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Nearly all knowledge of the English language before the seventh century is hypothetical Most of this knowledge is based on later English documents and earlier documents in related languages 3 The English language of today represents many centuries of development As a continuous process the development of the English language began in England around the year 449 with the arrival of several Germanic tribes including the Angles the Saxons and the Jutes 1 p49 English like all other languages is subject to constant growth and decay 1 Many of the political and social events that have so profoundly affected the English people in their life have generally had an impact on their language 1 The evolution and developmental changes of Anglo-Saxon Language and Modern English have been characterized by three basic periods Old English Middle English and Modern English Old English was spoken and written in England during the early part of the Middle Ages from about 600-1100 2 The languages earliest stage of development was known as Old English OE 3 The four main varieties of the language that were taken to Britain were Kentish which was associated with the Jutes West Saxon from the Southern region Wessex Mercian an Anglian dialect which was spoken in Mercia and Northumbrian one of the northernmost Anglian dialects 3 The vocabulary expanded chiefly through compounding and derivation but there were also a few changes in meaning that contributed to this growth 3 p473 The first written form of the language was runic letters which was replaced by a modified version of the Roman alphabet during the Anglo-Saxon conversion to Christianity 3 Very little of OE could have been read or even understood 3 Two very important documents from this period include Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle the last document in OE 3 p723 Late into this period many linguistic changes began to occur 3 p472 The customary usage of pronunciation spelling grammar and vocabulary all modified with
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