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  #21  
Old September 4th, 2011, 8:19 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

Quote:
Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Now that I'm somewhat more familiar with the subject, I wondered what exactly you mean by this? I think it has been mentioned, historical similarities among older Germanic languages are pretty easy to see, and influence by Latin is not readily apparent...
I'm sure Moriath will answer this for herself and I have no idea of I am thinking of the same things as her, but my own perspective:

While I would agree that the Germanic versions of the Lord's Prayer cited show little direct Latin influence (although I am wondering where that word "costnunge" comes from) , I wouldn't entirely agree with irpa's statment that:

Quote:
the Latin heritage is yet to commingle with the English tongue which didn't occur but after 1066

as far as I remember (from History of the English Language classes at university, I mean, not from the OE period itself - I'm not quite old enough to remember that!) there was already Latin influence on OE vocab long before the Norman Conquest. e.g. the "cheap"/"chipping" part of English placenames like Eastcheap, Chipping Camden etc comes from OE "ceap" (barter/market), which comes from Latin "caupo" (winemerchant - that always makes me laugh - I think we can infer what the ancient Germanics bought most of from the Romans). This word entered Proto-Germanic from Latin long before the Angles and Saxons left the continent. (The root of "church" also entered Proto-West Germanic from Greek long before Hengist and Horsa got on the boat).

There was also a big influx of vocabulary during the Christianisation of England, through the monasteries. e.g. "cros" (=cross, although I accept that the native "rod"/"rood" was used more commonly), which entered OE in a pass-the-parcel process, via ON and OIr, from Latin "crux". e.g. 2 "altar" e.g. 3 "font" e.g. 4 "scol" (= Mod Eng "school", from Latin "schola")

Obviously, it was nothing like the influx of Norman French vocab after the conquest, but Latinate languages and Germanic languages were not hermetically sealed from one another prior to 1066.



Last edited by Melaszka; September 4th, 2011 at 10:30 pm. Reason: Completely misread post I am replying to
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  #22  
Old September 4th, 2011, 9:32 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Originally Posted by irpa View Post
Old English is more related to the old Norse languages than it is to latin. The grammar is very similar to the Nordic languages at the time: declensions, dual plural form and so on... the Latin influence is just from the catholic church at the time because Latin was of course lingua franca in Europe and influenced all Christian. The similarities between old Norse can actually be seen if you compare the Lord's prayer with old Norse, old English and well, just plain, modern Icelandic and maybe a dash of the Latin verse... at least, I think the similarities are obvious, but then again, Icelandic is my mother tongue...

Old english:

Fder ure u e eart on heofonum,
Si in nama gehalgod.
To becume in rice,
gewure in willa,
on eoran swa swa on heofonum.
Urne gedghwamlican hlaf syle us todg,
and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfa urum gyltendum.
And ne geld u us on costnunge,
ac alys us of yfele.
Solice.


Old norse:


Faer vr es ert himenrki,
veri nafn itt hilagt.
Til kome rke itt,
vri vili in
sva a iaru sem himnum.
Gef oss dag brau vort dagligt
Ok fyr gefu oss syner rar,
sem vr fyr gefom eim er vi oss hafa misgert
Leid oss eigi freistni,
heldr leys v oss fr llu illu.

Icelandic:

Fair vor, sem ert himnum,
helgist itt nafn
veri itt rki
svo jru, sem himni.
Gef oss dag vort daglegt brau.
Fyrirgef oss vorar skuldir,
svo sem vr og fyrirgefum
vorum skuldunautum.
Og eigi lei oss freistni,
heldur frelsa oss fr illu.
All tree are quite understandable to anyone who have grown up with this Swedish version:

Fader Vr, som r i himmelen
Helgat varde ditt namn.
Tillkomme ditt rike.
Ske din vilja,
ssom i himmelen s ock p jorden.
Vrt dagliga brd giv oss idag,
och frlt oss vra skulder,
ssom ock vi frlta dem oss skyldiga ro,
och inled oss icke i frestelse
utan frls oss ifrn ondo.
[Ty riket r ditt och makten och hrligheten i evighet.]


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  #23  
Old September 5th, 2011, 3:23 am
canismajoris  Male.gif canismajoris is offline
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Re: Old and Middle English

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I'm sure Moriath will answer this for herself and I have no idea of I am thinking of the same things as her, but my own perspective:

While I would agree that the Germanic versions of the Lord's Prayer cited show little direct Latin influence (although I am wondering where that word "costnunge" comes from) , I wouldn't entirely agree with irpa's statment
Funny you should ask. It seems "costnunge" is a form of the verb "costian" or "to tempt, try, prove." The etymology I find is as follows:
From Old English cost (“tried, proven”) from Proto-Germanic *kustōnan. Akin to Old Saxon kostōn, Old High German kostōn (“to taste, test, try by tasting”) (German kosten), Icelandic kosta (“to try, tempt”), Gothic kausjan (“to taste”), Old English cost (“option, possibility; manner, condition”), Old English cystan (“to spend, get the value of, procure”), Old English cyst (“proof, test, trial; choice”), ċēosan (“to choose”).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
as far as I remember (from History of the English Language classes at university, I mean, not from the OE period itself - I'm not quite old enough to remember that!) there was already Latin influence on OE vocab long before the Norman Conquest. e.g. the "cheap"/"chipping" part of English placenames like Eastcheap, Chipping Camden etc comes from OE "ceap" (barter/market), which comes from Latin "caupo" (winemerchant - that always makes me laugh - I think we can infer what the ancient Germanics bought most of from the Romans). This word entered Proto-Germanic from Latin long before the Angles and Saxons left the continent. (The root of "church" also entered Proto-West Germanic from Greek long before Hengist and Horsa got on the boat).
That wouldn't surprise me at all, as there must have been some continental influences from Latin even centuries earlier.

I would also point out (for those interested in such things, I know you know this) that a great many words and placenames came from Norse invaders, who seem to go relatively unnoticed in English history compared to the later Norman invasion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
There was also a big influx of vocabulary during the Christianisation of England, through the monasteries. e.g. "cros" (=cross, although I accept that the native "rod"/"rood" was used more commonly), which entered OE in a pass-the-parcel process, via ON and OIr, from Latin "crux". e.g. 2 "altar" e.g. 3 "font" e.g. 4 "scol" (= Mod Eng "school", from Latin "schola")

Obviously, it was nothing like the influx of Norman French vocab after the conquest, but Latinate languages and Germanic languages were not hermetically sealed from one another prior to 1066.
I wouldn't deny that vocabulary appeared throughout the involvement of the Romans and later the Church in Britain, but I guess I was looking at that as a relatively minor issue compared to such things as the eventual disappearance of the case system and so forth.

You have raised a pretty interesting point though which many people may not notice consciously: English has a fairly layered vocabulary reflecting different periods. For example we retain words from three different sources all meaning roughly similar things:

kingly from OE cyning
regal from Latin rex
royal from OF roy


Anyway, this is unrelated, but in my readings this afternoon I found what claims to be a Gothic version of the Lord's Prayer:

atta unsar yu in himinam
weihnai namo yein.
qimai yiudinassus yeins.
wairyai wilja yeins.
swe in himina jah ana airyai.
hlaif unsarana yana sinteinan gif uns himma daga
jah aflet uns yatei skulans sijaima.
swaswe jah weis afletam yaim skulam unsaraim.
jah ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai.
ak lausei uns af yamma ubilin.

unte yeina ist yiudangardi. jah mahts jah wulyus in aiwins. amen



Last edited by canismajoris; September 5th, 2011 at 3:26 am.
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  #24  
Old September 5th, 2011, 12:47 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

Quote:
Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
I wouldn't deny that vocabulary appeared throughout the involvement of the Romans and later the Church in Britain, but I guess I was looking at that as a relatively minor issue compared to such things as the eventual disappearance of the case system and so forth.
I always understood that the case system had started to break down before the Norman Conquest and was more likely to have been the result of Norse invasions - in areas where two similar, just about mutually inteligible, Germanic languages were used side by side, people began to talk a mish-mash of the two and got round the problem of having two different case systems by just dropping the inflections all together. But I think that was a theory back when I was at college and I haven't followed developments in the field since then, so that may not be right.

What I find more interesting (and inexplicable) is how few words entered OE from Celtic. There's barely a trace, which is very odd, given that the Celts didn't all flee to Cornwall, Brittany, Wales and Scotland - I think I've heard that the average white British person from anywhere in the country has far more Celtic DNA than Germanic (and, given that Germanic DNA covers both Anglo-Saxon and Norman, that suggests that there were enormous numbers of Celts still hanging around).

I only know of three words remaining in modern English that entered the language from Celtic in the OE period and of those two are dialect and/or archaic ("bannock" - a type of flatbread and "brock", a poetic name for a badger). The only really everyday word is "bin". There may be a few more obscure words, but the paucity of Celtic loanwords in OE is quite bizarre.

Quote:
You have raised a pretty interesting point though which many people may not notice consciously: English has a fairly layered vocabulary reflecting different periods. For example we retain words from three different sources all meaning roughly similar things:

kingly from OE cyning
regal from Latin rex
royal from OF roy
That's one of the reasons why we have such a massive word stock compared to other languages. Polish friends are often surprised that there are some words in the English language I don't know and seem to think this is a sign of my shocking ignorance, but I doubt if there is any native speaker who knows all the words in the English language (and I am just talking about the ones in current use, still in the dictionary).

Quote:
Anyway, this is unrelated, but in my readings this afternoon I found what claims to be a Gothic version of the Lord's Prayer:
That's quite cool. There was a guy on my year at college who did a module in Gothic (those were the days when they would happily run a course just for one person who was interested in studying it.)

Quote:
Funny you should ask. It seems "costnunge" is a form of the verb "costian" or "to tempt, try, prove." The etymology I find is as follows:
From Old English cost (“tried, proven”) from Proto-Germanic *kustōnan. Akin to Old Saxon kostōn, Old High German kostōn (“to taste, test, try by tasting”) (German kosten), Icelandic kosta (“to try, tempt”), Gothic kausjan (“to taste”), Old English cost (“option, possibility; manner, condition”), Old English cystan (“to spend, get the value of, procure”), Old English cyst (“proof, test, trial; choice”), ċēosan (“to choose”).
Thanks for that! Another of life's mysteries solved.



Last edited by Melaszka; September 5th, 2011 at 12:58 pm.
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  #25  
Old September 5th, 2011, 4:11 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

Everytime I read this thread I get a little tingly.

I used to have such a thing for old languages.


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  #26  
Old September 5th, 2011, 6:06 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I always understood that the case system had started to break down before the Norman Conquest and was more likely to have been the result of Norse invasions - in areas where two similar, just about mutually inteligible, Germanic languages were used side by side, people began to talk a mish-mash of the two and got round the problem of having two different case systems by just dropping the inflections all together. But I think that was a theory back when I was at college and I haven't followed developments in the field since then, so that may not be right.
I was just reading about that as well... I think the theory is based on tracking manuscripts through to the Middle English period, which indicates that a case system persisted longest in the areas farthest away from Danish settlement. Or something like that. As for the meat of the argument, about smashing two similar language communities together, that's more complex than I'm qualified to think about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
What I find more interesting (and inexplicable) is how few words entered OE from Celtic. There's barely a trace, which is very odd, given that the Celts didn't all flee to Cornwall, Brittany, Wales and Scotland - I think I've heard that the average white British person from anywhere in the country has far more Celtic DNA than Germanic (and, given that Germanic DNA covers both Anglo-Saxon and Norman, that suggests that there were enormous numbers of Celts still hanging around).

I only know of three words remaining in modern English that entered the language from Celtic in the OE period and of those two are dialect and/or archaic ("bannock" - a type of flatbread and "brock", a poetic name for a badger). The only really everyday word is "bin". There may be a few more obscure words, but the paucity of Celtic loanwords in OE is quite bizarre.
I know lots of people have tried to answer that question over the years, but all I can guess is that the celts in the area were driven off, killed, enslaved, or bred out so completely that their languages lost traction. It does pay to speak the language of a victorious conqueror, after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
That's one of the reasons why we have such a massive word stock compared to other languages. Polish friends are often surprised that there are some words in the English language I don't know and seem to think this is a sign of my shocking ignorance, but I doubt if there is any native speaker who knows all the words in the English language (and I am just talking about the ones in current use, still in the dictionary).
Indeed, and one thing I like to think about is the role of literature in our vocabulary over the centuries. For instance, if Chaucer or Shakespeare had made a slightly different choice in a single work it might have drastically altered how we communicate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
That's quite cool. There was a guy on my year at college who did a module in Gothic (those were the days when they would happily run a course just for one person who was interested in studying it.)
Alas...



Last edited by canismajoris; September 5th, 2011 at 6:09 pm.
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  #27  
Old September 5th, 2011, 11:24 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

During both my undergrad and grad, I wanted to take classes about Old English, but it never worked out. Does anyone know of any good textbooks about Old and/or Middle English? I've bookmarked the ones used by the local universities, but I'd like to get some feedback from people who have used them.


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  #28  
Old September 5th, 2011, 11:47 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Originally Posted by SBNB View Post
During both my undergrad and grad, I wanted to take classes about Old English, but it never worked out. Does anyone know of any good textbooks about Old and/or Middle English? I've bookmarked the ones used by the local universities, but I'd like to get some feedback from people who have used them.
When I was at university, we used A Guide To Old English by Mitchell and Robinson, which I remember as being quite good as a taught course text - not sure how suitable it is for self-study, it was too long ago. I also had Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader which is a bit rubbish - you can't learn Old English from it, it's just an anthology of texts with a vocab list at the back, from what I can recall.

But this was more than 20 years ago - I expect there are much better books out there now.


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Old September 5th, 2011, 11:53 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

I own two books recommended to me by my professor but I packed them up already and I can't for the life of me remember the authors or the titles. It's been quite a while since I read them. I do remember that they were quite helpful. Sorry, can't be of more help right now.


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  #30  
Old September 6th, 2011, 3:10 am
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Originally Posted by SBNB View Post
During both my undergrad and grad, I wanted to take classes about Old English, but it never worked out. Does anyone know of any good textbooks about Old and/or Middle English? I've bookmarked the ones used by the local universities, but I'd like to get some feedback from people who have used them.
For Middle English, I think what you'd really need is a good reader with extensive glossary. The only one I've owned is here, so I can't give you much other recommendation. It's a fairly broad anthology of texts throughout the period of Middle English but not limited to texts in Middle English. I recommend it because the editor focused quite a bit of attention on making the language accessible and the genres and influences easy to piece together into a bigger picture. (Edit: That does not mean the texts are modernized, however--I realized my comment may have indicated this. There are Latin and French texts in translation, but all Middle English is pretty well preserved in its original form, although I believe harmonized.)

Otherwise I can mention the names Skeat and Tolkien as philological authorities if you have access to a scholarly library.



Last edited by canismajoris; September 6th, 2011 at 3:16 am.
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  #31  
Old September 6th, 2011, 7:33 am
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Re: Old and Middle English

Quote:
Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
Anyway, this is unrelated, but in my readings this afternoon I found what claims to be a Gothic version of the Lord's Prayer:

atta unsar yu in himinam
weihnai namo yein.
qimai yiudinassus yeins.
wairyai wilja yeins.
swe in himina jah ana airyai.
hlaif unsarana yana sinteinan gif uns himma daga
jah aflet uns yatei skulans sijaima.
swaswe jah weis afletam yaim skulam unsaraim.
jah ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai.
ak lausei uns af yamma ubilin.

unte yeina ist yiudangardi. jah mahts jah wulyus in aiwins. amen
Further on the unrelated track.
Seems to come from bishop Wulfila's (4th century ad) Bible. An educated guess might be that this text is copied from Codex Argenteus, a 6th century copy of that Bible brought to Sweden as loot in the 17th century. According to my source Wulfila used the Greek letter psi for a sound rather similar to 'th' in modern English. Which means the transliteration of his psi (Ψ) should be , not y. And that makes it much easier to see similarities between this Gothic version of the prayer and those Old English, Old Norse and Icelandic versions Irpa provided.

If we take the 4th row and replace y with we get 'wairai wilja eins' and it's easy to see that those three words are the same as in th Old Norse 'vri vili in'.

I'm no expert in this field, I just happen to own an interesting little book about dead languages written by a Swedish scholar named Ola Wikander.


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  #32  
Old September 6th, 2011, 11:45 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
According to my source Wulfila used the Greek letter psi for a sound rather similar to 'th' in modern English. Which means the transliteration of his psi (Ψ) should be , not y.
I think "y" was often used in England to represent the sound after runic letters stopped being used, as well - hence "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe".


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  #33  
Old September 7th, 2011, 7:58 am
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I think "y" was often used in England to represent the sound after runic letters stopped being used, as well - hence "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe".
I stand corrected.


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  #34  
Old September 9th, 2011, 5:41 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
Further on the unrelated track.
Seems to come from bishop Wulfila's (4th century ad) Bible. An educated guess might be that this text is copied from Codex Argenteus, a 6th century copy of that Bible brought to Sweden as loot in the 17th century. According to my source Wulfila used the Greek letter psi for a sound rather similar to 'th' in modern English. Which means the transliteration of his psi (Ψ) should be , not y. And that makes it much easier to see similarities between this Gothic version of the prayer and those Old English, Old Norse and Icelandic versions Irpa provided.

If we take the 4th row and replace y with we get 'wairai wilja eins' and it's easy to see that those three words are the same as in th Old Norse 'vri vili in'.

I'm no expert in this field, I just happen to own an interesting little book about dead languages written by a Swedish scholar named Ola Wikander.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I think "y" was often used in England to represent the sound after runic letters stopped being used, as well - hence "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
I stand corrected.
I did some checking into this, and it does actually appear that the Codex Argenteus, from which this version of the prayer indeed appears to be taken, uses a Ψ in places where a Germanic reader might expect to see a .

You can inspect a manuscript fragment here--I may have misunderstood, but it looks like Alastor was right, or at least close:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oratio_Dominica.jpg


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  #35  
Old September 10th, 2011, 12:38 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Posted by Alastor
I stand corrected.
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Originally Posted by canismajoris View Post
You can inspect a manuscript fragment here--I may have misunderstood, but it looks like Alastor was right, or at least close:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oratio_Dominica.jpg
I'm sure Alastor is right and I didn't mean to suggest he wasn't - just pointing out that thorn was transliterated as, or misread as, Y in English and that is the origin of the Ye Olde Touriste Signe tradition.


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  #36  
Old September 10th, 2011, 4:40 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

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Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I'm sure Alastor is right and I didn't mean to suggest he wasn't - just pointing out that thorn was transliterated as, or misread as, Y in English and that is the origin of the Ye Olde Touriste Signe tradition.
That is one of my favorite (or is that least favorite?) little quirks of English, actually... I guess I can see how it happened, but I try my best to um, "educate" people about it. The problem is I don't understand what people think it means. For example I heard someone say something once like "it's not ME olde coffee shoppe, it's YE olde coffee shoppe." Perhaps that was just a pun, but I think it illustrates that there's some confusion about erstwhile articles and pronouns.


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  #37  
Old September 14th, 2011, 9:41 am
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Re: Old and Middle English

Nowadays Icelandic is the only language that has kept the "thorn" letter () and you can find it in the Old English "Thou" for you and that means "" in Icelandic. Reading the Old English version of "Our father" immediately reminded me of the Icelandic version of the prayer (I sometimes go to an icelandic church and I am learning the language), so I reckon that once upon a time English was more closely related to the old Nordic languages than to Latin, but then English has been subjected to more changes than Icelandic has. And the term "window" comes from Old Norse too, it meant "wind eye" (vindauga).


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  #38  
Old September 14th, 2011, 8:05 pm
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Re: Old and Middle English

Wow, it's been awhile since I've thought much about Old and Middle English. I used to find it fascinating, and I think this thread has just rekindled my interest! Interesting to see the relations between Old English and Nordic languages. I was wondering how the Gaelic and Welsh languages compare. Are they similar or completely separate?


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  #39  
Old September 15th, 2011, 10:20 am
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Re: Old and Middle English

@pumpkinpuff: As far as I know Welsh and Gaelic are separate from Old or Middle English, but there might be some cross-over regarding words. As a German person I can read Old English reasonably well as its structure is more similar to German than nowadays's English. Welsh and Gaelic are non-Germanic languages though.


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  #40  
Old September 15th, 2011, 11:18 am
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Re: Old and Middle English

I studied English Language at A Level and got my grade just this year. I managed a B overall but an A on the exam, which I was proud about.

My point anyway is that the second year of the course, half the exam is on old and middle English language. It really is very dull work but I persevered and was shocked but also obviously pleased to find I got an A on the exam.

I just find it interesting that a lot of English people are either woefully ignorant of old and middle English or, like me, find it dull and boring.


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