Origins of the English Language: An Introduction

I’ve had an idea for some time to write a couple of articles on the origin of English, specifically how it evolved out of Anglo-Saxon languages and how much influence north European pronunciation and words contributed to the language today – Viking to the rest of us.

I know I have discussed before specific Saxon and Viking words that I love but never really thought how I could go about researching the subject and presenting it in a format suitable for a blog. Whole theses have been written on this subject and I want to write a handful of blog posts in the region of 1000 words. The video above is The Lord’s Prayer in Old English. Ignore the subject matter and just listen to the words; hear how it flows, listen to the odd pronunciations that most of the time makes sense when listening to, even if you cannot understand when reading it.

I am not an expert on linguistics by any stretch of the imagination but what I have studied formally as part of my Master’s Degree in Landscape Archaeology is place names. I’m fascinated by how Wintanceaster became Winchester, how Eoferwic (probably my favourite place name) became Jorvik, became York and how the harsher pronounced of “J”, “V”, and “K” fit so well with so many other sounds that flow so well.

Keep reading. I can’t promise when these posts will make an appearance but I hope sometime this year. I just wanted an excuse to post that video!

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2 thoughts on “Origins of the English Language: An Introduction

  1. I really enjoyed this post, the original words and the reduction to what exists present. It makes me wonder how many words will reduce further and then cease be used as so many have. Looking forward to your next post on this topic.

    1. Thanks! I love figuring out the technical aspects of how things evolve and language is one of those things.

      Aside from that, I find it very beautiful to hear 🙂

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