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Author Topic: Old English still current in dialects  (Read 5047 times)


  • Hlaford
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Old English still current in dialects
« on: April 03, 2013, 03:36:02 PM »
On thinking about it, I have been fascinated to realise that recent, or even current, British dialects seem to contain elements of Old English which are not now in use in our modern language.       For instance, 'thee' and 'thou', reduced to 'tha' is, I believe, still used in Yorkshire.  'He/she be', (he/heo bith).  'Thaem things' ('the' and 'those' dative plural) The Lowland (Sassanach) term of 'thon' for 'that' could be said to come from 'thone'.   And, finally, I always thought that the irate expression: 'I'll larn you!' for 'I'll teach you!!' was just bad grammar but have now found out that 'laeran' means 'to teach' so it is quite correct, just Old English.      If any of our members has a more complete knowledge of English dialects than I have, I am sure it would make a very interesting article for the Magazine.   Meanwhile, what other Old English dialect words can members suggest for this forum?
Wessex Woman


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Re: Old English still current in dialects
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 10:28:50 PM »
Seamus Heaney, Nobel prize winning poet and bugbear of Beowulf fans and Anglo-saxonists, says that in his translation of Beowulf he translated the Old English verb '├żolode' with 'tholed', which was (is?) current in his dialect of Northern Irish English.


  • ceorl
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  • Posts: 38
Re: Old English still current in dialects
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 11:50:15 PM »
To give two examples that spring immediately to mind, in the Lancashire of my grandfather (probably the north of England in general) the plural of "child" was "Childer", of "shoe", "shoon".  There are lots of other examples.   

Although I say, "The Lancashire of my grandfather", these words are still occasionally found in some quarters and certainly I use them occasionally when I drift into dialect, which was, after all, my native language.  I think I have mentioned before here that when I first tried to read anglo saxon manuscripts often, if I were to read the passages out loud in the accent of my grandfather, things became clearer as familiar words and pronunciations came to light.

peter horn

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Re: Old English still current in dialects
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 03:05:03 PM »
I remember my Bedfordshire granny saying "This gansey is full of bracs" she also pronounced 'four' as fower. my mother used the word 'orts' meaning 'food left on a plate' , which I believe is derived from the OE.

I should have taken notes


  • Guest
Re: Old English still current in dialects
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2013, 08:44:43 PM »
Interesting to read about dialects, just came back from home (the Pennines) as I was leaving a friend told why he was late.  He said " a geen reet oer stane wall an cruckled."  I understand cruckled has links to O E.  in my dialect it means to twist something.