Thursday, March 17, 2016

Late Update

Ic besārgie for þes, ic eom swīþe sārig.

A little translating should cheer some of the masochists up. First I was busy, then, I had surgery, now, some not fun complications from surgery. I hope you will all forgive my being carleās. I do have plans to get back to the show soon, but for right now my health is my main concern. I hope you understand that and forgiefaþ mē mīne gyltas. 

Again, I'm very sorry for letting anyone down. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Episode 5: Reading Work

In this episode we cover the basics of how to listen to and read Old English in larger chunks. We dive right into the deep end and cover an excerpt of Ælfric's colloquy.

Check out this episode!

I am not going to provide a transcript of the excerpt, because it is better if you try to understand it without looking at a translation or even a transcribed version. However, below is link to Henry Sweet's book containing the Old English text. You'll notice that I have not given you all of the words in the text as vocabulary, and you really do need a dictionary. There are several online ones listed in the resources page and if you have hard copies of any grammar books then in the back of them is a limited dictionary.
Henry Sweet's First Steps in Anglo Saxon

Here is a link that takes you to the Memrise study group that listener Chas started.
Memories Study Group


Available under tag 5 in the anki deck and at the Memrise page.

Swelċ - such,;adj.
Sēo nǣdre - snake, serpent; wk. noun
Wyrċan - make, form, produce; I str. verb
Sēo eorþe - earth; wk. noun
Þæt wīf - woman, wife; wk. noun
Sēo trēow - faith, trust; wk. noun
Andwyrdan - answer; I str. verb
Se wæstm - fruit, result;wk. noun
Se neorxenawang - Paradise; wk. noun
Bebēodan - command, commend; II str. verb
Witan  -know; preterite present verb
Þæt sōþ - truth; str. noun
Se engel - angel; str. noun
Æġþer  - each, both; pronoun
Þæt yfel - evil, harm; wk. noun
Sēon - look, see; V str. verb
Se wer - man, husband; str. noun
Þā bēġen - both (pl.)
Wearþan- become, happen; III str. verb
Eft - again, afterwards, back; adv.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Episode 4: Declensions

No, not a New Hope, that's not the correct order Mr. Lucas; but at least we have new grammar. Join me as we go over the basics of the Old English case system and learn why you can't just say "the" in Old English.

Check out this episode!

As promised, TABLES:

To help ingrain the case system I highly recommend going across as apposed to down. What does that mean? If your going to just rote memorize them by repeating and/or writing them, which really does work better if you do both, then I would follow the rows across as in:

Se stān, þæt scip, þæt word, sēo ġiefu; þā stānas, þā scipu, þā word, þā ġiefa

Þone stān, þæt scip, þæt word, þā ġiefe; þā stānas, þā scipu, þā word, þā ġiefa

Þæs stānes, þæs scipes, þæs wordes, þǣre ġiefe; þā stāna, þā scipa, þā worda, þā ġiefena

Þǣm stāne, þǣm scipe, þǣm worde, þǣre ġiefe; þā stānum, þā scipum, þā wordum, þā ġiefum


These are tagged with 4 in the Anki deck. I know it looks like a lot, but think of how similar some of them are to Modern English, also rest assured that there will not be new vocal until the next episode (around 2 week from now). Try creating your own sentences and adding more to your conversation. Don't worry too much about the different classes of strong verb yet, just know that that means they change their vowel in the preterite/past tense; along the same lines don't worry about the fact that adjectives have special endings, just put some sentences together and try it out.

Beswīcan - to ensnare, deceive Str. V. 1
Flēogan - to fly, take flight Str. V. 2
Breġdan - to braid, weave or knit Str. V. 3
Cweþan - to say, declare, or proclaim Str. V. 5
Ofslēan - to slay, destroy Str. V. 6
Slēan - to strike, beat, attack Str. V. 6
Bycgan - to buy Wk. V. 1
Ēhtan - to chase, pursue Wk. V. 1
Fēdan - to feed, sustain Wk. V. 1
Læċċan - to capture, sieze Wk. V. 1
Sellan - to give, trade, or sell Wk. V. 1
Temman - to tame Wk. V. 1
Wyrċan - to preform, work, or produce Wk. V. 1
Clipping - to call, summon, or cry out Wk. V. 2
Fandian - to tempt, test, or examine Wk. V. 2
Fremman - to make, accomplish, do Wk. V. 2
Ġeocian - to yoke Wk. V. 2
Lufian - to love, cherish Wk. V. 2
Lūtian - to lurk, sulk Wk. V. 2
Magan - to be able to, or competent Pret. Pres. V.
Witan - to know of, understand Pret. Pres. V.

Cwic - alive, living, quick Adj.
Dēore - dear, precious, beloved Adj.
Dēorwierþe - valuable, costly Adj.
Eald - old, ancient Adj.
Ġedyrtiġ - daring, bold Adj.
Ġehæp - happy Adj.
Ilca - same, the same as Adj. or Pron.
Lēas - devoid of, without Adj.
Māra - more, larger, bigger Adj.
Ōþer - other, another Adj. or Pron.
Til - good, apt, suitable Adj.

Se bāt - boat, ship Str. Masc. Noun
Se bēag - ring of precious metal either ornamental or valuable Str. Masc. Noun
Se Eald - elder, leader, prince Str. Masc. Noun
Se heofon - heaven, sky irreg. Masc. Noun
Se leax - lox, salmon Str. Masc. Noun
Se lenċten - spring (time of year), Lent Str. Masc. Noun
Se rǣd - advice Str. Mac. Noun
Se sleġe - a blow, strike, slaughter Str. Masc. Noun

Se feld - field u-stem Masc. Noun
Se sunu - son u-stem Masc. Noun
Se winter - winter (when counting years you count winters) u-stem Masc. Noun

Se angel - (fishing) hook Irreg. Masc. Noun
Se God - God, or god (mostly the Christian God) irreg. Masc. Noun

Sēo ċeasterwaru - a city dweller Str. Fem. Noun
Sēo ġiefu - gift Str. Fem. Noun
Sēo miht - power, strength, might Str. Fem. Noun
Sēo sunne - sun Wk. Fem. Noun

Þæt dēor - wild animal Str. Neut. Noun
Þæt folc - people, nation, folk Str. Neut. Noun
Þæt ġēar - year Str. Neut. Noun
Þæt land - land, soil, realm Str. Neut. Noun
Þæt nett - net Str. Neut. Noun
Þæt pleoh - danger, risk irreg. Neut. Noun

Būtan - without, except Prep.
Wiþ - against, from, in return for, with Prep.

Onġēan - back, again Adv.
Þearle - exceedingly, severely Adv. 

Þā - then, when Adv.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Status Report and Miscellaneous

It's rather hard finding time to record when your worried about background noise like a kid, or the rain (and I live in Florida, so yeah . . . RAIN). I should have the next episode up by next week. In the meantime, I want to thank those who have contacted me about the show; it means the world to me that you find it interesting/useful.

If you have not checked out the video, or watched the version without sound, I have put up a version with sound. There is not enough time to pronounce the phrases afterwards, but that is on purpose: just try to understand it, and get the flow of the language.

 Here's another link in case you need it.

And while we are on the issue of flow, it has been brought to my attention that the varying vowel lengths sound awkward. I am accentuating them a little more than I normally would so that you remember them as longer, but it does sound rather strange if your not used to vowel length contrast in a language. So, I give you a link to a video showcasing a modern language that has vowel length contrast. Pay attention to how the different lengths pronounced have different meanings, and the general difference is somewhere between 1.5 and 2 times as long. So a long vowel or consonant is 'held' about 1.5 to 2 times longer than a short vowel or consonant.

Finnish Short and Long Sounds

Also, you may have noticed that I am listed on TuneIn Radio and  Stitcher, as well as iTunes. If you'd like me on another directory, please let me know and I will add the show to it.

I'll leave you with a plea: please review the show on iTunes so that people who are interested in Old English can find it.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Episode 3: The Things We Do and Did

In this, the last installment of the "intro" segment we go over the basics of the Old English verbs forms, and we listen to an actual excerpt of an Old English text.

Check out this episode!

In case you missed it, here is the Intro Presentation one last time.

Ælfric's Colloquy Excerpt

Hwæt seġst þū, scēaphierde? Hæfst þū ǣniġ ġedeorf?
Ġiese lēof, iċ hæbbe miċel ġedeorf! On ǣrnemergen iċ drīfe mīn scēap tō lǣswe. Siþþan stande iċ ofer hīe mid hundum, þȳ lǣs þe wulfas hīe forswelgen. Þonne lǣde iċ hīe on ǣfen onġēan tō hira locum. Iċ hīe melce tuwa on dæġe. Iċ macie buteran and ċīese. And iċ eom mīnum hlāforde ġetrīewe.

Ēalā oxanhierde, hwæt dēst þū?

Lā lēof, iċ swince þearle! Þonne se ierþling þā oxan onġeocaþ, þonne lǣde iċ hīe tō lǣswe; and ealle niht iċ stande ofer hīe waciende for þēofum; and þæs on morgenne iċ hīe betǣċe eft þǣm ierþlinge, wel ġefylde and ġewæterode.

Yay! Verb conjugation tables!


Please, please, please try a spaced repetition software such as Anki or Memrise, they really do make memorization much easier, and it saves you a lot of time not going over already learned cards before you really need to.
I have created an Anki deck that goes with this podcast and will be updated whenever we add to our vocabulary list for the show. You can find it here.

Ac - but, however
And - and
Āsettan - to set up, set
Ǣniġ - any
Ǣr - before, previously
Se cræft - trade or skill
Cuman - to come
Cunnan - to know how to,
Se cyning - king
Se dæġ - day
Dōn - to do, make or take
Drīfan - to drive
Sēo ēa - river
Ēac - also
Ēalā - hello, alas
Eall - all, every
Fōn - to catch or acquire
Gān - to go or walk
Ġēa - yes, yeah
Þæt ġedeorf - toil, hardship
Se ġefēra - companion, comrade
Ġiese - yes (emphatic)
Habban - to have or hold
Hāl - whole, unhurt
Se hām - home
Hwæt - what
Hwelċ - which
Sēo hwīl - time, while, sometimes
Hīeran - to obey, harken to, hear
Hū - how
Se hund - hound, dog
Libban - to live
Lā - lo! oh!
Lēof - love, beloved
Mid - with
Miċel - large, many, big
Se munuc - munk
Nese - no (adamant)
Niht - night
Ofer - over
Oþ - up to, until
Oþþe - or
Sēo sæ - sea
Sculan - to have to, must, or ought to
Secgan - to say or tell
Siþþan - afterwards, later
Standan - to stand
Stearc - stark

Sēo stōw - place
Sum - some, a certain
Swincan - to labor, toil, or perform

Swā - so, thus
Swīþe - very, exceedingly
Weorpan - to throw or cast
Willan - to wish, want, or desire
Wrītan - to write, inscribe
Ymb - concerning, with regard to
Þus - thus
Sēo ċeaster - city, town, village

I know it seems like a long list of vocal words, but if you take another look you'll see that quite a few are very familiar. This list correspond to words tagged with "3" in the anki deck provided above.

Episode 2: Who We Are and What We Do

In this second part of the "Intro" segment, we go over some different regions and ethnicities in Old English, as well as a few occupations. We also take a look at pronouns in Old English.

Check out this episode!

And here's the Intro Presentation again.

Our "conversation with Alfred"

wes þū hāl”

“wes hāl”

“hū hātest þū?”

Iċ hātte Alfred, and þū?”

Iċ hātte Bob. Hū gǣþ?”

Iċ eom gōd, and þū?”

Iċ eom gōd eac, þancie þē.”

Þū eart Englisc, ac iċ neom. Iċ eom of ofer þære sǣ. Iċ eom wealh.”

This next part is taken from the text in First Steps in Anglo Saxon by Henry Sweet.

Hwelċne cræft canst þū?”

Iċ eom hunta”

Hwæs hunta eart þū?” 

Iċ eom þæs cyninges hunta”

Hwelċne cræft canst þū?”

Iċ eom fiscere.”

Hwæt beġietst þū of þīnum cræfte?” 

Bīleofan iċ mē beġiete, and scrūd, and feoh.” 

Hū ġefēhst þū þā fiscas?”

Iċ gā on mīnne bāt, and rōwe ūt on þā ēa, and weorpe mīn nett on þā ēa.”

My summary in Old English (it's not poetry)

Ælfric wæs Englisc munuc, and hē wrāt þæt “colloquy”. In ūre colloquy, wē spræcon mid Alfred. Wē sæġdedon ēalā. Þā, hē spræce meċ, and him spræc iċ. Hē is hunta, se hunta þone cyninges. Iċ sæġdede þæt iċ wæs fiscere.

Some Locations Around the World (known at the time)

Region Name            People                    Adjective

Englaland                                   Angelcynn                            Englisc

Ēast Angla Rīċe 

Miercna Rīċe 

Norþymbra Rīċe 

Westseaxna Rīċe                       Westseaxe

Ēast Seaxna Rīċe                      Ēastseaxe

Cantaware Rīċe 

Sūþseaxna Rīċe 

Rōm                                            Rōmane                                Rōmanisc

Denemearc                                 Dene                                     Denisc


Swēoland                                   Swēon    

Ispānia                                                                                     Ispānisc


Ēgypte                                       Ēgypte

(France)                                                                                   Frencisc


(Germany)                                                                               þēodisc

Some Occupations

On ċiriċe
     Munuc - Monk
     Biscop, bisceop, biscep - Bishop
     Pāpa - Pope
On þæt land
     Æcermann - Farmer
     Ierþling - Farmer, plowman
On þæm sǣ
     Flotmann - Sailor
     Fiscere - Fisherman
Mid dēor
     Scēaphierd - Shepard
     Oxanhierd, Nīþerhierd - Ox herder
     Hunta - Huntsman
     Fuglere - Fowler
On þonne tūn
     Ċīepemann - Merchant
     Mangere - Merchant
     Scōwyrhta - Shoe maker.
     Sealtere - Salter
On þæt hūs
     Bæcere - Baker
     Cōc - Cook


Episode 1: Pronunciation and Context

In this episode we introduce the language and learn how different, yet similar, Old English sounds. This is part one of a 3 part "Intro" section designed to get you used to the sound and basic features of the language.

Check out this episode!

Here is a link to the Introductory Presentation mentioned in this episode.


I didn't feel like wasting this space by throwing up my show script, so instead, this bit of random anglo-saxon and germanic language information is here to further our understanding of the people we're talking about, as well as where Old English sits in the greater Germanic Language Family.

Anglo Saxon Kingdoms

  • Northumbria comprises the former kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira, and was the center for early Old English literary creativity.
  • Mercia spoke an Anglian dialect (as did Northumbria) that was very common up until the Viking establishment of the Dane law region in the 9th century.
  • West Saxon is the main dialect that is read both due to it's numerous serving works, and the high culture that was established in the region after the unification of King Alfred. 
  • Very little of the Kentish dialect survives, mostly pieces of legal documents, and lists of names.

Practice Sentences for Pronunciation

Alfred is dēad.
Hē went to Rōme late in līfe.
Se horn sang hlūde on þæt scip.
Hwæt is þis? And þæt?
Þēos is sēo cwēne.
Ælfrīc munuc grēt Æðelwærd ealdormann ēadmōdlīce.
Wē libbe in Ængla Lande.
Hwæt selþ hē þē?

For a guide to the pronunciation in written form, see the Pronunciation Guide above.


One of the best ways to learn about a language is to compare it to other closely related languages. Here I've included several translations of The Lord's Prayer for a comparison.

The standard Modern English version is:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil.

If you pay attention, you can almost make out the meanings of most of these from comparing the Old English and Modern English.