A Taste of Old English

I discovered a video today which provides a taste of Old English:

It was filmed at the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk in the east of England. The village has reconstructed Anglo-Saxon houses, and stages living history re-enactments of Anglo-Saxon life, including, it seems, some Old English.

I found that I could understand the Old English pretty well – both spoken and written (see YouTube or Đa Engliscan Gesiðas for a transcription and translation). How much can you understand?

13 thoughts on “A Taste of Old English

  1. I could undertand the Old English fairly well which is probably due to the talk on the video being of short and simple sentences and it reminded me of something not quite Scandinavian and not quite English but somewhere in the middle?
    Funnily enough just down the road in East Anglian terms and over the border is a place called Cockley Cley near Swaffham in the neighbouring county Norfolk where there is the Iceni reconstruction village which is open to the public and also further back in time, inbetween West Stow and Cockley Cley there’s Grime’s Graves a prehistoric flint mine near Lynford, Thetford Norfolk.

  2. I understood it quite well, thanks to knowledge of both English and German.

  3. Funny, not just traces but complete words found in German and Dutch, with a touch of a Swedish accent!

  4. Being able to speak English, German and Swedish, I pretty much understood everything. I pretty much feel like there is general mutual intelligibility in all the germanic basics, though.

  5. I think it’s funny that the words for “smell” reminds one of “stink”.

  6. I understood most of it. Being from Holland and knowing something about the origin of languages in Europe it did not surprise me to hear some Dutch (like “vuur” for fire), German and sort of Danish.

  7. I understood it, but only because of the basic vocabulary. I’ve looked at little bits of Old English, and even with my German knowledge, I know if he had actually said anything vaguely interesting, I wouldn’t have understood.

  8. Has anyone heard of the West Germanic language called Vilamovian, also known as Wilamowicean after the Polish town of Wilamowice (where it’s spoken)? I based the entries I created of the language on those from the Polish language version of Wiktionary, and they can be seen here. (By the way, I know why the language’s moribund.)

  9. Note that even though I don’t fully understand Polish, I sometimes used the Bing and Google translate gadgets to do my work often (under my Wikimedia username Lo Ximiendo). The user who seems to have done a bit of work in Vilamovian language affairs is Spl908455.

  10. @pittmirg: What do M, D, C, and B stand for in the grammar sketch?

  11. mianownik, dopełniacz, celownik, biernik or the nominative, genitive, dative and accusative, respectively.

  12. Very cool, I love how you can really hear the German roots of the language in this, lovely.


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