Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Learn Old English with the Wordhoard: Nouns II

Are you gaining confidence yet? I sure hope so! My students in class don't seem to be able to see the progress they're making, but I can see it. Let's start off with our vocabulary quiz. As always, do the quiz, then highlight it to see the answers:

sunu … son -- Note that this is not the same as sunne.
fæder … father
modor … mother
broðor … brother
sweostor … sister
dohtor … daughter
lamb … lamb -- OK, these have been pretty easy up 'til now.
hæle … man, warrior
mægþ … maiden
sæ … sea
hors … horse
sunne … sun-- Note that this is not the same as sunu.
here … hostile army
searu … skill
beadu … battle
heafod … head
stan … stone-- if you watched the video already, I gave this one away.
giefu … gift -- And I gave this one away too.
sorg … sorrow -- Doesn't "sorg" sound like a sci-fi villain?
nama … name

Let's put that noun knowledge to use. You're going to want to review the nouns chapters of Baker and Drout (Strong Nouns, Weak Nouns, and Minor Declensions). In the video below, I talk about some of the patterns you'll be seeing that will make learning all these nouns a lot easier. We'll be working on nouns next week too, so don't worry if you haven't quite gotten a good grasp on it yet.

We're doing our first translation! Hurray! It's Minitext A, at the end of the pronouns chapter in Baker. Unfortunately, the page seems to be down on Baker's website, so if you don't have the book, here's what we're translating. It's an Old English prose translation of Psalm I. Try to do it without looking at your Bible, but if you get really, really stuck, go ahead and peek; next time, you won't have that option!

1] Eadig byð se wer þe ne gæð on geþeaht unrihtwisra, ne on þam wege ne stent synfulra, ne on heora wolbærendum setle ne sitt; 2] Ac his willa byð on godes æ, and ymb his æ he byð smeagende dæges and nihtes. 3] Him byð swa þam treowe þe byð aplantod neah wætera rynum, Þæt sylð his wæstmas to rihtre tide, and his leaf and his blæda ne fealwiað, ne ne seariað, swa byð þam men þe we ær ymbspræcon; eall him cymð to gode þæt þæt he deð. 4] Ac þa unrihtwisan ne beoð na swylce, ne him eac swa ne limpð, ac hi beoð duste gelicran þonne hit wind toblæwð. 5] Þy ne arisað þa unrihtwisan on domes dæg, ne þa synfullan ne beoð on geþeahte þæra rihtwisena. 6] Forþam God wat hwylcne weg þa rihtwisan geearnedon, ac þa unrihtwisan cumað to witum.

Special thanks to J. Richard Stracke of Augusta State, whose transcription I've used here.

Just use your glossary and dictionary to work your way through the best you can; you're more prepared than you think!

Also, for next time learn your first list of verbs. You'll be seeing some of these a lot:

Verbs I
fremman … to do
helpan … to help
beon … to be
cunnan … to know how to
magan … to be able to, may
sculan … to be obliged to, must
witan … to know
sceþþan … to injure
herian … to praise
hælan … to heal
lufian … to love
cwellan … to kill

Below is the video supplemental. That's three takes into it. If there are any errors, feel free to mention them in the comments thread.


  1. I really appreciate the podcasts. They help a lot. Thank you. :-)

  2. I'm glad they help. Even though they're unedited, I had to do three takes of this one -- phone ringing, dropping my book on the keyboard and closing a window I needed open, etc. A 10-minute podcast shot straight-through three times is nearly a half-hour of talking!

  3. Len Gilbert9:50 PM

    There is a PDF of the minitext at http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/OldEnglish/exercises/ex-pron-minitext.pdf