Words are generally taken over by one language to another inanswer to definite need. They are adopted because they expressideas that are so intimately associated with an object or a conceptthat acceptance of the thing involves acceptance also of the word.However, the church also exercised a profound influence on thedomestic life of the people. This is seen in the adoption of manywords, such as the names of articles of clothing and household. Acertain number of words having to do with education and learning
reflect another aspect of the church’s influ
ence. Old Englishborrowed also a number of verbs and adjectives and this indicate theextent and variety of the borrowing from Latin in the early days of Christianity in England and to show how quickly the languagereflected the broadened horizon which the English people owed tothe church.The influence of Latin upon the English rose and fell withfortunes of the church and the state of learning so intimatelyconnected with it. But even though the earlier Christian borrowings aconsiderable number of words have to do with religion matters, wemiss the group of words relating to everyday life characteristic of thisthe earlier period. A great number of plant names are recorded inthis period, a few names of tree, some medical terms, and alsowords relating to the animal kingdom, all belong apparently to thesame category of learned and literary borrowings. In general thelater borrowing of the Christian period comes through books. Anoccasional word assigned to this later period may have been in useearlier, but there is nothing in the form to indicate it, and in theabsence of any instance of its use in the literature before Alfred, it issafer to put such borrowings in the latter part of the Old Englishperiod.