The Formation of the English Nation and the English Language.

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Lection N 1

The formation of the English Nation and the English Language.

1. Celtic invasion and its influence.
2. Roman invasion and its influence.
3. Anglo-Saxon invasion and its influence.
4. The spread of Christianity.
5. Danish invasion and its influence.
6. Norman invasion and its influence.
7. The formation of the English language. Different borrowings.

1. During the period from the 6th to the 3rd century B.C. a people called the Celts spread across Europe from the east to the west. Some Celtic tribes invaded Britain. Celtic tribes called the Picts penetrated into the mountains on the North; some Picts as well as tribes of Scots crossed over to Ireland and settled there. Later the Scots returned to the larger island and settled in the North beside the Picts. They came in such large numbers that in time the mane of Scotland was given to the country. Powerful Celtic tribes, the Britons, held most of the country, and the southern half of the island was named Britain after them. Today the words “Briton” and “British” refer to the people of the whole of the British Isles. The Iberians, who inhabited Britain, were unable to fight back the attacks of the Celts; some of them were driven westwards into the mountains of what is now Wales and the others mixed with the Celts. The Celts had no towns; they lived in villages. They were acquainted with the use of copper, tin and iron, and they kept large herds of cattle and sheep. They also cultivated crops, especially corn. The life of the Celts differed greatly from that of the Iberians. But both the Iberians and the Celts lived under the primitive system. In the last centuries B.C. and in the first centuries. A. D. The Celts were in a period of transition from primitive communal society to class society. The elders, military leaders and their warriors made up the tribal nobility. They began to seize much land for themselves and they had more cattle than the other members of the clan. But still the communal way of life predominated among them. To this day the descendants of the ancient Celts live on the territory of the British Isles. The Welsh who live in Wales are of Celtic origin. People in most parts of Wales speak Welsh, a Celtic tongue. In the Highlands of Scotland as well as in the western pats of Ireland the people speak a tongue of Celtic origin too. Some words of the Celtic language can still be found in Modern English and most of them are geographical names. Thus in England there are several rivers called Avon which in Celtic means “a river”. Some rivers have the name of Derwent, which in Celtic means “clear Water”. 2. Two thousand years ago while the Celts were still living in tribes the Romans were the most powerful people in the world. Roman society differed greatly from that of the Celts. It was a slave society divided into antogonistic classes. The main classes were the slaves and the slave-owners. The Romans conquered all the countries around the Mediterranean. One of the last countries to be conquered by Rome was France, or Gaul as it was then called In 55 B.C. Roman Army of 1000 men crossed the channel and invaded Britain, but it had to return to Gaul. In the next year, 54 B.C., Caesar again came to Britain. This time with larger forces (25 000 men). The Celts fought bravely for their independence, but they were not strong enough to drive the Romans off. Some of the chiefs submitted and promised to pay tribute to Rome. Caesar then went back to Gaul to complete his conquest on the continent. Although Julius Caesar came to Britain twice in the course of two years, he was not able, really, to conquer it. The promised tribute was not paid and the real conquest of Britain by the Romans was not begun until nearly a hundred years after Caesar’s visits to the Island. In 43 A.D. a Roman Army invaded Britain and conquered the South-East. Other parts of the country were taken from time to time...
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