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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5
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1answer
95 views

Why did English lose “-an” 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 ...
7
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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 ...
4
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1answer
295 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" ...
0
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0answers
50 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 ...
0
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1answer
56 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 ...
21
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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 ...
1
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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 ...
15
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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 ...
2
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3answers
576 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 ...
1
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0answers
39 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?
4
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4answers
110 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 ...
2
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1answer
112 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 "...
4
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2answers
857 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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2answers
164 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
102 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 ...
0
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0answers
33 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, ...
1
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0answers
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 ...
0
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2answers
129 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?
0
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0answers
43 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
207 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
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 "...
3
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1answer
119 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. ...
3
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2answers
214 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 ...
7
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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
234 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
54 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 ...
-1
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1answer
108 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 • ...
1
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0answers
80 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
170 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
votes
1answer
177 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
293 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
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
681 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 ...
0
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0answers
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?
10
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4answers
10k 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
votes
1answer
79 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
votes
1answer
255 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
578 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 ...
1
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0answers
41 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 ...
0
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1answer
233 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....
13
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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" ...
0
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2answers
198 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
votes
1answer
510 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.
5
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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
2k 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
votes
2answers
239 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
votes
1answer
789 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
745 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
votes
1answer
321 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 ...