English origin

Old English Origin – How Old Is It?


To look in the origin of old English, historians believe that some areas of the native Brythonic languages what became England, were displaced by Germanic language.
The Celtic languages remained in parts of Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. The dialects spoken by the Anglo-Saxons formed the old English origin.Read on to know more about old English language.


"Beowulf" composed by an unknown poet; is the most well-known surviving work from the Old English period. Old English was not at all like the Standard English of today. Today’s’ English speaker would find Old English language incomprehensible and will have to study it as a separate language. But most of the commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. Many non-standard dialects such as Scots and Northumbrian English have preserved many features of Old English in vocabulary and pronunciation. People spoke Old English until sometime in the 12th or 13th century.


Later, strongly influenced by the North Germanic language Norse, English was spoken by the Vikings who attacked and inhabited mainly in the north-east parts of England. Although their grammars were more clear, these new and the earlier settlers spoke languages from diverse branches of the Germanic family. The Germanic language of these Old English-speaking inhabitants was also changed with the contact with Norse invaders. Some of the morphological simplification of Old English is attributed to these invaders. The loss of grammatical gender and explicitly marked case were some of the changes seen in the old English language.

With the beginning of Christianity, another wave of Latin and some Greek words were introduced. It was sometime after the Norman conquest, that the Old English period came to an end. The language came under a greater influence by the Norman-French-speaking Normans. The merging of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development.


The use of Anglo-Saxon to express the fusing of Anglian and Saxon languages and cultures is a relatively modern development. A historian named Camden, during the power of Elizabeth I, gave the first reference for the second explanation of 'Anglo-Saxon', referring to early English language or a certain dialect.

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