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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36 views

The meaning of word “FOR” at the beginning of sentence [duplicate]

I met some odd usage of preposition "for". I guess it's old style, or high style. I give examples for better understanding: About this time legend among the Hobbits first becomes history ...
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77 views

Why are “said” and “paid”/“laid” pronounced differently?

The words say, pay, lay are phonemically /seɪ/, /peɪ/ and /leɪ/ respectively (with the diphthong /eɪ/). Their past and past participles are respectively: /sɛd/ (or /sed/), /peɪd/ and /leɪd/. The past/...
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1answer
65 views

Why did “it” lose its initial 'h' but other pronouns such as “him” and “her” didn't?

The pronouns it, him, her had an initial h in the older forms of English which has been retained in her, him, but lost in it (formerly hit). Etymology of it (Wikitionary): From Middle English it, hit ...
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1answer
62 views

About Lovecraft's style to start a sentence with 'For' [duplicate]

I'm reading my first ever novel in English (French is my mother tongue): Tales of Horror by H.P Lovecraft. Surprisingly, reading this book is fine for me, however there's a sentence construction I don'...
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27 views

What did Lord Byron mean by “Away with this cant about nature!”?

In Oscar Wilde's A Sentimental Journey Through Literature, he suggests that the literary critic 'Mr Noel' thought Lord Byron was a "true nature worshipper and Pantheist". Wilde provides ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the word?

What is the word? The first part is hegh (high) /if I understood correctly/ from
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74 views

How did willa compound with cuma, to signify 'it's well you have come' and 'one who arrives at the pleasure of another'?

I based the subject line on Etymonline, but the other quotations purport different etymons. Regardless which etymons are correct, I don't understand how they begot the meanings of "it's well you ...
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1answer
58 views

What did “on by out, over, up” mean?

What did "on by out", "on by up", "on by over" mean? Why did Old English tack and jam these different prepositions together? E.g. didn't ufan alone mean "above&...
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2answers
112 views

Identifying Compound words in Modern English

Compound words like SNOWMAN etc, are obvious compound words in Modern English, as both words that make up the compound word exist as words in Modern English. However, words like SHEPHERD aren't words ...
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1answer
115 views

Why does “broad” not rhyme with “boat”?

The word "broad" is pronounced /brɔːd/ (some US accents: /brɑːd/) instead of */brəʊd/. The spelling -OA- somehow suggests that these words are closely related and/or were pronounced the same ...
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2answers
207 views

Was there a /t͡ʃ/ to /k/ sound change from Old English?

I stumbled upon a strange thing while looking up the etymology of words ending in "le". I looked up "kettle" and saw that it was pronounced with /t͡ʃ/ in Old English and also in ...
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101 views

Why did the vowel in “Christ” become long in moving from Old English to Middle English?

I have read the following question and all the answers, and they do not answer my question, so it is not a duplicate: Why are the vowels in Christ and Christmas different? (and other strange diphthong ...
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2answers
179 views

Why did some English verbs lose nasal endings?

I saw this ending in many words of Old English origin where a word has -an in Old English but then lost in Modern English. Examples: habban, climban, sceþþan, singan, offrian etc. I noticed another ...
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1answer
2k views

What does the phrase “or euer” mean in Middle English from the 1500s?

What does the phrase "or euer" mean in Middle English from the 1500s? It's often translated as "before", but I'm trying to find out specifically the cultural connotation of what ...
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1answer
332 views

Was there a D to TH sound change in English?

I looked up the etymology of "father" and see what Etymology Dictionary says: Old English fæder "he who begets a child, nearest male ancestor;" It clearly says "fæder" ...
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57 views

“An” in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

In Act 1, Scene 1, Katherine says to Bianca "A pretty peat! It is best / Put finger in the eye, an she knew why". I understand "Put finger in the eye" means she is fake crying for ...
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1answer
58 views

Is or was “too young for to marry” valid English, now or in the past?

I made a very serious effort to locate the name of this song, and to find more info on it. Sadly, I was unable to. All I have is this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWTF6nRqNvU It ...
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4answers
5k views

Why did the F of “sneeze” and “snore” change to an S in English history?

The etymologies of "sneeze" and "snore" suggest that they were once pronounced with /f/. Here is what Wiktionary (from which all the following information also comes) says: From ...
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4answers
1k views

Detailed explanation: what is “dayspring”?

I am looking for information about the beautiful english word dayspring. Exact meaning, with a link to the meaning in a dictionary. I know dayspring means "dawn or first ray of light" but I ...
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2answers
3k views

Why did the Old English word “līċ” get displaced by “corpse”?

While checking the etymology of the English word corpse, wikitionary says it had been līċ in Old English. Wikitionary also gives /liːt͡ʃ/ as its pronunciation, which apparently is completely different ...
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3answers
612 views

How to pronounce IPA “/rɑːp/”? (Old English)

I'm making a video which includes some information about the ancient Saxon and Norman political organization of the English county of Sussex. One thing I am stuck on is the Old English pronunciation ...
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40 views

Why does Distal of “yon” got no Source, Goal, Time, Manner, Reason?

I know yon is old-fashioned and bygone. But why blanks in red rectangle? Why it had no Pro-adverb for Source, Goal, Time, Manner, Reason?
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4answers
126 views

Is there an Old English-derived word for change/alter/modify?

Why is there no word for change / alter / modify that is historically Germanic (that is, existed in Old English)? All of these are historically Latin of latin derivation. The nearest from Old English ...
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1answer
154 views

What does “stat 1. c.18” mean?

I'm reading Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and I keep seeing these chronologic references to reigns of kings and queens in England: By the 12th of Queen Anne, too, stat. 1, c. 18 What do "...
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2answers
917 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 ...
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2answers
176 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 ...
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1answer
131 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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37 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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34 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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2answers
175 views

Why is slain a past participle of slay? [duplicate]

Past participles in the English language usually end with -ed, but slain is one exception. Why can't we have just slayed rather than that and slain, too? And why can't slain be its very own verb?
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45 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 ...
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359 views

What is the earliest written example of Old English?

What is the earliest written example of Old English?
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1answer
28 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 "...
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1answer
128 views

How does this Old English text (from the dedication of the book “The White Horse King”) 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. ...
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2answers
253 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, ...
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1answer
246 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? ...
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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 ...
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1answer
64 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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119 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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87 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 ?
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212 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,...
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1answer
215 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/...
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1answer
333 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 ...
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1k 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 ...
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2answers
796 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?
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13k 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. ...
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1answer
82 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 ...
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1answer
288 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 ...