Viking Acquisition: The Vikings And The Norman Conquest

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The term “invasion” lacks any positive written definition or association. It communicates an unwelcome force, one that inevitably delivers death, destruction, and overwhelming terror. These components characterize much of history, for foreign invasions were commonplace, often a result of power struggles or intense greed. For England specifically, the Viking invasions and the Norman Conquest are indicative of such avarice and contention; they demolished significant buildings, destroyed texts, and incited horrendous bloodshed, all with the sole intention of accumulating wealth or winning the right to rule over the land. Yet, despite the carnage and devastation caused by both events, the English language indirectly benefited. With foreign invasion …show more content…
The influence of Old Norse on Old English is evident through the implementation of loanwords that depict the circumstances under which the Vikings and the English met. The English were familiar with ships and trade by sea, but the Scandinavians were far better. When they invaded by ship, they brought with them specialized terms such as hā ‘rowlock’ and cnearr ‘kind of small ship,’ as well as hofðing ‘chief, leader’ and wearg ‘felon,’ resultantly exposing Old English to different societal structures and classes (121; ch. 5). In addition to new sea and class terms, the Vikings provided the material for place names and surnames that still exist today, such as -by ‘farm’, -thorpe ‘village’, and -thwaite ‘portion of land’, as well as the popular -son ‘son of’. Today, English towns such as Bassenthwaite and Swainby, as well as the millions of Johnsons, Pattersons, and Dicksons, remain examples of the influence Old Norse had on Old English place and name words (00:31:05-00:32:32). Furthermore, in instances where Old Norse and Old English had words with similar meanings, both words often survived in Old English, each adopting a slightly different meaning. For example, Old English said “craft,” while Old Norse said “skill.” English said “hide,” Norse said “skin.” In OE you were “sick”; in …show more content…
When the Vikings and the French invaded the land, they also invaded the English language, but in a way that encouraged its growth. Both Old and Middle English experienced an influx of loanwords, resulting in original terms, the establishment of synonyms, and the formation of specialized vocabulary levels. English history potentially provides us with an important lesson, one that forces us to reconsider what we allow into our lives. It would be irrational to suggest that we embrace violence and destruction in order to see similar progress, for those elements alone are nothing but detrimental. However, perhaps the underlying theme is to welcome outside influence, as long as it is peaceful. Other lifestyles and practices may be foreign, but as Old and Middle English show us, foreign influence has the opportunity to expand our knowledge and supplement aspects of our

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