Classical Studies 2800A/B Lecture Notes - Sauerkraut, Genitive Case, Kimono
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Invasion of the Celts - The Language of England
•English language is not native to England - sometime in the ﬁrst millennium B.C., Celts invaded
England and spoke Celtic.
•Language broke into Gaelic (Ireland and Scotland) and Britannic Celtic (Wales)
•Fifth century A.D., Britannic Celts from Wales returned to Northwestern France (now called Brittany)
and speak Breton
The Romans Arrive in Britain (43 B.C. to A.D. 410)
•Romans tried to conquer Britain in 55 B.C., conquered Britain in A.D. 43
•Britain remained a Roman province for 400 years and imposed Latin on English
•Two languages prevailed during this time: Celtic and Latin
•A few Latin words from this period remain in our language today
•Mile (milia passum - a thousand paces)
•Camp (castra) - Dorchester, Winchester, Colchester, Manchester
The Angles, Saxons and the Jutes (A.D. 449 - 900)
•Roman troops withdrew from Britain in the early ﬁfth century, the British could not withstand the
attacks from the Gaelic Scots and the Picts
•Called on Germanic tribes for military assistance and the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes moved in
•There were certain words in the German language that were taken from Latin.!
L. vallum (fortified wall) > OE weall > wall
L. vinum (wine) > OE win > wine
L. calcis (lime) > OE cealc > chalk
•Dialect of the Angles was the ﬁrst to be used in literature and English became the term for the
language and “Land of the Engles”
•English comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Englisc” which comes from “Engles” - the Germanic word
for the Angles
•Celtic had been abandoned throughout England by this time, although it remains in Gaelic (Ireland
and Scotland) and in Welsh (Britannic Celtic), now spoken in Wales.
•Cornish (Brittanic Celtic in Cornwall) died out in the eighteenth century
•Old Irish (Gaelic Celtic) has gradually declined in the past few centuries. Now called Manx Gaelic, the
last native speaker died in 1974.
•Invaders from Norway and Denmark
•England was ruled by Danish kings from 1014-1042 and as a result many Danes and Norwegians
came to live in the area.
•Norse and Danish were Germanic languages, words were taken from these languages and added to
the language of Britain at the time
•These Scandinavian warriors descended to France and became known as the Normans - occupies
The Old English Period (A.D. 450-1150)
•Fully inﬂected language (like Modern German) - words in these languages assume different endings
to indicate their grammatical functions in a sentence or to indicate person and number in the verb
•Inﬂection has been almost completely lost in modern English. Usually only the third person singular
retains inﬂection (the letter -s)
•Ex. I run, you run, he/she runs
•Had two numbers: singular and plural
•Three genders: feminine, masculine, neuter
•Four cases: nominative, genitive, dative and accusitive
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