ARTS1691 - Old English vs Present Day English

Some scholars argue that Old English is like a foreign language to us, after considering poems such as Beowulf. The argument against this belief is that when looking at deliberately archaic texts within constrained poetic forms the differences will be severely amplified.
Whilst significant changes have occurred between Old English and Present Day English, the skeleton is still the same.

  • 85% of Old English words are gone
    • Only 1% of Present Day English words are Old English
  • 50% of words used in daily writing are Old English
  • 100% of the top 100 common words are Old English

Stylistic Habits

Present Day English and Old English share some common features:

  • Kenning (compound words)
    • e.g. skyscraper
  • Alliteration
    • e.g. road rage