14 May 2008

I Return... Humble, with Great Zeal

Business as usual.

And an education.
After slaving away for God knows how long over Old English poems, certain phrases will be permanently branded onto my conciousness. These, naturally, have been introduced into everyday lingo. Well, the everyday lingo of a posse of geeky English bods.


For the uninitiated, here is a sample of the inspired linguistic nuggets that the ancient tongue is studded with.

Elne Micle: Now this means 'much courage', or as the legendary Marilyn with her effusive Scottish tones prefers, 'great zeal'. It pops up several times throughout one of the poems. At one point it follows on from 'humble', which frankly makes no sense. Humble and zealous at the same time? Such is the paradox of the poem, religion and all that Old English bonkersness. Also follows on from 'he might climb on me' which is blatant innuendo, despite it being the cross of Christ speaking. The phrase can be, and is, added after pretty much any verb. Works equally well in the original language and in modern English. Very versatile.

Snottor: Means a 'wise man'. Who would have thunk it? Amusement-wise it speaks for itself really.

Soaked with the passage of blood: Elevates anything to epic levels.

One a bird carried away, one a grey wolf shared in death, one a sad-faced man concealed in a cave: What, what, what? Yes, men die. Yes, it may have been more dramatic in days of old when they were all warriors and the like. But really?? A sad-faced man? What's that all about?

I was kissing and embracing my liege lord, laying on his knee my hands and my head: Asking for it. Not a jot of subtlety and a great a temptation for English students to exploit.

Collenferth: Means 'stout hearted'. Yet is pronounced Colin Firth. Brilliant. (That Colin does get around in literature, I must say).

Wacwiga: My personal favourite. It means 'weak warrior', but should be used as a term of greeting or endearment in a faux gangsta style. For example, 'Yo, yo, 'sup wacwiga mofo?'. Satisfying to say.

Of course there are many more (as we had to learn the whole bloody things by heart - a slow and tortuous process that caused 'grievous torment', and me to feel 'wounded with defilements' by 'weapons greedy for slaughter'), but these are the real gems and the ones that seem to have infused daily chit-chat most prominently.

So, there you have it. Use them in a sentence today.

1 comment:

Ma said...

So wonderfully geeky - well worth the weeks of waiting..........