The Vikings were often described as "dire portents" and the Viking raids as "immense whirlwinds … flashes of lighting…and fiery dragons…flying in the air". The Viking raids had begun. The earliest raids were carried out by Norwegians. Their immediate consequences were beyond dispute: material loss, humiliation for men and women (rape figures as well as murder).
Regarding the linguistic consequences, the Scandinavian influx left its mark on English place-names. Common Scandinavian place-names elements are by "village, homestead" as in Grimsby "Grim's village"; thorp "secondary settlement, outlying farmstead", as in Grimsthorpe; toft "building site, plot of land", as in Langtoft; and thwaite "woodland clearing, meadow", as in Micklethwaite "large clearing".
However, Scandinavian influence on English went a good deal farther than place-names. When the Vikings had begun to settle in England, a number of words were borrowed relating to law and administration, for the Danes had a highly developed legal sense; they include thrall, and the word law itself. But the most remarkable feature of the Scandinavian loan-words is that they are such ordinary words, words belonging to the central core of the vocabulary (the names of close family relations, for example). Thus the word sister is Scandinavian. So are the names of parts of the body, yet the words leg and neck are Scandinavian. Other common nouns include bag, cake, dirt, fellow, fog, knife, skill, skin, sky and window.
Everyday adjectives include flat, loose, low, odd, ugly and wrong, and among everyday verbs are call, drag, get, give, raise, smile, take and want. Moreover, some grammatical words are from Scandinavian, namely the conjunctions though, till, and until, and the pronouns they, them, and their. The Scandinavian pronouns no dou