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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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11 votes
3 answers
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Are there other proposed translations of "aelfheres" in Beowulf than a name?

Am looking at the online Beowulf site, and wonder about "aelfheres" that is translated as a name. XXXVI WIGlaf wæs haten, Weoxstanes sunu, leoflic lindwiga, leod Scylfinga, mæg ...
Tomas By's user avatar
  • 327
3 votes
0 answers
85 views

Why is bowl spelled with ⟨ow⟩?

Generally speaking, in cases where an Old English ⟨ā⟩ or ⟨o⟩ becomes /oʊ/ in Modern English, the result may be written with either ⟨oa⟩ or ⟨o…e⟩: rād > road, grānian > groan col > coal, fola ...
Вася Антонов's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
194 views

abǽde in context: which verb and inflectional form?

I'd like to know what verb and which inflectional form abǽde is in the sentence below. The passage is from one of Ælfric's homilies. A translation is available online, but it doesn't look literal ...
blokeman's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
43 views

Why are no strong verbs spelled with ⟨oa⟩ in the past tense?

Why don't noncompound irregular verbs forms have oa spelling? Generally speaking, in cases where an Old English ⟨ā⟩ or ⟨o⟩ becomes /oʊ/ in Modern English, the result may be written with either ⟨oa⟩ or ...
Вася Антонов's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
51 views

Does English have example of ou / u "alteration"?

I know that ou may go back to OE u: bound > bunden, found > funden I know the only one example of ou / u "alteration" house but husband Does English have other examples?
Вася Антонов's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
82 views

Does English have example of oa / о "alteration"?

I know that oa goes back to OE o / a: foal > fola, board >bord or boat > bat, road > rad I know the example of oa / a "alteration" roam but ramble Does English have example of ...
Вася Антонов's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
364 views

Why did "pigeon" replace the native word "culver"?

Pigeon is a borrowing from Anglo-Norman where the etymons are French pigon, pigeon. The earliest citation is found in Middle English, from 1375 per OED: 1375 Thomas Blont..hath indowed Dame Isabell.....
ermanen's user avatar
  • 63.4k
1 vote
2 answers
101 views

When did 'ut'/'uþ' from Old English and Middle English become 'out'?

When was the transition of the word form 'ut'/'uþ' to 'out'? I'd like to know about the frequency or first attestations.
trespda's user avatar
  • 11
27 votes
3 answers
7k views

How did "oxen" (plural of "ox") survive as the only plural form with the Old English plural ending -en?

Oxen is a rare exception in English where it is the only common English word that retains the original Old English plural ending -en. (Note: Children and brethren are formed a bit differently, please ...
ermanen's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
951 views

How can I improve my translation of Beowulf's first few lines?

Now, we Spear-Danes have long heard of glorious kings and heroic deeds; of how Scyld Sceaf·sen seized many a frightened warrior from the very mead benches of the foe in many lands. Found abandoned, a ...
Andrew Kìngdom's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

What is the name of this sign?

What is the name of this sign? (in "Psalterium Davidis Latino-Saxonicum vetus", Psalms 78:52)
HungarianMan's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the name of the sign “ł”?

What is the name of this (in my opinian tyronian) sign? (in "The Gospel according to Saint Matthew in Anglo-Saxon and Northumbrian Versions", Matthew 5:36)
HungarianMan's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does "s" have different forms?

Why does "s" in the Bath Old English Gospels (p. 10) have different forms? soþlice se steorra and, lo, the star (Matthew 2:9)
HungarianMan's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
86 views

Is "Exists there an alternative to PHP?" considered "old English"? [closed]

I like this way: Exists there an alternative to PHP? But there's also: Is there an alternative to PHP? And: Does it exist an alternative to PHP? Or maybe: Does there exist an alternative to PHP?...
Waitus T.'s user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
913 views

When is the old english letter Æ/æ modernised to A, E and AE?

The old english letter Æ/æ in various words have been modernised to either A (Æthelstan to Athelstan); E (Ælf to Elf, Æthelræd to Ethelred) and sometimes both A and E in the same word (Ælfræd to ...
asker2011's user avatar
  • 149
-1 votes
1 answer
96 views

Is there a possible connection between the two different meanings (forest, ruler) of the Old English word 'weald'?

The old english word for 'forest' is weald, yet the old english word for 'ruler' is also weald. What could be a possible explanation for this? Is there a possible connection between the two meanings ...
asker2011's user avatar
  • 149
2 votes
1 answer
105 views

Would you modernise Ætheling as Etheling, Aetheling or Atheling? Why?

Various modernised spellings exist for Old English words containing the letter Æ and æ for example Ætheling can be modernised as Etheling, Aetheling or Atheling. Is there a reason to prefer one modern ...
asker2011's user avatar
  • 149
3 votes
1 answer
247 views

What is the difference between old english words 'ric' and 'wald'

Ric and Wald are both name elements that are quite common in Old English names — for example, Eadric and Eadwald — and both seem to mean ruler or power or authority or might. Are there however more ...
asker2011's user avatar
  • 149
3 votes
1 answer
191 views

The Saxon word "Scop" as in "bard."

Old & Middle English/Germanic Languages–Scholars, please help. I'm interested in any information you might share on all senses of the Saxon word "Scop," meaning "Bard" or "...
BaldJoe's user avatar
  • 31
8 votes
1 answer
146 views

Pattern to Old English verbs-of-making-adjective?

The other night (after hearing someone on TV say "smoothen"), I noticed that a fair number of Anglo-Saxon-derived adjectives tend to come in pairs where the more "distinguished" or ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
  • 2,724
14 votes
3 answers
5k views

The eerie origin of "eerie"

Eerie is a rather common word but its origin is somewhat strange. In fact, OED doesn't provide the origin of the word eerie, but provides the etymology where it is given as a variant of an obsolete ...
ermanen's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
68 views

Use case and meaning of “lest” in sentences [duplicate]

What is the exact meaning of lest? Oxford Learner's defines it: "in order to prevent something from happening", and its Origin is "Old English thȳ lǣs the ‘whereby less that’, later the ...
Abhishek Yadav's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
58 views

Why do English words sheer and week have "ee"?

Why do English words sheer and week (from OE scære and wice) have "ee"? The expected English ee <- Old English ē / eo: street strēt sleep slēpan weep wēpan deep dēop deer dēor reek ...
prostorech's user avatar
-1 votes
3 answers
155 views

What words were used before "exist"?

The word "exist" was first used in English around 1568. The English must have had their own word for this before that. Which word did they use?
Alfreds English's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
70 views

Is there a pattern in the positions of long and short vowels in Old English?

Long and short vowels aren't distinguished in writing in Old English. Are there any patterns I can use to guess the length of a vowel?
jrpear's user avatar
  • 115
3 votes
0 answers
64 views

Was Middle English or something like it spoken during the late Anglo-Saxon period?

As far as I've been able to determine from Wikipedia and Googling (I'm not a linguist), Old English appears to have changed into Middle English very soon after the Norman Conquest (around the end of ...
Gabriel's user avatar
  • 39
3 votes
0 answers
154 views

Why did the English people switch from the Celtic language to Old English? [closed]

There is a widely held theory that when the Romans left England in the 5th century AD the island was defenceless against Anglo-Saxon invading armies. In the south and east the Britons were defeated in ...
M. Wind's user avatar
  • 269
0 votes
1 answer
71 views

Is there a difference between the adverbs “Melancholily” and “Melancholically”?

Melancholia is an old and quite beautiful word which describes a depressed state. It was used as a noun in the same way that “depression” is currently used - and in the medical field was a diagnosis ...
DavideWernstrung's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
98 views

OE hacele "cloak" vs English hackle?

What is the semantic connection between OE hacele "cloak" and modern English hackle "An instrument with steel pins used to comb out flax or hemp"?
Кузнецов Анатолий's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
122 views

"every" + possessive + noun

I naively asked a question about the use of "every" with possessives on the ELL thinking there will be a very simple answer. I was pretty sure that saying either Every your thought is ...
fev's user avatar
  • 34.5k
3 votes
3 answers
409 views

A word for drain plugs in boats

In row boats, and similar boats, there is a drain plug, which is taken out when it is ashore, to empty for water. In Norwegian the term used is 'nygle', and in Icelandic 'negla'. In contemporary ...
Frode Alfson Bjørdal's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
86 views

"lift/raise all up to" or "lift/raise up all to"

I know the rule with phrasal verbs and pronouns is that If the object is a personal pronoun (me, you, him, us, etc.), we always put the pronoun before the particle: Oh, I can’t lift you up any more. ...
fev's user avatar
  • 34.5k
2 votes
2 answers
257 views

Is there a word category for a certain kind of words beginning with 'a-'? [duplicate]

A few words beginning with an a came up to my mind recently because their structure is similar in the way they convey their meaning. Those words are like: atop, alight; afloat, afresh, anew, asleep, ...
ParaH2's user avatar
  • 137
5 votes
2 answers
909 views

Original / old English word for Metal or Metalcraft

I would like to write my story in Anglish, which is basically, to my understanding, English without borrowed words from other languages. I like it because it sounds familiar and strange at the same ...
Arimeris's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
74 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 ...
Domino Fortune's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
843 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/...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
166 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 ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
120 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'...
Jérôme MEVEL's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
53 views

What is the word?

What is the word? The first part is hegh (high) /if I understood correctly/ from
fedor's user avatar
  • 113
0 votes
1 answer
313 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 ...
user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
100 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&...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
585 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 ...
nofil88776's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
427 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 ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
797 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 ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
387 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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
531 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 ...
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
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 ...
language's user avatar
  • 173
4 votes
1 answer
736 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" ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
78 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 ...
B. Finizio's user avatar
25 votes
4 answers
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 ...
user avatar

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