The language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons is also referred to as being Old English. This language was primarily spoken under Alfred the Great. However, the people continued to use this language long after his reign had ended. In fact, the dominance of Old English continued until the successful conquest of the Normans in 1066. After this, the Anglo-Norman language would slowly replace Old English as the dominant language in the region. The Anglo-Norman language would come to be known as Middle English. This process took place from 1150 to 1500. It is important to note that Old English has much stronger connections with Germanic languages than Middle English.
Old English has a tendency to use more Latin expressions, and it uses a verbal structure that makes it quite distinct from Middle English. Much of this language was completely displaced by the 14th century. The only language in existence today that is similar to Old English is Frisian. Frisian is a rare language that is only spoken by about 300,000 people living in Germany and the Netherlands. The Runic alphabet predates the existence of Old English, and it was used to make inscriptions. In addition to England, the Old English language was commonly spoken in Scotland as well. In addition to Frisian, Icelandic is a modern language that is similar to Old English.
The language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons was not a static one. It was dominant for about 700 years. The Normans made a large number of changes to it. When Old English was first developed, it was mixed with both the Celtic languages and the Norse languages that were spoken by the Vikings. Since the Vikings controlled the northern regions of England during this time, their language played an important role in the development of Old English. However, it is hard to write about the language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons without mentioning its Germanic influences. The Germanic languages were the most powerful force behind the development of Old English. The grammar and sentence structure in this language is directly derived from the Germanic languages.
Old English uses five grammar cases. A gender would be given to nouns, and this was even used when talking about inanimate objects. For example, the Anglo-Saxon language considered the Sun to be connected to women, while the moon was connected to men. Because there were a sizeable number of monks living in this region, Latin also played an important role in the development of Old English.
Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 15/07/2008