For example, after the Conquest a number of Old Norse words — such as words now spelled egg, get, sky, sister and window — show up in written English for the first time. But does this mean that the language was changing? Or was it merely that, at this time, what had already happened to spoken Old English was now being properly recorded in writing?
In some respects 1066 wrought great changes; in other respects, great changes occurred but can hardly be ascribed to the Conquest; in yet others, the most striking feature is not change at all, but continuity.
KeywordsEnglish Language Thirteenth Century Fourteenth Century French Word English History
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Notes and Comments
- The chapter title comes from a classic of British humour, 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman (1930). This chapter, like the last, draws extensively on standard histories of the English language, especially N. F. Blake’s A History of the English Language.Google Scholar