An Old English word for library was “bōchord”, which literally means “book hoard”, and honestly I really think we should go back to saying that because not only does it sound really fucking cool, but it also sort of implies that librarians are dragons.
Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago?
Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa?
Hwær cwom symbla gesetu?
Hwær sindon seledreamas?
Eala beorht bune!
Eala þeodnes þrym!
Hu seo þrag gewat,
genap under nihthelm,
swa heo no wære.
“Where is the horse? Where the rider? Where the giver of treasure? Where the seats of the feast? Where are the joys of the hall? Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the heroic warrior! Alas for the splendor of the king! How they have passed away, Dark under night-cover, As if they never were.” - The Wanderer, An Anglo-Saxon poem of lamentation, which was the inspiration for Tolkien’s Lament of the Rohirrim.
it’s really interesting how reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European have been used to figure out was Indo-European culture would have been like. For example:
the reconstructed language has no word for king, but it does have a word for clan chieftain so it’s been theorized that Indo-Europeans were organized in small groups or clans
there is a word for daughter-in-law but none for son-in-law which suggests that women would have joined their husbands’ families after marriage
there are many words for animals and few for fruits, veggies, and grains suggesting a meat-based diet
the existence of words for snow and winter suggest Indo-Europeans lived in a more northern climate
but it’s important to note that “the absence of a word in the reconstructed proto-language is far less compelling evidence than the presence of a word: a lack of evidence it not itself sure evidence”*.
*notes from Old English and Its Closest Relatives: A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages by Orrin W. Robinson
German: Ich, Mir, Du/Sie, Er, Sie, Wir, Sie Low Saxon: Ekj, Mie, Jie, Hee, See, Wie, See Old English: Ic, Mé, Ðu/Þu, Hé, Héo, Wé, Hie Dutch: Ik, Mij, Je/U, Hij, Ze, Wij, Ze Afrikaans: Ek, Jy/U, Hy, Sy, Ons, Hulle Frisian: Ik, My, Do, Hy, It, Wy, Sy Scots: Ah, Me, Ye, He, She, We, They Faroese: Eg/Jeg, Meg, Tú, Hann, Hon, Vær, Tey Old Norse: Ek, Mik, Þú, Han, Hon, Vér, Þau Danish: Jeg, Mig, Du, Han, Hun, Vi, De Norwegian: Jeg, Meg, Du, Han, Hun, Vi, de Swedish: Jag, Mig, Du, Han, Hon, Vi, De Icelandic: Ég, Mig, Þú, Hann, Hún, Við, Þau
German: Berg Low Saxon: Boajch Old English: Beorg Dutch: Berg Afrikaans: Berg Frisian: Berch Scots: Montan Faroese: Fjoll Old Norse: Fell/Fjall Danish: Bjerg Norwegian: Fjell Swedish: Berg/Fjäll Icelandic: Fjall