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Thread: Franglo-Saxons?

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    Senior Member Berrocscir's Avatar
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    Franglo-Saxons?

    An interesting point of view from the Wessex Society:

    http://wessexsociety.org/franglo-saxons.html

    Can anyone back this up or refute it?

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    Senior Member Berrocscir's Avatar
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    As a follow up Here's something from the Cross of St George forum for English nationalists (I'm not the author) Can anyone shed any light on the subject?

    The Anglo-Frisians. The Ancient English of the Ice Age

    http://crossofstgeorge.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28034

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    Well, the linked thread sums up the new thinking about prehistoric Britain pretty well, I think. England was not continuously inhabited from 28,000BP (although it had some settlers whose physical type remains unknown at 28,000BP).

    Then, from about 10,000BP onward, there is continuous habitation in Britain, and many of today's modern Brits share mtDNA with those inhabitants (which pretty much refutes any Aryan invasion of Europe at 2000BC or whenever people say it might have happened).

    Since Frisia was connected to England during the Ice Age, it would have been natural for the area to be shared. When the ocean levels rose, and the Isles were cut off, it was natural for the shared language to go into slightly different directions.

    There's evidence of some boating people from Southern Europe (Italy) in Britain before the Roman conquest (a trickle), but I think most linguists agree the language spoken in England at 1000 B.C. must have been quite close to Frisian (closer to contemporary Dutch than to any other language).

    At 10-12,000BP, though, blue eyes still hadn't arisen (were about to). When they did arise (around 6000-8000BP), they rapidly moved around the North Sea and the Baltic area - and could well have made it into the Isles well before the later Viking invasion.

    If you give the people of the Isles boats at 10,000 BP (boats don't last that long in the archaeological record - we have to rely on other kinds of evidence), then the spread of Megaliths and other cultural elements back and forth between England and the continent (in the form of what is often called Celtic culture) makes sense.

    But was it Celtic? Or Frisian? (Linguistically speaking). That's a really good question. Perhaps, at that point, somewhere in between (since even Frisians were probably not speaking Frisian at 10,000-8,000BP).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melisande View Post
    There's evidence of some boating people from Southern Europe (Italy) in Britain before the Roman conquest (a trickle), but I think most linguists agree the language spoken in England at 1000 B.C. must have been quite close to Frisian (closer to contemporary Dutch than to any other language).
    That doesn't sound right. Frisian didn't exist until around 500 AD.

    The dating according to Ringe and Versloot:

    From 4000 BC onward: Proto-Indo-European
    From 3000 BC onward: last common ancestor of Germanic and Italo-Celtic
    From 500 BC onward: Proto-Germanic
    From 500 AD onward: Runic Frisian
    From 1100 AD onward: Old Frisian
    From 1400 AD onward: Middle Frisian
    From 1550 AD onward: early Modern Frisian
    From 1800 AD onward: Modern Frisian

    There is (mostly toponymical) evidence that a Proto-Indo-European language was spoken in Frisia that was neither Celtic nor Germanic (yet similar), but which was germanised in the first centuries AD.

    At 10-12,000BP, though, blue eyes still hadn't arisen (were about to). When they did arise (around 6000-8000BP), they rapidly moved around the North Sea and the Baltic area - and could well have made it into the Isles well before the later Viking invasion.
    Interesting. Do you have any articles on this subject?

    But was it Celtic? Or Frisian? (Linguistically speaking). That's a really good question. Perhaps, at that point, somewhere in between (since even Frisians were probably not speaking Frisian at 10,000-8,000BP).
    Not even remotely, since, like I said, Frisian didn't exist until around 500 AD.

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    Senior Member Sybren's Avatar
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    Anlef,

    And what about the time of the old Frisian kings?

    Supposedly King Adel 1 Friso reigned Frisia from 313 BC until 245 BC. He is supposed to be the "father of all Frisians".

    Would the Frisians have spoken a different language than Frisian at that time?

    To my understanding it isn't even sure these kings were real or just mythical. I'm just wondering if you know more about it in terms of languages around that time. Because why would they be named Frisian kings if there wasn't a concept of being Frisian instead of just 'Germanic' around that time.

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    That's why I said "quite close to Frisian." I suppose we could start calling languages proto-Frisian (but after awhile it gets rather silly to do so).

    Frisian is first recorded about 500 A.D. (and English around 800 A.D.) Both had to have ancestral languages that were quite similar. There used to be the term proto-Teutonic (throughout most of the 20th century) but one rarely sees it now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sybren View Post
    @Anlef

    And what about the time of the old Frisian kings?

    Supposedly King Adel 1 Friso reigned Frisia from 313 BC until 245 BC. He is supposed to be the "father of all Frisians".

    Would the Frisians have spoken a different language than Frisian at that time?

    To my understanding it isn't even sure these kings were real or just mythical. I'm just wondering if you know more about it in terms of languages around that time. Because why would they be named Frisian kings if there wasn't a concept of being Frisian instead of just 'Germanic' around that time.
    No one knows the actual answer, but in order for Frisian to become unintelligible to (for example) the Saxons, there had to be some time passing.

    I think they're called Frisian Kings because (although we don't have their words) we have their culture and it seems distinctive (settlements exist, they have particular building styles, clearly related to other Teutons, but already dealing with the specific climate and geographic problems of Frisia, not to mention being very sea-oriented and marine-food eating people).

    So, yes, I would say that Frisian is already in place as a root language stock at 300 B.C. (even if still fairly intelligible to other Germanic speaking people - the way Australian English is still just barely comprehensible by me. )

    This could all be worked out a bit better if someone focused more research in the area, but as far as I can tell, this kind of work is 1) not of that much interest to graduate students in history and 2) not going to receive much funding anyway.

    The crucial question to settle (for me) is the degree to which English (both the culture and the language) is related to Celtic. Since to me, the progression of languages goes like this:

    Proto-Boreal >>>> Proto Indo European ....(various splits)...Proto-Celto-Germanic....

    that's one line of splits (with Celtic and Germanic splitting by at least 4000BP).

    Then, there's the Y chromosome and autosomal evidence to apply (to determine to which degree linguistic groups remained genetically distinct - because marrying outside one's linguistic group was a very common pattern throughout much of the ancient world and for many reasons). Certainly, blue eyes show up very early in both Germanic speakers and Slavic speakers - but what about the Celts? Eventually they get quite a few blue eyes (but all three groups still have plenty of brown-eyed people - so blue eyes are not confined to one language subfamily, which is interesting).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sybren View Post
    Anlef,

    And what about the time of the old Frisian kings?

    Supposedly King Adel 1 Friso reigned Frisia from 313 BC until 245 BC. He is supposed to be the "father of all Frisians".

    Would the Frisians have spoken a different language than Frisian at that time?

    To my understanding it isn't even sure these kings were real or just mythical.
    I hate to break it to you, but most scholars don't doubt that those old Frisian kings are later inventions. As far as I know there are two sources for their existence. The first is the work Frisia seu de viris rebusque Frisiae illustribus libri duo (1620), by Martinus Hamconius (a latinisation of Maarten Hamckema). A quote from the Nieuw Nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek about this work: "De historische gegevens zijn ontleend aan de fabelgeschiedenis van Andreas Cornelius, zoodat het werk van Hamconius nauwelijks als een serieus geschiedwerk is te beschouwen." The other is Thet Oera Linda Bôk, which is most definitely a hoax. Jan Beckering Vinckers already proved this as early as 1876 by showing the language in the work was very sloppily fabricated pseudo-Old Frisian. But already it was known the book was full of fake etymologies. It is clear the mysterious culprit behind it based part of his work on that of Hamconius/Hamckema.

    I'm just wondering if you know more about it in terms of languages around that time. Because why would they be named Frisian kings if there wasn't a concept of being Frisian instead of just 'Germanic' around that time.
    I see no problem. The old Germania that Tacitus described was filled with many different tribes who basically shared one language: Proto-Germanic. All the same, they were different tribes. A tribe doesn't need to have a language all to itself to be a tribe.


    Quote Originally Posted by Melisande View Post
    That's why I said "quite close to Frisian." I suppose we could start calling languages proto-Frisian (but after awhile it gets rather silly to do so).

    Frisian is first recorded about 500 A.D. (and English around 800 A.D.) Both had to have ancestral languages that were quite similar. There used to be the term proto-Teutonic (throughout most of the 20th century) but one rarely sees it now.
    After Proto-Germanic broke up into several branches there probably was no intermediate common Anglo-Frisian language that later split up into English and Frisian. Rather, Frisian and English developed from Proto-Germanic individually, notwithstanding mutual interference and influence. In other words, they are grouped together not because they developed from a common branch of Proto-Germanic, but because they simply took a similar turn compared to other Germanic languages.

    You said you thought "most linguists agree the language spoken in England at 1000 B.C. must have been quite close to Frisian". I suppose what you meant to say is "most linguists agree the language spoken in England at 1000 B.C. must have been quite close to its contemporary ancestor of Frisian." That is a big difference. And even then I don't think most linguists would agree. Perhaps a non-Indo-European language was spoken in England while some pre-Proto-Germanic Indo-European language was spoken in Frisia. Or vice versa. Or some other combination. We simply don't know for sure what folks back then spoke. The chances that the languages in what is now Frisia and in what is now England were mutually intelligible might be slim.

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    If the language in England at 1000BC wasn't close to then-Frisian, then it would be hard to explain what made it closer to Frisian later on - but I'm open to explanations. I should have said then-Frisian to make it clearer (to keep saying proto can't be right; perhaps Old Frisian is the right term; I know of no one who has tried to reconstruct it recently, though).

    And if the language in England at 1000BC was closer to, say, Latin - then I'd be open to hearing about colonization from the Italic peninsula (although I just don't see that in the DNA analysis - so far).

    And if the language in England at 1000BC was Celtic/proto-Celtic (as certainly a few linguists have said), then it's still a mystery how it switched to a Frisian-like Germanic language, isn't it?

    It had to switch between 1000BC and 800 CE. Which is possible in any of the above scenarios.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melisande View Post
    If the language in England at 1000BC wasn't close to then-Frisian, then it would be hard to explain what made it closer to Frisian later on - but I'm open to explanations. I should have said then-Frisian to make it clearer (to keep saying proto can't be right; perhaps Old Frisian is the right term; I know of no one who has tried to reconstruct it recently, though).

    And if the language in England at 1000BC was closer to, say, Latin - then I'd be open to hearing about colonization from the Italic peninsula (although I just don't see that in the DNA analysis - so far).

    And if the language in England at 1000BC was Celtic/proto-Celtic (as certainly a few linguists have said), then it's still a mystery how it switched to a Frisian-like Germanic language, isn't it?

    It had to switch between 1000BC and 800 CE. Which is possible in any of the above scenarios.
    No, it's no mystery at all. From around 450 AD onward large amounts of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians and Franks from the mainland crossed the North Sea over to Britain and gave England its name and brought with them a language that was practically Proto-Germanic still. They became the Anglo-Saxons. They kept their ties and trade with their fellow Germanics on the mainland, especially the Frisians, who were nearest. So it's no surprise that the English language and the Frisian language were relatively similar in the centuries that followed.

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