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Thread: Is the English Language Not Anglo-Saxon?

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    Member weland's Avatar
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    Is the English Language Not Anglo-Saxon?

    There is a new theory expounded by amongst others ,Scutt and Oppenheimer that the English language was spoken at least in southern and eastern England before the Roman invasion, Oppenheimer thinks that the Belgae, hitherto thought of as a Celtic comglomeration may have been a mixed group of tribes from the low countries, some speaking Gaulic type Celtic languages and some speaking early Germanic speech.It is possible that some of the Belgae spoke early Germanic language, perhaps the Nervi and the Menapi tribes; The Menapi may have had a trading post in Ireland prior to the common era, it seems possible that Fermanagh is named after them, however there is no evidence in place names, or in the names of Belgae chieftains, to suggest that the Belgae in southern England spoke anything other than Celtic language.

    The tribal chiefs who resisted the Roman conquest, such as Caractacus,Coinmail, Condidan and Farinmail, who died at Dyrham in 577, had Celtic names. The main problem I have with the hypothesis that Germanic was spoken in prehistoric britain is that unwritten language evolves quickly. If it had been in the British Isles for a much longer period, it would have been very different by the time we get to old english.

    Take for example, the opening lines of the Lord's prayer:

    old saxon circa 800:
    Fadar ūsa thu bist an them himila
    gewīhid sī thīn namo

    old english circa 1000:
    Fęder ure thu the eart on heofonum;
    Si thin nama gehalgod

    standard german:
    Vater unser im Himmel,
    Geheiligt werde dein Name.

    The standard german form is slightly different, it does not include the 'thou art' bit and all germanic versions in britian use 'heaven' rather than continental 'himmel'. Other than that, much is recognisable with modern english:

    Our father who art in heaven
    hallowed be thy name.

    One of the earliest germanic inscriptions that we have are on the Horns of Gallehus:

    ek hlewagastiz holtijaz horna tawido

    This is around 300. It already looks very different. Project that back to 1000BC and we would have something very different indeed. Yet, we are being asked to believe that insular english, as a germanic language' evolved in isolation but entirely along the same lines as the continental low germanic languages for 2000 years to the point where the continental and insular versions were virtually identical around 1000 AD and this, for the most part, where unwritten languages normally diverge rapidly.
    We know from Wikipedia that there is a debate over the language spoken by the Belgae. Some spoke a Germanic language and others Gaullic. I think the jury is still out on this one but I'm tempted to think that the Belgae are not likely to be the source of the English language. Tacitus is interesting because he could be providing evidence of Gallic being spoken by some people in south-eastern England. This could be expected through mutual trading links or elite domination.


    More problematic is the view of Scutt who sees English as not being derived from Anglo-Saxon, unlike Oppenheimer who believes that Anglko-Saxon reached here a little earlier through the Belgae; although he is vague on the matter suggesting Germanic speech in England prior to the Belgic period.

    Scutt believes that English is not decended from A/S, he says that middle English is just modern English spelt differently;However if we take away all the French loan words from middle and modern English and replace them with their English antecedants, and replace modern English syntax with middle English syntax, then what we have looks remarkably like late A/S, it is clear that early middle English is a Germanic language, yet Scutt would have us believe that it has been in southern England for thousands of years, going back before even Proto-Germanic existed, how can this be? And even Oppenheimer has similar ideas.Furthermore middle English is not just modern English spelt differently it is quite different. some examples of middle English.

    ICH was in one sumere dale,
    in one suže di3ele hale,
    iherde ich holde grete tale
    an hule and one ni3tingale.
    5: Žat plait was stif & starc & strong,
    sum wile softe & lud among;
    an aižer a3en ožer sval,
    & let žat [vue]le mod ut al.
    & eižer seide of ožeres custe
    10: žat alre-worste žat hi wuste:
    & hure & hure of ožere[s] songe
    hi holde plaiding suže stronge.
    Že ni3tingale bigon že speche,
    in one hurne of one breche,

    Svmer is icumen in
    Lhude sing cuccu!
    Growež sed and blowež med
    and springž že wde nu.
    Sing cuccu!
    Awe bletež after lomb,
    lhouž after calue cu,
    Bulluc stertež, bucke uertež.
    Murie sing cuccu!
    Cuccu, cuccu,
    Wel singes žu cuccu.
    ne swik žu nauer nu!
    Sing cuccu nu, Sing cuccu!
    Pes
    Sing cuccu, Sing cuccu nu!

    An example of Anglo-Saxon.

    Sing žęt galdor on ęlcre žara wyrta, III ęr he hy wyrce and
    on žone ęppel ealswa; ond singe žon men in žone muš and
    in ža earan buta and on ša wunde žęt ilce gealdor, ęr he
    ža sealfe on do.

    Traslation.

    Sing the charm [galdor] on each of the herbs three times before he prepares them, and on the apple likewise. And let someone sing into the mouth of the man and into both his ears, and on the wound, that same charm [gealdor] before he applies the salve.


    Yes there are many similarities to modern English, but also it is not difficult to see that middle English is derived from Anglo-Saxon, i really am perplexed that anyone would deny that English comes from A/.S; although maybe it reached here a little earlier than previously thought.

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    That's a really interesting theory, but there were dozens of little tribes, the belgae were just one. Though, the belgae possibly appear in Irish myth as the Fir Bolg, so they may have been more prominent than the others. Even so however, the Belgae settlement in Britain is in a place that remained Brythonic in language for a while, post Cerdic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by weland View Post
    Take for example, the opening lines of the Lord's prayer:

    old saxon circa 800:
    Fadar ūsa thu bist an them himila
    gewīhid sī thīn namo

    old english circa 1000:
    Fęder ure thu the eart on heofonum;
    Si thin nama gehalgod

    standard german:
    Vater unser im Himmel,
    Geheiligt werde dein Name.
    A minor amendment.

    There is also an alternative version which contains the "thou art" type of thing, which is the one usually sung in gospel:

    Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel,
    Geheiligt werde dein Name.

    ek hlewagastiz holtijaz horna tawido
    I, Lewagastis Holtish (I.e. Holt's son, of the tribe of Holt), Horn To-Beed-Having (=made).

    Ich, Lewagastis Holtischer, das Horn gemacht (habend).

    Even the syntax would be remarkably similar, with the necessary re-arrangement of what would be considered "fine grammatical English"/"fine grammatical German".

    We know from Wikipedia that there is a debate over the language spoken by the Belgae. Some spoke a Germanic language and others Gaullic.
    That the lowlands were a place where Celtics and Germanics were both present, we do indeed know already from Tacitus. The existence of some local gods not immediately etymologically Celtic nor Germanic without further evidence to be presented, strengthens that argument.

    More problematic is the view of Scutt who sees English as not being derived from Anglo-Saxon,
    English is closer to Frisian, this could show a North-Sea link, but in either case the language is definitely Germanic: Otherwise a dialect continuum in bygone days with Frisians would be impossible.

    yet Scutt would have us believe that it has been in southern England for thousands of years, going back before even Proto-Germanic existed, how can this be?
    Near-impossible. This would mean that you still had the whole western branch of Indo-Germanic languages together. This would again make a Frisian-English dialect continuum in bygone days impossible.

    Sing žęt galdor on ęlcre žara wyrta, III ęr he hy wyrce and
    on žone ęppel ealswa; ond singe žon men in žone muš and
    in ža earan buta and on ša wunde žęt ilce gealdor, ęr he
    ža sealfe on do.
    Also, with a bit of a re-arrangement into some "archaic" German

    [Man] singe das Galdor an/auf alle derer Wurze, drei[mal] ehe man die Wurze und den Apfel alsweil (=auch) [zubereitet]; und [man] singe dem Mann in seinen Mund und in seine Ohren beide, und an der Wunde das gleiche Galdor, ehe man die Salbe [dar]an tut.

    More freely translated:

    Man singe den Zauber auf jede der drei Kräuter drei mal, bevor er sie zubereitet, dasselbe mit dem Apfel. Und lasse jemanden in seinen Mund und seine beiden Ohren singen, sowie den selben Zauber auf die Wunder, bevor man die Salbe anbringt.

    So obviously, this Middle-English was still quite similar to German, especially Middle-German (alas, I don't know how this paragraph would be in middle-German). For that, that which it derived from must have been related.

    Yes there are many similarities to modern English, but also it is not difficult to see that middle English is derived from Anglo-Saxon, i really am perplexed that anyone would deny that English comes from A/.S; although maybe it reached here a little earlier than previously thought.
    Middle-English = similar to German. Old-English = similar to Frisian. New-Frisian = similar to New-Dutch and New-Low-German. Therefore, a dialect continuum must have existed, and Old English can hardly have been derived from a pre-Anglosaxon source, lest they were remarkably similar.

    Whether that would be the case for the Belgae, the judgment is still out, but this would mean that this type of Belgae split so early, that it becomes highly unlikely again.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Quote Originally Posted by weland View Post
    There is a new theory expounded by amongst others ,Scutt and Oppenheimer
    The Jew Oppenheimmer finds new ways of wiping and mixing ethnic groups from the European map every time he opens his mouth.

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    Both the Welsh and English differ from the Gaels by the introduction of overwhelming Continental blood. Before the Belgae and Saxons invited the special attention of Rome, the language spoken in the Island was Pictish and the land was called Alba or Albion, just as the Gaels call Ireland Eire or Erin. The Belgae became British and Saxons became English, living side-by-side on the Island just as in Belgica and Germania. Naturally, these languages proliferated and developed over time and space between both shores.

    Also, it is a fact that BOTH populations preceded the withdrawal of Rome in 410, although it is obvious that Germanic followed Belgic, considering the Belgians were themselves drawn to developments among the truly Celtic nations. Belgians lived in Britannia provinces based at Cirencester and York, whilst Germans lived in Caesariensis provinces based at London and Lincoln. Romans merely governed and collected taxes as a parasitical class imposed from their Gallic base in Trier. Arthur is Belgian, Beowulf is German.

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