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Kenning the Life in Medieval England Through Its Wordhord

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A delightful new book offers a taste of life in early medieval England through everyday vocabulary of that time and place. It’s called The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English, by Hana Videen (Bookshop|Amazon). The book includes helpful vocabulary lists and pronunciations, as well as information about Old English kennings, or poetic compounds of words, such as the ones that translate as “sky-candle” to indicate the sun, “whale-road” indicating the sea, and “sea-guest” to mean “sailor.” For an Old English word of the day, follow Old English Wordhord on Twitter. Incidentally, even if you don’t understand Old English, it can be mesmerizing to listen to. Check out this reading of “Widsith,” and this one of “The Wanderer,” and this one the opening lines of the epic poem Beowulf. This is part of a complete episode.

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