Why is old English very difficult to read?
3 months ago
The English language has developed a lot since Old English was used (around 450-1066 AD). This end year may provide a clue as to why the language has changed so much - the Norman Invasion. The Normans were vikings who had settled in northern France and were given a semi-independent dukedom by the then French king. They were offered this essentially in the hope that they would stop raiding France. The Normans adopted some parts of French culture and language, so when Norman the Conqueror invaded England and took the throne in 1066, they brought the French language with them. This introduced lots of new terms, and there are even remnants of class distinctions within the English language. For example, when talking about a cow, when it is alive we have the word "cow" which is an Anglo-Saxon word, but when it is ready for eating, we use the French-originated word "beef" (from boeuf). Others like this include pigs - pig, pork (from porc in French). Additionally, the English language developed independently from this French influence, as well as adopted language from other parts of Europe and the rest of the world (particularly during the empire, for example pyjamas (Persian/Urdu) and bungalow (Hindi) both come to English via India.
3 months ago