|Ænglisc, Englisc, Anglisc|
A detail of the first page of the Beowulf
manuscript, showing the words "ofer hron rade", translated as "over the whale's road (sea)". It is an example of an Old English stylistic device, the kenning.
|Region||England (except the extreme south-west and north-west), southern and eastern Scotland, and the eastern fringes of modern Wales.|
|Era||mostly developed into Middle English and Early Scots by the 13th century|
- West Saxon
|Runic, later Latin (Old English alphabet).|
The Old English language, often called Anglo-Saxon, was spoken in England from 450 AD to 1100 AD. It was spoken by the Anglo-Saxons who came to England from what is now Germany and Denmark. Different kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England spoke different dialects but a western dialect became the main literary version.
Old English is very different from Modern English; it has many more Germanic words. In early centuries it was rarely written down, and when written it was in runes. After the 9th century, the Latin alphabet was used more. Old English grammar is difficult, with complex inflections, and close to Old German. Latin was used by churchmen like the venerable Bede. Old English gradually turned into Middle English after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Beowulf is written in Old English in an alphabetic script.
Old English comparison