Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Begin End Event Description Keywords Related Events
793 1042

Old Norse

From Viking invasions up until the end of the reign of the Danish Kings, Old English was influenced by Old Norse. This influence began several decades after the first Viking attack on Lindisfarne, when the Vikings returned for new raids and eventually decided to settle in England. Eventually, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were in such close contact that the Old Norse language had a significant impact on Old English.

Traces of Old Norse can be found everywhere in the English language. Many words were adopted, even words in the core vocabulary, such as for example die. Some adoptions led to lexical doublets, such as for example skirt and shirt or sky and heaven. Furthermore, unusual for language contact situations, even function words were adopted from Old Norse, such as they, them and their.

As the two languages were so closely related, it is also possible that this contact situation led to the typological change.
Linguistics, Language Contact, Vikings, Old English Period