Old English

earliest historical form of English

Old English (Englisċ) or Anglo-Saxon,[1] was spoken in Anglo-Saxon England from 450 AD to 1100 AD. It was spoken by the Anglo-Saxons, who came to Great Britain from what is now Germany and Denmark. Different Anglo-Saxon kingdoms spoke different dialects, but a western dialect became the main literary version. Both modern languages of England and Scotland (English and Scots) came from the language of the Anglo-Saxons.

Old English
Ænglisċ, Englisċ, Anglisc
A detail of the first page of the Beowulf manuscript, showing the words "ofer hron rade", translated as "over the whale's road (sea)". It is an example of an Old English stylistic device, the kenning.
RegionEngland (except the extreme south-west and north-west), southern and eastern Scotland, and the eastern fringes of modern Wales.
EthnicityAnglo Saxons
Eramostly developed into Middle English and Early Scots by the 13th century
Runic, later Latin (Old English alphabet).
Language codes
ISO 639-2ang
ISO 639-3ang
ISO 639-6ango
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Old English is a West Germanic language, and developed out of Ingvaeonic, which is very different from Modern English because it is closer to German than English (its closest relatives are Old Frisian and Old Saxon) with many more Germanic words, difficult grammar and complex inflections. In early centuries, it wasn’t common to be written down and even then it was in runes. After the 8th century, the Latin alphabet was used more often by churchmen like the Venerable Bede. After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Old English was replaced by Anglo-Norman, which gradually turned into Middle English

Beowulf is written in Old English in an alphabetic script.

Old English comparison
Languages wordlist
English apple path eat tide make child give day
Old English æppel pæþ etan tid macian cild giefan dæg
German Apfel Pfad essen Zeit machen Kind geben Tag

References change

  1. By the 16th century the term Anglo-Saxon came to refer to all things of the early English period, including language, culture, and people. While it remains the normal term for the latter two aspects, the language began to be called Old English towards the end of the 19th century, as a result of the increasingly strong anti-German nationalism in English society of the 1890s and early 1900s. However, many authors still also use the term Anglo-Saxon to refer to the language. Crystal, David (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53033-4.

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