Saturday, 14 September 2013

Speak like a Saxon: Nice to meet you

When the envoy from a foreign nation arrives in town; when a new warrior turns up; or when you meet a fellow pilgrim on the way to Rome you'll no doubt be needing to ask:

Hwæt is þin nama?

(What's your name?)

["hwat iss thin nam-uh"]

If you need to suck up to said new friend (say, they're the head of a nation you want to build a special relationship with, or someone you really don't want to annoy) you can follow that with:

 þin nama is cynelic.*

(That's an kingly name)

["Thin nam-uh iss koon-uh-litch"]

(Geek alert: fans of the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films might recognise this from a phrase that Aragorn says to the troubled horse in Rohan)



Kenneth Stephen Doig said...

Nama mín is /iz/ Ken. Hit næfre was ænigu tunge séo híe selfe 'anglo-saxon, 'ængul-séaxisc', a.s.o (and swá on) cylpte. Séaxaþéod clypton sec selfe 'gewissas', onmang oðrum namum.
The terminal and intervocalic /s/ is voiced, pronounced /z/. The word "is" = /iz/. How else could we account for rhotacism, /z/ to /R/ to /r/, was/were, 'ic céas', but 'wé curon'?
Ne wile ic ymb me selfne scrytan, (boast), ác ic eom binnan ðæm top-fífum betst-wítendum manna on eorðan on germaniscum spræcum, wordwítenscipe, tungancræafte, ic eom se betsta ealra manna on þissum tungle. (mann/menn = "human")

Englisc Eald said...

I prefer to "ic hate..." for "my name is...", but find that "min nama is..." or "nama min is..." also works.

Also, although spirants were voiced between vowels or between a vowel and a voiced consonant, there is no evidence of it being voiced at the end of a word or syllable. Many sources would agree with the author here with "iss."