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Old English Discussion

Posted: 2006-02-26, 1:08
by JackFrost
Seeing that there is the topic suggesting for an Old English forum separate from Modern English, and someone suggested to create a thread (as a sticky) within Modern English forum instead till the demand for separate forum for Old English is strong enough to warrant for it. This thread will continue as long as there is no Old English forum.

This thread is for any questions regarding Old English/Anglo-Saxon.

Fire away people. ;)

Posted: 2006-02-26, 2:12
by Nero
Ic eom swiðe éadig, daet we habbað clíewen* for Englisce

*Supposed to mean 'thread', but probably closer to "ball of thread"

Posted: 2006-02-26, 2:38
by Ulven
Sooo, we're here at the Icelandic thread, it seems! :D Talar þú ensku? Anyone? :P

But seriously...

Does anyone know if there's a website where we can just copy and paste a little sample timeline of some basic English phrases that best display the development of the language?

eg.
300 AD- "..." (phrase) looked like this
1000 AD - "..." looked like this
1450 AD (Shakespearean times?) "..." looked like
2006 ad "..."

Posted: 2006-02-26, 9:23
by Sander
Nero wrote:Ic eom swiðe éadig, daet we habbað clíewen* for Englisce

*Supposed to mean 'thread', but probably closer to "ball of thread"


Ha! :D So strange, the word for "ball of thread" in modern Dutch is "kluwen" :P

Posted: 2006-02-27, 7:30
by Le Serpent Rouge
Ulven wrote:Does anyone know if there's a website where we can just copy and paste a little sample timeline of some basic English phrases that best display the development of the language?

Would be convenient wouldn't it? :) It's no timeline, but these might give you some perspective (concerning Old, Middle and Modern English anyway):

http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/OE_vs_ME.pdf
(I have to say I've never heard this Late Modern English version of the "Our Father" before.)

http://bscw.avmz.uni-siegen.de/pub/bscw.cgi/d1171763/OE-ME-letter-sound-correspondences.pdf

I think most people are wary of making such comparisons between Old, Middle English, etc, probably because you’d have to narrow your scope to within the confines of a particular dialect area for the sake of accuracy. It seems the dialectical maelstrom can never be avoided, and even these pale under the magnitude of literary tradition.
I think your best bet would be to purchase a twelve-part series devoted to the history of the English language and get back to us. :P

Posted: 2006-02-27, 7:47
by Ulven
Wow, thanks! Or should that be "þanks" :) That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for :wink:

Posted: 2006-02-27, 8:13
by Kirk
Sander wrote:
Nero wrote:Ic eom swiðe éadig, daet we habbað clíewen* for Englisce

*Supposed to mean 'thread', but probably closer to "ball of thread"


Ha! :D So strange, the word for "ball of thread" in modern Dutch is "kluwen" :P


I bet those words are related to English "claw." Here's the etymonline.com entry on the word:

O.E. clawu, from P.Gmc. *klawo, from PIE *g(e)l-eu- from base *gel- "to make round, clench." The verb is from O.E. clawian.


It appears the modern Dutch word still retains the "make round" meaning with "kluwen" meaning a "ball of thread."

Posted: 2006-02-27, 10:55
by Sander
Kirk wrote:
I bet those words are related to English "claw."


As I experienced it, Old English words in modern English often have shifted meaning (with that "Oh yeah" feeling when etymology is explained to you), the best example being 'to die' when comparing to other west germanic languages.

German: Sterben
Dutch: Sterven
English: To die, but compare 'To starve' (Oh, yeah :wink: )

Posted: 2006-03-06, 19:13
by sa wulfs
Or should that be "þanks"

I usually say Ic geþancie þe. Or without the ge- preffix. I'm sure there's a noun that means "thank", but I don't know whether it's used in the same idiomatic context as in Modern English.

Eald Englisc is totally cool.

Posted: 2006-03-06, 20:02
by greg-fr
sa wulfs wrote:Eald Englisc is totally cool.


Eald Englisc ? Looks anachronistic, doesn't it ? :D

Posted: 2006-03-07, 22:01
by sa wulfs
Hehe, well, of course you'd better refer to it simply as Englisc :P

Posted: 2006-04-04, 20:14
by einhar
Another name for Freyr is Inguz or Ing.
Is England derived from this god Ing?

Posted: 2006-04-04, 21:31
by Psi-Lord
einhar wrote:Another name for Freyr is Inguz or Ing.
Is England derived from this god Ing?

England
O.E. Engla land, lit. "the land of the Angles"

English
"people or speech of England," O.E. Englisc, from Engle (pl.) "the Angles," one of the Gmc. groups that overran the island 5c., supposedly so-called because Angul, the land they inhabited on the Jutland coast, was shaped like a fish hook (but how could they know this from the ground?). The term was used from earliest times without distinction for all the Gmc. invaders – Angles, Saxon, Jutes (Bede's gens Anglorum) – and applied to their group of related languages by Alfred the Great. In pronunciation, "En-" has become "In-," but the older spelling has remained. Meaning "English language or literature as a subject at school" is from 1889.

Angle
member of a Teutonic tribe, O.E., from L. Angli "the Angles," lit. "people of Angul" (O.N. Öngull), a region in what is now Holstein, said to be so-called for its hook-like shape. People from the tribe there founded the kingdoms of Mercia, Northumbia, and East Anglia in 5c. Britain. Their name, rather than the Saxons or Jutes, may have become the common one for the whole group of Gmc. tribes because their dialect was the first committed to writing. Both anglomania (1787) and anglophobia (1793) are first attested in writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Source: http://www.etymonline.com/

Posted: 2006-05-28, 3:01
by Nendûr
Thou shalt die! is they shall die, isn't it?

Posted: 2006-05-28, 7:15
by skye
Nendûr wrote:Thou shalt die! is they shall die, isn't it?


It's you will die. Thou was a second person singular pronoun (like tu in Spanish), but it went out of use.

And this is not Old English, I think it's Early Modern English (or Shakespearan). Can someone confirm?

Posted: 2006-05-28, 14:26
by Nero
And this is not Old English, I think it's Early Modern English (or Shakespearan). Can someone confirm?


þu / ðu (thu) was the second person singular in Old english.

Somewhere in time it went to "thou" and then to "you"

Posted: 2006-05-28, 22:41
by einhar
Can anyone recommend a good book to learn Old English?

Posted: 2006-05-28, 22:52
by Gormur

Posted: 2006-05-28, 23:28
by Nendûr
skye wrote:
Nendûr wrote:Thou shalt die! is they shall die, isn't it?


It's you will die. Thou was a second person singular pronoun (like tu in Spanish), but it went out of use.

And this is not Old English, I think it's Early Modern English (or Shakespearan). Can someone confirm?


i had never thought about it from þu / ðu => Thou it just sounded more similar to they :P

Posted: 2006-05-29, 22:52
by sa wulfs
I wonder if the grammar of Old English is similar to that of modern German or Dutch? I mean, does OE move the second verb to the end?

The grammar of OE. is more similar to Modern German than the grammar of Modern English, but it was also more free. The verb did not need to go in second position nor to go in the end of the sentence in subordinate clauses or after an auxiliary verb, but it could very well go in that position, it was not uncommon and sounded perfectly well in OE. But the basic, unmarked word order was for the most part that of Modern English as far as I know.
And this is not Old English, I think it's Early Modern English (or Shakespearan). Can someone confirm?

Yeah, it's early Modern English. In Old English it would be something like Þú scealt acwelan (because the verb dýdan rather meant "to put to death"), which would translate as "You must die" (must, not shall).