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Birmingham was first recorded in the 12th century as "Bermingeham", although the origin of this name is uncertain. It may have derived from a personal name, or it may be a contraction of an Old English word such as "beorn" (dwelling) or "birn" (a stream). The "-ham" element may also mean "home".The earliest attempts at writing Birmingham's name were made by Anglo-Saxon settlers who called it variously Iuuancaster ("yew castle"), Gestinga, and Bermingeham. These names all come from different dialects of Early Modern English and reveal our ancestors' attempt to pronounce Brummegen possibly with a soft 'g' sound, [ˈbrʌmək]/[ˈbrʐmək].