Anglo Saxon Language

Below is a detailed article on the Anglo Saxon Language or the Old English is spoken by the people in the Anglo Saxon era in England. This was the language they used for their daily communication between each other and for writing and reading. Let us learn more about this below.

Anglo Saxon language

The Anglo Saxon language was the Old English spoken by Anglo Saxon people. It is the ancestral form of modern English language. Although, it is a whole separate language with a whole separate form of vocabulary in itself. This English was a dialect of the language spoken by the West Germanic tribes and the Teutonic tribes that participated in the invasion of England during the medieval times.

anglo-saxon-language
Texts from the preserved manuscripts in Old English

Old English flourished across England until the conquest of the Norman Empire that brought in the French language for official court communication. Old English was then used as a means for everyday communication amongst the people. It has 3 dialects – West Saxon, Kentish, and Anglian.

How to learn the Anglo Saxon language?

Old English is quite different than modern English is spoken today. It needs hours of dedication to learn the language. The literature of the Anglo Saxon language such as ‘Beowulf’ cannot be read or understood by English speaking people today. More than 85% of the Old English words are not in use today.

old-english-letters
Alphabets and Letters in the Old English language spoken by Anglo Saxons

There are special classes in London and other parts of England and Wales in educational institutions where Old English is taught as a subject. It is one of the historic language lessons offered only by special institutes. Anglo Saxon language lessons masterclass is conducted at the British Library in England

How did the Anglo Saxons influence the English language?

Old English is the ancestral form of the present-day spoken modern English. In the course of time, dialects changed, syllables changed and the modern English language was developed. The core of the English language was Old English spoken by the Anglo Saxons. It was later also influenced by other languages spoken in the vicinity of England. English has developed over a course of 1400 years.

English vocabulary is also influenced by Latin and French. English then became Middle English spoken in large parts of England and then finally the modern English that we speak today. Therefore, the Anglo Saxons had a large influence on the English we speak today.

Some interesting Anglo Saxon language words

Uhtceare – lying awake before dawn and worrying

Expergefactor – something that wakes you up

Grubbling – taking something out of your pocket

Rawgabbit – somebody who has no knowledge about a subject yet speaks in confidence about the same

Lanspresado – somebody who shows up at a gathering with no money

What language did the Anglo Saxons speak?

The Anglo Saxons were Germanic tribes that settled in England. They spoke a dialect of the West Germanic languages that they brought with them to England. It is known as Old English, an ancestral form of modern English that is spoken today. Anglo Saxon English language had a complex vocabulary than what is spoken today.

History of Anglo Saxon language

The Old English was influenced by the West Germanic tribes and the Teutonic tribes. The language was spoken in all the kingdoms of the Anglo Saxons. Some parts in Wales also spoke Celtic languages while some also spoke the Old Norse language. Cornish was spoken near Cornwall. The Anglo Saxons became literate when Christianity began to spread across the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms.

The Caedmon’s Hymn is the oldest piece of literature from Old English that we find today. It was composed between 658 to 680. However, it was not written down. Therefore, archaeologists suggest that Old English language alphabets were not developed until the 8th century. The Old English replaced the old British Celtic languages.

Anglo Saxon contribution to the English language

Old English was the language spoken by the Anglo Saxons during and after their conquest of England. Many pieces of literature were written and gradually the language flourished all across England.

Due to a number of changes and influences from other languages and dialects, Old English became Middle English and then due to more or less the same factors, it became the Modern English that we speak today. Therefore, Old English or the Anglo Saxon language is the ancestral form of modern English as we speak today. In other words, if there was no Old English or the Anglo Saxon language – there would have been no English!

Found info useful?