old-english

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 byrnwiga!
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.
Kennings in Old English
  • weorðmyndum - honour (minds worth)
  • heofon-candel - sun (sky candle)
  • heofones gim - sun (sky’s jewel)
  • heofones wynne - dawn (joy of the sky)
  • bānhūs - body (bone house)
  • beadolēoma - sword (battle-light)
  • guð-wine - sword (war friend)
  • wægflota - ship (wave floater)
  • swan-rād - sea (swan road)
  • hron-rāde - sea (whale road)
  • uht-sceaða - dragon (twilight-scather)
  • lyftfloga - dragon (air-flyer)
  • hordcofan - thoughts (treasure-chamber)
  • ferðlocan - mind (spirit-chest) 
  • lēod-gebyrgea - king/ruler (protector of people)
  • heaðo-wædum - armour (battle weeds)
  • lind-hæbbende - warrior (shield possessor)

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

You want to know what’s been messing me up lately? Ever since taking Old English?

These douchebags right here. It looks like a weird runic letter ‘d’ doesn’t it? EXCEPT IT’S NOT. It’s ‘eth,’ which does not use the ‘d’ sound. They use a ‘th’ sound.

“Okay, Jurakan, why is that an issue?”

Because twatwaffles it means I’ve been saying everything wrong.

There’s a lot of Norse mythological names like:

-Idunn
-Vidarr
-Hodr
-Hermod
-Skadi

and everyone says them

-E-dun
-vih-DAR
-HO-dur
-HER-mod
-SKA-di

and that’s not how they’re supposed to be said at all. Because the letter ‘d’ in their name? Isn’t a the letter ‘d’, it’s ‘ð’. Meaning those names/pronunciations should be:

-Iðunn (E-thun)
-Viðarr (vih-THAHR)
-Hoðr (HO-thur)
-Hermoð (HER-moth)
-Skaði (SKA-thee)

We mythology nuts have been saying these things wrong for so long? And basically because the runic letter looks kind of like a ‘d’ we decided it was even though it has a completely different sound???

WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS MY LIFE IS A LIE

ODIN HIMSELF ISN’T ‘ODIN’ IN OLD NORSE HE’S OÐINN THE WORLD IS CRUMBLING AROUND ME

Comparison of the Germanic Languages

Pronouns: I, Me, You, He, She, We, They

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


Mountain

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


Bread

German: Brot
Low Saxon: Broot
Old English: Bread
Dutch: Brood
Afrikaans: Brood
Frisian: Bole/Brea
Scots: Brede
Faroese: Breyð
Old Norse: Brauð
Danish: Brød
Norwegian: Brød
Swedish: Bröd
Icelandic: Brauð


To Be

German: Sein
Low Saxon: Sennen
Old English: Béon
Dutch: Zijn
Afrikaans: Wees
Frisian: Weze
Scots: Be
Faroese: Vera
Old Norse: Vera
Danish: Være
Norwegian: Være
Swedish: Vara
Icelandic: Vera


To Read

German: Lesen
Low Saxon: Läsen
Old English: Leornian
Dutch: Lezen
Afrikaans: Lees
Frisian: Leze
Scots: Rede/Reed
Faroese: Lesa
Old Norse: (Could not be found)
Danish: Læse
Norwegian: Lese
Swedish: Läsa
Icelandic: Lesa


Good

German: Gut
Low Saxon: Goot
Old English: Gód
Dutch: Goed
Afrikaans: Goed
Frisian: Goed
Scots: Good/Gud
Faroese: Góður
Old Norse: Goð
Danish: God
Norwegian: God
Swedish: God
Icelandic: Góður


Bad

German: Schlecht
Low Saxon: Schlajcht
Old English: Gódléas
Dutch: Slecht
Afrikaans: Slegte
Frisian: Min
Scots: Bad
Faroese: Illur/Ringur
Old Norse: Illr/Vándr
Danish: Dårlig
Norwegian: Dårlig/Slett
Swedish: Illa/Dålig
Icelandic: Illur/ Vondur