The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English (Hardback)
  • The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English (Hardback)

The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English (Hardback)

Hardback 304 Pages
Published: 11/11/2021

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Waterstones Says

Videen investigates a range of wonderfully weird and sometimes very familiar Old English words, providing a mesmerising and joyful insight into our linguistic ancestors’ lives and beliefs.

Old English is the language we think we know until we actually see it. Used in England over a thousand years ago, it is rich with words that haven't changed (word), others that are unrecognisable (neorxnawang - paradise) and some that are curiously mystifying (gafol-fisc - tax-fish).

In this beautiful little book, Hana Videen has gathered these gems together to create a glorious trove and illuminate the lives, beliefs and habits of our linguistic ancestors. We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friend-ship, and you might grow up to be a laughter-smith.

These are the magical roots of our own language: you'll never see English in the same way again.

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781788166102
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 420 g
Dimensions: 200 x 134 x 32 mm
Edition: Main


Splendid ... It is the perfect way to be introduced to Old English. There is insight on every page, in a beautifully clear and down to-earth style, with lovely humorous asides. - David Crystal

A wonderful book heaving with linguistic treasure, a joyfully clever exploration of early medieval life. - Edward Brooke-Hitching author, The Madman's Library

A rich meditation on words, a thoughtful cultural history and a delicious box of delights to dip into during stolen moments. I loved this book-and learnt more from it than from any number of solemn language primers. Hana Videen has created a marvel. - Nicola Griffith, author of 'Hild'

A lively linguistic history - BBC History Magazine

Brilliant. So rich with detail. If you're at all interested in Old English you'll love it. - History Today, Kate Wiles, senior editor

A lovely, lovely read ... written with such love and care and accessibility to the lay person that you can feel it just doing you good - feeding your soul and your brain at the same time. - Lucy Mangan

Thorough, entertaining, and absolutely fascinating. If you're interested in Old English (and for that matter, even if you're not!) it's an absolute treat. - Paul Anthony Jones, Haggard Hawks

A wonderful book that blends linguistics with a survey of everyday life in early Medieval England. If you want to know why music was known as dream-craeft, what was meant by sawel-dreor - 'soul blood' - or the origins of our days of the week, then this is for you. It constitutes a veritable leornung-hus, or 'learning house'' - Tom Holland, BBC History Magazine

Delightful ... [Videen's] etymological journeys [are] full of satisfying twists ... the book is released in time for Christmas wassailing, and would make a classy gift to the commonly word-drunk ... it's a pleasure just to be reminded of [early Medieval people's] world-craft. - Steven Poole, Guardian

Eminently giftable ... A book to be dipped in and out of for the riddles and enjoyable factoids - James Marriott, The Times

A treasure trove of forgotten words, their meanings and origins, written with insight and humour, and beautifully designed - Marshall Julius

[An] entertaining linguistic history...Well researched and cannily written, this smart survey makes the old feel new. - Publishers Weekly

Engaging, conversational, humorous, and full of surprising revelations - Library Journal

Hana Videen is one of a rare and treasurable breed of enthusiasts . . . both a passionate medievalist and a relaxed, lucid writer; the pleasure she takes in her subject is infectious. - Henry Hitchings, Wall Street Journal

Remarkable ... Videen beautifully captures the everyday life of Old English speakers through their practical, everyday terms. - The American Conservative

Delightful ... It unlocks the 1000-yearold treasure trove of Old English words that inflect our language and understanding of the world. - Sydney Morning Herald

With this book Videen proves herself to be a gifted scop (storyteller) and an excellent guide to this vanished time. - TLS

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