Leornung: Dweorgas, Bēor ond ōðer Þing

Only 9 days from now, shooting will begin on the film adaptation of Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”, and so it seems an appropriate time to learn about dwarves in Germanic mythology. And if you are going to learn about dwarves, you might as well read about beer, seeing as dwarves are known for their love of drink. Of course, what better way to wash down the beer than with some Anglo-Saxon food while resting after a long day within a cosy (if that’s what one can call it) Anglo-Saxon house on an Anglo-Saxon multiple estate? Definitely better to be eating and drinking in your home than hacked to death and resting in an Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Just before heading to the cemetery though, you might want to read (something most Anglo-Saxons wouldn’t have been able to do, as most likely the majority of them couldn’t read or write) a write-up on Anglo-Saxon Literature: Beowulf or Psalm 99 in Old English, and decide what awaits you…

Anyway, as you may or may not know, the Staffordshire Hoard goes on tour soon. You can now officially purchase tickets for the Lichfield Cathedral part of the tour. If you want to own your own little piece of Anglo-Saxon history, and have a spare $300 or so to spend, then go make a bid on an Anglo-Saxon coin from the reign of King Canute. If you can’t afford to get into Anglo-Saxonism that way, then a cheaper alternative is to head on over to the Saxon North website and become a member.

Moving on, I’m sure I’ve probably linked similar articles before, but be that as it may, here’s a brief article on the Norse language influence on Old English. Of course, as I’ve mentioned many times in other articles, Norse influence is especially strong in Scots, as is clearly evident in a number of useful Scots words. That should come as no surprise, as the Vikings had a strong presence in some parts of Scotland, such as Shetland where the Vikings had a settlement called Jarlshof. A surprising piece of information, on the other hand, I found this week was that even some Native Americans may have spoken Old Norse to some degree. If you wish to learn a bit of Old Norse to see for yourself its depth of influence in English, why not start by checking out some basic Old Norse flashcards.  Of course, Norse wasn’t the only language to alter English, the “magnificent bastard tongue”. “Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue,” in fact, is the name of John McWhorter’s book that examines the many ways in which English has been altered by other languages. The book is also available in an audio version, a review of which makes it sound like a good buy. Perhaps McWhorter could provide an answer to the question: where did “she” come from?

To finish off this post, a couple of film (but not “The Hobbit”) related items. The first is a review of “Severed Ways“, the dialog of which is apparently done in Old Norse! The second is an interview with Christopher Smith, the director of “Black Death“. Sorry, but in my opinion he comes across as a bit arrogant in the interview. What do you think?

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