As I noted in the previous slide, the Venerable Bede is credited with giving us our first written history of English as a nation. It was King Alfred the Great who really pushed to bring education and literature to the people. During his reign King Alfred arranged for the translation into the Old English language many Latin works, including Bede’s Ecclesiastical History.
Alfred (849 – 899) became King of Wessex in 871 and King of the Anglo-Saxons in about 886; reigning to 899. Alfred initiated a program to educate England; and although the primary benefactors were initially those of the upper echelons of society, his programs resulted in the translation of many Latin texts into English. Also during King Alfred’s reign, a system of law was established. King Alfred and his “team of scholars” were also the “founding fathers of English prose” (Svartvik 23).
It was King Alfred’s diplomacy that “stemmed the Viking invasions” (Svartvik 23) of the British isles that began decades early. As part of the stemming, King Alfred deeded away quite a large parcel of England to the Danish invaders I discussed in a previous slide. The area deeded to them was called Danelaw.
In the next slide, I delve into Jakob of the Brother’s Grimm and talk about a concept called sound change.