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Author Topic: Alfred's name  (Read 5672 times)

David

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Alfred's name
« on: January 01, 2019, 05:22:17 PM »
I read today that King Ælfrēd used the Mercian form of his name. At that time the West Mercian version would have been Ielfrǣd. Later in West Saxon the earlier West Saxon form for elf was kept in the plural but they used the old Mercian form in the singular.

Eanflaed

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Re: Alfred's name
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2019, 11:04:05 PM »
That’s fascinating David - would the name have been pronounced the same in both versions do you think? I wonder if it was his mother who named him rather than his father? That might be an explanation for his using the Mercian form of his name. If so, it shows his mum could get her own way, which could show the Anglo-Saxon respect for women - or am I getting a bit ahead of myself now???

Bowerthane

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Re: Alfred's name
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 03:17:58 PM »


Yes, thanks for that, David!  I can certainly use that in my you-know-what.  This is mainly set in Mercia and I need to make clear King Alfred's Mercian connections.


Happy new Year everyone!











David

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Re: Alfred's name
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 03:40:59 PM »
The different spellings of the name represent different pronunciations. Not everyone agrees on the pronunciation but this what I think. Both “æ” and “ǣ” are pronounced as is the vowel in “at”, the “ē” is pronounced as the vowel in “aid” and the diphthong “ie” is pronounced as is the diphthong in “ear”.

It appears that in West Germanic elf was “albi” where the “b” represented a “b” or “v” sound and to advise was “rādan”.
In Anglian  alb- > ælb- > ælf-      and     rād > rǣd > rēd
In West Saxon  alb- > ælb- > ealb- > ielf-     and  rād > rǣd

As far as I know Alfred’s mother was West Saxon with no Mercian connections.

Eanflaed

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Re: Alfred's name
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2019, 11:27:08 PM »
Thanks David. And I’ve no idea where I got the Mercian mother from, maybe because there were so many West Saxon/Mercian alliances. One thing that has troubled me for ages is why Alfred is an Alf and not an Athel like all his siblings. But it seems that everyone thinks they all had the same parents...
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 12:42:08 PM by Eanflaed »

Phyllis

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Re: Alfred's name
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2019, 08:11:47 PM »
His mother Osburh was Kentish but his sister Æþelswiþ married Burgred which might be where the confusion arose? I know I get it all muddled!
Phyllis