman Conquest of 1066.
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In this loose usage, it refers to any of the dialects spoken by the
newcomers to Britain who belonged to the tribes of the Angles,
Saxons or Jutes.
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It is also used to refer to peoples of British origin who claim the
same culture and many links: Britain, the USA, Australia and New
Zealand can all claim to be 'Anglo-Saxon countries'.
What was Old English like?
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We often hear people delivering opinions
about different languages: French is
"romantic," Italian "musical." For the
student of language, such impressionistic
judgments are not very useful. Rather, to
describe a language we need to explain
how it goes about doing the work that all
languages must do; and it is helpful to
compare it with other languages-especially members of the language
groups it belongs to.
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Comparing languages
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Languages may be compared in a number of ways.
Every language has its own repertory of sounds, as known
by all students who have had to struggle to learn to
pronounce a foreign language.
Every language also has its own rules for accentuating
words and its own patterns of intonation--the rising and
falling pitch of our voices as we speak.
Every language has its own vocabulary, of course, though
when we're lucky we find a good bit of overlap between the
vocabulary of our native language and that of the language
we're learning.
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Comparing languages
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And every language has its own way of
signaling how words function in
utterances--of expressing who performed
an action, what the action was, when it
took place, whether it is now finished or
still going on, what or who was acted
upon, for whose benefit the action was
performed, and so on.
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The following sections attempt to hit the
high points, showing what makes Old
English an Indo-European language, a
Germanic language, a West Germanic and
a Low German language; and also how
Old and Modern English are related.
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Old English
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Old English is the first phase in the history of the English
language. It is also called Anglo-Saxon, but this term is
ambiguous to some specialists in the history of languages.
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The first phase of Old English was created as a result of
the tribal movements across the North Sea from the
western edge of Europe, the areas that are now the
countries of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
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The Angles, Saxons and Jutes first arrived in Roman Britain
as traders and as mercenaries.
Old English
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In the two centuries following the Roman
departure c.410 CE, the southern part of
Britain became dominated by the
newcomers.
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They spoke a west Germanic language
that is now called Old English, or, less
accurately, Anglo-Saxon.
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One particular tribe, the Angles, gave their
name to the language - and to the country
of England, the 'land of the Angles'.
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Old English
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Old English developed through the rest of the
millennium and beyond, and in that time there
were many changes.
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During the 7th and 8th centuries, there was a
fluid political division of the country, such that it
is sometimes (not wholly accurately) called the
Heptarchy (~ 'Seven Kingdoms').
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This is linked to the many varieties in dialect. In
seven hundred years or so of Old English, there
were also of course enormous developments.
LECTURE 4 - OLD ENGLISH
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Old English
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The most important of these, for a quick
general overview of the history of the
English language, was the strong influence
on its development in the north and east
parts of England from a North Germanic
language spoken, in various varieties, by
the Vikings who raided - and traded with the British Isles in the 9th and 10th
centuries and beyond.
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This was Old Norse.
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Old English
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The people who came were natives of
Scandinavia and Jutland: they were
usually called 'Danes' or 'North[or
Norse]men': OED says that "older usage
[of the word Dane] included all the
Northmen who invaded England from the
9th to the 11th c."
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Some of the relatives of these 'men from
the North' raided and settled in the part of
modern France which is called Normandy
after them.
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Old English
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When Duke William of Normandy defeated the
English king Harold at the Battle of Hastings in
1066, the rulers of the country became
predominantly French-speaking.
This, more than anything else, signaled the end
of Old English and the start of the Middle English
phase of our language.
Before the arrival of the Germanic invaders, the
country now called 'England' was a Roman
province, called Roman Britain.
It was inhabited, apart from the governing elite,
by Celtic people who spoke an early form of the
Celtic language that became modern Welsh. It
was then usually called 'British'.
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The Indo-European languages
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The Indo-European languages do certain
things in much the same way. For
example, they share some basic
vocabulary. Consider these words for
'father':
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The Indo-European languages
You can easily see the resemblance
among the Latin, Greek and Sanskrit
words.
 You may begin to understand why the Old
English word looks different from the
others when you compare these words for
'foot':
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LECTURE 4 - OLD ENGLISH
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LECTURE 4 - OLD ENGLISH
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Old English
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Old English, also known as Englisc or
Anglo-Saxon, is an early version of the
English spoken today in Britain.
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Speakers of Old English called their
language Englisc, themselves Angle,
Angelcynn or Angelfolc and their home
Angelcynn or Englaland.
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Old English
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In use for approximately 700 years,
starting in the mid-fifth century, Old
English varies widely from the language
we know today.
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Old English was the West Germanic
language spoken in the area now known
as England between the 5th and 11th
centuries.
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Old English
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Throughout the centuries, it experienced
influence from Germanic dialects and Celtic
languages.
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Later on, Latin also became a powerful influence,
particularly around the time when a new alphabet
was adopted.
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Old English
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Old English / Anglo-Saxon was sometimes
written with a version of the Runic
alphabet, brought to Britain by the AngloSaxons until about the 11th century.
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Old English
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Old English began to appear in writing
during the early 8th century.
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Most texts were written in West Saxon,
one of the four main dialects. The other
dialects were Mercian, Northumbrian and
Kentish.
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Features of Old English
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Old English (OE) was spoken from 449 to 1100 AD.
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Characteristic features of Old English are that the
vocabulary is almost purely Germanic.
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OE is a period of full inflections: in form of endings to the
noun and pronoun, the adjective and the verb.
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Since the grammar of such languages depends on the
synthesis of words and endings, we call them synthetic
languages.
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Features of Old English
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Nouns
It is impossible here to present the
inflections of the Old English noun in
detail.
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Their nature may be gathered from two
examples of the strong declension and one
of the weak: (stone), a masculine a-stem;
(gift), a feminine o-stem; and (hunter), a
masculine consonant-stem.
LECTURE 4 - OLD ENGLISH
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Features of Old English
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Verbs
There are certain differences between OE verbs and Modern
English (ModE) verbs.
Verbs are divided into two classes: regular and irregular
verbs. Regular verbs all follow the same inflection pattern,
while there are irregularities among the second group.
The latter consists of strong, weak, and anomalous verbs.
Strong verbs are called so because a change of tense is
there indicated within the word itself, by a modification of
the verb's root vowel, such as in sing, sang, sung.
In weak verbs, like walk, walked, walked, this change is
dependent on being indicated by an additional syllable.
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Features of Old English
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OE strong verbs can still be strong verbs
in ModE:
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Features of Old English
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OE strong verbs may be regularized in
ModE:
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Features of Old English
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OE weak verbs may be regularized in
ModE:
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The foregoing sections have given a
somewhat technical, if rather sketchy,
picture of how Old English is like and
unlike the languages it is related to.
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The End!!!
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