Early English

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Early English (Anglo-Saxon, or Old English) English language from c.450 to 1100. It constitutes the earliest form of English, directly descended from the Germanic languages of the early Anglo-Saxons. It had a vocabulary of c.50,000 words. It comprised four main dialects: Northumbrian, Mercian, Kentish, and West Saxon. The best of Early English literature, such as the epic poem Beowulf, was written in Northumbrian. West Saxon became the chief dialect as a result of Alfred the Great's unification of England.

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Early English First phase of English Gothic (13th century). It followed Norman architecture. In c.1250, French-inspired English stonemasons developed a native Gothic idiom: Canterbury Cathedral is a very early example. Later works emphasized appearance rather than structure: builders ornamented and enhanced visible walls, such as Rievaulx Abbey, or made prominent use of vault ribbing, such as Lincoln Cathedral. See also Decorated style; perpendicular style

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Early English. See First Pointed.