Beowulf Reading in Old English

It’ s really amazing hear Beowulf read in the original Old English language. It’s almost a foreign tongue now, very close kin to German, with Latin, North and Centic influence.

The language arrived in Briton—previously inhabited by Celtic speakers—sometime in the fifth century, though whether the Anglo-Saxon invasion was a hostile takeover by Germanic mercenaries or a slow population drift that introduced a new ethnicity is a matter of some dispute. Nevertheless it’s obvious from the reading above—and from texts in the language like this online edition of Beowulf in its original tongue – http://faculty.virginia.edu/OldEnglish/Beowulf.Readings/Prologue.html—that we would no more be able to speak to the Anglo-Saxons than we would to the Picts and Scots they conquered.

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