Doyle Redland has the story:
This is yet another reminder of how easy it often is, especially in speech, to communicate with a shared lexicon but no shared syntax.
I was disappointed that Mr. Redland didn't correct the U.S. grammar secretary's chronology, but I guess that journalistic conventions don't allow the reporter to contradict a source in his own voice, and time constraints made it impossible to bring in an expert to date Anglo-Saxon correctly. (I'll pass over in silence the question of what Anglo-Saxon syntax was really like.)
[Tip of the hat to reader SGK]