Tag Archives: the old languages

borges interviews

Paris Review, “Jorge Luis Borges: The Art of Fiction No. 39” BORGES Ah, that’s right. Because if you ask me questions about the younger contemporary writers, I’m afraid I know very little about them. For about the last seven years I’ve been doing my best to know something of Old English and Old Norse. Consequently, that’s a long way off… (more…)

icelandic alphabet pronunciation

a is similar to a in father. á like ow in down. e like e in bed. é like ye in yes. i like i in hid. o like aw in law ó like oh. u pronounce “i” with rounded lips. ú like o in who. y like i in hid. ý like ea in heat. æ like i in… (more…)

poem found written in a copy of Beowulf

At various times I have asked myself what reasons moved me to study while my night came down, without particular hope of satisfaction, the language of the blunt-tongued Anglo-Saxons. Used up by the years my memory loses its grip on words that I have vainly repeated and repeated. My life in the same way weaves and unweaves its weary history.… (more…)

german kennings

“[Germanic] poetry had developed another hierarchical poetic instrument: that is, kennings – descriptive, crystallized metaphors.” Poetic themes and elements were very redundant, and they did not begin or end with similar sounds, so the usual poetic rhythm was hard to establish. “For this poetry, which was only epic, they formed compound words to denote things whose names did not begin… (more…)