Old English And Modern English

1464 Words6 Pages
Have you ever wondered where the names of the different items you use daily came from? Or listened to people talk and find a particular word interesting or odd and wonder why it has become part of our English language? The English language that we speak today has developed as a result of many different influences and changes over thousands of years. The resulting changes to the English language can be split into three time periods that include, Old English or Anglo-Saxon, Middle English and Modern English which is commonly used today Old English (450-1100 AD), which is also referred to as Anglo-Saxon, is thought historically to be the earliest form of the English language. Originating with the arrival of three West Germanic tribes, who encroached into Britain during the fifth century AD from across the North Sea from modern day Denmark and Northern Germany. These tribes the Angles, the Saxon, and the Jutes were from around the same area of northern Europe and spoke similar languages. The withdrawal of the Roman troops from Britain in about 450 AD left the native Celtics vulnerable to invasions. The first of the Germanic tribes the Angles, from the region called Angelin, crossed the North Sea to Britain later followed by the Saxton and Jutes. According to Bill Bryson from his book The Mother Tongue, this ‘was not so much an invasion as a series of opportunistic encroachments taking place over several generations.” (47) The native Celtics, who spoke a Celtic language, were mostly pushed north and west by the invaders into modern day Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwell leaving behind a few Celtic words. The invading tribes began to merge and gradually colonize most of the island, settling into seven smaller kingdoms. This exclude... ... middle of paper ... ...nguage of the Royal court for more than three hundred years, being the verbal language of the kings, nobility and the ruling and business class of England. Even though, the verbal language of the court and culture was that of Anglo-Norman the written language used by the church and in official records was mostly Latin. One of the effects that the invading Norman had on the English language was that for a period of time a sort of linguistic class division came about. The Norman society had separated into two tiers the French-speaking aristocracy and the English-speaking peasantry. (54) The Normans at this time considered the English language a vulgar tongue so the two languages progressed in parallel to on another. Eventually as the Normans and Anglo-Saxon began to marry a mixture of the Anglo-Norman and Old English developed and became the language of Middle English.
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