Presentation on theme: "AS Linguistics (pilot) A brief introduction to Old English, part 1 : words."— Presentation transcript:
AS Linguistics (pilot) A brief introduction to Old English, part 1 : words
A little bit of history first The ‘invasion’ of the Anglo –Saxons was more likely the arrival of unco-ordinated bands of adventurers. Since they arrived in different parts of the country, different dialects developed By about 700AD, they occupied all of England, except Cornwall, Wales, parts of Scottish lowlands.
What effect did this have on language? Since they came from different Germanic tribes, there were many dialects being spoken. 3 main races dominated: Saxons, Angles, Jutes.They were closely related in language and culture. Modern county names reflect their distribution, e.g. Essex, Sussex, Middlesex.
The effects on the language Once the Wessex kings had united the country, esp. Alfred, who saved England from the Danes, this paved the way for an eventual King of the whole country. Not surprisingly, West Saxon dialect then became a ‘literary’ standard.Written old English texts also exist in Kentish,Mercian and Northumbrian.
Written Old English Christianity ( about 600 AD) led to a growth in written texts. Clerics used a Celtic version of the Roman alphabet, but added runic symbols RUNES A form of writing used for short inscriptions, carvings on stone/metalwork. Meaning: mystery, secret, but this isn’t its OE meaning- the word itself is from Scandinavian.
vocabulary Little Celtic influence but a few survive in MdE: brock (badger),crag (deep valley), torr (peak) Latin borrowings as a result of Christianity Win – wine Cetel – cattle Belt – belt Weall – wall Straet – road Munuc – monk Biscop - bishop
Word- Building in Old English The main characteristic of the old English lexicon (vocabulary) is the way in which words are built up from a number of parts Prefixes, suffixes,compounds are frequently used.OE relies on its own resources. Of course, some prefixes have been lost, but tō is still with us (today/towards)
Some examples Gebeorscipe Ciricgang Gangpytt Gōdspel Staefcraeft, bōccraeft Eorþcraeft, and tungolcraeft ( tungol = star) Literally, ‘Beer-ship’ Churchgoing Toilet, privy gōd = good + spel = tidings = gospel Staef = letters + craeft = skill (can you work out the others?)