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Author Topic: Old English remaining in dialects  (Read 5933 times)

Jayson

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Old English remaining in dialects
« on: May 18, 2012, 08:12:20 PM »
---it has recently occurred to me that there still seems to be a number of Old English words remaining
in our dialects or manner of speaking.   For instance, the way people north of the Watford Gap pronounce 'u' or 'ou' is the same as in OE and different from the way they are pronounced in the south or west.  Then, too, in Yorkshire/Lancashire some still say 'tha' for 'you' or 'your', and since the word for 'learn' or 'teach' can be the same in OE, then when a man says to his errant child 'I'll larn yer' he's being quite correct.

Does anyone know of a book about this subject or if there isn't one, I'd love to have a shot at writing an article on it  --  if someone could give me some tips!
Wessex Woman

peter horn

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Re: Old English remaining in dialects
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 11:47:06 AM »
there are a lot of old english words remaining in modern english. It would be virtually impossible to converse in modern english without the old english words at its core.

lawrence

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Re: Old English remaining in dialects
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 03:08:58 PM »
When I first started to read OE I often found it useful to read it aloud in the accent of my grandfather - often passages suddenly came to life and were understandable.

Interestingly (well, to me anyway)  I still use thee and thou but only with those closest to me - it's often the greatest compliment I can pay someone, albeit unconsciously,  if I am relaxed enough with them to drift into the dialect I used to speak as a child and which was all but knocked out of me by teachers who couldn't understand me and the low social esteem in which dialect is generally held.

Cheers,

Lawrence

Jayson

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Re: Old English remaining in dialects
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 05:33:45 PM »
Hello Peter!   Yes, I do realise that modern English is old English with bits added, but I am interested in dialect which still has old English in it that modern English doesn't  --  if that makes sense?

And, Lawrence, yes, I like the 'tha' and for your reasons.
Wessex Woman

David

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Re: Old English remaining in dialects
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 10:23:56 AM »

Lā, þā iċ rӕde “Nū is hē gōd” þā cweðe iċ “Neo hī ise gūd” , mai acsent.
I feel happier reading and speaking old English in my best attempt at an old English accent and modern English in my natural accent.

As for thee and thou/you, that is a terrible can of worms. Present day English have the well- defined “you” words. Old English have the well-defined “þū/ġit/ġe” words. In late middle English/ early modern English they introduced the “thou” words. So in the singular you would use a “you” word or “thou” word depending on such things as intimacy and status etc. The degree of intimacy and status are difficult to define and agree so people could be upset or feel insulted. This led to court cases and family feuds.  You even get the “curse” “I will thou thee!” I feel that the “thou” words were a terrible plague on our language and we are well rid of them.

Horsa

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Re: Old English remaining in dialects
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 10:17:58 PM »
"Thou" as a signifier of social relationship can be fairly confusing, but thou descends from old English 'þú' which signified one person being addressed rather than a cocktail of social status and intimacy. Swedish had a similar problem with the words 'er' (gé) and 'du' (þú). Instead of getting rid of 'du' they brought it back to its original meaning of 2nd person singular. I believe this was heavily influenced by use within the social democratic movement. Anyway, we now have no way of distinguishing whether 'you' refers to singular or plural other than context. Speaking a variant of English that doesn't have thee or thou, I don't particularly miss it, but a part of me would like to have it and 'git' back. I seem to remember reading that some variants of English are constructing forms to differentiate you plural from singular - 'youse' and 'y'all' being examples of relatively new 2nd person plural forms.