Monday, 27 February 2012

Speak like a Saxon: the end is nigh

There's a report on the BBC today: melting ice caps mean colder winters for us in the Northern Hemisphere, and it sounds all a bit like the film The Day After Tomorrow (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17143269). The end is nigh, some people might say. If you were an Anglo-Saxon, here's how you could say it:

"ðeos woruld is on ofste, and hit nealæcð þam ende" [thay-oss war-uld is on off-stuh, and hit nay-a-lack-th tham end-uh]. Literally, it's along the lines of "This world is in haste, and it draws near to its end".

This comes from Archbishop Wulfstan's sermon to the English when the vikings were doing their thing, sometime at the start of the eleventh century. It seemed like the end of the world was fairly imminent. Practice this phrase for those moments when you need to respond in a suitable manner.

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