By David Crystal
Last updated 2011-02-17
The Danes suddenly find themselves restricted to an area called the 'Danelaw' – roughly the areas north east of a diagonal line from Chester to London. But the Danes retaliate, and by 980AD, a series of fresh assaults brings the rest of England under the rule of a Danish king, Cnut (Canute), in 1016. Danish dominance lasts until 1042.
For example, the '-by' in names like Rugby and Grimsby means 'farm' or 'town; the '-thorpe' in Althorpe and Linthorpe means 'village'; and the '-thwaite' in Braithwaite and Langthwaite means 'isolated area'.
Many Scandinavian personal names come from this time, especially those ending in '-son'. And some very common words – 'both', 'same', 'get', 'give', 'take' - enter the language, as do regular English pronouns like 'they', 'them', 'their'. During this period, over 1,800 words of probable Scandinavian origin enter the language.
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