Episode 28: Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians

We explore the origins of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians in the North Sea region of northern Europe. The early raids on the coasts of Britain and Gaul set the stage for the later mass migrations. The similarities between the languages of these respective groups are examined.


Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

17 thoughts on “Episode 28: Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians

  1. Pingback: Lecture Notes: Anglo-Saxon England | LIT 231: English Literature to 1800

    • I know very little about the evolution of Welsh, but “pedwar” is generally considered to be cognate with English “four” based on a common Indo-European root which has been reconstructed as *kwetwer. And “pump” is considered to be cognate with English “five” and Latin “penta” based on an Indo-European root that has been reconstructed as *penkwe.

      • Though really Greek has pénte (πέντε) and Latin has quinque, ultimatelty from the Proto-Italic *kwenkwe, which does indeed come from *penkwe.

        • That’s right. “Pente” is the Greek root, not Latin. (I just researched all of this for “Episode 114: The Craft of Numbering.”)

  2. Pingback: How was Modern English formed? – The History of English

  3. It’s interesting you should mention the word “dun” – meaning a shade of brown. But you said the word had vanished from the English language. It hasn’t. It is commonly used to refer to a yellowish brown shade of coat found in horses. Also Shakespeare used it in one of his sonnets: “If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun”.

    I don’t believe the word is used in English outside the archaic (Shakespeare) and in horses, although it is possible it is used in cattle also.

    • Yeah, I have received a LOT of emails over the years about the continued use of the word “dun.” I no longer say that a word has vanished or disappeared from English because I am convinced that just about every old word survives somewhere in some regional or local dialect or in some specialized sense.

      • My mother’s family is southern Appalachian USA since the 1700’s. I remember hearing my grandfather use words (including “dun”) that sounded like uneducated English – which I learned as an adult, was the continuation of the language of the old country. Thanks for this informative and entertaining podcast!

    • Angela, as I wrote elsewhere, dun is used in geology as the root of the name of the rock dunite, named after Dun Mtn., New Zealand. I did the field work for my Masters in east-central Norway on a dunite body. Oddly enough, the dun color is that of the weathered variety. When fresh (i.e., unweathered), dunite is spectacularly bright olive green.

  4. Hi Kevin,
    I only discovered your podcast a month back, it is excellent. This episode touched upon something I had pondered a good while – The Jutes! My understanding is that The Danes had taken over northern Jutland by AD200 so these folk would have been speaking Proto-Norse and there is little place name or linguistic evidence in Kent or the Isle of Wight to suggest this was the case. I much prefer the Frankish theory, but then again as you say, who really knows!..

    On another point, could you or anyone else help with matter that has perplexed me? I really enjoyed the part of this podcast where you talk about English and Frisian both dropping the g’s in rain and the n’s in goose etc but do you know if this process began before the migration or after it (in other words independently)? I wonder if there is any (scant) evidence either way.
    Anyway, brilliant work. Thank you!

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