Founder's Era and Before
I have a couple (maybe more) of questions about the time before the Founder's Era.
How did they talk? I mean, do I have to incorporate old English? Did they even speak English? I mean, I'm talking about a time way before the Founders, before Muggle-borns, per say.
What kinds of names do you think would be used in that era?
When exactly did wizard's go into hiding? Was it before or after the Founders founded Hogwarts? If before, how long before?
I thought I had more questions...hmm...I'll come back when I remember them.
And the answer to that is... depends!
It depends on when and where. You are possibly talking viking, saxon or roman. (or a combination)
You need to choose an area and an era and chase it down on Google or come back and ask some specific questions.
Before Muggle-Borns is Pre-history and that's fairly undocumented!
(You can tell I'm used to historical research, getting all specific) :p
Before the the Founders Era you have the Age of Camolet around 600 AD (CE). Before that you are talking about before the introduction of Christianity and would need to research Drudic influences. I don't sure what they spoke but Geogory of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain and Sir. Gawian and the Green Knight, your early wirtings about King Arthur were written in Middle English. Even if you know modern English it would be like learning another language if you wanted to read Middle engilsh. So personally I believe you shouldn't bother with thees and thous to make it sound older. You can show the time period through how the characters think and act, and your description. Your already having your character speak a different language than they would have so making them sound Shakesperean would make no sense to me.
If you want names for King Arthur's time look to the legend, and you'll find a wealth of choices for boys, look at the knight names. Thomas Mallory, the basis for practically all the the Arthurian legends, unfortunently had a bad habit of calling any girl character who needed a name, Elaine. So for girls you have Guinvere, Morgan Le Fay, Morgana, Igraine, and lots and lots of Elaine's. Oh I forget Nimue/Vivan.
Now we don't know when wizards broke off but I like to think it came with the death of Arthur. We know Merlin, Morgana, and Morgan le Fay are all wizards and witches in the legends. That was known by the world at large. So if I was writing a story set in that time I would make Arthur a Muggle but make him aware that magic exists. Now his Modred was born of him and his half-sister Morgana who he didn't know was his half sister. Some legends say she used magic convince Arthur to sleep with her, others don't (Also you would have ask the mods how to get around the no incest rule on that one). Anyway I think you could make Modred, who is extremely unpopular a wizard(though not a very strong one) and that could cause the beginnings of anti-magic feelings by Muggles. Modred was the one who killed Arthur, who in turn killed Modred as he was dying. By Arthur's death, Merlin is gone trapped and sleeping in a tree by Nimue/Vivan. That moment seems to be the best time for wizards to disapear, because 400 years later Hogwarts was established as a safe refugee.
I guess I would be talking about the Anglo-Saxons, then, because I think the period of time I want is somewhere around A.D.600 to A.D. 1000.
But what I can't seem to understand - is there a specific year in which the Founder's founded Hogwarts? Or an estimation of when they did so?
Hogwarts is estimated to have been founded a little before 993 AD. Some time in the tenth century, in other words.
Actually, the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy went into effect as late as in 1692, although there had been several laws passed in Britain before that time to keep Muggles from noticing things, especially regarding broomsticks and Quidditch.
The Lexicon's Master Timeline is extremely useful for this sort of thing.
As for names, I'd take a look at Babynames.Com and search for names of Celtic, Gaelic and English origin and go with the ones that sound the most archaic. Biblical names should also work, as well as Roman ones. We know wizards to be quite scholarly, so Roman and Greek should probably work fine.