Where does the British accent come from?

The German roots of the English language

London (IMH) - When Brits or Americans learn German, they usually quickly notice that their English mother tongue is related to German. But where does this relationship come from?

In the fifth century AD, the Germanic Angles and Saxons emigrated to a large extent from what is now northern Germany to the British island. The fishing region in Schleswig-Holstein still exists today. The reason for the emigration was simple: the British, who were without protection from the warlike Celts after the withdrawal of the Roman armies, asked the Angles and Saxons to come to Britain as protection troops. The Germanic mercenaries gladly accepted the invitation because there were various violent conflicts in their homeland and their main livelihood, agriculture, was threatened by climatic changes.

They soon settled permanently and mingled on the British Isles, giving rise to the term Anglo-Saxons. The Celts were pushed into the outer parts of the country - Wales, Scotland and Cornwall. The Angles and Saxons gradually divided the conquered land into small kingdoms, which later merged into one dominion. They succeeded in less than 300 years where the Romans had failed before them: there was a change of language from Celtic to Anglo-Saxon. Another word for Anglo-Saxon is “Ænglisc”, now “English”. This is how the country got the name England.

Even if the Old English language changed again and again over the course of time and was also influenced by the Vikings and the French, well over 5,000 words from Anglo-Saxon can still be found in modern English. These words from the areas of household, body and nature show astonishing similarity with today's Low German. Examples are knife (English: knife, Low German: Kniv), foot (English and Low German: foot), water (English and Low German: water) or Sonnenschein (English: sunshine, Low German: Sünnschien), but also numbers (ten; English: ten, Low German: tein) or pronouns (er; English and Low German: he). Even the German plural on -en was retained for some words, such as ox, oxen (ox, oxen), child, children (child, children) or man, men (man, men). In the English weekdays it can also be seen that the Germanic origins are still indispensable in the language today. Tuesday comes from the Germanic god Tiu (Tyr), Wednesday (Wednesday) from Wotan and Thursday (Thursday), as with us, from Donar (Thor), the god of thunder.

Anyone interested in Old English or Anglo-Saxon can still experience it in bestsellers such as “Lord of the Rings” by the German-born author J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien, professor of the Anglo-Saxon language, lets the Rohan people speak a fifth-century Anglo-Saxon dialect in the novel.

Source:News agency of the International Media Aid (IMH), author: Talea de Freese

The article from the IMH news agency was taken from the German-language newspaper "Wochenblatt.pl" in Opole / Poland: