AKA Live for the light bulb.
Today I translated my first line without looking at a dictionary or other translation. This was the first moment of thinking I could actually do this and not crash and burn in two months. It was lovely, it was exhilarating, it was confidence inspiring. It made me go through the rest of the poem I had transcribed and pick out the words I do know and write them out too.
Obviously I’m going to go back and check my work. I don’t trust my brain that much. But still! Progress! I am thankful that Old English resembles modern German (which I have a background in) enough that certain words and inflections carried through. I am thankful that, while English mutated when it stole grammar and words from every other language, it retained some words. Or at least retained them closely enough to be able to pick them out. Eorle meaning Earl or lord for example, wæter meaning water, folc means folk or people, that sort of thing.
If nothing else this project is giving me a deeper appreciation of the English I do speak and write on a daily basis. And an understanding of just how true the joke that English didn’t evolve, it just mugged other languages and riffled through their pockets for loose grammar actually is.
Old English? Makes sense. The spelling makes sense, the pronunciation makes sense, the grammar is easier than modern English. I’m feeling an inexplicable fondness for the dipthong ( Æ ) and thorn ( þ ). They’re just so pretty. Why did we ditch them?
… stupid Normans.