In linguistics, Old Dutch
or Old Low Franconian
is the set of Franconian (or Frankish) dialects spoken in the Low Countries
during the Early Middle Ages
, from around the 5th to the 12th century. Old Dutch is mostly recorded on fragmentary relics, and words have been reconstructed from Middle Dutch and loan words from Old Low Franconian. It is regarded as the primary stage in the development of a separate Dutch language. By the end of the 9th century, the Franconian
(or Frankish) dialects spoken by the descendants of the Salian Franks had developed into what is recognisable today as an early form of Dutch, but that might also have been the case earlier. Old Dutch in turn evolved into Middle Dutch
around the 12th century.