Defining the Outcome of Language Contact: Old English and Old Norse

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Ohio State University. Department of Linguistics

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The English language throughout its 1500 year history has been impacted by socio-historical developments and changes. One such development took place in Old English: the invasion of England by Norse tribes from c. 800-1000 A.D. was a series of events which had a significant and lasting impact on all areas of the English language. The nature of that social situation and the linguistic outcome is of interest in contact linguistics; in particular, the application by some of terms such as creolization and creole to this process and its outcome has been controversial. In this paper, I examine the English-Norse contact situation and its effects on English and propose that the linguistic outcome of this contact was a koine, and show that this account can better describe the effects of this contact situation on the English language.




Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 57 (2003), 40-57.