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09/27/2015

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Simon C

Hi,
I've never posted a comment to the History of England before, thanks for all the hours of commuting you have kept me entertained.
The very last bit of this podcast got onto the end of the Romano-British culture, which has got me thinking about something that I have been wondering about for a few years.
There is a very impressively produced book by Stephen Oppenheimer called the Origins of the British which makes the following left field argument:
1) Old English is surprisingly different to any continental language we have evidence for, we don't really have a good explanation for this.
2) There is remarkably little evidence across swathes of England and Scotland for use of any celtic language (or celtic-like vulgar latin).
- Apply Occam's Razor and ignore 1000+ years of received wisdom and you get the theory that wandering round 4th century eastern England you would have heard a Germanic dialect - not a Celtic dialect. Old English then derives at least as much from native tongues as Frisian et al.
Is this idea well established to be hooey? Am I just pre-empting a future episode? I'd be very interested to here what your thoughts are.

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