How old is English?


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I wrote this essay for people who want to know more about the real origin of old English. Some minimal knowledge is required to understand the importance of the subject. For those people who have very little knowledge about the subject, I advise to read first this Wikipedia article (section History) where the official version of the origin of English is explained.

[1] Since 450 BC 'pre-Celtic' to 'Celtic' and since 450 AD 'Celtic' to English.

[2] Celtic language is called Brythonic in this website.

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First version of website :
May 2005

Last update: June 2014

We want to publish. This website becomes too big. It is about time that the content and more, yet unpublished material, is published in a book.

English was not imported by the Anglo-Saxons

This is how the events of the 5th century AD and the origin of the English language were declared during the 20th century in every history book, in every schoolbook, worldwide :

The Anglo-Saxons imported the English language in the 5th century into Britain. The Anglo-Saxons were initially invited as mercenaries. When their wages could not be paid, they rebelled and took over the east of Britain. The Britons reacted by fighting bravely, but their efforts were hampered by treachery and unlawful collaboration with the enemy by some of their most high ranking members. Eventually the Anglo-Saxons managed to subdue the eastern population. They imposed their culture and language. A major part of the population fled west where the British resistance proved to be successful for a while.

So much for the official story.

But official history has several major inconsistencies:

Strangely enough, no contemporary source mentions a language change. This contrasts with Gaul.
English should have far more words of Welsh origin. Why can we not explain many place-names east of the Pennines in Welsh (e.g. London) nor in Latin? Why was there no similar language change on the continent after the collapse of the Roman Empire?
How could a very limited number of Anglo-Saxons conquer most of England? Is it true that the British were cowards as Gildas wrote in the 6th century? People under threat do easily unite. It was all about protecting land propriety.
Did the Anglo-Saxons wipe out the eastern population in Britain? Or was the entire population chased to Wales? How were the Anglo-Saxons able to replace 2.5 million eastern Britons? There is no archaeological trace of that. It is know to be a pure assumption.
Did east-England change its language twice within approx.1000 years? [1] Why was the alleged language transition so record-breakingly swift?

Mind you, English IS a Germanic language. We have no doubt about that. But some people believe that if English is a Germanic language that it HAD to be imported from Germany. Why is so difficult to imagine a Germanic language during the neolithic period and after, on the other, British, side of the North Sea? Why is so easily accepted that only proto-Brythonic was present on this other side of the same North Sea?

Simon James (University of Leicester) reminds us that the theory of the introduction of English was established in the 17th century under James I to suit the political needs of the time. The union of the crowns of Scotland and England was explained as re-union of (Celtic) Britain. State paid historians stated that Britain was ‘Celtic’ before the Roman age. They made no distinction between Celtic art or culture and Celtic language. Strange, because it was already known that the Romans had adopted Greek culture, but not their language. They presumed the existence of a Celtic language [2] all over Britain. This theory was immediately officially accepted for it came handy to quieten the critics who were against unification. The latter argued that the Scots always had been the eternal enemies of the English.

The English language was explained as an 'unfortunate and imported accident'.

Let there be no doubt:
* there is no historical proof whatsoever that the Anglo-Saxons imported English.
* there is on the contrary ample evidence that English is native to England.
We will also challenge the very existence of Celts as a distinct people with a distinct language, but not the existence of a Celtic culture. In fact we discovered an error of interpretation of the known facts and sources so big that everybody missed it until today.

We detected a stunning circular reasoning which is still used by modern historians who are specialized in Celtic language, history and culture. We will combat that.

Stating that (proto) English was there all the time not only explains much better what happened during the 5th century, plus later events, and the modern situation, it also can predict a number of facts. Assuming 2 languages in Britain, the 5th century puzzle can be solved and the modern situation makes far more sense.

For a brief summary click here .

Por un resumen en Espanol click aqui.

A warning for students: this new version of the origin of the English language is not (yet) the official one.
The most scientific texts are in pdf form.

We presented a new paper: "Greenwich and the early emporia of Kent" to Archaeologia Cantiana in which we investigate the wider meaning of 'wick'.

We filed a paper "Was Boudicca's name really Celtic?" to Monographia Britannia, a scientific magazine from Cambridge, but it was rejected. We sort of expected that. We are now brooding on a suitable answer.

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