Listened to Chapter 7: The Old English Worldview from The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

The focus of this lecture is the loan words that came into the Germanic languages during the continental and insular periods of borrowing. You'll also see how the first known poet in English, Caedmon, used the resources of his vocabulary and his literary inheritance to give vernacular expression to new Christian concepts.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer


Four kinds

Determinitive compounding

  • bone locker
  • middle Earth (Tolkien)

Kenning noun metaphor that exppresses a familiar idea

  • road of the whale – the sea
  • road of the swan
  • bath of the gannett
  • sea steed – ship

repetitive compounding

going about weaver – the swift moving one – spider in OE

Caedmon’s Hymn

  • West Saxon version
  • Known as the first English poem

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