Norse mythology is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, folk tradition; the source texts mention numerous gods, such as the hammer-wielding, humanity-protecting thunder-god Thor, who relentlessly fights his foes. Most of the surviving mythology centres on the plights of the gods and their interaction with various other beings, such as humanity and the jötnar, beings who may be friends, foes or family members of the gods; the cosmos in Norse mythology consists of Nine Worlds that flank Yggdrasil. Units of time and elements of the cosmology are personified as beings. Various forms of a creation myth are recounted, where the world is created from the flesh of the primordial being Ymir, the first two humans are Ask and Embla.
These worlds are foretold to be reborn after the events of Ragnarök when an immense battle occurs between the gods and their enemies, the world is enveloped in flames, only to be reborn anew. There the surviving gods will meet, the land will be fertile and green, two humans will repopulate the world. Norse mythology has been the subject of scholarly discourse since the 17th century, when key texts were brought to the attention of the intellectual circles of Europe. By way of comparative mythology and historical linguistics, scholars have identified elements of Germanic mythology reaching as far back as Proto-Indo-European mythology. During the modern period, the Romanticist Viking revival re-awoke an interest in the subject matter, references to Norse mythology may now be found throughout modern popular culture; the myths have further been revived in a religious context among adherents of Germanic Neopaganism. The historical religion of the Norse people is referred to as Norse mythology. In certain literature the terms Scandinavian mythology or Nordic mythology have been used.
Norse mythology is attested in dialects of Old Norse, a North Germanic language spoken by the Scandinavian people during the European Middle Ages, the ancestor of modern Scandinavian languages. The majority of these Old Norse texts were created in Iceland, where the oral tradition stemming from the pre-Christian inhabitants of the island was collected and recorded in manuscripts; this occurred in the 13th century. These texts include the Prose Edda, composed in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, the Poetic Edda, a collection of poems from earlier traditional material anonymously compiled in the 13th century; the Prose Edda was composed as a prose manual for producing skaldic poetry—traditional Old Norse poetry composed by skalds. Composed and transmitted orally, skaldic poetry utilizes alliterative verse and various metrical forms; the Prose Edda presents numerous examples of works by various skalds from before and after the Christianization process and frequently refers back to the poems found in the Poetic Edda.
The Poetic Edda consists entirely of poems, with some prose narrative added, this poetry—Eddic poetry—utilizes fewer kennings. In comparison to skaldic poetry, Eddic poetry is unadorned; the Prose Edda features layers of euhemerization, a process in which deities and supernatural beings are presented as having been either actual, magic-wielding human beings who have been deified in time or beings demonized by way of Christian mythology. Texts such as Heimskringla, composed in the 13th century by Snorri and Gesta Danorum, composed in Latin by Saxo Grammaticus in Denmark in the 12th century, are the results of heavy amounts of euhemerization. Numerous further texts, such as the sagas, provide further information; the saga corpus consists of thousands of tales recorded in Old Norse ranging from Icelandic family histories to Migration period tales mentioning historic figures such as Attila the Hun. Objects and monuments such as the Rök Runestone and the Kvinneby amulet feature runic inscriptions—texts written in the runic alphabet, the indigenous alphabet of the Germanic peoples—that mention figures and events from Norse mythology.
Objects from the archaeological record may be interpreted as depictions of subjects from Norse mythology, such as amulets of the god Thor's hammer Mjölnir found among pagan burials and small silver female figures interpreted as valkyries or dísir, beings associated with war, fate or ancestor cults. By way of historical linguistics and comparative mythology, comparisons to other attested branches of Germanic mythology may lend insight. Wider comparisons to the
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
Names of the days of the week
The names of the days of the week in many languages are derived from the names of the classical planets in Hellenistic astrology, which were in turn named after contemporary deities, a system introduced by the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity. In some other languages, the days are named after corresponding deities of the regional culture, either beginning with Sunday or with Monday. In the international standard ISO 8601, Monday is treated as the first day of the week. Between the 1st and 3rd centuries, the Roman Empire replaced the eight-day Roman nundinal cycle with the seven-day week. Our earliest evidence for this new system is a Pompeiian graffito referring to 6 February of the year AD 60 as dies solis. Another early witness is a reference to a lost treatise by Plutarch, written in about AD 100, which addressed the question of Why are the days named after the planets reckoned in a different order from the actual order?. The days were named after the planets of Hellenistic astrology, in the order Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
The seven-day week spread throughout the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. By the 4th century, it was in wide use throughout the Empire, it had reached India and China; the Greek and Latin names are as follows: Except for modern Portuguese and Mirandese, the Romance languages preserved the Latin names, except for the names of Sunday, replaced by Dominicus, i.e. "the Lord's Day" and of Saturday, named for the Sabbath. In Corsican, the Saturday is known either by De Sadorn. Early Old Irish adopted the names from Latin, but introduced separate terms of Norse origin for Wednesday and Friday later supplanted these with terms relating to church fasting practices. Albanian adopted the Latin terms for Tuesday and Saturday, adopted translations of the Latin terms for Sunday and Monday, kept native terms for Thursday and Friday. Other languages adopted the week together with the Latin names for the days of the week in the colonial period; some constructed languages adopted the Latin terminology. Japanese referred to the existing names for the planets, which were of Chinese origin, matched them up to the meanings of the Latin terms.
The Germanic peoples adapted the system introduced by the Romans by substituting the Germanic deities for the Roman ones in a process known as interpretatio germanica. The date of the introduction of this system is not known but it must have happened than AD 200 but before the introduction of Christianity during the 6th to 7th centuries, i.e. during the final phase or soon after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. This period is than the Common Germanic stage, but still during the phase of undifferentiated West Germanic; the names of the days of the week in North Germanic languages were not calqued from Latin directly, but taken from the West Germanic names. Sunday: Old English Sunnandæg, meaning "sun's day"; this is a translation of the Latin phrase dies Solis. English, like most of the Germanic languages, preserves the day's association with the sun. Many other European languages, including all of the Romance languages, have changed its name to the equivalent of "the Lord's day". In both West Germanic and North Germanic mythology, the Sun is personified as Sunna/Sól.
Monday: Old English Mōnandæg, meaning "Moon's day". This is equivalent to the Latin name. In North Germanic mythology, the Moon is personified as Máni. Tuesday: Old English Tīwesdæg, meaning "Tiw's day". Tiw was a one-handed god associated with single combat and pledges in Norse mythology and attested prominently in wider Germanic paganism; the name of the day is related to the Latin name dies Martis, "Day of Mars". Wednesday: Old English Wōdnesdæg meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden, a prominent god of the Anglo-Saxons in England until about the seventh century, it is vaguely related to the Latin counterpart dies Mercurii, "Day of Mercury". The Icelandic Miðviku, German Mittwoch, Low German Middeweek and Finnish keskiviikko all mean mid-week. Thursday: Old English Þūnresdæg, meaning'Þunor's day'. Þunor means the Norse god known in Modern English as Thor. Dutch donderdag, German Donnerstag, Finnish torstai, Scandinavian Torsdag. Thor's day corresponds to Latin dies Iovis, "day of Jupiter". Friday: Old English Frīgedæg, meaning the day of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Fríge.
The Norse name for the planet Venus was Friggjarstjarna,'Frigg's star'. It is based on the Latin dies Veneris, "Day of Venus". Saturday: named after the Roman god Saturn associated with the Titan Cronus, father of Zeus and many Olympians, its original Anglo-Saxon rendering was Sæturnesdæg. In Latin, it was dies Saturni, "Day of Saturn"; the Scandinavian Lørdag/Lördag deviates as it has no reference to either the Norse or the Roman pantheon. The German Sonnabend and the Low German words Sünnavend mean "Sunday Eve", the German word Samstag derives from the name for Shabbat. Hindu astrology uses the concept of days under the regency of a planet under the term vāsara, the days of the week being called āditya-, soma-, maṅgala-, budha-, guru-, śukra
Tuesday is the day of the week between Monday and Wednesday. According to international standard ISO 8601, it is the second day of the week. According to some used calendars, however in the United States, it is the third day of the week; the English name is derived from Old English Tiwesdæg and Middle English Tewesday, meaning "Tīw's Day", the day of Tiw or Týr, the god of single combat, law and justice in Norse mythology. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica, the name of the day is a translation of Latin dies Martis; the name Tuesday derives from the Old English "Tiwesdæg" and means "Tiw's Day". Tiw is Týr in Old Norse. *Tîwaz derives from the Proto-Indo-European base *dei-, *deyā-, *dīdyā-, meaning'to shine', whence comes such words as "deity". The Latin name dies Martis is equivalent to the Greek ἡμέρα Ἄρεως. In most languages with Latin origins, the day is named after Mars, the Ancient Greek Ares Ἄρης. In some Slavic languages the word Tuesday originated from Old Church Slavonic word въторъ meaning "the second".
Bulgarian and Russian "Вторник" is derived from the Bulgarian and Russian adjective for'Second' - "Втори" or "Второй". In Japanese, the word Tuesday is 火曜日, meaning'Mars day' from 火星. In Korean the word Tuesday is 화요일 meaning Mars day. In the Indo-Aryan languages Pali and Sanskrit the name of the day is taken from Angaraka a style for Mangala, the god of war, for Mars, the red planet. In the Nahuatl language, Tuesday is Huītzilōpōchtōnal meaning "day of Huitzilopochtli". In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Tuesdays are dedicated to Saint John the Baptist; the Octoechos contains hymns on this theme, arranged in an eight-week cycle, that are chanted on Tuesdays throughout the year. At the end of Divine Services on Tuesday, the dismissal begins with the words: "May Christ our True God, through the intercessions of his most-pure Mother, of the honorable and glorious Prophet and Baptist John…" In Hinduism, Tuesday is a popular for worshipping and praying to Hanuman, Durga and Ganesh, many Hindus fast during Tuesday.
In the Greek world, Tuesday is considered an unlucky day. The same is true in the Spanish-speaking world. For both Greeks and Spanish-speakers, the 13th of the month is considered unlucky if it falls on Tuesday, instead of Friday. In Judaism, on the other hand, Tuesday is considered a lucky day, because in the first chapter of Genesis the paragraph about this day contains the phrase "it was good" twice. In the Thai solar calendar, the day is named for the Pali word for the planet Mars, which means "Ashes of the Dead". In the folk rhyme Monday's Child, "Tuesday's child is full of grace". In astrology, Tuesday is associated with the planet Mars and shares that planet's symbol, ♂; as Mars rules over Aries and Scorpio, these signs are associated with Tuesday. Tuesday is the usual day for elections in the United States. Federal elections take place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Tuesday was the earliest day of the week, practical for polling in the early 19th century: citizens might have to travel for a whole day to cast their vote, would not wish to leave on Sunday, a day of worship for the great majority of them.
However, a bill was introduced in 2012 to move elections to weekends, with a co-sponsor stating that "by moving Election Day from a single day in the middle of the work week to a full weekend, we are encouraging more working Americans to participate. Our democracy will be best served when our leaders are elected by as many Americans as possible."Video games are released on Tuesdays in the United States, this fact attributed to the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 "Sonic 2s day" marketing campaign in 1992. In addition, DVDs are released on Tuesday. Albums were released on Tuesdays as well, but this has changed to Fridays globally in 2015. In Australia, events occurring on Tuesdays include: The board of the Reserve Bank of Australia meets on the first Tuesday of every month except January; the federal government hands down the federal budget on the second Tuesday in May, the practice since 1994 in all years except 1996 and 2016. The Melbourne Cup is held each year on the first Tuesday in November. Black Tuesday, in the United States, refers to Tuesday, October 29, 1929, part of the great Stock Market Crash of 1929.
This was the Tuesday after Black Thursday. Easter Tuesday is the Tuesday within the Octave of Easter. Patch Tuesday is the second Tuesday of every month when Microsoft releases patches for their products; some system administrators call this day Black Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday precedes the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. Super Tuesday is the day. Notes SourcesGrimm, Jacob. 1875–78. Deutsche Mythologie. Fourth ed. curated by Elard Hugo Meyer, 3 vols. Berlin: F. Dümmler. Reprinted Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1
Standard Chinese known as Modern Standard Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese, or Mandarin, is a standard variety of Chinese, the sole official language of China, the de facto official language of Taiwan and one of the four official languages of Singapore. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese. Like other varieties of Chinese, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object word order, it has more initial consonants but final consonants and tones than southern varieties. Standard Chinese is an analytic language, though with many compound words. There are two standardised forms of the language, namely Putonghua in Mainland China and Guoyu in Taiwan. Aside from a number of differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, Putonghua is written using simplified Chinese characters, Guoyu is written using traditional Chinese characters.
Many characters are identical between the two systems. In Chinese, the standard variety is known as: 普通话 in the People's Republic of China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau. Standard Chinese is commonly referred to by generic names for "Chinese", notably 中文. In total, there have been known over 20 various names for the language; the term Guoyu had been used by non-Han rulers of China to refer to their languages, but in 1909 the Qing education ministry applied it to Mandarin, a lingua franca based on northern Chinese varieties, proclaiming it as the new "national language". The name Putonghua has a long, albeit unofficial, history, it was used as early as 1906 in writings by Zhu Wenxiong to differentiate a modern, standard Chinese from classical Chinese and other varieties of Chinese. For some linguists of the early 20th century, the Putonghua, or "common tongue/speech", was conceptually different from the Guoyu, or "national language"; the former was a national prestige variety. Based on common understandings of the time, the two were, in fact, different.
Guoyu was understood as formal vernacular Chinese, close to classical Chinese. By contrast, Putonghua was called "the common speech of the modern man", the spoken language adopted as a national lingua franca by conventional usage; the use of the term Putonghua by left-leaning intellectuals such as Qu Qiubai and Lu Xun influenced the People's Republic of China government to adopt that term to describe Mandarin in 1956. Prior to this, the government used both terms interchangeably. In Taiwan, Guoyu continues to be the official term for Standard Chinese; the term Guoyu however, is less used in the PRC, because declaring a Beijing dialect-based standard to be the national language would be deemed unfair to speakers of other varieties and to the ethnic minorities. The term Putonghua, on the contrary, implies nothing more than the notion of a lingua franca. During the government of a pro-Taiwan independence coalition, Taiwan officials promoted a different reading of Guoyu as all of the "national languages", meaning Hokkien and Formosan as well as Standard Chinese.
Huayu, or "language of the Chinese nation" simply meant "Chinese language", was used in overseas communities to contrast Chinese with foreign languages. Over time, the desire to standardise the variety of Chinese spoken in these communities led to the adoption of the name "Huayu" to refer to Mandarin; this name avoids choosing a side between the alternative names of Putonghua and Guoyu, which came to have political significance after their usages diverged along political lines between the PRC and the ROC. It incorporates the notion that Mandarin is not the national or common language of the areas in which overseas Chinese live. Hanyu, or "language of the Han people", is another umbrella term used for Chinese. However, it has confusingly two different meanings: Standard Chinese; this term, as well as Hànzú, is a modern concept. A related concept is Hànzì; the term "Mandarin" is a translation of Guānhuà, which referred to the lingua franca of the late Chinese empire. The Chinese term is obsolete as a name for the standard language, but is used by linguists to refer to the major group of Mandarin dialects spoken natively across most of northern and southwestern China.
In English, "Mandarin" may refer to the standard language, the dialect group as a whole, or to historic forms such as the late Imperial lingua franca. The name "Modern Standard Mandarin" is sometimes used by linguists who wish to distinguish the current state of the shared language from other northern and historic dialects; the Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent
In Germanic mythology, Odin is a revered Germanic god. In Norse mythology, from which stems most surviving information about the god, Odin is associated with wisdom, death, the gallows, war, victory, poetry and the runic alphabet, is the husband of the goddess Frigg. In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, the god was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, in Old High German as Wuotan or Wōtan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz. Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. In the modern period, Odin continued to be acknowledged in the rural folklore of Germanic Europe. References to Odin appear in place names throughout regions inhabited by the ancient Germanic peoples, the day of the week Wednesday bears his name in many Germanic languages, including English. In Old English texts, Odin holds a particular place as a euhemerized ancestral figure among royalty, he is referred to as a founding figure among various other Germanic peoples, such as the Langobards.
Forms of his name appear throughout the Germanic record, though narratives regarding Odin are found in Old Norse works recorded in Iceland around the 13th century. These texts make up the bulk of modern understanding of Norse mythology. In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded wielding a spear named Gungnir, wearing a cloak and a broad hat, he is accompanied by his animal companions and familiars—the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard—and rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is the son of Bestla and Borr and has two brothers, Vili and Vé. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the gods Thor and Baldr, is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, he seeks greater knowledge, at times in disguise, makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, takes part in both the creation of the world by way of slaying the primordial being Ymir and giving the gift of life to the first two humans Ask and Embla.
Odin has a particular association with Yule, mankind's knowledge of both the runes and poetry is attributed to him, giving Odin aspects of the culture hero. In Old Norse texts, female beings associated with the battlefield—the valkyries—are associated with the god and Odin oversees Valhalla, where he receives half of those who die in battle, the einherjar; the other half are chosen by the goddess Freyja for Fólkvangr. Odin consults the disembodied, herb-embalmed head of the wise being Mímir for advice, during the foretold events of Ragnarök, Odin is told to lead the einherjar into battle before being consumed by the monstrous wolf Fenrir. In folklore, Odin appears as a leader of the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession of the dead through the winter sky, he is associated with charms and other forms of magic in Old English and Old Norse texts. Odin is a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies, numerous theories have been put forward regarding his development; some of these focus on Odin's particular relation to other figures.
Other approaches focus on Odin's place in the historical record, a frequent question being whether the figure of Odin derives from Proto-Indo-European religion, or whether he developed in Germanic society. In the modern period, Odin has inspired numerous works of poetry and other forms of media, he is venerated in most forms of the new religious movement Heathenry, together with other gods venerated by the ancient Germanic peoples. The Old Norse theonym Óðinn and its cognates, including Old English Wōden, Old Saxon Wōden, Old High German Wuotan, derive from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz; the masculine noun *wōđanaz developed from the Proto-Germanic adjective *wōđaz, related to Latin vātēs and Old Irish fáith, both meaning'seer, prophet'. Adjectives stemming from *wōđaz include Gothic woþs'possessed', Old Norse óðr,'mad, furious', Old English wōd'mad'; the adjective *wōđaz was further substantivised, leading to Old Norse óðr'mind, soul, sense', Old English ellen-wōd'zeal', Middle Dutch woet'madness', Old High German wuot'thrill, violent agitation'.
Additionally the Old Norse noun æði'rage, fury' and Old High German wuotī'madness' derive from the feminine noun *wōđīn, from *wōđaz. The weak verb *wōđjanan derived from *wōđaz, gave rise to Old Norse æða'to rage', Old English wēdan'to be mad, furious', Old Saxon wōdian'to rage', Old High German wuoten'to be insane, to rage'. Over 170 names are recorded for Odin; these names are variously descriptive of attributes of the god, refer to myths involving him, or refer to religious practices associated with the god. This multitude of names makes Odin the god with the most names known among the Germanic peoples; the modern English weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English wōdnesdæg. Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Middle Low German wōdensdach, Old Norse Óðinsdagr (Danish, Nor
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