Monday, August 22, 2011

Pre-English ~ Suzanne Kemmer

c. 3000 B.C.
Proto-Indo-European spoken in Baltic area.
(or Anatolia?)
ca. 1000 B.C.After many migrations, the various branches of Indo-European have become distinct. Celtic becomes most widespread branch of Indo-European in Europe; Celtic peoples inhabit what is now Spain, France, Germany and England.
55 B.C.Beginning of Roman raids on British Isles.
43 A.D.Roman occupation of Britain. Roman colony of "Britannia" established. Eventually, many Celtic Britons become Romanized. (Others continually rebel).
200 B.C.-200 A.D.Germanic peoples move down from Scandinavia and spread over Central Europe in successive waves. Supplant Celts. Come into contact (at times antagonistic, at times commercial) with northward-expanding empire of Romans.
Early 5th century.Roman Empire collapses. Romans pull out of Britain and other colonies, attempting to shore up defense on the home front; but it's useless. Rome sacked by Goths.Germanic tribes on the continent continue migrations west and south; consolidate into ever larger units. Those taking over in Rome call themselves "Roman emperors", even though the imperial administration had relocated to Byzantium in the 300s. The new Germanic rulers soon adopt the Christianity of the late Roman state, and begin what later evolves into the not-very-Roman "Holy Roman Empire".
ca. 410 A.D.First Germanic tribes arrive in England.
410-600Settlement of most of Britain by Germanic peoples (Angles, Saxons, Jutes, some Frisians) speaking West Germanic dialects descended from Proto-Germanic. These dialects are distantly related to Latin, but also have a sprinkling of Latin borrowings due to earlier cultural contact with the Romans on the continent.Celtic peoples, most of whom are Christianized due to the late Roman adoption of Christianity, are pushed increasingly (despite occasional violent uprisings) into the marginal areas of Britain: Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Anglo-Saxons, originally sea-farers, settle down as farmers, exploiting rich English farmland.
By 600 A.D., the Germanic speech of England comprises dialects of a language distinct from the continental Germanic languages.
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