How did the Germanic languages influence the English language?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Germanic languages were extremely influential in shaping the English language as we know it today.

The original inhabitants of the islands we now know as the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland) spoke a group of languages loosely known as the Celtic languages. In roughly the 5th Century CE (the 400s CE), these islands were invaded by members of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes - Germanic tribes that came from the area we now know as northern Germany and Denmark. As the invaders moved into their new territory, they pushed the Celtic speakers to the north and west and established residence in the main area of the larger island, what we now call England. The primary language of the invaders was called Englisc.

While English has evolved greatly since the mid-400s, there are still recognizable Old English words in our vocabulary today. Examples include bequeath, henceforth, midst, seek,  and wrought.