|Ænglisc, Anglisc, Englisc|
|Spoken in||England (except the extreme southwest and northwest), parts of modern Scotland south-east of the Forth, and the eastern fringes of modern Wales.|
|Extinct||mostly developed into Middle English by the 13th century|
|Writing system||Runic, later Latin alphabet (Old English variant).|
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Old English (Ænglisc, Anglisc, Englisc) or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. What survives through writing represents primarily the literary register of Anglo-Saxon.
It is a West Germanic language and is closely related to Old Frisian. Old English was fully inflected with five grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and instrumental, though the instrumental was very rare), which had dual forms for referring to groups of two objects (but only in the personal pronouns) in addition to the usual singular and plural forms. It also assigned gender to all nouns, including those that describe inanimate objects: for example, sēo sunne (the Sun) was feminine, while se mōna (the Moon) was masculine (cf. modern German die Sonne and der Mond). From the 9th century, Old English experienced heavy influence from Old Norse, a member of the related North Germanic group of languages.
Old English was not static, and its usage covered a period of approximately 700 years, from the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain in the 5th century to the late 11th century, some time after the Norman invasion.
Old English is a West Germanic language, developing out of common Ingvaeonic or "North-Sea Germanic" from the 5th century. Anglo-Saxon literacy develops after Christianisation in the late 7th century. The oldest surviving text of Old English literature is Cædmon's Hymn, composed between 658 and 680. There is a limited corpus of runic inscriptions from the 5th to 7th centuries, but the oldest coherent runic texts (notably Franks Casket) date to the 8th century.
The history of Old English can be subdivided in:
- Prehistoric Old English (c. 450 to 650); for this period, Old English is mostly a reconstructed language as no literary witnesses survive (with the exception of limited epigraphic evidence).
- Early Old English (ca. 650 to 900), the period of the oldest manuscript traditions, with authors such as Cædmon, Bede, Cynewulf and Aldhelm.
- Late Old English (c. 900 to 1066), the final stage of the language leading up to the Norman conquest of England and the subsequent transition to Early Middle English.
Influence of other languages
In the course of the Early Middle Ages, Old English assimilated some aspects of a few languages with which it came in contact, such as the two dialects of Old Norse from the contact with the Norsemen or "Danes" who by the late 9th century controlled large tracts of land in northern and eastern England which came to be known as the Danelaw.
A large percentage of the educated and literate population of the time were competent in Latin, which was the scholarly and diplomatic lingua franca of Europe at the time. It is sometimes possible to give approximate dates for the entry of individual Latin words into Old English based on which patterns of linguistic change they have undergone. There were at least three notable periods of Latin influence. The first occurred before the ancestral Angles and Saxons left continental Europe for Britain. The second began when the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity and Latin-speaking priests became widespread. See Latin influence in English: Dark Ages for details.
The third and largest single transfer of Latin-based words happened after the Norman Conquest of 1066, when an enormous number of Norman words began to influence the language. Most of these Oïl language words were themselves derived from Old French and ultimately from classical Latin, although a notable stock of Norse words were introduced or re-introduced in Norman form. The Norman Conquest approximately marks the end of Old English and the advent of Middle English.
One of the ways the influence of Latin can be seen is that many Latin words for activities came to also be used to refer to the people engaged in those activities, an idiom carried over from Anglo-Saxon but using Latin words. This can be seen in words like militia, assembly, movement, and service.
The language was further altered by the transition away from the runic alphabet (also known as futhorc or fuþorc) to the Latin alphabet, which was also a significant factor in the developmental pressures brought to bear on the language. Old English words were spelled, more or less, as they were pronounced. Often, the Latin alphabet fell short of being able to adequately represent Anglo-Saxon phonetics. Spellings, therefore, can be thought of as best-attempt approximations of how the language actually sounded. The "silent" letters in many Modern English words were pronounced in Old English: for example, the c and h in cniht, the Old English ancestor of the modern knight, were pronounced. Another side-effect of spelling Old English words phonetically using the Latin alphabet was that spelling was extremely variable. A word's spelling could also reflect differences in the phonetics of the writer's regional dialect. Words also endured idiosyncratic spelling choices of individual authors, some of whom varied spellings between works. Thus, for example, the word and could be spelt either and or ond.
The second major source of loanwords to Old English were the Scandinavian words introduced during the Viking invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries. In addition to a great many place names, these consist mainly of items of basic vocabulary, and words concerned with particular administrative aspects of the Danelaw (that is, the area of land under Viking control, which included extensive holdings all along the eastern coast of England and Scotland).
The Vikings spoke Old Norse, a language related to Old English in that both derived from the same ancestral Proto-Germanic language. It is very common for the intermixing of speakers of different dialects, such as those that occur during times of political unrest, to result in a mixed language, and one theory holds that exactly such a mixture of Old Norse and Old English helped accelerate the decline of case endings in Old English.
Apparent confirmation of this is the fact that simplification of the case endings occurred earliest in the north and latest in the southwest, the area farthest away from Viking influence. Regardless of the truth of this theory, the influence of Old Norse on the English language has been profound: responsible for such basic vocabulary items as sky, leg, the pronoun they, the verb form are, and hundreds of other words.
- Main article: Brittonicisms in English
Traditionally, many maintain that the influence of Celtic on English has been small, citing the small number of Celtic loanwords taken into the language. The number of Celtic loanwords is of a lower order than either Latin or Scandinavian. However, a minority view is that distinctive Celtic traits can be discerned in syntax from the post-Old English period. Why these traits appear to be restricted to syntax and do not include vocabulary is not clear.
Old English should not be regarded as a single monolithic entity just as Modern English is also not monolithic. Within Old English, there was language variation. Thus it is misleading, for example, to consider Old English as having a single sound system. Rather, there were multiple Old English sound systems. Old English has variation along regional lines as well as variation across different times. For example, the language attested in Wessex during the time of Æthelwold of Winchester, which is named Late West Saxon (or Æthelwoldian Saxon), is considerably different from the language attested in Wessex during the time of Alfred the Great's court, which is named Early West Saxon (or Classical West Saxon or Alfredian Saxon). Furthermore, the difference between Early West Saxon and Late West Saxon is of such a nature that Late West Saxon is not directly descended from Early West Saxon (despite what the similarity in name implies).
The four main dialectal forms of Old English were Mercian, Northumbrian, Kentish, and West Saxon. Each of those dialects was associated with an independent kingdom on the island. Of these, all of Northumbria and most of Mercia were overrun by the Vikings during the 9th century. The portion of Mercia and all of Kent that were successfully defended were then integrated into Wessex.
After the process of unification of the diverse Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in 878 by Alfred the Great, there is a marked decline in the importance of regional dialects. This is not because they stopped existing; regional dialects continued even after that time to this day, as evidenced both by the existence of Middle and Modern English dialects later on, and by common sense—people do not spontaneously adopt another dialect when there is a sudden change of political power.
However, the bulk of the surviving documents from the Anglo-Saxon period are written in the dialect of Wessex, Alfred's kingdom. It seems likely that with consolidation of power, it became necessary to standardize the language of government to reduce the difficulty of administering the more remote areas of the kingdom. As a result, documents were written in the West Saxon dialect. Not only this, but Alfred was passionate about the spread of the vernacular, and brought many scribes to his region from Mercia to record previously unwritten texts.
The Church was affected likewise, especially since Alfred initiated an ambitious programme to translate religious materials into English. To retain his patronage and ensure the widest circulation of the translated materials, the monks and priests engaged in the programme worked in his dialect. Alfred himself seems to have translated books out of Latin and into English, notably Pope Gregory I's treatise on administration, Pastoral Care.
Because of the centralization of power and the Viking invasions, there is little or no written evidence for the development of non-Wessex dialects after Alfred's unification.
- Main article: Old English phonology
The inventory of classical Old English (i.e. Late West Saxon) surface phones, as usually reconstructed, is as follows.
|Stop||IPA: p b||IPA: t d||IPA: k ɡ|
|Affricate||IPA: tʃ (dʒ)|
|Nasal||IPA: m||IPA: n||IPA: (ŋ)|
|Fricative||IPA: f (v)||IPA: θ (ð)||IPA: s (z)||IPA: ʃ||IPA: (ç)||IPA: (x) (ɣ)||IPA: h|
|Approximant||IPA: r||IPA: j||IPA: w|
|Lateral approximant||IPA: l|
- IPA: [dʒ] is an allophone of IPA: /j/ occurring after IPA: /n/ and when geminated
- IPA: [ŋ] is an allophone of IPA: /n/ occurring before IPA: /k/ and IPA: /ɡ/
- IPA: [v, ð, z] are allophones of IPA: /f, θ, s/ respectively, occurring between vowels or voiced consonants
- IPA: [ç, x] are allophones of IPA: /h/ occurring in coda position after front and back vowels respectively
- IPA: [ɣ] is an allophone of IPA: /ɡ/ occurring after a vowel, and, at an earlier stage of the language, in the syllable onset.
|Close||IPA: i y||IPA: u||IPA: iː yː||IPA: uː|
|Mid||IPA: e (ø)||IPA: o||IPA: eː (øː)||IPA: oː|
|Open||IPA: æ||IPA: ɑ||IPA: æː||IPA: ɑː|
|Diphthongs||Short (monomoraic)||Long (bimoraic)|
|First element is close||IPA: iy||IPA: iːy|
|Both elements are mid||IPA: eo||IPA: eːo|
|Both elements are open||IPA: æɑ||IPA: æːɑ|
- Main article: Old English morphology
Unlike modern English, Old English is a language rich with morphological diversity. It maintains several distinct cases: the nominative, accusative, genitive, dative and (vestigially) instrumental, remnants of which survive only in a few pronouns in modern English.
While Old English has a surface appearance of being of subject-verb-object (SVO) structure, it is perhaps more accurate to describe it as having underlying SOV, with V-to-T verb raising. Main clauses frequently exhibit the verb-second (V2) structure that is found in Modern German and Modern Dutch (with SOV surfacing in subordinate clauses). Positing V-to-T raising accounts for the ability of Old English to invert lexical verbs with their subjects to form questions. Modern English has lost V-to-T raising and requires DO-support or another auxiliary to perform this function (with "to be" being a notable exception, and "to have" being a receding exception).
The word order of Old English, however, was not as crucial as it is to Modern English due to its heavily inflected nature.
Because of its similarity with Old Norse, it is believed that most of the time the word order of Old English changed when asking a question, from SVO to VSO; i.e. swapping the verb and the subject. While many purport that Old English had free word order, this is not quite true and there were conventions for the positioning of subject, object and verb in the clause.
- "I am..." becomes "Am I..."
- "Ic eom..." becomes "Eom ic..."
- Main article: Anglo-Saxon runes
Old English was first written in runes (futhorc) but shifted to a (minuscule) half-uncial script of the Latin alphabet introduced by Irish Christian missionaries from around the 9th century. This was replaced by insular script, a cursive and pointed version of the half-uncial script. This was used until the end of the 12th century when continental Carolingian minuscule (also known as Caroline) replaced the insular.
The letter ðæt ‹ð› (called eth or edh in modern English) was an alteration of Latin ‹d›, and the runic letters thorn ‹þ› and wynn ‹ƿ› are borrowings from futhorc. Also used was a symbol for the conjunction and, a character similar to the number seven (‹⁊›, called a Tironian note), and a symbol for the relative pronoun þæt, a thorn with a crossbar through the ascender (‹ꝥ›). Macrons ‹¯› over vowels were rarely used to indicate long vowels. Also used occasionally were abbreviations for following m’s or n’s. All of the sound descriptions below are given using IPA symbols.
Conventions of modern editions
A number of changes are traditionally made in published modern editions of the original Old English manuscripts. Some of these conventions include the introduction of punctuation and the substitutions of symbols. The symbols ‹e›, ‹f›, ‹g›, ‹r›, ‹s› are used in modern editions, although their shapes in the insular script are considerably different. The long s ‹ſ› is substituted by its modern counterpart ‹s›. Insular ‹ᵹ› is usually substituted with its modern counterpart ‹g› (which is ultimately a Carolingian symbol).
Additionally, modern manuscripts often distinguish between a velar and palatal ‹c› and ‹g› with diacritic dots above the putative palatals: ‹ċ›, ‹ġ›. The wynn symbol ‹ƿ› is usually substituted with ‹w›. Macrons are usually found in modern editions to indicate putative long vowels, while they are usually lacking in the originals. In older printed editions of Old English works, an acute accent mark was used to maintain cohesion between Old English and Old Norse printing.
The alphabetical symbols found in Old English writings and their substitute symbols found in modern editions are listed below:
|Symbol||Description and notes|
|a||Short IPA: /ɑ/. Spelling variations like ‹land› ~ ‹lond› "land" suggest it may have had a rounded allophone IPA: [ɒ] before IPA: [n] in some cases)|
|ā||Long IPA: /ɑː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹a› in modern editions.|
|æ||Short IPA: /æ/. Before 800 the digraph ‹ae› is often found instead of ‹æ›. During the 8th century ‹æ› began to be used more frequently was standard after 800. In 9th century Kentish manuscripts, a form of ‹æ› that was missing the upper hook of the ‹a› part was used. Kentish ‹æ› may be either IPA: /æ/ or IPA: /e/ although this is difficult to determine.|
|ǣ||Long IPA: /æː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹æ› in modern editions.|
|b||Represented IPA: /b/. Also represented IPA: [v] in early texts before 800. For example, the word "sheaves" is spelled ‹scēabas› in an early text but later (and more commonly) as ‹scēafas›.|
|c||Except in the digraphs ‹sc›, ‹cg›, either IPA: /tʃ/ or IPA: /k/. The IPA: /tʃ/ pronunciation is sometimes written with a diacritic by modern editors: most commonly ‹ċ›, sometimes ‹č› or ‹ç›. Before a consonant letter the pronunciation is always IPA: /k/; word-finally after ‹i› it is always IPA: /tʃ/. Otherwise, a knowledge of the historical linguistics of the word is needed to predict which pronunciation is needed. (See The distribution of velars and palatals in Old English for details.)|
|cg||IPA: [ddʒ] (the surface pronunciation of geminate IPA: /jj/); occasionally also for IPA: /ɡɡ/|
|d||Represented IPA: /d/. In the earliest texts, it also represented IPA: /θ/ but was soon replaced by ‹ð› and ‹þ›. For example, the word meaning "thought" (lit. mood-i-think, with -i- as in "handiwork") was written ‹mōdgidanc› in a Northumbrian text dated 737, but later as ‹mōdgeþanc› in a 10th century West Saxon text.|
|ð||Represented IPA: /θ/ and its allophone IPA: [ð]. Called ðæt in Old English (now called eth in Modern English), ‹ð› is found in alternation with thorn ‹þ› (both representing the same sound) although it is more common in texts dating before Alfred. Together with ‹þ› it replaced earlier ‹d› and ‹th›. First attested (in definitely dated materials) in the 7th century. After the beginning of Alfred's time, ‹ð› was used more frequently for medial and final positions while ‹þ› became increasingly used in initial positions, although both still varied. Some modern editions attempt to regularise the variation between ‹þ› and ‹ð› by using only ‹þ›.|
|e||Short IPA: /e/.|
|ę||Either Kentish IPA: /æ/ or IPA: /e/ although this is difficult to determine. A modern editorial substitution for a form of ‹æ› missing the upper hook of the ‹a› found in 9th century texts.|
|ē||Long IPA: /eː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹e› in modern editions.|
|ea||Short IPA: /æɑ/; after ‹ċ›, ‹ġ›, sometimes IPA: /æ/ or IPA: /ɑ/.|
|ēa||Long IPA: /æːɑ/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹ea› in modern editions. After ‹ċ›, ‹ġ›, sometimes IPA: /æː/.|
|eo||Short IPA: /eo/; after ‹ċ›, ‹ġ›, sometimes IPA: /o/|
|ēo||Long IPA: /eːo/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹eo› in modern editions.|
|f||IPA: /f/ and its allophone IPA: [v]|
|g||IPA: /ɡ/ and its allophone IPA: [ɣ]; IPA: /j/ and its allophone IPA: [dʒ] (when after ‹n›). In Old English manuscripts, this letter usually took its insular form ‹ᵹ›. The IPA: /j/ and IPA: [dʒ] pronunciations are sometimes written ‹ġ› by modern editors. Before a consonant letter the pronunciation is always IPA: [ɡ] (word-initially) or IPA: [ɣ] (after a vowel). Word-finally after ‹i› it is always IPA: /j/. Otherwise a knowledge of the historical linguistics of the word in question is needed to predict which pronunciation is needed. (See The distribution of velars and palatals in Old English for details.)|
|h||IPA: /h/ and its allophones IPA: [ç, x]. In the combinations ‹hl›, ‹hr›, ‹hn›, ‹hw›, the second consonant was certainly voiceless.|
|i||Short IPA: /i/.|
|ī||Long IPA: /iː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹i› in modern editions.|
|ie||Short IPA: /iy/; after ‹ċ›, ‹ġ›, sometimes IPA: /e/.|
|īe||Long IPA: /iːy/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹ie› in modern editions. After ‹ċ›, ‹ġ›, sometimes IPA: /eː/.|
|k||IPA: /k/ (rarely used)|
|l||IPA: /l/; probably velarised (as in Modern English) when in coda position.|
|n||IPA: /n/ and its allophone IPA: [ŋ]|
|o||Short IPA: /o/.|
|ō||Long IPA: /oː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹o› in modern editions.|
|oe||Short IPA: /ø/ (in dialects with this sound).|
|ōe||Long IPA: /øː/ (in dialects with this sound). Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹oe› in modern editions.|
|qu||A rare spelling of IPA: /kw/, which was usually written as ‹cƿ› (= ‹cw› in modern editions).|
|r||IPA: /r/; the exact nature of IPA: /r/ is not known. It may have been an alveolar approximant IPA: [ɹ] as in most modern accents, an alveolar flap IPA: [ɾ], or an alveolar trill IPA: [r].|
|s||IPA: /s/ and its allophone IPA: [z].|
|sc||IPA: /ʃ/ or occasionally IPA: /sk/.|
|th||Represented IPA: /θ/ in the earliest texts but was soon replaced by ‹ð› and ‹þ›. For example, the word meaning "thought" was written ‹mōdgithanc› in a 6th century Northumbrian text, but later as ‹mōdgeþanc› in a 10th century West Saxon text.|
|þ||An alternate symbol called thorn used instead of ‹ð›. Represents IPA: /θ/ and its allophone IPA: [ð]. Together with ‹ð› it replaced the earlier ‹d› and ‹th›. First attested (in definitely dated materials) in the 8th century. Less common than ‹ð› before Alfred's time, from then onward ‹þ› was used increasingly more frequently than ‹ð› at the beginning of words while its occurrence at the end and in the middle of words was rare. Some modern editions attempt to regularise the variation between ‹þ› and ‹ð› by using only ‹þ›.|
|u||IPA: /u/ and IPA: /w/ in early texts of continental scribes. The IPA: /w/ ‹u› was eventually replaced by ‹ƿ› outside of the north of the island.|
|uu||IPA: /w/ in early texts of continental scribes. Outside of the north, it was generally replaced by ‹ƿ›.|
|ū||Long IPA: /uː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹u› in modern editions.|
|w||IPA: /w/. A modern substitution for ‹ƿ›.|
|ƿ||Runic wynn. Represents IPA: /w/, replaced in modern print by ‹w› to prevent confusion with ‹p›.|
|x||IPA: /ks/ (but according to some authors, IPA: [xs ~ çs])|
|y||Short IPA: /y/.|
|ȳ||Long IPA: /yː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short ‹y› in modern editions.|
|z||IPA: /ts/. A rare spelling for ‹ts›. Example: IPA: /betst/ "best" is rarely spelled ‹bezt› for more common ‹betst›.|
Doubled consonants are geminated; the geminate fricatives ‹ðð›/‹þþ›, ‹ff› and ‹ss› cannot be voiced.
- Main article: Anglo-Saxon literature
Old English literature, though more abundant than literature of the continent before AD 1000, is nonetheless scant. In his supplementary article to the 1935 posthumous edition of Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader, Dr. James Hulbert writes:
In such historical conditions, an incalculable amount of the writings of the Anglo-Saxon period perished. What they contained, how important they were for an understanding of literature before the Conquest, we have no means of knowing: the scant catalogs of monastic libraries do not help us, and there are no references in extant works to other compositions....How incomplete our materials are can be illustrated by the well-known fact that, with few and relatively unimportant exceptions, all extant Anglo-Saxon poetry is preserved in four manuscripts.
Some of the most important surviving works of Old English literature are Beowulf, an epic poem; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a record of early English history; the Franks Casket, an early whalebone artifact; and Caedmon's Hymn, a Christian religious poem. There are also a number of extant prose works, such as sermons and saints' lives, biblical translations, and translated Latin works of the early Church Fathers, legal documents, such as laws and wills, and practical works on grammar, medicine, and geography. Still, poetry is considered the heart of Old English literature. Nearly all Anglo-Saxon authors are anonymous, with a few exceptions, such as Bede and Caedmon.
The first example is taken from the opening lines of the epic poem Beowulf. This passage describes how Hrothgar's legendary ancestor Scyld was found as a baby, washed up on the shore, and adopted by a noble family. The translation is quite literal and represents the original poetic word order. As such, it is not typical of Old English prose. The modern cognates of original words have been used whenever practical to give a close approximation of the feel of the original poem. The words in brackets are implied in the Old English by noun case and the bold words in parentheses are explanations of words that have slightly different meanings in a modern context. Notice how what is used by the poet where a word like lo or behold would be expected. This usage is similar to what-ho!, both an expression of surprise and a call to attention.
|||Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena in ġeār-dagum,||What! We of Gare-Danes (lit. Spear-Danes) in yore-days,|
|||þēod-cyninga, þrym ġefrūnon,||of thede(nation/people)-kings, did thrum (glory) frayne (learn about by asking),|
|||hū ðā æþelingas ellen fremedon.||how those athelings (noblemen) did ellen (fortitude/courage/zeal) freme (promote).|
|||Oft Scyld Scēfing sceaþena þrēatum,||Oft did Scyld Scefing of scather threats (troops),|
|||monegum mǣġþum, meodosetla oftēah,||of many maegths (clans; cf. Irish cognate Mac-), of mead-settlements atee (deprive),|
|||egsode eorlas. Syððan ǣrest wearð||[and] ugg (induce loathing in, terrify; related to "ugly") earls. Sith (since, as of when) erst (first) [he] worthed (became)|
|||fēasceaft funden, hē þæs frōfre ġebād,||[in] fewship (destitute) found, he of this frover (comfort) aboded,|
|||wēox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þāh,||[and] waxed under welkin (firmament/clouds), [and amid] worthmint (honour/worship) threed (thrived/prospered)|
|||oðþæt him ǣġhwylc þāra ymbsittendra||oth that (until that) him each of those umsitters (those "sitting" or dwelling roundabout)|
|||ofer hronrāde hȳran scolde,||over whale-road (kenning for "sea") hear should,|
|||gomban gyldan. Þæt wæs gōd cyning!||[and] yeme (heed/obedience; related to "gormless") yield. That was [a] good king!|
A semi-fluent translation in Modern English would be:
Lo! We have heard of majesty of the Spear-Danes, of those nation-kings in the days of yore, and how those noblemen promoted zeal. Scyld Scefing took away mead-benches from bands of enemies, from many tribes; he terrified earls. Since he was first found destitute (he gained consolation for that) he grew under the heavens, prospered in honours, until each of those who lived around him over the sea had to obey him, give him tribute. That was a good king!
The Lord's Prayer
This text of the Lord's Prayer is presented in the standardised West Saxon literary dialect.
|||Fæder ūre þū þe eart on heofonum,||Father of ours, thou who art in heaven,|
|||Sī þīn nama ġehālgod.||Be thy name hallowed.|
|||Tōbecume þīn rīċe,||Come thy riche (kingdom),|
|||ġewurþe ðīn willa, on eorðan swā swā on heofonum.||Worth (manifest) thy will, on earth as also in heaven.|
|||Ūrne ġedæġhwāmlīcan hlāf syle ūs tō dæġ,||Our daily loaf do sell (give) to us today,|
|||and forgyf ūs ūre gyltas, swā swā wē forgyfað ūrum gyltendum.||And forgive us of our guilts as also we forgive our guilty|
|||And ne ġelǣd þū ūs on costnunge, ac ālȳs ūs of yfele.||And do not lead thou us into temptation, but alese (release/deliver) us of (from) evil.|
Charter of Cnut
This is a proclamation from King Cnut the Great to his earl Thorkell the Tall and the English people written in AD 1020. Unlike the previous two examples, this text is prose rather than poetry. For ease of reading, the passage has been divided into sentences while the pilcrows represent the original division.
|¶ Cnut cyning gret his arcebiscopas and his leod-biscopas and Þurcyl eorl and ealle his eorlas and ealne his þeodscype, twelfhynde and twyhynde, gehadode and læwede, on Englalande freondlice.||¶ Cnut, king, greets his archbishops and his lede'(people's)'-bishops and Thorkell, earl, and all his earls and all his peopleship, greater (having a 1200 shilling weregild) and lesser (200 shilling weregild), hooded(ordained to priesthood) and lewd(lay), in England friendly.|
|And ic cyðe eow, þæt ic wylle beon hold hlaford and unswicende to godes gerihtum and to rihtre woroldlage.||And I kithe(make known/couth to) you, that I will be [a] hold(civilised) lord and unswiking(uncheating) to God's rights(laws) and to [the] rights(laws) worldly.|
|¶ Ic nam me to gemynde þa gewritu and þa word, þe se arcebiscop Lyfing me fram þam papan brohte of Rome, þæt ic scolde æghwær godes lof upp aræran and unriht alecgan and full frið wyrcean be ðære mihte, þe me god syllan wolde.||¶ I nam(took) me to mind the writs and the word that the Archbishop Lyfing me from the Pope brought of Rome, that I should ayewhere(everywhere) God's love(praise) uprear(promote), and unright(outlaw) lies, and full frith(peace) work(bring about) by the might that me God would(wished) [to] sell'(give).|
|¶ Nu ne wandode ic na minum sceattum, þa hwile þe eow unfrið on handa stod: nu ic mid godes fultume þæt totwæmde mid minum scattum.||¶ Now, ne went(withdrew/changed) I not my shot(financial contribution, cf. Norse cognate in scot-free) the while that you stood(endured) unfrith(turmoil) on-hand: now I, mid(with) God's support, that [unfrith] totwemed(separated/dispelled) mid(with) my shot(financial contribution).|
|Þa cydde man me, þæt us mara hearm to fundode, þonne us wel licode: and þa for ic me sylf mid þam mannum þe me mid foron into Denmearcon, þe eow mæst hearm of com: and þæt hæbbe mid godes fultume forene forfangen, þæt eow næfre heonon forð þanon nan unfrið to ne cymð, þa hwile þe ge me rihtlice healdað and min lif byð.||Tho(then) [a] man kithed(made known/couth to) me that us more harm had found(come upon) than us well liked(equalled): and tho(then) fore(travelled) I, meself, mid(with) those men that mid(with) me fore(travelled), into Denmark that [to] you most harm came of(from): and that[harm] have [I], mid(with) God's support, afore(previously) forefangen(forestalled) that to you never henceforth thence none unfrith(breach of peace) ne come the while that ye me rightly hold(behold as king) and my life beeth.|
- Anglo-Frisian nasal spirant law
- Anglo-Saxon literature
- Dictionary of Old English
- Exeter Book
- Go (verb)
- History of the English language
- History of the Scots language
- List of generic forms in British place names
- List of Germanic and Latinate equivalents
- Old English declension
- Old English pronouns
- ^ The term Anglo-Saxon came to refer to all things of the early English period by the 16th century, including language, culture, and people. While this is still the preferred term for the latter two aspects, the language starting from the 19th century began to be called Old English. This is because the language itself began to be studied in detail, and scholars recognised the continued development of the English language from the Anglo-Saxon period to Middle English and through to the present day. However many authors still use the term Anglo-Saxon to refer to the language.
Crystal, David (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521530334.
- ^ Barber, Charles (2009). The English Language: A Historical Introduction. Cambridge University Press. pp. 137. ISBN 978-0-521-67001-2.
- ^ Rotary-munich.de
- ^ Campbell, Alistair (1959). Old English Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-19-811943-7.
- ^ Moore, Samuel, and Knott, Thomas A. The Elements of Old English. 1919. Ed. James R. Hulbert. 10th ed. Ann Arbor, Michigan: George Wahr Publishing Co., 1958.
- ^ It is uncertain whether the diphthongs spelt ie/īe were pronounced IPA: [i(ː)y] or IPA: [i(ː)e]. The fact that this diphthong was merged with IPA: /y(ː)/ in many dialects suggests the former.
- ^ Crystal, David (1987). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge University Press. p. 203. ISBN 0521264383.
- ^ See also Pronunciation of English th.
- ^ The spelling ‹qu› is much more common in later Middle English.
- ^ Lit. a participle: "guilting" or "[a person who is] sinning"; cf. Latin cognate -ant/-ent.
- Whitelock, Dorothy (ed.) (1955) English Historical Documents; vol. I: c. 500–1042. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode
- Baker, Peter S. (2003). Introduction to Old English. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23454-3.
- Baugh, Albert C; & Cable, Thomas. (1993). A History of the English Language (4th ed.). London: Routledge.
- Earle, John (2005). A Book for the Beginner in Anglo-Saxon. Bristol, PA: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-889758-69-8. (Reissue of one of 4 eds. 1877–1902)
- Hogg, Richard M. (ed.). (1992). The Cambridge History of the English Language: (Vol 1): the Beginnings to 1066. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Hogg, Richard; & Denison, David (eds.) (2006) A History of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Jespersen, Otto (1909–1949) A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles. 7 vols. Heidelberg: C. Winter & Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard
- Lass, Roger (1987) The Shape of English: structure and history. London: J. M. Dent & Sons
- Lass, Roger (1994). Old English: A historical linguistic companion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43087-9.
- Millward, Celia (1996). A Biography of the English Language. Harcourt Brace. ISBN 0-15-501645-8.
- Mitchell, Bruce, and Robinson, Fred C. (2001). A Guide to Old English (6th ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-22636-2.
- Quirk, Randolph; & Wrenn, C. L. (1957). An Old English Grammar (2nd ed.) London: Methuen.
- Strang, Barbara M. H. (1970) A History of English. London: Methuen.
- Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2221-8.
- Bremmer Jr, Rolf H. (2009). An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
- Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England (3rd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Bourcier, Georges. (1978). L'orthographie de l'anglais: Histoire et situation actuelle. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
- Campbell, A. (1959). Old English Grammar. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Elliott, Ralph W. V. (1959). Runes: An introduction. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Keller, Wolfgang. (1906). Angelsächsische Paleographie, I: Einleitung. Berlin: Mayer & Müller.
- Ker, N. R. (1957). A Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Ker, N. R. (1957: 1990). A Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon; with supplement prepared by Neil Ker originally published in Anglo-Saxon England; 5, 1957. Oxford: Clarendon Press ISBN 0198112513
- Page, R. I. (1973). An Introduction to English Runes. London: Methuen.
- Scragg, Donald G. (1974). A History of English Spelling. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Anderson, John M; & Jones, Charles. (1977). Phonological structure and the history of English. North-Holland linguistics series (No. 33). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
- Brunner, Karl. (1965). Altenglische Grammatik (nach der angelsächsischen Grammatik von Eduard Sievers neubearbeitet) (3rd ed.). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
- Campbell, A. (1959). Old English Grammar. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Cercignani, Fausto (1983). "The Development of */k/ and */sk/ in Old English". Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 82 (3): 313-323.
- Girvan, Ritchie. (1931). Angelsaksisch Handboek; E. L. Deuschle (transl.). (Oudgermaansche Handboeken; No. 4). Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink.
- Halle, Morris; & Keyser, Samuel J. (1971). English Stress: its form, its growth, and its role in verse. New York: Harper & Row.
- Hockett, Charles F. (1959). "The stressed syllabics of Old English". Language 35 (4): 575–597. doi:10.2307/410597. http://jstor.org/stable/410597.
- Hogg, Richard M. (1992). A Grammar of Old English, I: Phonology. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
- Kuhn, Sherman M. (1961). "On the Syllabic Phonemes of Old English". Language 37 (4): 522–538. doi:10.2307/411354. http://jstor.org/stable/411354.
- Kuhn, Sherman M. (1970). "On the consonantal phonemes of Old English". In: J. L. Rosier (ed.) Philological Essays: studies in Old and Middle English language and literature in honour of Herbert Dean Merritt (pp. 16–49). The Hague: Mouton.
- Lass, Roger; & Anderson, John M. (1975). Old English Phonology. (Cambridge studies in linguistics; No. 14). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Luick, Karl. (1914–1940). Historische Grammatik der englischen Sprache. Stuttgart: Bernhard Tauchnitz.
- Maling, J. (1971). "Sentence stress in Old English". Linguistic Inquiry 2 (3): 379–400. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4177642.
- McCully, C. B.; Hogg, Richard M. (1990). "An account of Old English stress". Journal of Linguistics 26: 315–339. doi:10.1017/S0022226700014699.
- Moulton, W. G. (1972). "The Proto-Germanic non-syllabics (consonants)". In: F. van Coetsem & H. L. Kurfner (Eds.), Toward a Grammar of Proto-Germanic (pp. 141–173). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
- Sievers, Eduard (1893). Altgermanische Metrik. Halle: Max Niemeyer.
- Wagner, Karl Heinz (1969). Generative Grammatical Studies in the Old English language. Heidelberg: Julius Groos.
- Brunner, Karl. (1965). Altenglische Grammatik (nach der angelsächsischen Grammatik von Eduard Sievers neubearbeitet) (3rd ed.). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
- Campbell, A. (1959). Old English grammar. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Wagner, Karl Heinz. (1969). Generative grammatical studies in the Old English language. Heidelberg: Julius Groos.
- Brunner, Karl. (1962). Die englische Sprache: ihre geschichtliche Entwicklung (Vol. II). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
- Kemenade, Ans van. (1982). Syntactic Case and Morphological Case in the History of English. Dordrecht: Foris.
- MacLaughlin, John C. (1983). Old English Syntax: a handbook. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
- Mitchell, Bruce. (1985). Old English Syntax (Vols. 1–2). Oxford: Clarendon Press (no more published)
- Vol.1: Concord, the parts of speech and the sentence
- Vol.2: Subordination, independent elements, and element order
- Mitchell, Bruce. (1990) A Critical Bibliography of Old English Syntax to the end of 1984, including addenda and corrigenda to "Old English Syntax" . Oxford: Blackwell
- Timofeeva, Olga. (2010) Non-finite Constructions in Old English, with Special Reference to Syntactic Borrowing from Latin, PhD dissertation, Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki, vol. LXXX, Helsinki: Société Néophilologique.
- Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. (1972). A History of English Syntax: a transformational approach to the history of English sentence structure. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
- Visser, F. Th. (1963–1973). An Historical Syntax of the English Language (Vols. 1–3). Leiden: E. J. Brill.
- Bosworth, J; & Toller, T. Northcote. (1898). An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (Based on Bosworth's 1838 dictionary, his papers & additions by Toller)
- Toller, T. Northcote. (1921). An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary: Supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Campbell, A. (1972). An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary: Enlarged addenda and corrigenda. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Clark Hall-Merritt
- Clark Hall, J. R; & Merritt, H. D. (1969). A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (4th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Cameron, Angus, et al. (ed.) (1983) Dictionary of Old English. Toronto: Published for the Dictionary of Old English Project, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto by the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1983/1994. (Issued on microfiche and subsequently as a CD-ROM and on the World Wide Web.)
|40x40px||For a list of words relating to Old English, see the Old English language category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Old English/Modern English Translator
- The Electronic Introduction to Old English
- Learn Old English with Leofwin
- Old English (Anglo-Saxon) alphabet
- Bosworth and Toller, An Anglo-Saxon dictionary
- Downloadable Bosworth and Toller, An Anglo-Saxon dictionary Application
- Old English Made Easy
- Old English - Modern English dictionary
- Old English Glossary
- Shakespeare's English vs Old English
- Downloadable Old English keyboard for Windows and Mac
- Another downloadable keyboard for Windows computers
- Guide to using Old English computer characters (Unicode, HTML entities, etc.)
- The Germanic Lexicon Project
- An overview of the grammar of Old English
- The Lord's Prayer in Old English from the 11th century
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