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Old English

Old English. The Origins of an Ever-Changing Language. A Manuscript Page From Beowulf. Anglo-Saxon England. Modern English = Clash of words and cultures + Changes over time + Adoption of New Words . So, what exactly happened?. In the beginning…

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Old English

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  1. Old English The Origins of an Ever-Changing Language

  2. A Manuscript Page From Beowulf

  3. Anglo-Saxon England

  4. Modern English = Clash of words and cultures + Changes over time + Adoption of New Words So, what exactly happened?

  5. In the beginning… 3rd-4th century – Celts called “Brythons” lived in Britain (guess where the name is derived) The Celts’ were pagan, possessing beliefs in spirits and gods in every element of nature. Their religion has been likened to that of animism or mythology.

  6. 55 B.C.E. ~ The Romans invade… The Romans, led by none other than Julius Caesar, invade Britain. European missionaries bring Christianity to the nation (Guess what happened to the Anglo-Saxon religion…) Romans built roads (still used today- amazing!), provided armies, and introduced government.

  7. And then… The Romans went home! They had other business in which to tend, like protecting their own country in two other wars they were fighting.

  8. Now what? Poor Britain…Left to fend for itself No armies, no government, etc. Romans took it with them when they left! Uh, oh…that can only mean trouble.

  9. ATTACK! It couldn’t have been more ugly!

  10. You’d think it was “Dollar Days” at Kmart • Angles/Saxons invade from Germany • Jutes move in from Denmark • That’s just 5th century CE • In 9th century, • The Danes moved in, too! • Normans (from NORMANdy) took advantage of the situation and kicked all of their butts.

  11. How do we know all of this? The Venerable Bede ~The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

  12. English’s Evolution ~very little Celtic influence (only a few words still used) 1. Crag – 2. Binn – 3. Carr – 4. Dunn –

  13. English’s Evolution 1. Crag – deep valley 2. Binn – bin 3. Carr – rock 4. Dunn – gray, dun

  14. English’s Evolution • ~Lots of Latin flavor • Pise - • Plante - • Win - • Cyse - • Catte - • Cetel - • Disc - • Candel -

  15. English’s Evolution • Pise - peas (please) • Plante - plant • Win - wine • Cyse - cheese • Catte - cat • Cetel - kettle • Disc - dish • Candel - candle

  16. English’s Evolution Now, we borrow (steal?), create, and compound to create new words and forms.

  17. On to the Literature… Anglo-Saxon Life • Appearance • Felt the need to protect home & family • Fame, success, and survival was dependent upon loyalty to leader • Very close quarters

  18. Mythology • Resembled Norse mythology • Didn’t believe in an afterlife • Believed in warrior gods ~Woden – god of death, poetry, and magic ~Thor/Thunor – god of thunder and lightning • Believed dragons protected treasure

  19. Important Values in a Hostile World • Bravery, loyalty, generosity, friendship • More concerned with ethics than mysticism • COMMUNITY

  20. It’s important to stick together! • Community halls offered shelter, a meeting place • Became a place for story-telling

  21. How did we get the stories? • Creating poetry was just as much respected as fighting, farming, or hunting • Scops would recite poetry to music • Stories were spread through oral tradition • Monasteries were centers for learning, so manuscripts were stored there • Latin became language of learning; English was gaining respect

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