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Old English (Ænglisc, Anglisc, Englisc) or Anglo-Saxon<ref>The term Anglo-Saxon came to refer to all things of the early English period by the 16th century, including language, culture, and people. While this is still the normal term for the latter two aspects, the language began to be called Old English towards the end of the 19th century, as a result of the increasingly strong anti-Germanic nationalism in English society of the 1890s and early 1900s. The language itself began to be appropriated by some English scholars, who preferentially stressed the development of modern English from the Anglo-Saxon period to Middle English and through to the present day. However many authors still use the term Anglo-Saxon to refer to the language.
{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid 5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid 7th century. After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Old English developed into the next historical form of English, known as Middle English.

Old English developed from a set of Anglo-Frisian or North Sea Germanic dialects originally spoken by Germanic tribes traditionally known as the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. As the Anglo-Saxons became dominant in England, their language replaced the languages of Roman Britain: Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, and Latin, brought to Britain by Roman invasion. Old English had four main dialects (Mercian, Northumbrian, Kentish, and West Saxon), each with distinct differences from the others. After the 9th century, Old English was influenced by Old Norse. The Old English period is arbitrarily considered as ending in 1066, when William the Conqueror conquered England, and Anglo-Norman, a relative of French, replaced English as the language of the upper classes.

Old English is one of the West Germanic languages, and its closest relatives are Old Frisian and Old Saxon. Like other old Germanic languages, it is very different from Modern English and difficult for Modern English speakers to understand without study. Grammatically it is close to Modern Standard German: nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs have many inflectional endings and forms, and word order is much freer. Some Old English inscriptions were written in using a runic system, but from about the 9th century this was replaced by a version of the Latin alphabet.

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Old English sections
Intro  History  Dialects  Phonology  Grammar  Orthography  Influence of other languages  Literature  Revivals  See also  Notes  Bibliography  External links  

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