So, the "How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?"
has produced some great conversations and has wandered off topic a few times, but I thought that I should transfer this to its own thread because we don't want to clutter up the thread with off topic conversations, and I think booze deserves a thread all of its own.
Lith is harder to pin down. I think, but cannot prove it, that Lith prob means mild. We say today, or we used to say not that long ago, 'a pint of Mild' Lith was certainly used by the AS to mean a weaker (less alcoholic?) form of drink.
I'm very curious about líþ
being certainly used to refer to weaker less alcoholic drinks. What leads you to this conclusion. I understood it to mean 'strong drink', but then I'm getting that only from B&T - entry for líþ
. However, when I read the entry, there's not much about the example sentences that suggests 'strong drink'. In fact, a couple of them suggest that it was a generic term for drink - almost certainly alcoholic given the nature of mediaeval practice. Then again, I don't know latin, and B&T although good and comprehensive does have its problems. You seem to have access to some great sources, so you could enlighten me on this.
It's interesting that you mention mild. That's my favourite beer. Indeed it is characterized these days by its low alcohol content as well as the low hopping rate. However, according to Graham Wheeler, a beer historian, mild was originally called such to differentiate it from 'stale'. In the 1700s, properly matured beer had started the process of turning to vinegar and had a sour acidic taste. Mild was the same beer but served young.
The point I'm making is that líþ
may well mean mild
, but it might not necessarily refer to alcohol content as we can see with mild. Then again you did put a question mark by 'less alcoholic'.
Peter, you said you were a botanist and come at the subject from that perspective. I come at this subject as a home brewer. What gets me about beer making is that it's so labour intensive. You need to grow the barley, harvest it, malt it (which takes about 3 days and lots of attention), then you kiln it, crush it, steep it, run off the wort, boil it, cool it, ferment it. Mead and wine is so much easier. Mead, mix honey with water, add yeast and wait. Wine - crush and press the fruit, wait (fruit has yeast on the skins so you don't even have to add yeast).
It is interesting that all the Germanic names for cider translate into apple-wine. This suggests that the drink was imported after wine had become established.