Old English is the language you think you know until you actually hear or see it. Unlike Shakespearean English or even Chaucer’s Middle English, Old English—the language of Beowulf—defies comprehension by untrained modern readers. Used throughout much of Britain more than a thousand years ago, it is rich with words that haven’t changed (like word), others that are unrecognizable (such as neorxnawang, or paradise), and some that are mystifying even in translation (gafol-fisc, or tax-fish). In this delightful book, Hana Videen gathers a glorious trove of these gems and uses them to illuminate the lives of the earliest English speakers. We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friendship, and where you might grow up to be a laughter-smith.
About the Author
Hana Videen has been hoarding Old English words since 2013, when she began tweeting one a day. Now more 20,000 people follow these gems from her wordhord. A writer and blogger, she holds a PhD in Old English from King’s College London and lives in Toronto. Website www.oldenglishwordhord.com Twitter @OEWordhord