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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What is this grammatical feature in LOTR - Fellowship? [duplicate]

"Behold! You are come to Cerin Amroth", said Haldir. What grammatical function does 'are' serve? Is it like have in 'You have come to...'? In German you form the present perfect by using '...
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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 ...
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1 answer
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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"?
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1 vote
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"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 ...
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What does Old English "-gean" mean?

What does Old English "-gean" mean? axian and axigean both mean "to ask". Does the suffix -gean have a particular meaning, or is it actually an infix -ge- (and what does that mean)?...
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3 votes
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"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. ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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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, ...
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1 answer
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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 ...
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1 answer
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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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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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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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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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1 answer
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What is the word?

What is the word? The first part is hegh (high) /if I understood correctly/ from
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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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-1 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
2 answers
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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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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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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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6 votes
2 answers
292 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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7 votes
1 answer
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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23 votes
4 answers
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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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1 vote
4 answers
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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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16 votes
2 answers
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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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2 votes
3 answers
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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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1 vote
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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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4 votes
4 answers
217 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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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5 votes
2 answers
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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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4 votes
2 answers
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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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2 votes
1 answer
298 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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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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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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2 answers
314 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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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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11 votes
1 answer
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What is the earliest written example of Old English?

What is the earliest written example of Old English?
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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7 votes
3 answers
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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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6 votes
1 answer
290 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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8 votes
1 answer
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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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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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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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1 vote
1 answer
132 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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10 votes
1 answer
360 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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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10 votes
2 answers
447 views

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

I sometimes 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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