Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ofer hron rade which is old English for "Over the Whale's road" which means "Sea"

A detail of the first page of the Beowulf manuscript, showing the words "ofer hron rade", translated as "over the whale's road (sea)". It is an example of an Old English stylistic device, the kenning.
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Old English TThis is pretty interesting looking at the spelling of the word "over" as "ofer" in Old English. I have a manuscript of a copy of a letter written by the historical Comte De Saint German of France which is copied in parchment in a 1912 edition of Elizabeth Cooper Oakley's "The Comte de Saint Germain" and I had the same kinds of trouble translating the 1700s French because it is somewhat different than modern French the way it reads and sounds. So, often when you read something 100 or 200 years before you are living often the whole ways words were used are different. I find this problem even with my youngest daughter who is 48 years younger than I where words no longer mean the same thing and have drifted into other meanings. Often slang words I used in the 1960s when I was 12 in 1960 to 21 in 1969 have changed their colloquial meanings completely so I feel sort of upset at times that meanings of words have slid into completely different territory in only around 40 to 50 years.

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