15 June 2010

How old is English?

That's a good question. And it's also the title of an interesting website that I have recently discovered. Its authors ("Michael Goormachtigh with the help of Dr Anthony Durham") propose an alternative view on the origins of English. According to them, English was spoken in England long before the 'arrival' of the Jutes, Angles and Saxons in the 5th c. AD. And there are important reasons to think so, as they show in the various sections of the website. Sound familiar? Definitely. They're not the only ones who have proposed these hypotheses, as we have seen in this blog with reference to the Paleolithic Continuity Paradigm (PCP) and the works of Mario Alinei and Xaverio Ballester. Apparently, however, Goormachtigh and Durham are not aware of the existence of the Continuity Theory, and it's quite interesting that they have reached similar conclusions independently.

One of the arguments they use to back their thesis is population genetics. The authors draw extensively from Stephen Oppenheimer's (2007) The Origins of the British, a book that I reviewed in a previous post. Maybe they should try to read other sources too. Oppenheimer's book offers an apparently simple and comprehensive analysis of the population history of Europe and the British Isles, and the results of his research seem really spectacular, offering the perfect answer for the whole process. I really enjoyed the book when I read it, but now I'm more sceptical about Oppenheimer's methodology (for further criticism, see here). Very probably things are not as simple as Oppenheimer portrays them.

One of the most interesting aspects of Goormachtigh and Durham's website is their study of place-names. They take some ancient toponyms, already recorded in Roman times, e.g. Thames, Lincoln or London, and interpret them as originally Germanic. Needless to say, this analysis would be completely verbotten in the traditional view, where Germanic languages were not expected to be there at such an early time. As a consequence, the whole tradition of British toponymy has treated ancient place-names as non-Germanic, not even allowing the slightest shade of doubt about it. But now we have some authors trying to offer an alternative view for some of those place-names. And not only on their website: Goormachtigh and Durham have also published an article with their toponymic proposals in a journal (see reference below). These authors are probably not at the cutting edge of place-name studies, and they cannot be qualified as 'expert' toponymysts, but in any case their proposals are interesting enough to be taken seriously, and they actually open a completely new line of research in British toponymy. As far as I know, there are no major research projects exploring these possibilities, and for the moment what we have is Goormachtigh and Durham's suggestive proposals and little more. Now, let's see one example of their proposals. And a big one: London.

According to the authors, the toponym London derives from the Germanic word 'land'. In origin, it would be the plural form of this word, meaning something like "the lands by the river Thames', which the Romans rendered simply as Londinium. Now, why 'Londinium' with an "o", and not *'Landinium'? The answer is quite simple: before a nasal + consonant, West Germanic */a/ was written "o" in the Anglian dialect of English, probably reflecting the local pronunciation at the time. This "o" spelling was later replaced by standard "a", as in 'land', but was kept in some place-names, which tend to be more conservative in general.

I think this proposal about the interpretation of 'Londinium' looks quite promising. But, obvioulsy, if you want to accept it, first you have to accept the fact that Germanic languages were present in the British Isles in Roman times, which is currently an academic anathema. Now, what have the experts said so far about the origins of this toponym? I have recently read an article about it (Coates, 1998), with a thorough analysis of the literature and a new proposal, connected with Hans Krahe's Old European stratum. Richard Coates' article is a good piece of scholarly work, one done by an expert, with richness of detail and depth of linguistic analysis. However, I find his proposal a bit artificial, or a bit forced, requiring a complicated set of events to make sense of the evolution of London as a place-name. I think it would be great if some eminent scholars such as Coates decided to explore other possible ways of analysing the ancient place-name material of England.

Reference:
- Coates (1998). "A new explanation of the name of London", in Transactions of the Philological Society, 96 (2): 203-229.
- Goormachtigh, M., and A. Durham (2009). "Kentish place-names: were they ever Celtic?", in Archaeologia Cantiana, 129, 279-293.


Picture: a plaque with the Latin name of London (source).

23 comments:

Maju said...

Welsh calls it Llundain, while Gaelish languages all go in the Lun- or Lon- variants, what would support that the original word was in o/u and not a.

Anyhow, Trask mentions that "land" existed in Celtic and that it was that way how it arrived to Basque (cf. landa), and not via Germanic.

As for the source website, my first impression is:

"Strange enough, no contemporary source mentions a language change".

How many contemporary sources do exist? We are talking of the Dark Ages in one of the darkest corners of Europe. We also know that at least most of Modern England was once inhabited by Celtic peoples, often with tribal names identical to those from the continent (such as the Belgae), and that these dominated the London area.

"Why was there no similar language change on the continent after the collapse of the Roman Empire?"

Actually it also happened in a very large area. Latin derivatives are now only spoke in a fraction, maybe one third or at least half, of its historical extension in the Roman Empire: North Africa lost Latin, the Balcans, most of which once spoke Latin lost it too, the area between the Alps and the Danube as well.

The only areas where it was preserved (though not unchanged) was where there were monarchies which were legitimated as foederati (vassals) of Rome, more or less: specially Goths and Franks and in the most odd case of Romania, which was not even part of the Roman Empire except for a most brief period.

Britain was even less central than the Balcans or Africa. It was quickly abandoned by Rome at the very first sign of weakness...

Also there was some archaeological evidence some years ago of Anglosaxon "apartheid", which may emphasize elite dominance and favor language replacement.

True that the Visigoths also practiced some "apartheid" in their domains and that alone could not replace language, but in Britain there was also loss of Christian religion for a long time and that may be a key element because Catholicism was a pillar of Latin and no doubt it helped it (and proto-Romances) to persist through the Dark Ages.

(continues)

Maju said...

(continued from the other post)

"How could a very limited number of Anglo-Saxons conquer most of England?"

That's a good question but it did not happen in a day. Similarly one can ask how could a bunch of Goths, Franks, Vandals, etc. conquer what they conquered elsewhere, not to mention the handful of Arabs from such a desertic land that they could never be many.

But it happened. Barbarians conquering civilized (or at least more civilized and less bellicose) societies. Happened a lot, in history and prehistory probably too. It was not a simple process but normally included mercenariate and a sequence of plundering before the final conquest... if it ever happened.

Vikings, who are perfectly comparable with the Anglo-Saxons raided once and again such a solid state as Charlemagne's Empire, attacked Paris... and eventually conquered not just Normandy but also many bases along the Atlantic coast, including Bordeaux and Bayonne.

A big problem of the late Roman Empire was feudalization, which really could not support an effective central state, much less one that could defend its coasts unless it was a truly major invasion. And there was nothing like that in Britain after the Roman retreat... British post-Roman polities were weak and that weakness was still very apparent in the Anglo-Saxon realms, which succumbed once and again to their Viking cousins.

"How were the Anglo-Saxons able to replace 2.5 million eastern Britons?"

They did not, obviously. Y-DNA comparisons show that even in the most Scandinavian-like areas of England (Norfolk and York) the apportion of Danish/German paternal lineages is of only 40%, while in other areas they are well below. There's no guarantee that these lineages are actually Danish/Saxon (can and probably are in part older) and says nothing about overall ascendancy, which is surely even smaller (I usually estimate that paternal ancestry is only responsible of 1/4 to 1/3 of overall ancestry).

"Did east-England change its language twice within approx.1000 years?"

Sure, why not? It has happened elsewhere.

Octavià Alexandre said...

Anyhow, Trask mentions that "land" existed in Celtic and that it was that way how it arrived to Basque (cf. landa), and not via Germanic.

Yes, Celtic *landā 'open land' was borrowed by Basque (probably from Gaulish). This is a Vasco-Caucasian loanword from the root *lhemdɮɮwɨ 'earth', probably in the context of the LBK culture of Central Europe Neolithic.

But I doubt very much the toponym Londinium has anything to do with it. I guess this is from IE *bhlendh- 'to grow turbid; to see bad, blind', which in some pre-Celtic language (but not Germanic!) gave a form *flond-, then adopted by Celtic, which regularly dropped the initial labial.

Jesús Sanchis said...

Maju, thanks for your comments. I've read other comments of yours in several blogs and I find it funny how you try to monopolize the comment sections with your extensive and comprehensive answers. I don't like this in terms of communication effectiveness: such long texts tend to cause loss of interest, or boredom. Anyway, let's respond to some of the comments.

- "the original word was in o/u and not a"

yes, and so what?

- "Trask mentions that "land" existed in Celtic and that it was that way how it arrived to Basque (cf. landa), and not via Germanic"

You should be careful when using terms like 'Celtic', which are basically modern abstractions. I'm not familiar with Trask's dictionary but I suppose he wrote or meant 'Gaulish' rather than 'Celtic'. The word 'landa' is of course a basic element in Gaulish toponymy, and its influence can be felt in various Romance languages as well. It is connected with a series of similar words found in other 'Celtic' languages, e.g. in Irish, which has led to the establishment of a reconstructed *landa for common 'Celtic'. Now, does this element exist in English toponymy? Let's see.

A. H. Smith, in his classic "English Place-Name Elements", lists an element 'land'/'lond' as Old English (OE). This element is of course quite productive and it is present in many toponyms all over England. He also lists 'lann', without final "d", as an Old Welsh (OW) element, connecting it with the supposed Celtic form *'landa'. It is obviously present in Welsh place-names, and also in some of the bordering counties, and completely absent in the rest of the English territory, as usually happens with Welsh toponymic elements. On the other hand, the meaning of the Welsh form ('llan' or 'lann') differs slightly from the supposed meaning of *'landa', or the meaning of Gaulish 'landa'.

In any case, this Celtic term has never been proposed as the origin of the place-name 'London'.

- "We also know that at least most of Modern England was once inhabited by Celtic peoples, often with tribal names identical to those from the continent (such as the Belgae), and that these dominated the London area"

How do you know that the Belgae spoke 'Celtic'? Maybe there are reasons to believe that they were Germanic speakers.

- "North Africa lost Latin, the Balcans, most of which once spoke Latin lost it too, the area between the Alps and the Danube as well"

You're quite wrong here. Latin was spoken as an elite language associated with power in those areas, but not necessarily as the language for everyday conversation.

- "there was some archaeological evidence some years ago of Anglosaxon "apartheid", which may emphasize elite dominance and favor language replacement"

'Anglo-Saxon apartheid' is of course a metaphor that has recently been proposed (I read about it in an article by Alex Woolf) in order to try to explain the impossible.

- "Vikings, who are perfectly comparable with the Anglo-Saxons(...)"

I don't know exactly what that could possibly mean. In any case, the Vikings were never able to induce any sort of massive language substitution of the kind proposed for the Adventum Saxonum.

Octavià Alexandre said...

How do you know that the Belgae spoke 'Celtic'? Maybe there are reasons to believe that they were Germanic speakers.

I don't think so. There's evidence of IE languages other than Celtic or Germanic in that area (names such as "Nord West Block" have been proposed for them). This also would apply to the non-Celtic toponymy of Britannia (e.g. London).

One of the most interesting aspects of Goormachtigh and Durham's website is their study of place-names. They take some ancient toponyms, already recorded in Roman times, e.g. Thames, Lincoln or London, and interpret them as originally Germanic.

The problem of people like Goormachtigh is they implicitly assume the only possible source of these toponyms can be Germanic because it's the only language historically attested on that area (apart from Celtic and Latin). It haven't occurred to him they also could be other, non-historically attested languages spoken in the area prior to Celtic. This is a major drawback of any "continuity" theory.

I think this proposal about the interpretation of 'Londinium' looks quite promising. But, obviously, if you want to accept it, first you have to accept the fact that Germanic languages were present in the British Isles in Roman times, which is currently an academic anathema.

I'm affraid this isn't a "fact" but a mere hypothesis. And appealing to dogmatism (on either side) is no good here, for this is a question to be decided scientifically.

I have recently read an article about it (Coates, 1998), with a thorough analysis of the literature and a new proposal, connected with Hans Krahe's Old European stratum. Richard Coates' article is a good piece of scholarly work, one done by an expert, with richness of detail and depth of linguistic analysis. However, I find his proposal a bit artificial, or a bit forced, requiring a complicated set of events to make sense of the evolution of London as a place-name.

Perhaps you'll have the kindness to explain your objections in more detail.

I think it would be great is some eminent scholars such as Coates decided to explore other possible ways of analysing the ancient place-name material of England.

Well, I've also given my own interpretation of the toponym. What do you think of it?

Maju said...

"I find it funny how you try to monopolize the comment sections with your extensive and comprehensive answers".

Sorry. Can't help it. These articles do trigger my interest and I feel the urge to explain things that are questionable or even obviously wrong.

"yes, and so what?"

That it can't derive from land(a) then, right? It's the core of the argumentation.

"In any case, this Celtic term has never been proposed as the origin of the place-name 'London'".

Nor the Germanic term... till now.

"How do you know that the Belgae spoke 'Celtic'? Maybe there are reasons to believe that they were Germanic speakers".

That's a whole debate I won't get in because then you'd criticize me for taking too long with my replies. And anyhow... I'd need to document myself. I'm just going by the mainstream historical interpretation.

"I don't know exactly what that could possibly mean".

Vikings essentially mean Danes. Anglo-Saxons mean people from ancient Saxony (modern Low Saxony and Westphalia) and from old Anglia (modern Schleswig-Holstein and possibly Frisia). Genetically they are impossible to take apart, unlike Norwegians (the other Vikings, who only impacted the Scottish islands within Britain).

"In any case, the Vikings were never able to induce any sort of massive language substitution of the kind proposed for the Adventum Saxonum".

They almost managed to impose French and certainly succeeded in making modern English the most Romance-polluted Germanic language ever.

...

As for London, if it has to be Germanic, I'd rather explore something like Lund (two towns in southern Scandinavia), which apparently derives from old Norse "lundr", meaning grove.

Jesús Sanchis said...

- "it can't derive from land(a)"

If the hypothesis is right, the OWelsh version of the place-name would derive from "lond-", with an "o" rather than the expected "a". What's the problem?

- "They [the Vikings] almost managed to impose French (...)".

Would you call William the Conqueror a 'Viking'? That's rather surprising. It's as if you called me 'Iberian', or 'Roman'.

Jesús Sanchis said...

"- I'm afraid this isn't a "fact" but a mere hypothesis

OK. Maybe my wording was not the best, but What I meant was quite clear.

"- I've also given my own interpretation of the toponym. What do you think of it?"

I have no intention of turning this into a thoroguh analysis of a place-name in particular. My post is not about the details of 'London' as a place-name; I only used it as an example.

As I said, Coates proposed an Alteuropäisch origin of 'London', dividing the place-name into two segments. The first one, according to him, would be related to IE * plew-. You propose a connection with *bhlendh, but what can I say? Saying this in a blog comment is not the same as writing a 30-page article about the issue, so I don't really think it is common sense to discuss your proposal at the same level, unless it were developed as some proper research work, i.e. with a thorough analysis of the references and the various possibilities.

On the other hand, I don't consider Goormachtigh's article as some kind of absolute truth. His hypotheses need to be further developed and contrasted, but I like them. I think it makes sense to apply an Interpretatio Germanica to south-east England toponyms.

Octavià Alexandre said...

On the other hand, I don't consider Goormachtigh's article as some kind of absolute truth. His hypotheses need to be further developed and contrasted, but I like them.

More than a rethorical remark like this one, I'm still waiting you explain the reasons why you find Coates' proposal "a bit artificial, or a bit forced, requiring a complicated set of events to make sense".

I think it makes sense to apply an Interpretatio Germanica to south-east England toponyms.

I disagree, for the reasons I've stated above: there're other non-Germanic interpretations of these toponyms which make more sense.

Jesús Sanchis said...

As I said before, I'm not going to go further into the details of this place-name, so don't insist. If you're so interested in the issue you can take a look at the bibliography that I have provided in the post, and form your own opinion.

JoseAngel said...

I guess a good number of languages were spoken in Britain before the Anglo-Saxon invasions, but, most certainly, English was not one of them. Nor was it spoken in the years following the invasion. The formation of English on the basis of Anglo-Saxon, French, and Latin was a slow process throughout the Middle Ages. As to the existence of Germanic languages in Britain before the Roman invasions, the current consensus cannot be overthrown on the basis of speculative etymologies of place-names. Something quite more substantial (texts, testimonies, etc.) would be needed, and I am much afraid it will not be forthcoming, with good reason.

Jesús Sanchis said...

Thanks for your comments, JoseAngel.

Apart from the toponymic hypothesis, which is not yet fully developed, there are also other arguments that could suggest the presence of Germanic languages in pre-Anglo-Saxon England. Some of these arguments have already been mentioned in this blog.

Octavià Alexandre said...

Actually, what most interests me of Goormachtigh's theory is his "Occitan" language (http://www.proto-english.org/o3.html), which I identify as one of the Vasco-Caucasian substrate languages I've detected in the West Mediterranean area.

Examples of loanwords from this source are Catalan cuc/a 'worm, small insect'; coca 'a kind of cake', petit/a 'small', etc.

Belenos said...

This is an interesting blog, and the meditations on various facets of pre-indoeuropean studies are very thought provoking. However, in order to be taken seriously, I'd strongly suggest you abandon the theory that there were pre-Roman germanic speakers in Britain, especially the discredited linguistic theories of Oppenheimer. It is quite simply a non-starter.

There is simply no evidence of Germanic speakers in Britain BC, and plenty of evidence that Celts were in the places where Germanics would need to be in order for the theories to be true, I'll give you the facts, point by point.

Belenos said...

1. There are no Germanic place names in South Eastern Britan in Roman sources. That a couple of dubious etymologies can be created (like the London one quoted) proves nothing, especially when they are surrounded by evidently Celtic names.

2. There are no Germanic personal names recorded in South Eastern Britain, prior to the withdrawl of the Roman legions. There are, however, plentiful Celtic names, including Kent and East Anglia, places which MUST have germanic names if continuity is to be asserted. Indeed, many Celtic names recorded from England continued in use in Wales in the middle ages (Caractacus = Caradoc, Cunobelinus = Cunobelin)

3. Celtic place-names are still evident, although thin on the ground, in even the far East of Britain.

4. Written records show that the Britons and The Saxons both believed that the latter had come to Britain and conquered a part of it from its original owners, after the Romans left. This includes the near contemporary Gildas.

5. Folk traditions of the Saxons, recorded later in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, relate the conquest of the island in great detail. They show a process of conquest by rulers arriving from the continent, whose names are principally Germanic but have a small Celtic element (probably reflecting the complexity of the conquest and mini-ethnogeneses in which Germanic and Celtic groups fused into new tribes). They record the defeated Britons' names on many occasions, and they always have convincing Brythonic etymologies.

6. Point 5 is also true of Welsh folk traditions, recorded by various medieval chronicles.

Belenos said...

7. There is ample archaeological evidence of a change in elite customs in Eastern Britain at the time of the conquest.

8. Anglo-Saxon sources mention Britons in unlikely places such as Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire, these places have the same level of "Germanic" admixture in genetic studies as the rest of England, how could this be the case if England was always English speaking and its population continuously Germanic?


For these reasons, it is only possible to believe that English developed in situ if one has already decided that is the case, and starts looking for evidence to support that view. Looking impartially at the evidence, one must assume that the historical view is correct. The Anglo-Saxons came to Britain, and, by hook or by crook, their language replaced that of the indigenous Britons.

Jesús Sanchis said...

Thank you for your extensive comments, Belenos. I really appreciate them.

You might be right in what you say, and in fact there is obvious evidence in favour of the traditional view. In this and other posts I have offered some possible alternative hypotheses or theories that challenge the commonly held views. I don't necessarily endorse every single aspect of these theories, and in fact I'm quite sceptical about some of the proposals, including Oppenheimer's, but on the whole I think it's reasonable to take them into account.

I'd like to reply to all your comments, but that would require a very long text. I'll just answer with some brief notes, or questions.

- If you look at the list of Goth Kings who ruled Spain in the Early Middle Ages you will realize that ALL of them are Germanic. Does that mean that the Spanish population of that time was Germanic-speaking? What kind of people made it to the written record in those times? The peasants? The poor?

- You say: "it is only possible to believe that English developed in situ if one has already decided that is the case, and starts looking for evidence to support that view". For many years, the experts in British toponymy have worked with a couple of immutable a priori assumptions, and have analyzed the material only in one direction, i.e. the Interpretatio Celtica, with the only addition of 'Alt-Europäisch' alternatives in recent decades. There are many Romano-British place names whose 'celticity' lies on the creative imagination of some linguists and their wish to prove this celticity at any cost, even with the most unrealistic proposals.

Jesús Sanchis said...

- You talk about Gildas and the Saxon invasion, etc. The world of 5th-century Europe was full of invasions and population movements, which, in many cases, were quite irrelevant linguistically. Why should Britain be such a big exception?

- Epic narratives and ancient authors are of course interesting, but with an important caveat: they deal with elites, they tell very little about the other segments of the population.

- Finally, most of the extant Romano-British place names refer to names of cities and other important entities, many of which were actually founded in Roman times. It's reasonable to think that most of Britain was under the dominance of 'Celtic' elites at the time of the Roman conquest. The next elite was Rome itself. Any native Germanic-speaking populations in Britain at the moment would certainly have had very little power to name cities or ports or any other relevant places. But what about microtoponymy? Why is it that 'Celtic' is so clearly absent in English microtoponyms?

Belenos said...

I take your point, in the sense that clever linguists will find convincing etmologies to suit the prevailing theories, even if they are not true. There is ample evidence of indoeuropean etymologies being found for words in many languages, which later proved to be borrowings from non-ie languages, simply because ie is so big and well studied that the law of averages means that a lot of satisfying etymologies can be found that may have no basis in reality.

But one has to say, if there is a lot of clear Celtic, and no clear germanic, why is it necessary to postulate germanic? After all, all resources available point to a purely Celtic Enland.

In terms of the Visigothic kings, we have really ample evidence that their subjects spoke a different language, through names, inscriptions and documents. That, on a lesser scale is what we have for Celtic England. If just one Isidore of Seville analogue had been named or observed in Britain, there would be a case for germanic Britannia, but until it turns up, reason dictates that it wasn't the case.

Belenos said...

Just re-microtoponomy, England has quite a lot of Celtic settlement names, of all sizes. There is also an undisputed level of Norse settlement names on top of the Saxon ones (sometimes so well documented to have originated in the 9th or 10th centuries that we can have a good guess at which Swein or Knut we were dealing with).

This was further complicated by a Norman layer of placenames. With three layers of conquest and elite replacemnt, it is very easy to imagine how East Anglia could be emptied of Celtic names, it's actuallly rather more surprisnig how so many remained in Yorkshire and Kent.

Jesús Sanchis said...

There's a problem with the word 'Celtic'. At first sight, some of the Romano-British toponyms look rather 'continental', i.e. they are the same as some Gaulish toponyms. I wonder if these toponyms were actually brought by the Romans themselves, or as a consequence of some late influence from Gaul. I'm not sure whether these supposed 'Celtic' place names are 'Celtic' in the same sense. And the funny thing is that most of the Romano-British place names actually disappeared in later times.

- You wrote: "In terms of the Visigothic kings, we have really ample evidence that their subjects spoke a different language, through names, inscriptions and documents".

I'd say Visigothic Spain is known for its 'obscurity'. Much as post-Roman Britan.

- You also wrote: "England has quite a lot of Celtic settlement names, of all sizes". I'm not so sure of that, especially in the eastern part.

Finally, another Spanish example: the Arbas stayed in the Iberian Peninsula for quite a long time. Although their language was the dominating one (presumably even the only one) in many areas for centuries, a lot of pre-Arabic place names were preserved. Hundreds, thousands of them. In Andalusia and elsewhere.

Belenos said...

I understand the Arab analogue in Spain, but settlement patterns in Britain were different, and this leads to different results in toponimy. This is different even in Wales, where nobody proposes anything but continuity from ay least 600BC.

If you look at the map of Wales, counthow many names beginning in Llan- you see. Every single one of those names was invented after 400AD, as Llan- refers to a specific post-roman Celtic church type.

In England there are many, many place-names that we know originated in the 9th century, and were Scandinavian rpelacements for AS names, every single one that ends in -by or -thorpe (again look at a map of the Danelaw to see how frequent they are). We know this to be the case because in many cases the change of name is documented.

It's just a fact, lots of places change names in Dark Age Britain.

Re: the Visigoths, we have lots of evidence for Romance speakers, not the least Visigothic laws mentioning them, similarly AS sources mention subject Britons in various places.

Brian N. Young said...

The whole early Germanic place-name idea is foolish and naive about the existing and clearly Celtic tribe, personal and documented place-names in the entire southeastern section of Britain. Not only is there is a continuity with the continental Celtic groups in coinage, names and archaeology but early Post-Roman sources (Gildas, et al) record the names from this region, all translatable into Welsh or Brythonic smoothly.

From the alleged battles of Hengest and Horsa, to those of Gwerthyfr ap Gwrtheyrn Thenau (if in fact there is an atom of truth in these 'stories'), Brythonic words are being documented, none are Germanic in origin, except when Saxon sources are referred to. Without writing a massive thesis, I think these theories are really just a form of hopeful thinking. Academic sources and data are being bent out of proportion to apply the idea that the Germanic Anglo-Saxons were already in place centuries before their time even though we are told in scant sources (by the Saxons themselves) how the Isle of Wight was taken, and how Essex was being formed, etc. So does this make their conquests redundant and the fact that they had to do it again after some British victories (never recorded)? I don't buy this idea for any reason!