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Author Topic: Are in Old English  (Read 7936 times)

David

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Are in Old English
« on: July 24, 2017, 04:57:59 PM »
When learning Old English, whether from books or a course, we are given 10th century West Saxon as the standard. They all seem to give us “sind” as the standard Old English for “are”, when coming from wesan rather bēon, although they do mention other possibilities. Some of these are
Seondon, siendon, sient, sindon, sindun, sint, synd, syndon and synt
Not forgetting Kentist siondon/siont and northern earun/aron.
 
However in his book “Development of Old English” Ringe seems to suggests that “sind” was the early standard but in later West Saxon it was “sint”.

Bowerthane

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2017, 02:55:13 PM »
New one on me.  I don't remember coming across 'sint' in original Old English and if I did, I'd assume it was no more than one of the variant spellings of 'sind' one occasionally comes across.




Jayson

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2017, 03:24:46 PM »
Of course, 'sind' is modern-day German:  Wir sind     But it is pronounced as though the last letter were a 't', so perhaps how it was pronounced in A-S and got written down that way.
Wessex Woman

peter horn

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2017, 09:35:24 PM »
the Anglo-Saxons, like Shakespeare, couldn't spell for toffee
Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

David

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2017, 03:46:48 PM »
In Old English you do get different spellings and even spelling errors. Some scribes would have been brought up in one region and then worked in another and so used different spellings from the different dialects.
 
However the different words for “are” are not random spelling mistakes. Ringe says that the northern aron/earun comes from a different verb which we have only seen elsewhere in the Old Saxon “eru”.
 
Sind is the standard word which comes from “sindi” which is what we think is the Germanic for “are” in the third person (they). In the 1st person (we) we think that it was “izum” and the 2nd person(you) we think it was “izud”. Then it is suggested that the “-on” ending came from the influence of preterite-present verbs. In very late Old English “i”, “ie” and “y” tended to merge and the spellings swap around.
 
“Sint” seems to be a West Saxon variant. If it was just a spelling mistake you would expect it in all areas and then why was the change only “d” to “t”. It would be nice to say that that the softening of “d” to “t” was a natural development. However in the Germanic languages all of “d”, “t” and “þ” seemed to transform into any of the other letters.

Bowerthane

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2017, 02:46:44 PM »

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[T]he Anglo-Saxons... couldn't spell for toffee

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Crumbs, that's a new one on me, too!  Old English has always impressed me by how consistent the spelling is, on the whole.  Certainly better than what we know of contemporary vernaculars or Hibernian Latin, and never mind Modern English ( not that that's saying a lot).

If I were a suspicious person I'd think you're just teasing :P  us, Peter!





peter horn

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 11:30:40 AM »

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[T]he Anglo-Saxons... couldn't spell for toffee

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Crumbs, that's a new one on me, too!  Old English has always impressed me by how consistent the spelling is, on the whole.  Certainly better than what we know of contemporary vernaculars or Hibernian Latin, and never mind Modern English ( not that that's saying a lot).

If I were a suspicious person I'd think you're just teasing :P  us, Peter!


In absence of a dictionary spelling not standardised.  presumably spelt as pronounced, but pronounced differently no doubt in different areas.
if you read translations then the scholars will 'correct' words.
In Beowulf the name 'Beowulf' is never spelt beowulf.
they never had a Clark Hall
shakespeare spell his name in I think 6 different versions
Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

David

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2017, 08:44:06 PM »

_____________________________________
[T]he Anglo-Saxons... couldn't spell for toffee

_____________________________________


Crumbs, that's a new one on me, too!  Old English has always impressed me by how consistent the spelling is, on the whole.  Certainly better than what we know of contemporary vernaculars or Hibernian Latin, and never mind Modern English ( not that that's saying a lot).

If I were a suspicious person I'd think you're just teasing :P  us, Peter!


In absence of a dictionary spelling not standardised.  presumably spelt as pronounced, but pronounced differently no doubt in different areas.
if you read translations then the scholars will 'correct' words.
In Beowulf the name 'Beowulf' is never spelt beowulf.
they never had a Clark Hall
shakespeare spell his name in I think 6 different versions


I was interested to see how “Beowulf” was spelt in Beowulf.
 
I was surprised to find that in my copy of the book the spelling was always “Bēowulf” in the first half of the poem and always “Bīowulf” in the second half. “Bīo” was the older spelling/pronunciation of “bēo”. It appears that one scribe wrote the first half of the only surviving manuscript and a different scribe wrote the second half.
 
I thought that this might have been some tidying up in transliteration so I went back to the manuscript. I found that the first 10 spellings were all “beowulf” and then gave up. These were on lines 18, 53, 343,364, 405, 457, 501, 506, 529 and 609. Actually the spelling on line 609 was “-wulf” as the corner of the page was missing.
 
Can you tell me what the other spellings were and where they appear.
 
I was intrigued to see that on line 588 þum was written for þū. I have seen it the other way round but this is very strange.

Bowerthane

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 02:06:58 PM »
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
In absence of a dictionary spelling not standardised./  presumably spelt as pronounced, but pronounced differently no doubt in different areas. / if you read translations then the scholars will 'correct' words./ In Beowulf the name 'Beowulf' is never spelt beowulf./ they never had a Clark Hall
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Aha, looks as if we’re talking past each other.  When you wrote “spell” I took you to mean orthography, as in the fidelity of grapheme to phoneme.  It is because their spelling is so good in this sense that we can tell one Old English dialect from another, catch transcription errors, reconstruct e.g. Old Mercian words from their West Saxon stablemates and thereby detect Old Mercian influence in an otherwise West Saxon MS.  This is what Terry Jones meant when he compared reading Chaucer to hearing Middle English on a tape recorder, an effect you can also enjoy when you get the hang of reading most Old English texts aloud in the original, but not really with the Verdun Oaths of 843 AD, and you’d struggle to do that in Early English in which, for instance, all the double letters in the sermons seem to be for the benefit of Norman clergymen reading out a language not native to them. 


Judged by modern expectations, just about any language before invention of the printing press ( when the Ks dropped out of Welsh because, if memory serves, Caxton didn’t have enough of that type character) is badly spelt.   


Yet who’s legislating to say they should be?  Whereas, relative to the orthography of just about any other Dark Age/ Early Medieval language, Old English is an oasis of clarity and consistency, and even made advances in punctuation and word spacing.  Why else did Charlemagne send for Old English scholars to save Church Latin from the crisis it reached in the ninth century, when nothing like mother-tongue Latin existed any more? 



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The moral right of the author to be identified by palaeographic analysis of the Beowulf manuscript has been asserted.

peter horn

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 02:50:43 PM »
In the absence of a dictionary, who is to judge whether a word is spelt correctly or not?
Sweet in his Student's Dict of AS,
lists 60+ variations of spelling
where, for example,  if a word starting with 'a' cannot be found then it is likely to be found under æ or ea.
and so on. 


according to Wyatt/Chambers a well-known edition of Beowulf
the  spelling is inconsistent in Beowulf
He gives as an example, moncynn, mancynne, moncynnes, mon cynnes
He adds, the spelling gets worse in Middle English.
Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

David

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 06:09:09 PM »
Yes you can get one person using an “a” where another would use “ea” and another “æ” but these are not examples of people can’t spell for toffees. These are examples of different spellings in different time periods and different dialects.
 
As for your mancynn examples “man” and “mon” are recognised alternatives. The “-e” and “-es” are the genitive and dative case endings and are an example of good spelling. Then it was common to write compound words as two separate words so I do not count that as a spelling mistake.
 
When I said that the first ten spellings of Beowulf were Beowulf I included the genitive Beowulfes and the dative Beowulfe. It is interesting that later when Biowulf was used they still used the genitive “-es” and dative “-e” when with the earlier Biowulf spelling you might have expected the earlier genitive “-æs” and dative “-æ”.

peter horn

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 04:18:25 PM »
Yes you can get one person using an “a” where another would use “ea” and another “æ” but these are not examples of people can’t spell for toffees. These are examples of different spellings in different time periods and different dialects.
 
As for your mancynn examples “man” and “mon” are recognised alternatives. The “-e” and “-es” are the genitive and dative case endings and are an example of good spelling. Then it was common to write compound words as two separate words so I do not count that as a spelling mistake.
 
When I said that the first ten spellings of Beowulf were Beowulf I included the genitive Beowulfes and the dative Beowulfe. It is interesting that later when Biowulf was used they still used the genitive “-es” and dative “-e” when with the earlier Biowulf spelling you might have expected the earlier genitive “-æs” and dative “-æ”.


yes but who lays down all these complicated rules of grammar?
remember language comes first and grammar very much later
what proof is there that they are different spellings at different
time periods and different dialects. to prove this one would  need
manuscripts at these periods and of there dialects.
Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

David

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 06:41:16 PM »
Several people have worked very hard on the phonology of our language and although there is not perfect agreement there is a very full agreed process. For this can I recommend
Campbell’s “Old English Grammmar”
Hogg’s “A Grammar of Old English  Volume 1 Phonology”    and
Ringe’s “Development of Old English”
 
They all agree that the West Germanic “a” was often fronted to give “æ” in early Old English which was then broken to give “ea” in Kentish and West Saxon but restored to give “a” in Anglian.
For example haldan > hældan > healdan  in West Saxon and Kentish but
             haldan > hældan > haldan  in Anglian.
 
As for Beowulf just go back to the manuscript and you will see that the spelling was Beowulf throughout the first half of the poem.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 06:42:55 PM by David »

peter horn

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2017, 10:00:42 AM »
with regard to the lack consistency in spelling, not only by the Anglo-Saxon scribes but by everyone, including Shakespeare,
prior to the appearance of dictionaries, the most amusing example is by the Anglo-Saxon scribe who compiled the Lacnunga.
He spells Celandine as follows:
cil∂enige
cel∂genie
cele∂once
ci∂enige
celdenian
celle∂encan
cycle∂enigan
cyleenigean...... and so on
I lost count of the number of variations in spelling
he couldn't spell for toffee!
Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

David

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Re: Are in Old English
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2017, 08:19:38 PM »
Well done you have found one Anglo-Saxon who can't spell one word for toffees.


Other Anglo Saxons seem to do much better with other words.


I was talking about "are" and "Beowulf".