[Milton-L] Off Topic . . . But Relevant to English Literature

Matthew Stallard stallard at ohio.edu
Sat Sep 26 00:54:37 EDT 2009


I'm glad that you are interested in this. All of the very earliest 
Anglo-Saxon texts that we possess contain some words that were borrowed 
from Latin. It was unavoidable. You'll find them in Caedmon and the Junius 
XI mss. including the Saxon "Genesis A," "Genesis B," "Daniel," and "Christ 
and Satan." Everywhere the Roman Empire touched, the native tongues 
(including the Celtic, and Germanic languages) picked up Roman terminology. 
Words that have been identified as "continental borrowings" or words that 
entered the A/S lexis from Latin before the migration to England include 
camp, wall, mile, pit, cheap, pound, wine, mint, cheese, pepper, butter, 
prune, pea, chalk, copper, pitch, tile, and many more. Words that were 
picked up during the "insular" period (6th and 7th centuries) after the 
migration include many words that came primarily from Christian 
missionaries including cross, priest, rule, school, master.

When Beowulf travels the road to Hrothgar's hall the "straet waes stanfah" 
or the "street was stone paved." Latin "strata" becomes English street. A 
great image of these two worlds coming together.


--On Friday, September 25, 2009 10:40 PM -0400 James Rovira 
<jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks much -- can you give me some examples of texts that reflect
> this borrowing?  How early are we talking about?
> Jim R
> On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 9:45 PM, Matthew Stallard <stallard at ohio.edu>
> wrote:
>> Early. There is a significant Latin influence upon A/S even before the
>> migration to England. "Continental word" as opposed to the "insular word"
>> borrowings that occurred after the migration.
>> Best,
>> Matthew
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