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Thread: Old English (Anglo-Saxon)

  1. #1
    The Angel of Justice Zauriel's Avatar
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    Old English (Anglo-Saxon)



    Everyone, do you know that Old English (Anglo-Saxon) is the language of Beowulf? Old English seems almost more like a language than a dialect to me.

    I've recently taken an interest in studying the morphology, phonology, lexicology and syntax of the Old English language. Being a West Germanic language, Old English has a lot in common with German and Dutch. That includes the cases of Nominative, Accusative, Genitive and Dative).

    Apparently, Modern English is basically different from Old English, since it was influenced by the French language of the Normans who had invaded and conquered England.

    The English refused to adopt their new masters' French language, so the masters and servants have blended both their laguages into a new one. Therefore 60% of the words in English language are of French origin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English_morphology

    Unlike modern English, Old English is a language rich with morphological diversity and is spelled essentially as it is pronounced. 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.

    Examples of Old English:

    Personal pronouns
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Eng...sonal_pronouns

    First Person Singular case
    Nominative: ic (I)
    Accusative: mec (me)
    Genitive: mīn (my)
    Dative: mē (to me)

    First Person Plural case
    Nominative: wē (we)
    Accusative: ūsic, ūs (us)
    Genitive: ūre (our)
    Dative ūs (to us)

    First Person Dual case (two persons)
    Nominative: wit (we two)
    Accusative: uncit, unc (us two)
    Genitive: uncer (our)
    Dative unc (to us two)

    Second Person Singular case
    Nominative: þū (you)
    Accusative: þēc, þē (you)
    Genitive: þin (your)
    Dative: þe (to you)

    Second Person Plural case
    Nominative: gē (you; plural)
    Accusative: ēowic, ēow (you; plural)
    Genitive: ēower (your; plural)
    Dative ēow (to you; plural)

    Second Person Dual Case
    Nominative git (you two)
    Accusative: incit, inc (you two)
    Genitive: incer (your)
    Dative: inc (to you two)

    Third Person Singular Case
    Nominative: hē (he; masculine), hēo (she; feminine), hit (it; neuter)
    Accusative: hine (him; masculine), hīe (her; feminine), hit (it; neuter)
    Genitive: his (his; masculine), hire (her; feminine), his (its; neuter)
    Dative: him (to him; masculine), hire (to her; feminine), him (to it; neuter)

    Third Person Plural case
    Nominative: hiē (they; masculine), hēo (they; feminine),
    Accusative: hiē (them; masculine), hīo (them; feminine),
    Genitive: hiera (their; masculine), heora (their; feminine),
    Dative: him (to them)

    Apparently, according to Wikipedia, there is no dual case in the third person pronouns of Old English

    Old English language (list of prepositions):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Eng...repositions%29

    Old English phonology:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English_phonology

    These stanzas below is taken from the epic poem Beowulf.

    Original Old English
    [1] Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, Lo!
    [2] þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon
    [3] hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
    [4] Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
    [5] monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
    [6] egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
    [7] feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad
    [8] weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
    [9] oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra
    [10] ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
    [11] gomban gyldan. Þæt wæs god cyning!

    Modern English Translation
    [1] We of Spear-Danes in days of yore,
    [2] of the fame of the kings, have heard
    [3] How those nobles did great deeds
    [4] Often Scyld Scefing, from the army of his enemies,
    [5] from many warriors, took the mead-benches
    [6] terrified the nobles. After he was first
    [7] discovered, a foundling, he gained a consolation
    [8] waxed under the heavens, prospered in glory,
    [9] until eventually everyone in surrounding tribes,
    [10] over the whale-road, had to obey
    [11] and yield to him. He was a good king!

    The Lord's Prayer
    This text is presented in the standardised West Saxon literary dialect:

    Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum,
    Si þin nama gehalgod.
    To becume þin rice,
    gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
    urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg,
    and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.
    and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. soþlice.

    Another example of Old English text. Here is biography of George Bush on
    http://ang.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush (Anglo Saxon Wikipedia.org)

    Quote Originally Posted by
    George W. Bush, from Wikipedia

    Endebyrdnes: 43a Foresittend
    Ambihttīd: Æfterra Gēola 20, 2001–andweardnesse
    Fōregenga: Bill Clinton
    Byrdtælmearc: Sæternesdæg, 6 Mǣdmōnaþ, 1946
    Byrdstede: New Haven, Connecticut
    Forme Hlāfdige: Laura Welch Bush
    Ābisgung: Cēapmann
    Þinglic Gefere: Republican
    Underforesittend: Dick Cheney
    George Walker Bush (geboren 6 Mǣdmōnaþ, 1946) is se 43a and andwearda Foresittend þāra Geānlǣhtra Rīca. His fēowergēar ambihttīma swā Foresittend ongann on 20 Æfterra Gēola, 2001. He sēcþ and geat gīet ōðerne tīman. (Sēo George W. Bush foresittendlic camp, 2004.)

    Ǣr þǣm þe hē fēng tō foresittendnesse, wæs Bush cēapmann. Hē þēowode Gīemend Texases fram 1995 tō 2000. Hē is se sunu ǣres Foresittendes George Herbert Walker Bush and se brōðor Floridan Gīemendes Jeb Bushes. His ealdfæder, Prescott Bush, wæs Senates geglida.

    Þis gewrit is stycce. Þu canst helpan þǣm Wicipǣdian mid ætīecunge his.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 25-07-09 at 10:41. Reason: encoding

  2. #2
    Horizon Rider Kinsao's Avatar
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    It's really fascinating!
    I don't know any Anglo-Saxon myself, but my mum is quite good at it. She attended university for one year, to study English Literature (didn't complete the course beyond one year), and during that time learned a bit of Anglo-Saxon because it was compulsory on the course. She used to read to me in Anglo-Saxon sometimes, I liked the sound of it but I still don't understand a word I'm afraid!

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    Regular Member Chris's Avatar
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    I'm studying Old English at home and find it fascinating, given my native language is English. I've dabbled in other languages, but find this the most interesting to me personally.

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    Regular Member Chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humphrey View Post
    Apparently, Modern English is basically different from Old English, since it was influenced by the French language of the Normans who had invaded and conquered England.
    True, but the grammatical structure and a large percentage (30-50% depending on who you believe) of the vocabulary is Old English, and modern English is classified as a Germanic language.

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    English is a West Germanic language.
    It is in a group with Anglo-Frisian,if memory serves.
    It is the 'most-modified' of the Germanic languages,mostly because of the impact of Norman French.
    This likely isn't news to most folks on this forum...

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary C. View Post
    English is a West Germanic language.
    It is in a group with Anglo-Frisian,if memory serves.
    It is the 'most-modified' of the Germanic languages,mostly because of the impact of Norman French.
    This likely isn't news to most folks on this forum...
    You mean that Old English was a West Germanic language. However only a small percentage of the vocabulary used in modern English comes from Anglo-Saxon and Frisian. It has been estimated that up to 70% of modern English comes from (or is built from roots from) French, Latin and Greek. The rest is not all Anglo-Saxon, as Norse words (such as egg, husband, law, window, they...) were also incorporated to the language. Norse is definitely North Germanic.

    Middle English, when Norse from the Danelaw started to merge with Anglo-Saxon languages in the south and west of England, was an admixture of North and West Germanic languages.

    Consequently I would say that the only correct way to describe modern English is as a hybrid of Latin and Germanic languages. I could say Greco-Latin, but Latin and French already include many Greek words, so it's fair enough.
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    Regular Member Chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    You mean that Old English was a West Germanic language. However only a small percentage of the vocabulary used in modern English comes from Anglo-Saxon and Frisian. It has been estimated that up to 70% of modern English comes from (or is built from roots from) French, Latin and Greek. The rest is not all Anglo-Saxon, as Norse words (such as egg, husband, law, window, they...) were also incorporated to the language. Norse is definitely North Germanic.

    Middle English, when Norse from the Danelaw started to merge with Anglo-Saxon languages in the south and west of England, was an admixture of North and West Germanic languages.

    Consequently I would say that the only correct way to describe modern English is as a hybrid of Latin and Germanic languages. I could say Greco-Latin, but Latin and French already include many Greek words, so it's fair enough.
    It's an interesting and in many ways, accurate viewpoint. However, it does depend on who is doing the talking. By that I mean the common man or some intellectual/'professional' class.

    I've studied the English language for nearly forty years, through love of the language as opposed to enforced study. Its rich diversity and heritage is interpreted from the perspective of the commentator. A similar comparison can be made to references to the 'Dark Ages'. From the perspective of a classicist who revels in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, they would see that period as backward. Not if you really understand the period, though.

    From the perspective of non-academic, everyday usage:

    • It is a Germanic language
    • Our everyday conversation is still founded on and funded by Old English.
    • Almost all of the hundred most common words in our (English) language worldwide, wherever it is spoken, come from Old English.
    • There are three from Old Norse (they, their, them).
    • The first French-derived word is 'number', ranking 76.
    • We can have intelligent conversations in Old English, and only rarely do we need we swerve away from it.
    • © The Adventure of English - Melvyn Bragg

    I could quote many sources, but the point I want to make is that from the context of everyday, non-academic conversation, the above applies.

    The significant influences from the other sources quoted by Maciamo are absolutely valid, but the influence on modern English is Old English.

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    No problem with conversing in OE since it was a language of its own. I would be interested to see an attempt at trying to construct an artificial modern language containing only words taken from modern English which ultimately came from OE. Scandinavian words mostly doubled the AS, both were used and still are. One thing can be said, its possible to construct a language like that because the core is still Germanic, most basic words, all modals and tenses.

    Such language would be poor even if more intuitive, and less abstract. Too much of OE has been lost for it to be useful today.

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    Unhappy

    Oh my God Anglo-Saxon , these group of people in my studying my subject history of literature and though..... and I hope to pass in it , it's really so hard .
    and thank you for your thread.

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    Modern English is a West Germanic language with North Germanic syntax using a largely Latinate vocabulary.
    Interestingly enough one time I happened to read an essay written entirely in modern English, using only words of Germanic origin. It was easy enough to understand and had a modern Germanic flavor in that a lot of the Latinate words and terms were replaced with compound words. Such as Folk-wandering-time for "migration period" a direct translation of the German Völkerwanderungszeit.

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    I find Old English very fascinating. And hearing it spoken brings it more into context with its Germanic origins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bud View Post
    I find Old English very fascinating. And hearing it spoken brings it more into context with its Germanic origins.
    Check this out. It will give you a decent feel of it, especially the Beowulf example:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Wl-OZ3breE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y13cES7MMd8

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    ive seen that Beowulf clip before! Its great :)

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    You mean that Old English was a West Germanic language. However only a small percentage of the vocabulary used in modern English comes from Anglo-Saxon and Frisian. It has been estimated that up to 70% of modern English comes from (or is built from roots from) French, Latin and Greek. The rest is not all Anglo-Saxon, as Norse words (such as egg, husband, law, window, they...) were also incorporated to the language. Norse is definitely North Germanic.

    Middle English, when Norse from the Danelaw started to merge with Anglo-Saxon languages in the south and west of England, was an admixture of North and West Germanic languages.

    Consequently I would say that the only correct way to describe modern English is as a hybrid of Latin and Germanic languages. I could say Greco-Latin, but Latin and French already include many Greek words, so it's fair enough.
    Vocabulary is the most volatile part of a language and it does not define it's filliation. Furthermore, English would still be a completely Germanic language even if 90% of its vocabulary came straight from Latin . There is nothing grammatically and phonetically that can be considered "latin" in the English language on the other hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Franco View Post
    Vocabulary is the most volatile part of a language and it does not define it's filliation. Furthermore, English would still be a completely Germanic language even if 90% of its vocabulary came straight from Latin . There is nothing grammatically and phonetically that can be considered "latin" in the English language on the other hand.
    Agreed... true hybrid languages are possible, but English does not seem to me to be a good example of that. It remains West Germanic.

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    english has a lot of loan systems

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Norman_language


    from Venetian to English
    arsenà arsenal 'house of work/skills, factory'
    artichioco artichoke from Arabic al-haršūf
    balota ballot 'ball' used in Venetian elections
    casin casino place of mayhem
    schiao ciao used originally in Venetian to mean 'your servant', 'at your service'
    contrabando contraband
    gazeta gazette 'small Venetian coin'; from the phrase gazeta de la novità 'a penny worth of news'
    g(h)eto ghetto
    ziro giro 'circle, turn, spin'; borrowed in Italianized form; from the name of the bank Banco del Ziro
    gnoco, -chi gnocchi 'lump, bump, gnocchi'; from Germanic *knokk- 'knuckle, joint'
    gondola gondola
    laguna lagoon
    lazareto Lazaretto, lazaret
    Lido lido
    lo(t)to lotto from Germanic *lot- 'destiny, fate'
    malvasia malmsey
    marzapan marzipan from Arabic martabān, the name for the porcelain container in which marzipan was transported, from Mataban in the Bay of Bengal where these were made (this is one of several proposed etymologies for the English word)
    negro ponte Negroponte 'black bridge'
    monte negro Montenegro 'black mountain'
    Pantalon pantaloon a character in the Commedia dell'arte
    pestachio pistachio ultimately from Dalmatian *pistak
    quarantena quarantine
    regata regatta originally 'fight, contest'
    scampo, -i scampi from Greek κάμπη 'caterpillar', lit. 'curved (animal)'
    zechin sequin 'Venetian gold ducat'; from Arabic sikkah 'coin, minting die'
    Zanni zany a character in the Commedia dell'arte
    zero zero


    as well as Latin, greek
    Father's Mtdna H95a1
    Grandfather Mtdna T2b24
    Great Grandfather Mtdna T1a1e
    GMother paternal side YDna R1b-S8172
    Mother's YDna R1a-Z282

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    Elite member Antigone's Avatar
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    The above word giro is originally from the Greek giros (gyros) meaning circle or turn.

    The term in English is borrowed from German, which in turn borrowed it from Italian, in the sense of "circulation of money"; the Italian term comes from the Greek gyros ("circle").

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antigone View Post
    The above word giro is originally from the Greek giros (gyros) meaning circle or turn.

    The term in English is borrowed from German, which in turn borrowed it from Italian, in the sense of "circulation of money"; the Italian term comes from the Greek gyros ("circle").
    maybe so, that its greek, but you are wrong that Italian borrowed it from Greek, Italian borrowed it from Venetian , which might have borrowed it from Greek.
    The Italian regional languages are far older than Italian language. at least most are 500 plus years older.

  19. #19
    Elite member Antigone's Avatar
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    Considering the centuries that the Venetians retained possessions in Greece it is logical that there would be some Greek influence on the Venetian language. Just as there is some Venetian influence still evident in the parts of Greece that were under Venetian control.

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