historia de la lengua 7

Unit 4:

This unit is about Britain. Iberians are called that way because they dont know were they come from. We dont have much info about if they had ships, so how did they cross the channel? The Irish didnt have ships but they had una cosa rara con la que navegar pero sin direccion (¿)

Celtics arose in central southern Germany, Netherlands… and from that point they travel to the south. They travelled to what we call now France, Italy, and even as far as Turkey. Also they travelled to Britain and Ireland. They built small sociological units, normally blood-related. There arises Mac or Mc (son of) and O’ (descendant of) as terms in surnames. Going to war was a thing the Celtics loved. They even fought each other everyday as a normal habit.

They settled in the British isles. The germanics conquer a population but they accept the culture of the defeated population. That doesnt happen in Britain. They defeat them and make them going to scotland or somewhere else (if they dont kill them), but they dont take anything of the celtic population, they will simply kill them or expell them, but never mix with them.London or York were originally Celtic. Sobretodo rivers had celtic names. Thames.When julius ceaser conquers Galia, he made sure that no one interfered. He was not interested in conquering Britain. Caligula (was mad, insane) wanted to conquer britannia and organized a full army but on the way there he changes his mind and comes back. Claudius, uncle of caligula, decided to conquer Britain. They defeat every king one by one and find the soil useful to grow crocks. They destroyed their sacred places so as not to suffer a riot or a rebellion by the defeated ones who could get power ideologically by worshipping their gods (¿)  They built a very strong wall (Adrian emperor) The romanization or latinization of britain never really succeded because the mediterraneans were not interested in going to england. It was cold etc and they preferred to stay in hispania, italia etc.  Romans constructed fortresses. Only one fortress in hispania (Leon), but many in other countries.  -chester -cester -caster.These terms come from latin “Castra” meaning fortress (Manchester, Leicester, Lancaster)   They built roman roads.Watling Street was the way (roman road) connected the territory of Wessex with the scandinavian. Romans were civilized (lived in cities). They loved luxury, and taking care of themselves. Whenever they found a place with termal waters they would construct a town around there. (it happened in Ourense, for example). In London the romans established the trade center. They built the london bridge, a wooden bridge that crossed the Thames. The vikings pulled the bridge down.  London was repopulated from Essex, not Wessex. Maxim defeated the picts .The celtic leader asks for help in exchange of some land after victory against other celtics. Jutes/ Mercia – Northumgria             Eorl.  Roman civilization was christian, catholic.

When the romans first came to britannia they were pagans. The celts were politheistic, but those in contact with the romans would become christians as well. There will arise the first christian martyrs in Britain. If a welsh individual carries the name of patrick it is obvious that this person is celtic or roman or associated with the roman civilization. Beginning of 5th century the romans are forced toleave the territory. There will be a rechristianization of britannia. The franks were the first of the germanic to become catholic-christians. The irish monks shave their front part of the hair. The roman ones shave their back upper part of the head. Each monastry was autonomous and would belong to a specific clan. Irish catholics were like isolated unics. The roman administration was perfect and organizatin. The Irish copied their model (applied in a more religious way – bishop above priest, priest above..). They need to decide which model to follow. This decision was taken in a town still exists called Whitby. Every town ending in “-by” comes from scandinavia. Year 663/664 they meet. They have to decide the day of Easter (religious years begin in Easter). In this meeting they decide to accept the roman catholic model. Western Europe followed this model too. It implies a more rational organization. The Romans taught how to do heritage. What the romans taught was to put it down in writing to avoid problems later on (oh, father said blabla. No, here it is written). We give the germanics the alphabet. The germanics had an “alphabet”, but it was more like rules. Most of the letters in any old given text will be latin. They will christianize them and give them new latin terms. Some of them had to do with botanics. The monks were scientists that made medines and drugs. They also introduced words for other things, translating from the Bible etc. The germanics would not accept a word but look for a translation. The word “synn” in old English meant crime, but actually the original sense of the word peccatum” also was crime. “Heofen” translates to “caelum”. Heofen is a canopy (una boveda), and simmilarly “infernum” was substituted or translated by “hell”,which meant “cave”, because the germanics didnt have a hell.


They called iceland that way because that’s what they saw, ice. They started attacking britannia from the top east, and got to ireland and scotland. They attacked the Saxon shore,called that way since the romans. 787 Dorchester (-chester,fortress). The native population mistakes them for traders and the scandinavians killed them, or made some of them slaves, looted… They destroyed 2 rich and very important monastries in terms of culture. They had explendid hand-written books destroyed by the scandinavians using fire. They wanted just anything they could sell, valuable for them. Northumbria would be the centre of culture. They would destroy Mercia too upon English soil. At the beggining it is a hit and run raid. To go “viking” meant going into a expedition to steal and loot. Viki meant “bay” or “inlet”. At some point they decide to settle down in England and in north western europe. William of Normandy conquers England.

“Rus” comes from “row” (Russia). Kiev was the first scandinavian settlement, and people would be called Rus. They settled down in sicily (Italy) too.

They occupied Northumbria, Mercia (disappears as christian center). They wanted to occupy Wessex, but they couldnt. They met the king Aelfraed. (aelf = elves; raed = counsil. El consejo de los elfos). He was extremely intelligent. He was destined to be a priest and was a skilled warrior. He defetead the scandinavians in 878. He does not expell them (he is not that powerful), and doesnt totally defeat them. He does a deal with them, letting them stay in some specific places. 2/3 of the lands are in hands of the scandinavians.

Denelagu (this will evolve to the word “law”). They had a law-speaker, who knew the laws by heart and spoke in the common room. He would decide who was right, the defendant or the prosecuter, if they were guilty or not and which punishment or compensation. The word law meant custom.

King Aelfraed remains independent in Wessex. Little by little the kings of Wessex will defeat the scandinavians and win territory against them. Year 959.

Since the scandinavians lost the territory they would go back to their practice of hit and run. They attack places or cities and take hostages and ask for compensation in order to release them.  Danegeld was introduced as a regular tax to avoid raids.

Aethelread ‘the unready’, which is a mistranslation. The real translation was bad counsil (el mal consejo/mal aconsejado).

13th november 1002 was the day he decided to do a genocide and kill all the scandinavians from the English soil. The scandinavians came back sailing from denmark and this time they conquered the whole England.

King Aelfraed was the only king holding the name “the great”.

By 1022 restoration of the kingdom of wessex by King edward the confessor. He was a religious person. Unfortunately for the monarchy he had no children. If you dont have a natural heir you are in trouble. He was the king of england. After his death, there was an assembly (witenagemot) to choose the son of the most powerful of the earls of the aristocracy upon English soil.

Godwinesson (scandinavian). Surnames ending in “son” are scandinavian influence. –ing will be the ending of surnames for “son of” in English.

A palatal Vowel + k / q / sk /skr

In old english these vowels would have been palatalized. The velars are in the back of the mouth. If I had a word in English today in contact with a palatal vowel and pronounced as a oclusive, chances are it is a scandinavian word (leg, kid).


There are times where there is a fight between the scandinavian word and the English one and they have to choose which one to use.

Shirt – palatalization (upper part of dressing)                        heofen (spiritual sky)

Skirt (lower part of the dressing             )                                              sky (physical sky)

In other cases we abandon the OE word. Exmaple: Vindauga (the eye of the wind) = window

In OE period the scandinavians are considered the enemy, and you dont take words from the enemy. There will be an admiration for them but much later.


F – fehn Vieh

U- uruz ‘aurochs’ (kind of a byson)

Z – thurisaz (a giant, we relate it to Thor, who is the one that fights the giants)

A – ansuz ‘ase’

R – raido

K – kaunan (some sort of úlcera)


Feoh        Wealth



Os  ‘month’

Rad    riding

Cen   torch

Metathesis/interversion = changing places.

For example, when one word in one language has an L, in other language it has an R: blanco in Spanish, while in galician or portuguese it would be Granco or Branco. Another common swap is the change of the position of a letter, such as in tiger – tigre or in acsian – ascian (which will derive in the verb ask)


17th – 18th century, during the age of Reason arises the rules that govern how to write the actual English we have today.

Any verb that ends in –ian belongs to the second class, except those whose stem end in –r. Then they would belong to the first class. Ex: saltian = salt (stem) + ian. Second class.

Saltian means to dance, but it is written like that (saltar) because in cold regions they danced jumping to get warm.

Sceolde-schold – should. The u arises hypothetically between the o and the l. The same thing happens with falta-fault – faute (in French).


As Latin, OE inflects everything. It didn’t have a passive voice. Neither it had a future tense, gramatically speaking. We use the present for it. Because of the influence of Latin “willan” and “sullan” (to wish/want & should) arise. They are lexical words.

Freedom of word order in sentences.

Settlement period

The territory was previously roman. Therefore the ruins are there. The city of Bath. It was said that it was built by giants, because they couldnt understand that someone would make a city just to bath.

Through the celtic population in southern england we suppose that king brozo (¿) ambrosious was a Roman or a military officer who was successful against the germanics.

There was contact with Latin language, of course.

Thanks to the christianization process arises the vocabulary and the eclesiastical latin.

Associated with the old period, benedictin monks whose obligation was to study and to work introduced a lot of words which were either purely latin or else were greek through latin.

We have words related to plant, to botanics, to animals (zoology), to medicine, to astrology and astronomy… that will correspond to the old english period. Words in the 11th century were introduced without being affected by, say, phenomenons like palatalization. The palatalized words that they have in OE were words that they heard. A word enters the language once palatalization has taken place.

When we take a word from a foreign language normally we can do 3 things with it. A word that referes to something that i  have in my language (lets say a physical thing:a wall e.x) or smth referring something metaphysical, conceptual that i dont have and i take from this civilization.

I can import a word and leave it as it is because our civilization understands it perfectly, or either modify its morphology to adapt to my style. This is adaptation, different from adoption before.

(table number 10 page 45; omnipotens)

In old english they take the word and they translate it for them.

In the middle english period the power speaks french.

Prepositio — pre=before; positio=posicion preposicion. But in spanish we havent translated it, we have just taken it from latin.

Unicornis – anhorn in OE (An=one; horn=cornis)

Spiritus sanctus (noun + adj). First we adapt the syntax (syntactic adaptation) to work with it in our language. Sanctus in origin it means set apart, that you behave in a sancty way, lets say. “chosen by god to be set apart from the rest”. Halish (OE), the radical hal gives us hell in English now. Spiritus has to do with intake of air, and there metaphorically to a air entity (espíritu). Ghost means spirit.

A palatal or front vowel + a postvocalic H is pronounced like the german nicht.

An open or back vowel + H is pronounced like the spanish J, or in german Nacht.

H – 3/h – gh     that explains why we write it in “almighty”

The sound will be lost by syncope with exception of some words like tough, rough or cough.

The initial gh is not common in English, such as in Ghost. It doesnt follow the organic evolution of the word, so to say. 

I can substitute the word by one of my language. In scandinavian Jul – in english yuletide. Tide (marea) is used in this word because it was the easiest way to tell the time. Jul was a winter god. Similarly Easter was the spring goddess.

That is latin.

Now we talk about the second group, which is the Old Norse.

The old norse word lagu, which will be incorporated in old english, that G is pronounced like the spanish G in between 2 vowels, like in agua. Thus, it is very common for the G to evolve into a W.

We can include from the year 1000 onwards more or less many words imported from old french into old english. (capun)