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Post  Admin on Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:45 am

12) Why did the Scandinavians come to the British Isles? Who were they? When did they come?
Where did they settle? What influence did they have on the language and culture (Ma, Sandie)


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Post  Sandie on Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:42 am

The Scandinavian took up residence in England during the Old and early Middle English periods and eventually gave up their previous language in favour of English, just as immigrant groups from a range of other counties have done in more recent centuries. :

The Scandinavian attacks on Britain took place between 787 and 850. These people were commonly known as the Vikings and they were Germanic inhabitants in presently Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

They raided towns and monasteries; they captured towns and cities and then proceeded to settle in these places. After taking over the land, they often lived peaceably with the English, and there were many intermarriages. They adopted English customs, and the English accepted them. The result was a linguistic fusion.

Because of the similarity between OE and ON it is sometimes difficult to say whether a word in ME is a native word or is borrowed from Norse. Many suggest that the contact between OE and ON might have led to the loss of many inflections. Because the inflexions were different in OE and ON, they were often unhelpful in conversation between OE and ON speakers. They suggest that speakers might have deliberately not used the inflexions to facilitate communication. In situations of intermarriage, the children might grow up learning this ‘simplified’ version of English. Some would even say that the English language had undergone a process of pidginisation and creolisation.
The Scandinavians seem to have grouped themselves first in concentrated centres: Lincoln, Stamford, Leicester, Nottingham, York and Derby
A history of English, p.90-91

In the 9th century, Britain saw the beginning of a third wave of invaders – the Scandinavian Vikings. Arriving from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, they soon took over the east coast of England and were only halted when King Alfred (king of Wessex in south-west) won a decisive victory over the Danish King Guthrum in 878.
Aspects of Scandinavian society are sometimes reflected in placenames containing words indicating a particular rank in Scandinavian society.
Ex: by = village (Kirkby, Cros, Crosby)
Holderness = hold’s or yeoman’s headland

History of English p.4


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Post  mavezina on Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:36 am

Question #12
Why did the Scandinavians come to the British Isles? Who were they? When did they come? Where did they settle? What influence did they have on the language and culture?
Though notorious for their fearsome Viking raids, Scandinavians were also farmers and craftsmen. Find out more about this complex society that began in Norway, Sweden and Denmark and spread to Iceland, Greenland, Russia, much of Europe and even the Americas.
Northern hunters: from 10,000 BC
During the most recent glacial period the entire Scandinavian peninsula is under a sheet of ice. As the ice cap begins to withdraw, about 12,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers move north in pursuit of reindeer.
The living survivors of the hunter-gatherers in these regions are the Lapps (or the Samit, their own name for themselves), who today herd rather than hunt reindeer. Their language (in the Finno-Ugric family of the Ural-Altaic group) is related to that of the Finns who cross the Baltic in about AD 100 and push the Lapps north towards the Arctic. The Lapps are subject to the same pressure in Norway and Sweden, but there the tribes displacing them are Indo-Europeans speaking the Germanic group of languages.
Scandinavian prehistory: 2500-100 BC
In the centuries immediately before the earliest written records the people of this northern peninsula feature prominently in the history of their southern neighbors through their strong inclination to move away from home in warlike mood.
This applies first to the departure from Scandinavia of Goths, Vandals, Burgundians and others, from as early as the 2nd century BC. And it becomes true again 1000 years later, from the end of the 8th century AD, when the Vikings begin to stir.
Expansive energies: 9th - 10th century AD
The achievement abroad of the Vikings in the 9th and 10th century (in colonization and trade, as much as in direct and brutal conquest) is extraordinary in itself.
It seems even more so considering that in the same period the Scandinavians at home are creating their first centralized kingdoms. In AD 811 a Danish king, by the name of Hemming, is strong enough to make a treaty with the Franks establishing the river Eider as his southern border.

The Scandinavian thing: before the 10th century AD
At the time of the first Viking raids overseas, most of the communities in Norway, Sweden and northern Denmark are living in small tribal groups. They are isolated by the barriers of fjord or forest. They are pagan and not yet literate. A Christian and literate Scandinavia will not begin to emerge until the 10th century. Yet by this time the people of these regions already have one well-established custom of lasting value and interest. This is the institution known in Scandinavian languages as a thing.
Scandinavian kingdoms: 9th-14th century AD
The story of medieval Christian Scandinavia, after the various regions convert in the 10th and 11th century, is of dynasties in Denmark, Norway and Sweden struggling to establish stable kingdoms - with sometimes the added ambition of bringing the other two into a unified realm.
The first recorded Viking attack in Britain was in 793 at Lindisfarne monastery as given by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. However, by then the Vikings were almost certainly well established in Orkney and Shetland, and it is probable that many other non-recorded raids occurred before this. Records do show the first Viking attack on Iona taking place in 794. The arrival of the Vikings, in particular the Danish Great Heathen Army, upset the political and social geography of Britain and Ireland. Scandinavian (Norse) Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, and Anatolia. Additionally, there is evidence to support the Vinland legend that Vikings reached farther south to the North American continent.

Norse society was based on agriculture and trade with other peoples and placed great emphasis on the concept of honour, both in combat and in the criminal justice system. It was, for example, unfair and wrong to attack an enemy already in a fight with another. With the means of travel (longships and open water), their desire for goods led Scandinavian traders to explore and develop extensive trading partnerships in new territories. It has been suggested that the Scandinavians suffered from unequal trade practices imposed by Christian advocates and that this eventually led to the breakdown in trade relations and raiding. British merchants who declared openly that they were Christian and would not trade with heathens and infidels (Muslims and the Norse) would get preferred status for availability and pricing of goods through a Christian network of traders. A two-tiered system of pricing existed with both declared and undeclared merchants trading secretly with banned parties. Viking raiding expeditions were separate from and coexisted with regular trading expeditions. A people with the tradition of raiding their neighbors when their honour had been impugned might easily fall to raiding foreign peoples who impugned their honour.
Historians also suggest that the Scandinavian population was too large for the peninsula and there were not enough good farmland for everyone. This led to a hunt for more land. Particularly for the settlement and conquest period that followed the early raids, internal strife in Scandinavia resulted in the progressive centralization of power into fewer hands. Formerly empowered local lords who did not want to be oppressed by greedy kings emigrated overseas. Iceland became Europe's first modern republic, with an annual assembly of elected officials called the Althing -- though only Godi (wealthy landowners) had the vote there.


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Post  Bi on Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:45 am

• The Scandinavians, known as the Vikings were formed of the Swedes, Norwegians and Danes. They were the last wave of Germanic invasions. The basic cause of their conquest for territory was because they were overpopulated on a land that was poor in natural resources. The Vikings were pirates that were excellent at trading; however they are remembered for the predatory activities. These activities took place between 750 and 1050. The attacks have been set between 800 and 900. The Vikings would have conquered all of England if it had not been for Alfred the Great. Hence the Vikings has the North East part of the Island: Northumbria, Danish-Mercia and East Anglia. The boundary between these two territories ran through from London to Chester. In the 10th century the West Saxons reconquered the North and the East, but many Scandinavians had settled on these territories. Although Scandinavian Influence can be seen in the place-names, the influence was stronger than just names. The English had not been exterminated therefore forms and borrowings occurred during the share of territory of these two tribes. Sometimes the word came from one language and the meaning from the other language. Many words from the legal and administrative aspect were borrowed from the Danes because they have a highly developed legal sense. Many words were taken from the Scandinavian language due to the fact that the language was very simple and hard to confuse. (Barber, Charles, 1993, The English Language a Historical Introduction, Cambridge University Press, p.125-134.
• In the Scandinavian attacks on England three stages can be determined. The first is the period of the early raids, from 787 to 850 the Vikings attacked upon towns and monasteries near the coast. In the second stage there was the participation of large armies plundering all parts of the country and settling where possible. This phase started in 850 with the arrival of 350 Danish ships. At the end of the second stage the Treaty of Wedmore was signed by Alfred (Saxons) and by Guthrum(Scandinavians). The signed the division of territory running through London to Chester which was the subject of the Danish law known as Danelaw. In addition to this division the Danes agreed to convert to Christianity. The third stage covers the period of political adjustment and assimilation from 878 to 1042. The Vikings continued to fight for territory through the ages and tried to buy off London. (Baugh, Albert C., Cable, Thomas,2002, A History of the English Language, Fifth Edition, Routlege, p.92-95)
• The Vikings invasion on the British Isles was the second big linguistic invasion (after Christian missionaries). In 991 the Danish had a series of victories and this resulted in an English King. England stayed under Danish rule for twenty-five years. Over 1500 place names are identified from Scandinavian origin; more than 1800 words were borrowed from this language. None of these words seem to show in Old English manuscripts which demonstrates the time it took for the language to be assimilated. ( Graddol, David, Leith, Dick, Swann, Joan, 1996, English: history, diversity and change, Routledge, p.134-135)


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