Questions tagged [old-english]

Questions dealing with Old English, i.e. the language of the Anglo-Saxons up to about 1150.

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4
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2answers
809 views

What did they use in Old English or Middle English before 'of course'?

I'm writing a story that heavily uses archaic or unusual English words, with a focus of non-Latin, non-French and non-Anglo-Norman derived words and how English might work without them. I found very ...
4
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1answer
123 views

Origin of describing emotions with adjectives associated with taste

You might have seen that most of the adjectives that are related to taste are used to describe emotions. It is very common. It exists in many other languages. Salty, sour, sweet, bitter etc. We use ...
2
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1answer
71 views

Pronunciation of -wic in place names

In the TV series The Last Kingdom a number of place names appear. The series typically shows the Ænglisc spelling of place names, followed by the modern one. E.g. the name old name Wintanceaster ...
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0answers
27 views

Are there english/anglish words for raw meat?

Are there any words for raw meat? This can mean raw fermented meat, raw cultured meat, raw fresh meat, raw high meat, raw spoiled meat. And can include specific types of meat, such as poultry, pork, ...
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0answers
29 views

What is the word order in the founding documents of American history?

Apparently, the historical document passages in SAT tests have some sort of twisted word order. I wonder if there is a proper text on the grammatical word order rules for such documents. P.S. I ...
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0answers
34 views

Difference in Negative forms( also Archaic English)

Imagine this, my baby brother was making annoying weird noise to irritate me, so I'd tell him "Can you NOT do that!" {But here I can't say "CAN'T you do that!"} Now,imagine my big brother was making ...
11
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1answer
186 views

What is the earliest written example of Old English?

What is the earliest written example of Old English?
0
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1answer
27 views

Is there a word for “the application of ointments/creams to oneself”?

I know there's a word for "the washing or cleaning of oneself, for personal hygiene, or the ritual washing or cleaning associated with religious observance" which is "ablution", and there's also "...
3
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1answer
89 views

How does this Old English text translate in Modern English?

The dedication of the book The White Horse King (Merkle, 2009) contains the following: Hwa Þeos, Þe gesihÞ swa swa se morgen Fæger swa se mona Beorht swa se sunne Torhtmod swa se scildweall. ...
3
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2answers
149 views

Etymology of “to trade”?

Concerning "to trade", I saw on Etymonline: https://www.etymonline.com/word/trade late 14c., "path, track, course of action," introduced by the Hanse merchants, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low ...
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3answers
3k views

Origin of the word “delete”

What is the history of the word "delete". It's from Latin "deletus", but I wonder how and why this word was borrowed in English. Usually, words directly borrowed in English are from religious, ...
6
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1answer
209 views

Origin of old English word “offrian”

I know that Latin and old French are implicated, but where does the old English "offrian" come from? I mean: what is the word evolution from the root? Which root exactly: why this "ian" ending? ...
8
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1answer
1k views

What does Ȝecyndbēc mean?

The only link on Google is to this Wikipedia page on a "Poetic Retelling of Genesis". I gather Lēoþ means "song", but there is no definition of the other word. Does is just say "In the beginning" or ...
0
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1answer
42 views

What punctuation did the original manuscript of Beowulf have?

I am trying to find information on the punctuation of the Beowulf Manuscript, but not getting much. I found an image online of what appears to be a front page of an old looking book, but I'm not sure ...
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1answer
94 views

What is an archaic, rare noun or word for an archetypal, vengeant, past tensive male character who is of the past that many aspire to be like?

What I mean is "someone of old" that people could be drawn to. One who is stuck in the past and in his ways and dislikes the future. Something like: • an originator • an innovator • a predecessor • ...
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0answers
66 views

How to determine Weak and Strong verbs in Old English (Anglo-Saxon)

How to determine whether a verb is a weak verb or a strong verb in Old English ?
9
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1answer
123 views

Was Old English “ēalās” equivalent to Modern English “hello”?

In a question in the Spanish Language site about the origin of Spanish hola 'hello', one of the answers states that Old English ēalās, written ēalā before a name, already sounded quite similar to hola,...
3
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1answer
107 views

Did Old English have a middle voice or mediopassive voice?

I've read that Icelandic and Old Norse have a middle voice, so I wanted to know if either or both of these distinct grammatical features existed in Old English. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
9
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1answer
264 views

The “prickmouse” and the “butcher's broom”

I sometime go for walks in the wood near where I live, and in the undergrowth, beneath the oaks and pines, you'll find an evergreen prickly shrub which is called pungitopo in Italian. The word is ...
9
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2answers
929 views

Why is the origin of “threshold” uncertain?

The Barn, Church Hall Farm, Broxted, Essex (England) See the YouTube video (13.40) George Clarke: The architecture of threshing barns is absolutely driven by their function. With two opposing doors ...
3
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2answers
594 views

How is 'wl-' pronounced?

How is 'wl-' pronounced at the beginning of a word? Of course, you just don't pronounce it at all, because there is no English word that begins that way and if there were, well, that's just not ...
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30 views

No Gender Nouns [duplicate]

Why do adjectives and some nouns in English not have gender? Is there a history beyond that? Don't this cause some ambiguity in the language itself?
7
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2answers
5k views

Etymology of 'black'

I saw a news article on ABC news that made the claim that "if you go back far enough in time", the word 'black' used to mean 'white' and has the same origins as the French blanc and English bleach. ...
3
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1answer
71 views

Is the edh ð always curved, or can it be straight?

I'm wondering about the orthography of the old english edh ð. It is always drawn (lowercase) as a curved d with the line through it. But I'm wondering if it would be acceptable to just have it be a ...
3
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1answer
210 views

How homogeneous was Old English spelling?

Are varying spellings available, or was Old English rather uniform, as far as the sources show? Variant spelling may have indicated different verbal dialects, but written dialects, involuntary eye ...
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4answers
441 views

Why do ash (trees) and ash (burnt residue) have the same name?

I've often wondered why ash (trees) and ash (burnt residue) have the same name. I've looked up the origin of both words, but I don't see anything that explains why the names are the same. From the ...
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0answers
39 views

Continuous(Progressive) module in Old English

I'm curious as to the origins of the Continuous(progressive) module. Whenever I meet texts emulating old speech, like in: video game RPGs, books like the Saxon Chronicles, Hollywood movies about the ...
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1answer
178 views

Looking for a list of hapax legomena that have lost their meanings over time [closed]

These are words that have lost their meanings over time and can't be reconstructed from context, as it only appeared in that context once and not in others. I've searched with Google but came up empty....
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2answers
5k views

Scottish, English, why not *Walish?

As the title question asks, and particularly in light of the Old English word wælisc apparently used to refer to "Welsh", when, why, and how did the English adjective meaning "of or relating to Wales" ...
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2answers
180 views

What is the grammatical name of prefixing a word by “A”?

I've noticed that in English, "some words" (I don't know if it could be used on all words) could be prefixed by the letter "a" to change the meaning, here are a few examples: Side and Aside ...
4
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1answer
376 views

Where did the word “brat” in reference to a spoiled child originate?

I've heard that the etymology is unknown as the original word refers to a garment and the old English word bratt a cloak. None of these seem to point to how it came to be used derogatorily.
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2answers
2k views

Shakespeare's “say sooth” vs. “tell truth”

The noun sooth, pronounced /suːθ/, is now archaic and means ‘fact’,‘reality’ and ‘truth’. Its legacy persists in the words soothe /suːð/, and soothsayer meaning someone who sees the truth, a synonym ...
3
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1answer
1k views

When do I use æ?

I've always seen this letter but didn't start learning about it until 10 minutes ago. What I was wondering most was when to use it. I have found some conflicting sources about it so if anyone could ...
0
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2answers
229 views

Has there been any theory on the vowel /o/ that was inserted into words like “arrow”?

Words like tomorrow, sorrow, arrow, follow, borough contain /o/, as in the diphthong /oʊ/, which was /wə(n)/ in Middle English which was weakened from Old English /x/ or /ɣ/ + some sort of vowel. ...
5
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1answer
578 views

Is the “blue” in “blue moon” a reference to betrayal?

There are some previous questions on this site about the etymology of the phrase "blue moon" (What is the origin of the phrase "blue moon"? Any alternate phrase for it?, Why do we call some ...
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2answers
524 views

Pronunciation and syllables of pre-Modern English “belewe”?

I know the word "belewe" from traditional astronomy as a precursor to the phrase "blue moon", also known as the "betrayer" thirteenth moon in one of every three years that would disrupt a lunar ...
6
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1answer
306 views

Can anyone translate this text from the Wessex Gospels of 1175, please?

I would be grateful if someone could translate the following text as I am doing some research on Luke 1:35 and the various historical readings of the text in English : for þan þt halig þe of þe ...
92
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3answers
10k views

How did English retain its non-Christian names of the week?

It amazes me that despite centuries of religion dominating almost every aspect of life in Britain or at the very least exerting a great deal of influence on the public and private sphere, the English ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Did Old English (Anglo-Saxon) use contractions?

German uses contractions a lot, including im (in+dem) and zum (zu+dem) to name a few. As an Old English learner, I wanted to know if there were any attested similarities. My research hereto has ...
29
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2answers
2k views

Irregular verbs: the history of the suffix “-en” used in past participles

Recently I've been helping my home students learn the past participles of some irregular verbs, in a "new" way. Basically, I show that sometimes the suffix -(e)n is added to the PRESENT stem. For ...
7
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1answer
325 views

How did “stroke” become the verb “strike” to mean “deal a blow”?

I've just been looking up the etymology of the word "strike," as in “The pedestrian was struck by a vehicle.” (I was curious about why we always seem to use "struck" in this situation). A quick ...
10
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1answer
217 views

Are there any Germanic cognates to “lithe”?

When winter first begins to bite                and stones crack in the frosty night,           when pools are black and trees are bare,                ’tis evil in the Wild to fare. In this time of ...
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5answers
2k views

Crush the spearhead leek

I've often wondered why the pungent plant called garlic is a mass noun. If I look at its etymology, I see it is derived from Old English. Old English gārlēac, from gār ‘spear’ (because the shape of ...
9
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2answers
982 views

Why does the past tense form of sleep have a weak suffix?

Meaning: to sleep is a strong verb in the Germanic languages. While I'm quite aware that strong vs weak anything has very little bearing on modern English, this is still something that puzzles me. ...
19
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2answers
2k views

Construction of “woe is me”

The expression “woe is me” (meaning) looks strange. On the surface, it seems to mean “an unhappy event is me”. Sure, it's an old idiom, undoubtedly reflecting vocabulary or grammar that is no longer ...
5
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1answer
899 views

When did all-caps formatting come to indicate shouting?

A question on the History stack discusses when all-caps formatting came to indicate shouting in digital text, the answer being that such formatting has been interpreted to indicate shouting long ...
3
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1answer
98 views

“So clean it was fallen away”… what?

This quote is from the Very Bloody History of Britain by John Farman. I have a soft spot for it as the first history book I ever read, almost twenty-five years ago. I have always wondered what the ...
1
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1answer
140 views

Did Old English have /uw/?

Old English had the unstressed syllable rhyme /ij/, spelled as ⟨iġ⟩; which became the Modern English sound /i/, spelled as ⟨y⟩ (or ⟨ie⟩ in plurals). This sound was found in the suffix ⟨-iġ⟩ of "...
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1answer
217 views

Mixed saying / witty remark about remarks

I need to mix To err is human, to persist [...] is diabolical with a joke about too much remarking. The result should be To err is human, to persist in remarking is diabolical. Should I ...
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1answer
211 views

Use of 'here' for an army in Modern English

I came upon that here used to be utilised for an army (more likely enemy) in Old English (also shown in Wiktionary). The same page also shows that there is a modern form of the word as here and that ...