English: Latin Script

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by ShakeyX, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Hey, I am just looking for a really simple timeline approach to how this happened.

    Okay so correct me if I'm wrong, but Anglo-Saxon britain in the beginning would of used Runic writing which became the Anglo-Saxon runes. Then came the old latin alphabet.

    Old English alphabet may refer to

    "Old English was first written in runes (futhorc) but shifted to a (minuscule) half-uncial script of the Latin alphabet introduced by Irish Christian missionaries[2] from around the 9th century."

    This is where I get confused. If the alphabet went from a germanic runic script to a latin alphabet how did the irish create it? Is the word script here "half-unical script" meaning the same thing as Latin and Cyrillic script mean today, was it a separate script or just a font? How did irish create a font that looks exactly like the latin one, if they were influences by it did they simply stylize it? I am completely confused how this came to be. At this time would the Latin Alphabet of the romans (or sorry not at this time but the time that romans were in britain before the saxon invasion) didn't the roman latin alphabet already look like our contemporary latin scripts used in europe? Mind is boggled.

    Addition: Also information about the change to the Insular script and what it is would be helpful. I don't understand basically how if the Roman Latin alphabet was already exactly the same as the script we use today, yet Irish seem to have made one similar but stylized (influenced by - but how, were romans ever in Ireland? etc..) that got used first?
  2. Hulalessar Senior Member

    English - England
  3. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Runic is an alphabet in its own right. All the others you mentioned, except Cyrillic, are just calligraphic variants of the Latin script. All medieval Latin handwriting scripts (in contrast to scripts used for carving in stone) are ultimately based on Roman Cursive, the script used for handwriting in Imperial Rome.

    Old English added a few letters to represent sound not available in the original Latin script: þ and ð to represent the "th" sound and ƿ to represent /w/. The letters þ and ƿ are taken from the runic alphabet originally used to write Anglo-Saxon.
  4. Ihsiin

    Ihsiin Senior Member

    The British Isles were Christianised (and Catholicly, I believe) before the Anglo-Saxons ever came to settle in Britain. This is how the Latin script came to be used in Ireland before it reached England (and, indeed, before England even existed).
  5. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    And the Latin script came to Britain even before Christianity because it was Roman occupied. But the Anglo-Saxons were neither Romanized not Christians and the Runic script came with them. The shift from Runic to Latin script for writing Old English really came with the Christianization of the Anglo-Saxons and that was from Ireland.
  6. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Thanks alot, this really makes sense now. My only problem was thinking how did the Irish get Latin script when normally in an overview sense everyone claims the script we use today is of Latin origin (which I can now see it is, it just went to the Celtic people, and when the Angles moved in they passed it to them).
  7. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    The Latin script reached Ireland of course with Christianity. The story we haven't told yet is how the Irish became Christians: After the Romans left Britain in 400AD, the country was left with a Romanized, Christian population. Without protection by the Roman army, Britain was frequently raided by its neighbours, among them Irish slave hunters who also captured a young British boy who started to teach his Irish captors the Christian faith. This boy is still today revered in Ireland under the name of St. Patrick.
  8. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Just to clear one tiny point in my history.

    Before the romans invaded what people were there, I assume celtic, but the areas which were invaded by the romans, what was their particular tribe name, picts?

    And after the romans left, what is it that you are referring to as british? again who? before the angles came
  9. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    The Picts lived further north in modern Scotland. What's now England an Wales was settled by Britonic tribes.
  10. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    One thing that also gets me... okay, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Latin alphabet which would of been used by the Roman empire, looks very close if not exactly how our alphabet looks today...

    So how was it that celtic people, adapted the alphabet from the latin people through Christianity, then devolved it into the irish style bendy wierd script and then... without interference from roman empire any longer, someone evolved back into a form which matches it? Little confused about this... Can anyone explain that or am I saying something wrong?
  11. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Medieval script were developed from Latin cursive, i.e. the script used by the Romans for daily writing and not for monumental inscriptions. The alphabet we are using today is indeed derived from the monumental Latin script. This script, called "Antiqua", was developed during the Renaissance, "back to the ancient roots".
  12. Hulalessar Senior Member

    English - England
    Whilst the terms may be used interchangeably, one can if one wishes distinguish between:

    The "Latin alphabet" meaning the alphabet used by the Romans to write Latin


    The "Roman alphabet" (possibly without the capital <r> to emphasise its universal application) meaning that alphabet as modified and in use in various forms today.

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