Saturday, 27 October 2012

Speak like a saxon: Good night (and words beginning with N)

As I procrastinate before bedtime, I thought finding out how to say 'Good Night' in Old English might be quite useful. But then I found some other words beginning with N, so the phrase will have to wait.

Quoting from J.R. Clark Hall's wonderful Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, here they are:

neodspearuwa  - (?restless) sparrow ["nay-odd-spay-are-oo-wa"]
neorxnawang - Paradise ["nay-orks-na-wang"]
nestpohha - wallet ["nest-poch(like in Scottish 'loch')-ah"]
nihtglom - gloom of night ["nicht -glom"]
nicorhus - sea monster's dwelling ["nick-or-hoos"]


The editors of the dictionary explain in the previous entry that the nicor, could be a sea-monster, a water sprite, a hippo or a walrus. Take your pick.

And one final one:

nigontynlic - containing the number nineteen ["ni-yon-toon-litch"]

This just goes to show that our modern vocabulary is pitifully diminished. Why haven't we got a word for 'containing the number nineteen'?

Anyway:



God þe sie milde oð þone fyrst þe morgen come

God be merciful to you until the time when morning comes (I made this one up - apologies to purists out there)

["God they see-uh mild-uh oth tho-nuh furst they mor-gen com-uh"]




Monday, 8 October 2012

Speak like a saxon: Monday mornings

Now, I don't know how much you like or dislike Monday mornings. If you think the whole world languishes in misery over the loss the the weekend; if they reduce you to groaning and moaning then you might find this phrase from the poem Andreas (l. 1554) useful:



þær was wop wera    wide gehyred
 
(weeping of men was heard far and wide)

["there was wop where-a weed-uh ye-hoor-ed"]

That's it for today.