Sunday, October 16, 2005

Today in Old English

Hwæt!

Anno mmv. Todæg is se xvi dæg þæs monþes þe mon nemneð October, þæt is on ure geþeode winterfylleð. Hit is sunnandæg.

Wilcume. Ic grete þe freondlice.


Hear me!

2005. Today is the 16th day of the month that is called October, that is in our tongue October. It is Sunday.

Welcome. I greet you in friendship.


Hwæt! is the first word of Beowulf, where translators render it variously as Lo, Listen, Hear me, and Yes. There is in fact no translation equivalent in Modern English, and using a dictionary isn't much help. I had to do a compulsory Anglo Saxon module when I was at university and I really wish I'd paid more attention when I had the opportunity. I don't regret many things, but I regret that.

I've been thinking about this while I've been off-line. I think Hwæt! translates better as "Hey!" My kids don't greet each other with Hi or Hello, Listen up, or Yo (except in jest). So Hwæt! Hey!

And wasn't it such fun to wind up the thicko moderators on the 5Live message boards by posting in old English!

Category: English Language_

4 Comments:

Blogger Span Ows said...

I still can't write anything in OE...when you say 'tag' what do you mean...do you actually write 'tag'...etc?

Mon Oct 17, 02:34:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Span Ows said...

I'm also intrigued by the deleted comment on the Viking post...not evryone's as nice as me...but give us a clue...who said what...?

Mon Oct 17, 02:35:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Span Ows said...

OE...?/..OF...IT...LL...L...?

Tue Oct 18, 10:14:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Are you coughing up a hair ball?

Wed Oct 19, 12:45:00 AM GMT+1  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home