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    • Join Date: Apr 2006
    • Posts: 1

    Old English / Anglo Saxon


    I am interested in studying sentence structures and to some extent word meanings from English's old Anglo-Saxon roots. For example the type of English used in The Lord of The Rings or similar fantasy stories. I've tried searching for "Old English / Anglo Saxon" on the Internet which not surprisingly brings up loads of information. The problem is I don't know where to start.

    I have stumbled across sentences such as "The hour is growing late" and "It has come to pass that..." and a more poetic one from LOTR "The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail" which I assume originates from Old English since this type of sentence structure is uncommon today.

    It's not how you translate Anglo Saxon symbols and phrases to modern english which im interested in but more, as i've said, how sentences were constructed and how words were used back then by using modern English.

    I was hoping you could show me a starting point by suggestion certain litterature or textbooks. Please forgive me if my question is a bit unclear.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by JohnElbek; 17-Apr-2006 at 19:18.

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: Old English / Anglo Saxon

    Like most European languages, English has been subject to many influences. Just because a particular turn of phrase is a little unusual doesn't mean it comes from Old English; it could be from Norse, Latin, Norman French or even any of the Celtic languages (for example, the rare construction "he has a big thirst on him" comes from the language that became modern Welsh). An unusual construction could also be an artificial construction, contrived by a certain class of author, perhaps attempting to follow some pattern in classical Greek or Latin.

    I can't give you any tips on literature, but apparently, studying the West Friesian dialects spoken in some of the islands off the coast of the Netherlands is a good way to get an insight into Old English -- it's closer to Old English than modern English is.

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