English monastic culture was to be seriously disturbed (like that in Ireland as well) because of developments in Scandinavia. In the 8th century the Scandinavians became expansionist and began raiding neighbouring coasts.
In time, the Scandinavians became more adventurous and, with the efficient and sea-worthy boats which they had, succeeded in making the crossing over the North Sea to Scotland.
This was a qualitative change which was to have lasting consequences for the peoples of the British Isles. From this point onwards the Scandinavians are known as Vikings, a term deriving either from Frisian wic ‘settlement’ or Old Norse vik ‘bay’. The earliest attacks were on Lindisfarne and Jarrow in 793-4. Here the monasteries with their ornamental riches attracted the raiders. They plundered and killed indiscriminately there and elsewhere, e.g. on the island of Iona, a centre of Hiberno-Scottish culture. Very soon the Vikings became the scourge of Ireland and the entire north of England.
The Norman conquest of England was the 11th century invasion and occupation of England by an army ofNorman, Breton, and French soldiers led by Duke William II of Normandy, later styled as William the Conqueror.
One of the most obvious effects of the conquest was the introduction of Anglo-Norman, a northern dialect of Old French, as the language of the ruling classes in England, displacing Old English. French words entered the English language, and a further sign of the shift was the usage of names common in France instead of Anglo-Saxon names. Male names such as William, Robert and Richard soon became common; female names changed more slowly. The Norman invasion had little impact on placenames, which had changed significantly after earlier Scandinavian invasions. It is not known precisely how much English the Norman invaders learned, nor how much the knowledge of French spread among the lower classes, but the demands of trade and basic communication probably meant that at least some of the Normans and native English were bilingual. Nevertheless, William the Conqueror never developed a working knowledge of English and for centuries afterwards English was not well understood by the nobility
According to the origin, the word-stock may be subdivided into two main groups: one comprises the native elements; the other consists of the borrowed words.
The term native denotes words which belong to the original English stock known from the earliest manuscripts of the Old English period. They are mostly words of Anglo-Saxon origin brought to the British Isles in the 5th century by Germanic tribes.
The words of Indio-European origin (that is those having cognates in other I-E. languages) form the oldest layer. They fall into definite semantic groups:terms of kinship: father, mother, son, daughter, brother;words denoting the most important objects and phenomena of nature: sun, moon, star, water, wood, hill, stone, tree;names of animals and birds: bull, cat, crow, goose, wolf;parts of human body: arm, eye, foot, heart;the verbs: bear, come, sit, stand, etc;the adjectives: hard, quick, slow, red, white.
A borrowed (loan) word is a word adopted from another language and modified in sound form, spelling, paradigm or meaning according to the standards of English.
The number and character of borrowings depend on many factors: on the historical conditions, on the nature and length of the contacts and also on the genetic and structural proximity of languages concerned. The closer the language the deeper and more versatile is the influence. Thus, from the Scandinavian languages, which were closely related to Old English, some classes of words were borrowed that could not have been adopted from non-related or distantly related languages: the personal pronouns: they, their, them; also same, till, though, fro (adv).
Greek (many of these via Latin)