Episode 49: Vikings Among the English and French

Following the death of Alfred, there was a decade of relative peace between the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes.  During this period, Scandinavian settlers continued to migrate to the Danelaw.  In this episode, we explore the early Scandinavian influence on English in the Danelaw.  We also examine the continuing Viking raids in France, and the founding of Normandy in the year 911.


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

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

12 thoughts on “Episode 49: Vikings Among the English and French

  1. Hi Kevin,
    In the UK, the pronunciation of “Keswick” is actually closer to “Keszik”. Similarly, “Warwick” is pronounced as “Warrik”. Basically the “w” is silent and the consonant before it is lengthened.

  2. Interesting about good better best. In modern Norwegian it’s bra bedre best. But there is also the word “god” (as in god dag = good day) which does not have any superlatives.

    • An interesting observation! While I cannot find the Hebrew etymology explicitly, I found this explanation for its Arabic cognate: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86#Arabic

      As you’ll see, while there could have been some borrowing from the Indo-European Avestan for some nuanced meanings, it’s most likely that the root is ultimately Semitic.

      It’s worth noting, however, that the root of “doom” sounded something like “dhohmos” in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European, itself a noun formation of the verb “dhoh” (“to set, to do, to place”; this happens to sound a bit like the presumed Akkadian ancestor of “din,” “dēnu/dīnu.”

      Since laws were literally “set in stone” during the time of the Akkadians, there could be a connection between “dhoh” (“to set”) and “dēnu/dīnu” (“judgment > “that which is set in stone”?). In summation, however, we don’t know.

  3. As you probably know, “kirk” is still the Scottish word for church. My grandmother used to live on Kirk Brae (church hill) which makes me wonder about the origin of “brae”. (I’ll bet you’ve already mentioned it in some episode ahead). Love the podcast. I’m a proofreader, and I listen to it in little bits while waiting for files to load on the computer.

    • “Brae” is an Old Norse word that meant ‘eyebrow’ or ‘eyelash.’ It appears that the sense of the word was extended to the ‘brow of a hill.’

      • I haven’t checked “brae” yet but I wouldn’t have thought Norse words had spread into Scotland. Bryn is Welsh for hill as in Bryn Mawr, “big hill”, and Braemar is a Scots name.

        • On second thoughts, if the word is Middle English from Norse, it could well have entered the Scots language/ dialect which has many affinities with Northumbrian English, as the kingdom of Northumbria extrnded far into southern Scotland.

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