Old English

The Angles and Saxons of England were united by Alfred, who achieved a major victory against the Danes at Edington in 878. West Saxon then became the official language of England and oral histories and writing in other dialects were than translated into it so that 90% of the surviving Old English is in West Saxon. The venerable Bede wrote Ecclesiastica Historia Gentis Anglorum in Latin. Alfred himself back-translated Bede’s “history” from Latin into ‘englisc’ – West Saxon. As it is a geography lesson, it is one of the easiest pieces of Old English with which to start. Use the Czech online version of Bosworth Toller to look up the verbs.

Northumbrian was Bede’s dialect, but very little of it has survived. The Lord’s Prayer is an exception.

Faeder ure, thu the eart on heofenum. Si thin nama gehalgod. To becume thin rice. Geworthe thin willa. On erthon swa swa on heofenum. Urne gedaeghlican half syle us to daeg. And forgyf us ure gyltas. Swa swa we forgyfth urum gyltendum. And ne gelaed thu us on costnunge. Ac alys us of yfele.