Scandinavian influence on the English Language

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Camille Kelly                Lourdes Elizondo-Burbano

LNG 2100                The History of the English Language                Assignment 2

SCANDINAVIAN INFLUENCE- Compare and contrast with French influence. Look at the nature of Scandinavian loans.

The English language is a member of the Indo-European family of languages; this broad group includes most of the European languages spoken today such as German Arabic and Latin. English has been shaped by a number of these other languages over the centuries, mainly French, Latin, German and Scandinavian. These languages have had a major impact on the Present Day English vocabulary we hear and see today. This essay will mainly focus on the French and Scandinavian language, and the impact these had on the English language, infiltrating its vocabulary and grammar, and discuss, as a whole, which made the biggest impact to form modern day English.

As a result of the Vikings invading during the Old English Period (600 – 1100) the English spoken and written language was impacted significantly by the Scandinavian influence. The Scandinavian or Viking invaders of the 8th century were intimately related to the original Germanic settlers of England, the Angles, Jutes and Saxons, and similarly so was their language, and so this combined influence of Germanic dialects and Scandinavian helped erode the inflectional endings of Old English, and also made additions to the English glossary.

Between the years 750 and 1016, the Vikings began attacking the northern and eastern shores of Britain, inhabiting these areas themselves, this created hostility between the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons, and it was during this period when a lot of Scandinavian borrowing took place. Husband and law are examples from their original forms Husbonda and lagu. Between the period 1016 and 1050 the conditions were similar to that of the previous time era only the succession of King Alfred the Great united the Anglo-Saxons and encouraged the English language throughout Britain, and more word loans occurred. Knife and die emerged in the forms cnif and diegan. The final time span to consider would be the time period 1050-1480 when the French invaded and English and Scandinavian were subdued by the Normans, and therefore the two came together to interact more closely. This merge caused cognate words such as fisk and fish, gayte and goat.

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The common linguistic bond that was formed between the Scandinavians and the Anglo-Saxons resulted in the first English epic ‘Beowulf’. However after the Vikings began to attack England the language and pronunciation of the Anglo-Saxons was significantly influenced by the invaders. The Scandinavian origin of words is easy to determine, this is because phonologically they have a different form to that of native English words. The old English mainly had a palatal g meaning words were pronounced ‘ǽg’ as opposed to the Scandinavian velar g in ‘egg’ how we still pronounce it in Present Day English. Similarly Old English sometimes ...

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