West Germanic language, early form of English, spoken circa 450–1100
The Old English language, often called Anglo-Saxon, was spoken in England from 450 AD to 1100 AD. It was spoken by the Anglo-Saxons who came to England from what is now Germany and Denmark.
Old English is very different from Modern English; it has many more Germanic words. In early centuries it was rarely written down, and when written it was in runes. After the 9th century, the Latin alphabet was used more. Old English grammar is difficult, with complex inflections, and close to Old German. Latin was used by churchmen like the venerable Bede. Old English gradually turned into Middle English after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Beowulf is written in Old English in an alphabetic script.
Old English comparison
- ↑ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Old English". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.