Friday, 30 July 2010

Speak like a Saxon #28: Camping

I'm going camping next week! A quick glance through the delightful OEME English - Old English Dictionary tells me that our Anglo Saxon ancestors had a word for a tent:

teld ['teld']

and even a word for a specially portable tent:

Ganggeteld ['gang-yuh-teld']

Now, to be honest I doubt whether the average Anglo-Saxon would have enjoyed camping much. For most of them the outside was a very scary place indeed; where monsters lurked; where the cold wind blew and where it rained an awful lot.

Pilgrims, however, might just have needed to take a ganggeteld with them as they ventured out into the wide world on their quest to meet with God.

So if you happen to be an Anglo-Saxon pilgrim on your journeys, you might need these phrases:

Gif me þone teldsticcan- Give me the tent peg ['Yif may tho-nuh teld-stick-an']
Hwær cwom teldwyrhta? - Where is the tent-maker? ['Hwaar kwom teld-wuur-ch-ta?']