Drawings of Anglo-Saxons

ANGLO-SAXON DISCOVERY

Drawings of objects

Old English - the Language of the Anglo-Saxons

The language we speak in Brtain today, English, was first spoken by the Anglo-Saxons, but it was very different from modern English. In fact, it is usually called Old English.

The girl is saying "Welcome! Good Health!"
Note the þ is pronounced th.

Drawing by Hesinen age 8
Hesinen age 8
Many words in Old English are not recognisable today, but others are very similar. Here are a few examples:
Words that are similar
Words that are different
Old English
Modern English
Old English
Modern English
fæder
father
cnapa
boy
modor
mother
wencel / mæden
girl
sunu
son
bearn
child
dohtor
daughter
wif
woman
mann
man
wer
man (another Old English word)
land
land
cyning
king
hus
house
gebur
farmer
biscop
bishop
wine
friend
bat
boat
sceap
sheep
word
word
hlaf
bread
sunne
sun
meolc
milk
sweord
sword
ecg
sword (another Old English word)
hors
horse
æsc
spear

Can you read these sentences? (Remember þ means th)
Click on the sentence for the answer.

1. þes mann rideþ þa hors

2. þis hors biteþ

3. seo sunne scinþ

How do we know what language the Anglo-Saxons spoke?

Manuscripts which were written by Anglo-Saxon monks had survived and they tell us about the Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles are one such manuscript.

Find out more about the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

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