Viking Invasion Influence On English Language

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The Viking invasions and subsequent colonisation of the British Isles influenced the evolution of the English language and vocabulary quite considerably. Even in modern times, after almost a thousand years, evidence of Viking influence can still be seen in the English language. It is the aim of this essay to discuss the changes which occurred in the English language during the period of Viking invasions, starting in the 7th century and looking onwards. This will be accomplished by giving a brief historical context of the time period and then coupling this with examples and explanations of the impact of the Scandinavian language on the English language. The Vikings were the tribes of Norway, Sweden and Denmark who were of Germanic descent.…show more content…
As well as pronouns, conjunctions such as “though”, “till”, and “until” were also incorporated. At this time, Old English created meaning in its sentences through inflection. The influence of Old Norse started to do away with this by simplifying the form and eventually phasing it out altogether. Today, English is seen as an SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) language in terms of word order. Even though this order was common in Old English, there was a lot more flexibility inherent in the language whereby it was not a strictly adhered to rule. An example that Bragg uses is in the sentence “the dogs killed the cat”. In old English, the accusative form of the word for “cat” and the correct form of the verb “kill” would be used to indicate the receiver and doer of the action and thus make the meaning clear. One would see that it was not the order of the words that portrayed the meaning but rather the inflection being used. This changed when Old English came into contact with the forms and word order used in Old Norse, often attributed to the need for mutual understanding clarity at border town where a lot of trade took place between the two peoples. As has been pointed out, even after hundreds of years, evidence of Scandinavian influence in English can still be seen today. There are many place-names of Scandinavian origin found throughout the region once known as the Danelaw. As well as this, there were many common and everyday words that were borrowed by Old English from Old Norse. Moreover, the Scandinavian language helped to shape grammatical words and even syntax in the English language. Thus we can see that the Scandinavian language had a significant impact on the evolution of the English
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