In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Low German or Low Saxon is a West Germanic language spoken in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the Netherlands. It is spoken to a lesser extent in the German diaspora worldwide. Low German is most related to Frisian and English, with which it forms the North Sea Germanic group of the West Germanic languages. Like Dutch, it is spoken north of the Benrath and Uerdingen isoglosses, while German is spoken south of those lines. Like Frisian, English and the North Germanic languages, Low German has not undergone the High German consonant shift, as opposed to High German; the Low German dialects spoken in the Netherlands are referred to as Low Saxon, those spoken in northwestern Germany as either Low German or Low Saxon, those spoken in northeastern Germany as Low German. This is because northwestern Germany and the northeastern Netherlands were the area of settlement of the Saxons, while Low German spread to northeastern Germany through eastward migration of Low German speakers into areas with a Slavic-speaking population.
It has been estimated that Low German has 6.7 million native speakers – 5 million in Germany Northern Germany, 1.7 million in the Netherlands. A 2005 study by H. Bloemhof, Taaltelling Nedersaksisch, showed 1.8 million spoke it daily in the Netherlands. It has been estimated that Low German has 6.7 million native speakers – 5 million in Germany Northern Germany, 1.7 million in the Netherlands. Dialects of Low German are spoken in the northeastern area of the Netherlands and are written there with an unstandardised orthography based on Standard Dutch orthography; the position of the language is, according to UNESCO, vulnerable. Between 1995 and 2011 the numbers of speakers of parents dropped from 34% in 1995 to 15% in 2011. Numbers of speakers of their children dropped in the same period from 8% to 2%. Variants of Low German are spoken in most parts of Northern Germany, for instance in the states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg.
Small portions of northern Hesse and northern Thuringia are traditionally Low Saxon-speaking too. Low German was spoken in German parts of Poland as well as in East Prussia and the Baltic States of Estonia and Latvia; the Baltic Germans spoke a distinct Low German dialect, which has influenced the vocabulary and phonetics of both Estonian and Latvian. The historical Sprachraum of Low German included contemporary northern Poland, East Prussia, a part of western Lithuania, the German communities in the Baltic states, most notably the Hanseatic cities of modern Latvia and Estonia. German speakers in this area fled the Red Army or were forcibly expelled after the border changes at the end of World War II; the language was formerly spoken in the outer areas of what is now the city-state of Berlin, but in the course of urbanisation and national centralisation in that city, the language has vanished. Under the name Low Saxon, there are speakers in the Dutch north-eastern provinces of Groningen, Stellingwerf and Gelderland, in several dialect groups per province.
Today, there are still speakers outside Germany and the Netherlands to be found in the coastal areas of present-day Poland. In the Southern Jutland region of Denmark there may still be some Low German speakers in some German minority communities, but the Low German and North Frisian dialects of Denmark can be considered moribund at this time. There are immigrant communities where Low German is spoken in the Western hemisphere, including Canada, the United States, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay. In some of these countries, the language is part of the Mennonite culture. There are Mennonite communities in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Minnesota which use Low German in their religious services and communities; these Mennonites are descended from Dutch settlers that had settled in the Vistula delta region of Prussia in the 16th and 17th centuries before moving to newly-acquired Russian territories in Ukraine in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to the Americas in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The types of Low German spoken in these communities and in the Midwest region of the United States have diverged since emigration. The survival of the language is tenuous in many places, has died out in many places where assimilation has occurred. Members and friends of the Historical Society of North German Settlements in Western New York, a community of Lutherans who trace their immigration from Pomerania in the 1840s, hold quarterly "Plattdeutsch lunch" events, where remaining speakers of the language gather to share and preserve the dialect. Mennonite colonies in Paraguay and Chihuahua, Mexico have made Low German a "co-official language" of the community. East Pomeranian is spoken in parts of Southern and Southeastern Brazil, in the latter in the state of Espírito Santo, being official in five municipalities, spoken among its ethnically European migrants elsewhere in the states of Rio de Jane
Yiddish is the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashkenazi community with a High German-based vernacular fused with elements taken from Hebrew and Aramaic as well as from Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages. Yiddish is written with a vocalized version of the Hebrew alphabet; the earliest surviving references date from the 12th century and call the language לשון־אַשכּנז or טײַטש, a variant of tiutsch, the contemporary name for Middle High German. Colloquially, the language is sometimes called מאַמע־לשון, distinguishing it from לשון־קודש, meaning Hebrew and Aramaic; the term "Yiddish", short for Yidish Taitsh, did not become the most used designation in the literature until the 18th century. In the late 19th and into the 20th century the language was more called "Jewish" in non-Jewish contexts, but "Yiddish" is again the more common designation today. Modern Yiddish has two major forms. Eastern Yiddish is far more common today.
It includes Southeastern and Northeastern dialects. Eastern Yiddish differs from Western both by its far greater size and by the extensive inclusion of words of Slavic origin. Western Yiddish is divided into Southwestern and Northwestern dialects. Yiddish is used in a number of Haredi Jewish communities worldwide; the term "Yiddish" is used in the adjectival sense, synonymously with "Jewish", to designate attributes of Yiddishkeit. Prior to the Holocaust, there were 11–13 million speakers of Yiddish among 17 million Jews worldwide. 85% of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust were Yiddish speakers, leading to a massive decline in the use of the language. Assimilation following World War II and aliyah, immigration to Israel, further decreased the use of Yiddish both among survivors and among Yiddish-speakers from other countries. However, the number of speakers is increasing in Hasidic communities; the established view is that, as with other Jewish languages, Jews speaking distinct languages learned new co-territorial vernaculars, which they Judaized.
In the case of Yiddish, this scenario sees it as emerging when speakers of Zarphatic and other Judeo-Romance languages began to acquire varieties of Middle High German, from these groups the Ashkenazi community took shape. What German base lies behind the earliest form of Yiddish is disputed. In Max Weinreich's model, Jewish speakers of Old French or Old Italian who were literate in either liturgical Hebrew or Aramaic, or both, migrated through Southern Europe to settle in the Rhine Valley in an area known as Lotharingia extending over parts of Germany and France. Both Weinreich and Solomon Birnbaum developed this model further in the mid-1950s. In Weinreich's view, this Old Yiddish substrate bifurcated into two distinct versions of the language and Eastern Yiddish, they retained the Semitic vocabulary and constructions needed for religious purposes and created a Judeo-German form of speech, sometimes not accepted as a autonomous language. Linguistic research has finessed the Weinreich model or provided alternative approaches to the language's origins, with points of contention being the characterization of its Germanic base, the source of its Hebrew/Aramaic adstrata, the means and location of this fusion.
Some theorists argue. The two main candidates for the germinal matrix of Yiddish, the Rhineland and Bavaria, are not incompatible. There may have been parallel developments in the two regions, seeding the Western and Eastern dialects of Modern Yiddish. Dovid Katz proposes that Yiddish emerged from contact between speakers of High German and Aramaic-speaking Jews from the Middle East; the lines of development proposed by the different theories do not rule out the others. In more recent work, Wexler has argued that Eastern Yiddish is unrelated genetically to Western Yiddish. Wexler's model has met with little academic support, strong critical challenges among historical linguists. By the 10th century, a distinctive Jewish culture had formed in Central Europe which came to be called אַשכּנזי Ashkenazi, "Ashkenazi Jews, from Hebrew: אַשכּנז Ashkenaz, the medieval Hebrew name for northern Europe and Germany. Ashkenaz was centered on the Rhineland and the Palatinate, in what is now the westernmost part of Germany.
Its geographic extent did not
Middle English was a form of the English language, spoken after the Norman conquest until the late 15th century. English underwent distinct developments following the Old English period. Scholarly opinion varies, but the Oxford English Dictionary specifies the period when Middle English was spoken as being from 1150 to 1500; this stage of the development of the English language followed the High to the Late Middle Ages. Middle English saw significant changes to its grammar and orthography. Writing conventions during the Middle English period varied widely. Examples of writing from this period that have survived show extensive regional variation; the more standardized Old English language became fragmented and was for the most part, being improvised. By the end of the period and aided by the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439, a standard based on the London dialect had become established; this formed the basis for Modern English spelling, although pronunciation has changed since that time.
Middle English was succeeded in England by the era of Early Modern English, which lasted until about 1650. Scots language developed concurrently from a variant of the Northumbrian dialect. During the Middle English period, many Old English grammatical features either became simplified or disappeared altogether. Noun and verb inflections were simplified by the reduction of most grammatical case distinctions. Middle English saw considerable adoption of Norman French vocabulary in the areas of politics, the arts and religion. Conventional English vocabulary retained its Germanic etiology, with Old Norse influences becoming more apparent. Significant changes in pronunciation took place involving long vowels and diphthongs which in the Middle English period, began to undergo the Great Vowel Shift. Little survives of early Middle English literature, due in part to Norman domination and the prestige that came with writing in French rather than English. During the 14th century, a new style of literature emerged with the works of writers including John Wycliffe and Geoffrey Chaucer, whose Canterbury Tales remains one of the most studied and read works of the period.
Transition from Late Old English to Early Middle English occurred in the latter part of the 11th century. The influence of Old Norse aided the development of English from a synthetic language with free word order, to a more analytic or isolating language with a more strict word order. Both Old English and Old Norse were synthetic languages with complicated inflections; the eagerness of Vikings in the Danelaw to communicate with their southern Anglo-Saxon neighbours resulted in the erosion of inflection in both languages. Old Norse may have had a more profound impact on Middle and Modern English development than any other language. Simeon Potter notes: "No less far-reaching was the influence of Scandinavian upon the inflexional endings of English in hastening that wearing away and leveling of grammatical forms which spread from north to south.". Viking influence on Old English is most apparent in the more indispensable elements of the language. Pronouns, comparatives, pronominal adverbs and prepositions, show the most marked Danish influence.
The best evidence of Scandinavian influence appears in extensive word borrowings, yet no texts exist in either Scandinavia or in Northern England from this period to give certain evidence of an influence on syntax. The change to Old English from Old Norse was substantive, of a democratic character. Like close cousins, Old Norse and Old English resembled each other, with some words in common, they understood each other, it is most "important to recognise that in many words the English and Scandinavian language differed chiefly in their inflectional elements. The body of the word was so nearly the same in the two languages that only the endings would put obstacles in the way of mutual understanding. In the mixed population which existed in the Danelaw these endings must have led to much confusion, tending to become obscured and lost." This blending of peoples and languages resulted in "simplifying English grammar."While the influence of Scandinavian languages was strongest in the dialects of the Danelaw region and Scotland, words in the spoken language emerge in the tenth and eleventh centuries near the transition from the Old to Middle English.
Influence on the written language only appeared at the beginning of the thirteenth century because of a scarcity of literary texts from an earlier date. The Norman conquest of England in 1066 saw the replacement of the top levels of the English-speaking political and ecclesiastical hierarchies by Norman rulers who spoke a dialect of Old French known as Old Norman, which developed in England into Anglo-Norman; the use of Norman as the preferred language of literature and polite discourse fundamentally altered the role of Old English in education and administration though many Normans of this period were illiterate and depended on the clergy for written communication and record-keeping. A significant number of words of French origin began to appear in the English language alongside native English words of similar meaning, giving rise to such Modern English synonyms as pig/pork, chicken/poultry, calf/veal, cow/beef, sheep/mutton, wood/forest, house/mansion, worthy/valuable, bold/courageous
*Walhaz is a reconstructed Proto-Germanic word meaning "foreigner", "stranger", "Roman", "Romance-speaker", or "Celtic-speaker". The term was used by the ancient Germanic peoples to describe inhabitants of the former Western Roman Empire, who were romanised and spoke Latin or Celtic languages; the adjectival form is attested in Old Norse valskr, meaning "French". The form of these words imply that they are descended from a Proto-Germanic form *walhiska-, it is attested in the Roman Iron Age from an inscription on one of the Tjurkö bracteates, where walhakurne "Roman/Gallic grain" is a kenning for "gold". *Walhaz is certainly derived from the name of the tribe, known to the Romans as Volcae and to the Greeks as Οὐόλκαι / Ouólkai. This tribe occupied territory neighbouring that of the Germanic people and seem to have been referred to by the proto-Germanic name *Walhaz, it is assumed that this term referred to the Celtic Volcae, because application of Grimm's law to that word produces the form *Walh-.
Subsequently, this term *Walhōz was applied rather indiscriminately to the southern neighbours of the Germanic people, as evidenced in geographic names such as Walchgau and Walchensee in Bavaria. These southern neighbours, were already Romanised. Thus, Germanic speakers generalised this name first to all Celts, to all Romans. Old High German Walh became Walch in Middle High German, the adjective OHG walhisk became MHG welsch, e.g. in the 1240 Alexander romance by Rudolf von Ems – resulting in Welsche in Early New High German and modern Swiss German as the exonym for all Romance speakers. For instance, the historical German name for Trentino, the part of Tyrol with a Romance speaking majority, is Welschtirol, the historical German name for Verona is Welschbern. Today, welsch is not in usage in German except in Switzerland; this term is used there not only in a historical context, but as a somewhat pejorative word to describe Swiss speakers of Italian and French. In Central and Eastern Europe, the word for Romance peoples was borrowed from the Goths into Proto-Slavic some time before the 7th century.
The first source using the word was the writings of Byzantine historian George Kedrenos in the mid-11th century. From the Slavs the term passed to other peoples, such as the Hungarians and Byzantines and was used for all Latin people of the Balkans. Over time, the term Vlach acquired different meanings. Ottoman Turks in the Balkans used the term to denote native Balkan Christians, in parts of the Balkans the term came to denote "shepherd" – from the occupation of many of the Vlachs throughout Central and Eastern Europe; the Polish words Włoch, "Italian", Włochy, "Italy", the Slovenian lah, a mildly derogatory word for "Italian", can be mentioned. Numerous names of non-Germanic, in particular Romance-speaking and near-Asian regions derive from the word Walh, in particular the exonyms Wallachia and Vlachs – "Romanians"Consider the following terms present in several Central and Eastern European, other neighbouring languages: in Polish: Włochy, the name of Italy, Wołoch, referring to Vlachs and Romanians. in Hungarian: "Oláh", referring to Romanians, Oláhország to Wallachia.
In Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian: Vlah – to Romanians or other Romanian/Vlach subgroup. In Vlašić, the mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina named after the Vlach shepherds that inhabited it. In Ukrainian: Voloh – to Romanians. in Russian: Valah/Valakh – to Romanians. in Greek: Vlahi/Vlakhi – to Romanians or other Romanian/Vlach subgroup in German: Wlachen or Walachen – to Romanians of other Romanian/Vlach subgroups. In Turkish: Eflak – to Wallachia and "Ulahlar" to Romanians or other Romanian/Vlach subgroup. In Slovene: Laški, archaic name referring to Italians. Laško is the old Slovene name for the area around Monfalcone and Ronchi in Italy, on the border with Slovenia; these names are linked to the presence of larger nuclei of Romance-speaking populations at the time where the Slavs settled the area in the 6th century. In Western European languages: in English: Wales, Welsh Cornwall The names of many towns and villages throughout the North and West of England such as Walsden in West Yorkshire and Wallasey, near Liverpool.
Waledich or wallditch was the pre-Victorian name of Avebury stone circle in Avebury, Wiltshire Galwalas, Old English name for people of Gaul or France Numerous attestations in German: in village names ending in -walchen, such as Straßwalc
An army or land force is a fighting force that fights on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch, service branch or armed service of a nation or state, it may include aviation assets by possessing an army aviation component. In certain states, the term army refers to the entire armed forces. Within a national military force, the word army may mean a field army. In several countries, the army is called the Land Army to differentiate it from an air force called the Air Army, notably France. In such countries, the word "army" on its own retains its connotation of a land force in common usage; the current largest army in the world, by number of active troops, is the People's Liberation Army Ground Force of China with 1,600,000 active troops and 510,000 reserve personnel followed by the Indian Army with 1,129,000 active troops and 960,000 reserve personnel. By convention, irregular military is understood in contrast to regular armies which grew from personal bodyguards or elite militia.
Regular in this case refers to standardized doctrines, organizations, etc. Regular military can refer to full-time status, versus reserve or part-time personnel. Other distinctions may separate statutory forces, from de facto "non-statutory" forces such as some guerrilla and revolutionary armies. Armies may be expeditionary or fencible India's armies were among the first in the world; the first recorded battle, the Battle of the Ten Kings, happened when an Hindu Aryan king named Sudas defeated an alliance of ten kings and their supportive chieftains. During the Iron Age, the Maurya and Nanda Empires had the largest armies in the world, the peak being over 600,000 Infantry, 30,000 Cavalry, 8,000 War-Chariots and 9,000 War Elephants not including tributary state allies. In the Gupta age, large armies of longbowmen were recruited to fight off invading horse archer armies. Elephants and cavalry were other featured troops. In Rajput times, the main piece of equipment was iron or chain-mail armour, a round shield, either a curved blade or a straight-sword, a chakra disc and a katar dagger.
The states of China raised armies for at least 1000 years before the Autumn Annals. By the Warring States period, the crossbow had been perfected enough to become a military secret, with bronze bolts which could pierce any armor, thus any political power of a state rested on their organization. China underwent political consolidation of the states of Han, Chu, Zhao and Qi, until by 221 BCE, Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, attained absolute power; this first emperor of China could command the creation of a Terracotta Army to guard his tomb in the city of Xi'an, as well as a realignment of the Great Wall of China to strengthen his empire against insurrection and incursion. Sun Tzu's The Art of War remains one of China's Seven Military Classics though it is two thousand years old. Since no political figure could exist without an army, measures were taken to ensure only the most capable leaders could control the armies. Civil bureaucracies arose to control the productive power of the states, their military power.
The Spartan Army was one of the earliest known professional armies. Boys were sent to a barracks at the age of eight to train for becoming a soldier. At the age of thirty they were allowed to marry and have a family. After that, men devoted their lives to war until their retirement at the age of 60. Unlike other civilizations, whose armies had to disband during the planting and harvest seasons, the Spartan serfs or helots, did the manual labor; this allowed the Spartans to field a full-time army with a campaign season. The Spartan Army was composed of hoplites, equipped with arms and armor nearly identical to each other; each hoplite bore a scarlet uniform. The main pieces of this armor were a spear and a helmet; the Roman Army had its origins in the citizen army of the Republic, staffed by citizens serving mandatory duty for Rome. Reforms turned the army into a professional organization, still filled by citizens, but these citizens served continuously for 25 years before being discharged; the Romans were noted for making use of auxiliary troops, non-Romans who served with the legions and filled roles that the traditional Roman military could not fill such as light skirmish troops and heavy cavalry.
After their service in the army they were made citizens of Rome and their children were citizens also. They were given land and money to settle in Rome. In the Late Roman Empire, these auxiliary troops, along with foreign mercenaries, became the core of the Roman Army. In the earliest Middle Ages it was the obligation of every aristocrat to respond to the call to battle with his own equipment and infantry; this decentralized system was necessary due to the social order of the time, but could lead to motley forces with variable training and abilities. The more resources the noble had access to, the better his troops would be; the words "knight" and "noble" were used interchangeably as there was not a distinction between them. While the nobility did fight upon horseback, they were supported by lower class citizens –
Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th century, the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French; this is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English. Old English developed from a set of Anglo-Frisian or Ingvaeonic dialects spoken by Germanic tribes traditionally known as the Angles and Jutes; as the Anglo-Saxons became dominant in England, their language replaced the languages of Roman Britain: Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, Latin, brought to Britain by Roman invasion. Old English had four main dialects, associated with particular Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: Mercian, Northumbrian and West Saxon.
It was West Saxon that formed the basis for the literary standard of the Old English period, although the dominant forms of Middle and Modern English would develop from Mercian. The speech of eastern and northern parts of England was subject to strong Old Norse influence due to Scandinavian rule and settlement beginning in the 9th century. Old English is one of the West Germanic languages, its closest relatives are Old Frisian and Old Saxon. Like other old Germanic languages, it is different from Modern English and difficult for Modern English speakers to understand without study. Old English grammar is similar to that of modern German: nouns, adjectives and verbs have many inflectional endings and forms, word order is much freer; the oldest Old English inscriptions were written using a runic system, but from about the 9th century this was replaced by a version of the Latin alphabet. Englisc, which the term English is derived from, means'pertaining to the Angles'. In Old English, this word was derived from Angles.
During the 9th century, all invading Germanic tribes were referred to as Englisc. It has been hypothesised that the Angles acquired their name because their land on the coast of Jutland resembled a fishhook. Proto-Germanic *anguz had the meaning of'narrow', referring to the shallow waters near the coast; that word goes back to Proto-Indo-European *h₂enǵʰ- meaning'narrow'. Another theory is that the derivation of'narrow' is the more connection to angling, which itself stems from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning bend, angle; the semantic link is the fishing hook, curved or bent at an angle. In any case, the Angles may have been called such because they were a fishing people or were descended from such, therefore England would mean'land of the fishermen', English would be'the fishermen's language'. Old English was not static, its usage covered a period of 700 years, from the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain in the 5th century to the late 11th century, some time after the Norman invasion. While indicating that the establishment of dates is an arbitrary process, Albert Baugh dates Old English from 450 to 1150, a period of full inflections, a synthetic language.
Around 85 per cent of Old English words are no longer in use, but those that survived are basic elements of Modern English vocabulary. Old English is a West Germanic language, it came to be spoken over most of the territory of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which became the Kingdom of England. This included most of present-day England, as well as part of what is now southeastern Scotland, which for several centuries belonged to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Other parts of the island – Wales and most of Scotland – continued to use Celtic languages, except in the areas of Scandinavian settlements where Old Norse was spoken. Celtic speech remained established in certain parts of England: Medieval Cornish was spoken all over Cornwall and in adjacent parts of Devon, while Cumbric survived to the 12th century in parts of Cumbria, Welsh may have been spoken on the English side of the Anglo-Welsh border. Norse was widely spoken in the parts of England which fell under Danish law. Anglo-Saxon literacy developed after Christianisation in the late 7th century.
The oldest surviving text of Old English literature is Cædmon's Hymn, composed between 658 and 680. There is a limited corpus of runic inscriptions from the 5th to 7th centuries, but the oldest coherent runic texts date to the 8th century; the Old English Latin alphabet was introduced around the 9th century. With the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms by Alfred the Great in the 9th century, the language of government and literature became standardised around the West Saxon dialect. Alfred advocated education in English alongside Latin, had many works translated into the English language. In Old English, typical of the development of literature, poetry arose before prose, but King Alfred the Great chiefly inspired the growth of prose. A literary standard, dating from the 10th century, arose under the influence of Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester, was followed by such writers as the prolific Ælfric of Eynsham. Th