The role played by the german and scandinavian tribes on english language
The role played by the german and scandinavian tribes on english language
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I THE CONTACT OF ENGLISH WITH OTHER LANGUAGES………………..5-7
CHAPTER II THE SCANDINAVIAN INFLUENE: THE VIKING AGE………………..….8-10
CHAPTER III THE AMALGAMATION OF THE TWO RACES..........................................11-13
CHAPTER IV THE SCANDINAVIAN PLACE NAMES…...................................................14-16
CHAPTER V CELTIC PLACE –NAMES…………………………….……………...…..…17-19
CHAPTER VI FORM WORDS………………………………….………………….………20-22
The essence of history is change taking place in time. Anything which endures in time has a history, because in this world of flux anything which endures in time suffers change. But if history is to be meaningful, there must also be continuity. A people, a nation, or a language may change over a long period so greatly as to become something vastly different from what it was at the beginning. But this great change is the accumulation of many small changes. At any stage in its history, the people, nation, or language is fundamentally the same entity that it was in the immediately preceding stage, albeit changed in detail. It has preserved its identity.
The preservation of identity through continuity of change, then, characterizes things which have a history. It is easier to see this in the case of concrete objects, like the Great Pyramid or Keats's Grecian urn. Their continuity is physical; the actual stuff of which they are made has endured through centuries. Their history is primarily what has happened to them and around them; the change they have suffered has chiefly been change of environment, rather than change of their own nature. Indeed, what fascinated Keats about the urn was its placid unchanging ness in the midst of changing generations of men. Its history is entirely what can be called "outer history."
According to the Bible: ’In the beginning was the Word’. By the Talmud: ‘God created the world by a Word, instantaneously, without toil or pains’. But I think whatever more mystical meaning these pieces of scripture might have, they both point to the primacy of language in the way human beings conceive of the world.
I agree with the theory that language figures centrally in our lives. I think we discover our identity as individuals and social beings when we acquire it during childhood. It serves as a means of cognition and communication: it enables us to think for ourselves and to cooperate with people in our community. It provides for present needs and future plans, and at the same time carries with it the impression of things past.
I want note in passing, incidentally, that it is speech that the ogre cannot master. Whether this necessarily implies that language is also beyond his reach is another matter, for language does not depend on speech as the only physical medium for its expression. Auden may not imply such a distinction in these lines, but it is one which, as we shall see presently, it is important to recognize.
It has been suggested that language is so uniquely human, distinguishes us so clearly from ogres and other animals, that our species might be more appropriately named homo loquens than homo sapiens. But although language is clearly essential to humankind and has served to extend control over other parts of creation, it is not easy to specify what exactly makes it distinctive. If, indeed, it is distinctive. After all, other species communicate after a fashion, for they could not otherwise mate, propagate, and cooperate in their colonies.
English belongs to the Anglo-Frisian group within the western branch of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages. It is related most closely to the Frisian language, to a lesser extent to Netherlandic (Dutch-Flemish) and the Low German (Plattdeutsch) dialects, and more distantly to Modern High German. Its parent, Proto-Indo-European, was spoken around 5,000 years ago by nomads who are thought to have roamed the _outh-east European plains. Three main stages are usually recognized in the history of the development of the English language. Old English, known formerly as Anglo-Saxon, dates from AD 449 to 1066 or 1100. Middle English dates from 1066 or 1100 to 1450 or 1500. Modern English dates from about 1450 or 1500 and is subdivided into Early Modern English, from about 1500 to 1660, and Late Modern English, from about 1660 to the present time.
The long-term linguistic effect of the Viking settlements in England was threefold: over a thousand words eventually became part of Standard English; a large number of places in the east and north-east of England have Danish names; and many English personal names are of Scandinavian origin. Words that entered the English language by this route include landing, score, beck, fellow, take, busting, and steersman The vast majority of loan words do not begin to appear in documents until the early twelfth century; these include many modern words which use sk- sounds, such as skirt, sky, and skin; other words appearing in written sources at this time include again, awkward, birth, cake, dregs, fog, freckles, gasp, law, neck, ransack, root, scowl, sister, seat, sly, smile, want, weak, and window. Some of the words that came into use by this route are among the most common in English, such as both, same, get, and give. The system of personal pronouns was affected, with they, them, and their replacing the earlier forms. Old Norse even influenced the verb to be; the replacement of sindon by is almost certainly Scandinavian in origin, as is the third-person-singular ending -s in the present tense of verbs.
There are over 1,500 Scandinavian place names in England, mainly in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (within the former boundaries of the Danelaw): over 600 end in -by, the Scandinavian word for "farm" or "town"—for example Grimsby, Naseby, and Whitby; many others end in -thorpe ("village"), -thwaite ("clearing"), and -toft ("homestead")
The distribution of family names showing Scandinavian influence is still, as an analysis of names ending in -son reveals, concentrated in the north and east, corresponding to areas of former Viking settlement. Early medieval records indicate that over 60% of personal names in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire showed Scandinavian influence.
The importance of the English language is naturally very great. English is the language not only of England but of the extensive dominions and colonies associated in the British Empire, and it is the language of the United States. Spoken by over 260 million people, it is in the number who speak it the largest of the occidental languages. English-speaking people constitute about one tenth of the world's population. English, however, is not the largest language in the world. The more conservative estimates of the population of China would indicate that Chinese is spoken by about 450 million people. But the numerical ascendancy of English among European languages can be seen by a few comparative figures. Russian, next in size to English, is spoken by about 140 million people;2 Spanish by 135 millions; German by 90 millions; Portuguese by 63 millions; French by 60 millions; Italian by 50 millions. Thus at the present time English has the advantage in numbers over all other western languages. But the importance of a language is not alone a matter of numbers or territory; as we have said, it depends also on the importance of the people who speak it.
The Contact of English with Other Languages
The language which has been described in the
preceding chapter was
Celtic Influence. Nothing would
seem more reasonable
The Application of Native Words The words which Old English borrowed in this period are only a partial indication of the extent to which the introduction of Christianity affected the lives and thoughts of the English people. The English did not always adopt a foreign word to express a new concept. Often an old word was applied to a new thing and by a slight adaptation made to express a new meaning. The Anglo-Saxons, for example, did not borrow the Latin word dens, since their own word God was a satisfactory equivalent. Likewise heaven and hell express conceptions not unknown to Anglo-Saxon paganism and are consequently English words. Patriarch was rendered literally by heahfasder (high father), prophet by witega (wise one), martyr often by the native word browere (one who suffers pain), and saint by hdlga (holy one). While specific members of the church organization such as pope, bishop, and priest, or monk and abbot represented individuals for which the English had no equivalent and therefore borrowed the Latin terms, they did not borrow a general word for clergy but vised a native expression 8set gâstlice jolc (the spiritual folk). The word Easter is a Teutonic word taken over from a pagan festival, likewise in the spring, in honor of Eostre, the goddess of dawn. Instead of borrowing the Latin word praedicare (to preach) the English expressed the idea with words of their own, such as Ixran (to teach) or bodian (to bring a message); to pray (L. precâre) was rendered by biddan (to ask) and other words of similar meaning, prayer by a word from the same root, gebed. For baptize (L. baptizâre) the English adapted a native word fullian (to consecrate) while its derivative fulluht renders the noun baptism. The latter word enters into numerous compounds, such as julluht-baef) (font), fulwere (baptist), fulluht-fseder (bap1-tizer), fulluht-hâd (baptismal vow), fulluht-nama (Christian name), fulluht-stow (baptistry), fulluht-tid (baptism time), and others. Even so individual a feature of the Christian faith as the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was expressed by the Teutonic word hûsl (modern housel) while lâc, the general word for sacrifice to the gods, was also sometimes applied to the Sacrifice of the Mass. The term Scriptures found its exact equivalent in the English word gewritit, and evangelium was rendered by god-spell, originally meaning good tidings. Trinity (L. trinitas) was translated brines (three-ness), the idea of God the Creator was expressed by scieppend (one who shapes or forms), fruma (creator, founder), or metod (measurer). Native words like f aider (father), dryhten (prince), wealdend (ruler), beoden (prince), weard (ward, protector), hldford (lord) are frequent synonyms. Most of them are also applied to Christ, originally a Greek word and the most usual name for the Second Person of the Trinity, but U friend (Savior) is also commonly employed. The Third Person (Spiritus Sanctus) was translated Halig Cast (Holy Ghost). Latin diabolus was borrowed as deofol (devil) but we find feond (fiend) as a common synonym. Examples might be multiplied. Cross is rod (rood), treow (tree), gcalga (gallows), etc.; resurrection is zerist, from ansan (to arise); peccatum is synn (sin), while other words like mân, firen, leaJıtor, woh, and scyld, meaning 'vice', 'crime', 'fault', and the like, are commonly substituted. The Judgment Day is Doomsday. Many of these words are translations of their Latin equivalents and their vitality is attested by the fact that in a great many cases they have continued in use down to the present day. It is important to recognize that the significance of a foreign influence is not to be measured simply by the foreign word's introduced but is revealed also by the extent to which it stimulates the language to independent creative effort and causes it to make full use of its native resources.
The Scandinavian Influence: The Viking Age.
The end of the Old English period English underwent a third foreign influence, the result of contact with another important language, the Scandinavian. In the course of history it is not unusual to witness the spectacle of a nation or people, through causes too remote or complex for analysis, suddenly emerging from obscurity, playing for a time a conspicuous, often brilliant, part, and then, through causes equally difficult to define, subsiding once more into a relatively minor sphere of activity. Such a phenomenon is presented by the Teutonic inhabitants of the Scandinavian Peninsula and Denmark, one-time neighbors of the Anglo-Saxons and closely related to them in language and blood. For some centuries the Scandinavians had remained quietly in their northern home. But in the eighth century a change, possibly economic, possibly political, occurred in this area and provoked among them a spirit of unrest and adventurous enterprise. They began a series of attacks upon all the lands adjacent to the North Sea and the Baltic. Their activities began in plunder and ended in conquest. The Swedes established a kingdom in Russia; Norwegians colonized parts of the British Isles, the Faroes and Iceland, and from there pushed on to Greenland and the coast of Labrador; the Danes founded the dukedom of Normandy and finally conquered England. The pinnacle of their achievement was reached in the beginning of the eleventh century when Cnut, king of Denmark, obtained the throne of England, conquered Norway, and from his English capital ruled the greater part of the Scandinavian world. The daring sea-rovers to whom these unusual achievements were due are commonly known as Vikings,1 and the period of their activity, extending from the middle of the eighth century to the beginning of the eleventh, is popularly known as the Viking Age. It was to their attacks upon, settle ments in, and ultimate conquest of England that the Scandinavian influence upon Old English was due.
The Scandinavian Invasions of England. In the Scandinavian attacks upon England three well-marked stages can be distinguished. The first is the period of early raids, beginning according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 787 and continuing with some intermissions until about 850 The raids of this period were simply plundering attacks upon towns and monasteries near the coast. Sacred vessels of gold and silver, jeweled shrines, costly robes, valuables of all kinds, and slaves were carried off. Note-Worthy instances are the sacking of Lindisfarne and Jarrow in 793 and 794. But with the plundering of these two famous monasteries the attacks apparently ceased for forty years, until renewed in 834 along the southern coast and in East Anglia. These early raids were apparently the work of small isolated bands.
The second stage is the work of large armies and is marked by widespread plundering in all parts of the country and by extensive settlements. This new development was inaugurated by the arrival in 1850 of a Danish fleet of 350 ships. Their pirate crews wintered in the isle of Thanet and the following spring captured Canterbury and London and ravaged the surrounding country. Although finally defeated by a West Saxon army they soon renewed their attacks. In 866 a large Danish army plundered East Anglian and in 867 captured York. In 869 the East Anglian king, Edmund, met a cruel death in resisting the invaders. The incident made a deep impression on all England, and the memory of his martyrdom was vividly preserved in English tradition for nearly two centuries. The eastern part of England was now largely in the hands of the Danes, and they began turning their attention to Wessex. The attack upon Wessex began shortly before the accession of King Alfred (871-99). Even the greatness of this greatest of English kings threatened to prove insufficient to withstand the repeated thrusts of the Northmen. After seven years of resistance, in which temporary victories were invariably succeeded by fresh defeats, Alfred was forced to take refuge with a small band of personal followers in the marshes of Somerset. But in this darkest hour for the fortunes of the English Alfred's courage and persistence triumphed. With a fresh levy of men from Somerset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire, he suddenly attacked the Danish army under Guthrum at Ethandun (now Edington, in Wiltshire). The result was an overwhelming victory for the English and a capitulation by the Danes,_(878J.
The Treaty of Wedmore (near Glastonbury), which was signed by Alfred and Guthrum the same year, marks the culmination of the second stage in the Danish invasions. Wessex was saved. The Danes withdrew from Alfred's territory. But they were not compelled to leave England. The treaty merely defined the line, running roughly from Chester to London, to the east of which the foreigners were henceforth to remain. This territory was to be subject to Danish law and is hence known as the Danelaw. In addition the Danes agreed to accept Christianity, and Guthrum was baptized. This last provision was important. It might secure the better observance of the treaty, and, what was more important, it would help to pave the way for the ultimate fusion of the two groups.
The third stage of the Scandinavian incursions covejrs__the period of political adjustment and assimilation from 878 to 1042. The Treaty of Wedmore did not put an end to Alfred's troubles. Guthrum was inclined to break faith and there were fresh invasions from outside. But the situation slowly began to clear. Under Alfred's son Edward the Elder (900-25) and grandson Athelstan (925-39) the English began a series of counterattacks that put the Danes on the defensive. One of the brilliant victories of the English in this period was Athelstan's triumph in 937 in the battle of Brunanburh, in Northumbria, over a combined force of Danes and Scots, a victory celebrated in one of the finest of Old English poems. By the middle of the century a large part of eastern England, though still strongly Danish in blood and custom, was once more under English rule.
Toward the end of the century, however, when England seemed at last on the point of solving its Danish problem, a new and formidable succession of invasions began. In 991 a fleet of ninety-three ships under Olaf Tryggvason and his associates Suddenly entered the Thames. They were met by Byrhtnoth, the valiant earl of the East Saxons, in a battle celebrated in another famous Old English war poem, The Battle of Maldon. Here the English, heroic in defeat, lost their leader, and soon the invaders were being bribed by large sums to refrain from plunder. The invasions now began to assume an official character. In 994 Olaf, who shortly became king of Norway, was joined by Svein, king of Denmark, in a new attack on London. The sums necessary to buy off the enemy became greater and greater, rising in 1012 to the amazing figure of £,48,000. In each case the truce thus bought was temporary, and Danish forces were soon again marching over England, murdering and pillaging. Finally Svein determined to make himself king of the country. In 1014, supported by his son Cnut, he crowned a series of victories in different parts of England by driving Ethelred, the English king, into exile and seizing the throne. Upon his sudden death the same year his son succeeded him. Three years of fighting established Cnut's claims to the throne, and for the next twenty-five years England was ruled by Danish kings.
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