Old English was the West Germanic language spoken in the area now known as England between the 5th and 11th centuries. Speakers of Old English called their language Englisc, themselves Angle, Angelcynn or Angelfolc and old english numbers and letters home Angelcynn or Englaland.
Old English began to appear in writing during the early 8th century. Most texts were written in West Saxon, one of the four main dialects. The other dialects were Mercian, Northumbrian and Kentish. The Anglo-Saxons adopted the styles of script used by Irish missionaries, such as Insular half-uncial, which was used for books in Latin. A less formal version of minuscule was used for to write both Latin and Old English.
From the 10th century Anglo-Saxon scribes began to use Caroline Minuscule for Latin while continuing to write Old English in Insular minuscule. This alphabet was an extended version of Elder Futhark with between 26 and 33 letters. Anglo-Saxon runes were used probably from the 5th century AD until about the 10th century. Runic inscriptions are mostly found on jewellery, weapons, stones and other objects, and only about 200 such inscriptions have survived. Most have been found in eastern and southern England. These were not written originally used in Old English but are a more modern invention to distinguish between long and short vowels.
Today they can be substituted for g and w in modern writing of Old English. The letters g and w were introduced later by French scribes. Yogh came to represent or . The letters j and v were rarely used and were nothing more than varients of i and u respectively.
Ealle fīras sind boren frēo ond geefenlican in ār ond riht. Hīe sind gifeðe gerād ond ingehygd, ond sculon dōn ongēan oðrum be feore of brōþorhāde. Modern English version All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. You can support this site by making a donation, or by contributing in other ways.
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Please forward this error screen to sharedip-10718057113. Please forward this error screen to sharedip-1601539665. This article is about the early medieval language of the Anglo-Saxons. For Elizabethan or Shakesepearean English, see Early Modern English. For the Gothic typeface, see Blackletter. Scotland, and the eastern fringes of modern Wales.