sh in the Netherlands and Belgium (known as Dutch and Flemish), WG, the Franconian dialects and Flemish dialect, wr 12c.; 4. Afrikaans in the South African Republic, WG, the Dutch, wr 19c.; 5. Danish in Denmark (north Germanic, Old Danish); 6. Swedish in Sweden and Finland (North Germanic, Old Swedish), 7. Norwegian in Norway (NG, Old Norwegian); 8. Icelandic in Iceland (its origin goes back to the Viking Age, NG, the West Scandinavian dialect) spoken over 200., Elder edda 1213 c.000; 9. Frisian in some regions of the Netherlands and Germany, dialects of Low German tribes, wr 13 c, WG; 10. Faroese in the Faroe Islands (its origin goes back to the Viking Age, NG, the West Norwegian dialect), spoken nowadays by about 30.000, wr-18c.; 11. Yiddish (Old High German dialects, WG)
in different countries the total number of people speaking Germanic languages approaches 440 million.
9. The Old English alphabets. OE major written records
The earliest written records of English are inscriptions on hard material made in a special alphabet known as the runes. The word rune originally meant secret, mystery, and hence came to denote inscriptions believed to be magic. There is no doubt that the art of runic writing was known to the Germanic tribes long before they came to Britain. The runes were used as letters, each symbol to indicate a separate sound. The two best known runic inscriptions in England is an inscription on a box called the Franks Casket and the other is a short text on a a stone known as the Ruthwell Cross. Both records are in the Northumbrian dialect. Many runic inscriptions have been preserved on weapons, coins, amulets, rings. The total number of runic inscriptions in OE is about forty; the last of them belong to the end of the OE period. The first English words to be written down with the help of Latin characters were personal names and place names inserted in Latin texts. Glosses (заметки) to the Gospels (Евангелие) and other religious texts were made in many English monasteries, for the benefit of those who did not know enough Latin (we may mantion the Corpus and Epinal glossaries in the 8th c. Mercian).OE poetry is famous for Bedes HISTORIA ECCLESIASTICA GENTIS ANGLORUM, which is in Latin, but contains an English fragment of 5 lines. There are about 30,000 lines of OE verse. OE poetry is mainly restricted to 3 subjects: heroic, religious and lyrical. The greatest poem of that time was BEOWULF, an epic of the 7th or 8th c. It was originally composed in the Mercian or Nuthumbrian dialect, but has come to us in a 10th c. West Saxon copy. OE prose: the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLES. Also prose was in translating books on geography, history, philosophy from Latin. TE LIVES OF THE SAINTS by Alfric, the HOMILIES by Wulfstan (passionate sermons страстные поучения). OE Alphabet. OE scribes (писцы) used two kinds of letters: the runes and the letters of the Latin alphabet. The runes were used as letters, each symbol to indicate a separate sound. Besides. A rune could also represent a word beginning with that sound and was called by that word. In some inscriptions the runes were found arranged in a fixed order making a sort of alphabet. After the first six letters this alphabet is called futhark. The runic alphabet is a specifically Germanic alphabet, not to be found in languages of other groups. The letters are angular (угловые), straight lines are preferred, curved lines avoided: this is due to the fact that runic inscriptions were cut in hard material: stone, bone, or wood. The shapes of some letters resemble those of Greek or Latin, others have not been traced to any known alphabet. Some OE letters indicate two or more sounds, even distinct phonemes. The letters could indicate short and long sounds. The length of vowels is shown by a macron or by line above the letter; long consonants are indicated by double letters.
10. Major spelling changes in ME
The written forms of the words in Late ME texts resemble their modern forms, though the pronunciation of the words was different. In the course of ME many new devices were introduced into the system of spelling; some of them reflected the sound changes which had been completed or were still in progress in ME; other were graphic replacements of OE letters by new letters and digraphs. In ME the runic letters passed out of use. Thorn . and the crossed d ... were replaced by the digraph th, which retained the same sound value;  and ; the rune wynn was displaced by double u w ; the ligatures. and. fell into disuse. Next: for a long time writing was in the hands of those who had a good knowledge of French. Therefore many innovations in ME spelling reveal an influence of the French scribal tradition. The digraphs ou, ie, and ch which occurred in many French borrowings were adopted as new ways of indicating the sounds [u:], [e:], and [t.]. Compare the use of these digraphs in some borrowed and native ME words: ME chief  from French and the native ME thief (NE chief, thief); ME chaumbre , chasen  (NE chamber, chase). The letters j, k, v and q were probably first used in imitation of French manuscripts. The two-fold use of g and c, which has survived today, owes its origin to French: these letters usually stood for [d.] and [s] before front vowels and for [g] and [k] before back vowels: ME gentil , mercy  (NE gentle, mercy). At that tine there was more wider use of digraphs. In addition to ch, ou, ie, and th mentioned above, Late ME notaries introduced sh (also ssh and sch) to indicate the new sibilant , e.g. ship (from OE scip), dg to indicate [d] alondside j and g (before front vowels), e. g. ME edge , joye , (NE edge, joy); the digraph wh replaced the OE sequence of letters hw as in OE hw t, ME what [hwat], (NE what). Long sounds were shown by double letters, e.g. ME book [bo:k], sonne [sunn] (NE book, sun). The introduction of the digraph gh for [x] and [x] helped to distinguish between the fricatives [x, x], which were preserved in some positions, and the aspirate [h]; e.g. ME knyght [knixt] and ME he [he:] (NE knight, he); in OE both words were spelt with h: OE cnient, he. Some replacements were probably made to avoid confusion of resembling letters: thus o was employed not only for [o] but also to indicate short [u] alongside the letter u; it happened when u stood close to n, m, or v. The letter y came to be used as an equivalent of i and was evidently preferred when i could be confused with the surrounding letters m, n and others. The letters th and s indicate voiced sounds between vowels, and voiceless sounds initially, finally and next to other voiceless consonants: ME worthy , esy , thyng  (NE worthy, easy, thing).
11. The OE vowel system. Major changes during the OE period
The development of vowels in Early oE consisted of the modification of separate vowels, and also of the modification of entire sets of vowels. The PG short [a] and the long [a:], which had arisen in West and North Germanic, underwent similar alterations in Early OE: they were fronted and, in the process of fronting, they split into several sounds.
The PG diphthongs [ei, ai, iu, eu, au] underwent regular independent changes in Early OE; they took place in all phonetic conditions irrespective of environment. The diphthongs with the i-glide were monophthongised into [i:] and [a:], respectively; the diphthongs in u were reflected as long diphthongs [io:], [eo:] and [ea:].
Change illustratedExamplesPGOEOENEa + ia:stonee+ ii:mine, mya + uea:easte + ueo:choosei + uio:deep
12. The development of monophthongs in ME
The OE close labialized vowels [y] and [y:] disappeared in Early ME. In Early ME the dialectal differences grew. In some areas OE [y], [y:] developed into [e], [e:], in others they changed to [i], [i:], in the South-West and in the west Midlands the two vowels were for some time preserved as [y], [y:] but later were moved backward and merged with [u], [u:]. OE fyllan ME Kentish fellen , ME West Midland and South Western fullen , ME east Midland and Northern fillen  (NE fill). In early ME the long OE [a:] was narrowed to . This was an early instance of the growing tendency of all long monophthongs to become closer; the tendency was intensified in Late ME when all long vowels changed in that direction. [a:] became  in all the dialects except the Northern group. ME Northern stan(e) , ME other dialects stoon, stone , (NE stone). The resulting ME  must have been a more open vowel than the long [o:] inherited from OE. The two phonemes  and [o:] were well distinguished in ME, though no distinction was made in spelling: o, and double o were used for both sounds. The short OE  was replaced in ME by the back vowel [a]. In OE  was either a separate phoneme or one of a group of allophones distinguished in writing . All these sounds were reflected in ME as [a], except the nasalized [a] which became [o] in the West Midlands. ME that , NE that, ME blak  NE black, ME West Midland lond , ME other dialects land . Most of the modern words going back to the OE prototypes with