Saturday, September 14, 2013

Old English

v    Old English is a dead language, once used in England during the dark ages. It was similar to Old Norse and Old German.
v    It lasted around 700 years, starting around 400AD, and ending around 1100, being replaced by Middle English (due to the Norman Invasion of 1066).
v    Hardly anyone knows Old English anymore (only scholars). You don’t have to learn it. J
v    The most famous story in Old English is the Epic poem about the legend of Beowulf.
v    Funny enough, the grammar of Old English is very similar to Slovak. Nouns have declensions (nominative, genitive, dative, etc.), they all have a gender (masculine, feminine, neuter). And, in addition to singular and plural, there’s another form of plural called ‘dual’.
v    Before Rome invaded England, Old English was written with runes. You don’t have to learn them, but they’re pretty, aren’t they?
v    Runes used straight lines because they were easier to carve in stone.
v    The Romans introduced the Latin alphabet which was adapted for Old English, which still kept the runes eth (ð), thorn (þ), and wynn (ƿ).
v    Many words from Old English are still used today: be, water, strong, gospel.
v    Old English ended around 1066 when Britain was invaded by both the Vikings, whom they defeated, and the French speaking Normans, who won.
v    The Norman king became King William I of England. This is the last time England was ever invaded and beaten by a foreign power.
v    The story of the Norman invasion was recorded on the Bayeux Tapestry (Bayeux tapisérie), which is over 70 meters long, with 50 different scenes. Made in England, it has its own museum now in Bayeux France. Here’s the final scene:

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