First Views on Old and Modern English

Old is quite a fascinating language compared to modern English. In the course I rented from my library it says in the introduction that it was influenced by Norse, Anglo-Danish, French and Norman to pretty much how we speak it now.

I was first introduced to the possibility of learning Old English when I met a wood crafter Pagan who could speak it. It sounded magical and ancient so my heart immediately sparked with love.

I also rented out the Beowulf stories with old and modern English translations. My first look at the scripts of Beowulf actually blew me away with how different it seemed. For anyone who doesn’t know, Beowulf is a narrative of Anglo Saxon origin and of course Anglo Saxons were the original English.  But once hearing some pronounciation of the text on the included CD, I can actually naturally hear the adaptations.

And that’s all after two pages of reading! I can’t wait to see what comes next. By the way, my viewpoint in this post is purely from a native British English speaker than for an American English speaker.

On that note it is quite interesting how the spelling changes for most of North America compared to how I know it. For example – realise (British) to realize (American); pronouncing Z like Zed (British) to Zee (American); colour (British) to color (American) . It’s certainly a language that adopts new approaches as time goes on which is not surprising; it expanded to the farthest reaches of the globe after all. But the fact that loads of people are seeming less and less sure of how to spell or say certain words is what got my attention. I think this is due to the major effect the USA media/culture has on our own culture. We end up mixing things up (unintentionally for the most part) and it might be that there won’t be a British or American version of English anymore – they’ll merge and become another version. Though as the USA has a larger voice than our own in the British Isles then their version of the language is becoming better known – even in my home country of England. I know culture and history is a large part of national identity and I want to make sure I know the roots well so that knowledge doesn’t slip away from me.

No I’m not the type to hold onto the past, say it was better and not even look into the future brightly. I am just fascinated with history! Very much like for any story we choose to spend our time reading, listening or watching to seek inspiration, these historical stories actually happened (again for the most part, we don’t truly know how accurate any of it is). An event that really happened during human kind’s time on Earth hold important lessons and one of a human being’s greatest ability that gives us all something in common is to learn.

Please be aware these are rather naked thoughts and I welcome the opinions of every English speaker on this subject! Let me know what you think. And here, have a dragon.

The_Healing_Dragon

2 thoughts on “First Views on Old and Modern English

  1. Old English is fascinating to me too.

    One weird what-if I imagine is military rank and formation names, since so many are explicitly French or just generally Latin-based.

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    1. That’s an interesting point! Also if it had remained in its original form would it still have been taught on a global scale as English is now. Our keyboards may have looked very different too!

      Good to meet a fellow old English enthusiast 🙂

      Like

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