ABSTRACT

This chapter:

follows the development of English from the time of the Viking invasions at the end of the eighth century up to the Norman Conquest of 1066;

outlines the three stages of Viking incursions: raids on the coast; conquest and settlement; dynastic conflict – giving one OE text in connection with each of these phases, always illustrating the Wessex point of view;

presents the influence on Old English of speakers of Old Norse in Britain in regard to vocabulary, pronunciation, inflection, and syntax;

explores the nature of linguistic contact by looking at the arguments which speak for and against seeing this as an instance of creolization; in doing this, special attention is paid to the features of Danelaw English;

reviews developments outside Danelaw, in the areas controlled by Wessex, with an eye to the renewal of learning under King Alfred and the subsequent establishment of a West Saxon standard;

sketches the further development of this process within the framework of the monastic reforms;

offers a final example of OE in the form of one of the riddles preserved in the Exeter Book.