The Scandinavian Influence on English Vocabulary

In the early Middle Ages, Scandinavian influence on British life, language and culture was profound. The Vikings had a major and lasting impact, and their legacy still resonates strongly in modern constructions of British identity and heritage. Scandinavian settlement began in earnest in the late ninth century, especially in the North and East of England, and probably its most enduring and significant effect was on the English language.

The Gersum Project, funded by the AHRC, aims to understand Scandinavian influence on English vocabulary by examining the origins of more than 900 words in a corpus of Middle English poems from the North of England. Investigating the early history of these words allows us to address questions about how we can identify Old Norse loans, and how and by whom these words were used in the first few centuries after their adoption into English, especially in the crucial Middle English period. 

Read more about the project here.

To access the Database and the Texts, see Database.

For the research methods and findings of the project, see the Introductory Essays.