Tag Archives: Old English

O is for Apostrophe

There are three kinds of apostrophes, grammatical don’t you know, botanical (when bits of protoplasm and such gather on plant cell walls adjacent to other plant cell walls,… More

Rune Casting: Æsc

You getting it from all sides? Lots of people want to take you on? Something’s coming for you, but this is the Æsc rune, and it is used to a good fight. It’s seen plenty of battles,… More

Rune Casting: Os

You want to hear from your God and got the God rune. You pulled a rune that tells you to talk to the Gods with runes. That’s some nested levels of scale messaging from your deity right… More

The ᚩ rune (O, Os) and the ᚪ (A, Ac) both started the same way, as new shapes of the ᚫ rune (Æ, Æsc) which once made the sound of the letter A, stood in the fourth position of the alphabet, and… More

Vowels are slippery things. They shift around and we have to learn which sound differences to ignore as another person’s accent and which ones change meaning. In the earliest… More

Stanza 27: Bow

byþ æþelinga          eorla gehwæs.
wyn and wyrþmynd.         byþ on wicge fæger.
fæstlic on færelde.         fyrdgeatewa sum
᛬᛫

It is for the prince and the noble
Whose joy andMore

Stanza 3: Thorn

Þ byþ ðearle scearp.         ðegna gehwylcum.
anfengys yfyl         ungemetun reþe.
manna gehwylcun.         ðe him mid resteð
᛬᛫

It is severely sharp for all of the thegns.
LayingMore

Translating Thorn

Let’s worry about the þegna, the thegns. They set up camp at night, prepare food, tend to horses, fires. Get ordered around by el jefe to do every damn thing. They can’t … More

Translating Yr

In Old English yr means only the name for this rune. A bow is a guess, a bow made out of yew. In Old Norse yr means the yew tree. The Icelandic Rune Poem says yr is “bent bow and brittle… More

Rune Casting: Thorn

You all right? You seem uncomfortable. Well you should be, with what’s coming to you. You got the Thorn rune. You’ve put yourself into a prickly situation so don’t… More

Rune Casting: Yr

Look at you, you’re a gorgeous one. Hello. Such a pleasure to see you looking so impressive today. You’re good for looking at, is this the rune you picked? Yr? It looks good… More

Say something. Go ahead, you heard me, say it and listen to yourself. Now say it about a hundred years ago. Hear it? You can hear it. Different. Speech sounds change. Accents change. … More

Þ

Thorn survived for ages. That kind of longevity in a dead letter deserves a eulogy. Ye, though Thorn has walked through the valley of the shadow of death it has surely found its way to … More

Stanza 2: Aurochs

byþ anmod.         and ofer hyrned.
fela frecne. deor         feohteþ. mid hornum.
mære morstapa.          is modig wuht
᛬᛫

It is singleminded and overhorned
Fiercely dangerousMore

Stanza 28: Beaver

byþ ea fixa         and ðeah abruceþ.
fodres on foldan.         hafaþ fægerne eard.

wætre beworpen.         ðær he wynnum leofaþ ᛬᛫

It is a river fish, though it always enjoys
Foraging
More

Translating Ior

What is this thing Ior? Runes are riddles and this one is unsolved, but let’s try anyway.

The Rune Poem calls ior a river fish that forages on land. Amphibian. Eel fits well. Some… More

Translating Ur

Ur, the aurochs, is a wild bovine, a cow but not a normal cow. Dangerous. Think of the fiercest cows you know: the toro bravo they use for bull fighting, or the Jersey dairy bull which … More

Moody Joy

The rune carvers prized beaver fur and skin, their teeth made a great necklace found sometimes in the graves of women and children and once around the neck of a dog, and by church decree… More

Rune Casting: Ior

Well look at that you got the Ior rune. Nice. Beaver, probably. Some say eel. Beaver is happier. When have you ever seen a cheerful eel?

You’re doing alright, I can see that. You’ve… More

Rune Casting: Ur

I hope you’re ready for a fight because you are about to be flattened so badly you’ll be famous for it. Something is howling in from the wilderness, sent to blow your lifeMore

IO: extinct Old English diphthong. Of the bajillions of possible sounds we can make with our voices, only a few are needed for language. We made this one redundant. Exiled. Fired its… More

Send air through your larynx without stopping it. Let it pass freely. Let it through, some things you just have to let go. That’s a vowel. Stop the air with your throat or mouth,… More

Stanza 29: The Grave

byþ egle         eorla gehwylcun.
ðonn fæstlice         flæsc onginneþ.
hraw colian         hrusan ceosan
blac to gebeddan         bleda gedreosaþ.
wynna gewitaþ        
More

Stanza 1: Wealth

ᚠ  byþ frofur.         fira gehwylcum.
Sceal ðeah manna gehwylc.         miclun hyt dælan.
gif he wile. for drihtne         domes hleotan
᛬᛫

It is a consolation to each one of us,More

Translating Feoh

Feoh means cattle, which meant everything to the rune carvers. People kept sheep and pigs, but it’s the cows that were the money. Cattle are useful, they pull things, they’re… More

Translating Ear

Old English uses very few words at a time, but in all the minimalism there’s a massive amount of meaning: often multiple meanings of the same word are intended, black is sometimes… More

Byþ

Remember your future, what you thought it would be. Put yours in mind, it’s different for different people. You know that, obviously, but I’m not talking about individual… More

Octave

The rune carvers, the people who knew the Rune Poem by heart, probably sang it. There’s a lot of evidence for that, not to mention putting a story to music makes the retelling easier… More

Against every Evil Rune Poem

How are you feeling, you ok? You don’t look so good. You’ve been reckless haven’t you, got a bit too close and breathed in. I know what you’ve been doing. But… More

Rune Casting: Feoh

Feoh means money, in the form of cattle. Think of a cow’s value: milk, meat, hide, tallow, vellum, pulling heavy stuff. That’s good money. Your stock picks will be bullish and your cow… More