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Anglo-Saxon Kennings
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perrybond
 11 Aug 2010, 21:24 #96130 Reply To Post
Thanks for a lovely thread. I'm learning more about English on YWO than I ever did at school
-
Zak Spundy
 11 Aug 2010, 22:10 #96137 Reply To Post
Quote: perrybond, Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010 21:24
Thanks for a lovely thread. I'm learning more about English on YWO than I ever did at school


I agree, great thread. Really inspiring. How about sky-salt?

This post was last edited by Zak Spundy, 11 Aug 2010, 22:10
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Athene
 11 Aug 2010, 22:28 #96141 Reply To Post
Sky-salt is a brilliant kenning for a star. I love it. I think it's better than the actual Anglo-Saxon kenning for star, heofoncandel (heaven-candle).
Flicking through the Anglo-Saxon dictionary (as you do) I've just found another good one that I'd completely forgotten: waegrap = wave-rope = ice.

This post was last edited by Athene, 11 Aug 2010, 22:30


Scias te fortasse Romanum esse si animal convivialissimum arbitreris esse caprum
(Henricus Barbatus)


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sulcus
 11 Aug 2010, 22:45 #96144 Reply To Post
Quote: Zak Spundy, Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010 22:10
Quote: perrybond, Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010 21:24
Thanks for a lovely thread. I'm learning more about English on YWO than I ever did at school


I agree, great thread. Really inspiring. How about sky-salt?



I thought he meant snow. That's the thing about keenings, they can be a bit ambivalent, but maybe that enhances the poetry of them
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Zak Spundy
 11 Aug 2010, 23:02 #96145 Reply To Post
Quote: Athene, Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010 22:28
Sky-salt is a brilliant kenning for a star. I love it. I think it's better than the actual Anglo-Saxon kenning for star, heofoncandel (heaven-candle).
Flicking through the Anglo-Saxon dictionary (as you do) I've just found another good one that I'd completely forgotten: waegrap = wave-rope = ice.



Thanks Athene. I must put one of those dictionaries on my Christmas list.

lines from the word lab
Malcolm
 12 Aug 2010, 05:02 #96149 Reply To Post
Quote: annswinfen, Tuesday, 10 Aug 2010 11:23
I thought I'd start a new thread on this. (Welcome back, Saxon Annie!)

If you read Rosemary Sutcliff's books as a child, you'll recall that she used kennings, some from the Anglo-Saxon, some probably invented herself. Without referring back, I remember 'whale-road' as another for the sea, and 'wave-rider' for a ship. I love the use of kennings, but I suppose today they are mainly used in poetry.

BTW, the start of that other thread reminded me that Louise did a great online review with me, at

http://louisewise.blogspot.com/2010/07/testament-of-mariam-by-ann-swinfen.html


Not sure that will work at a link - I haven't quite worked out links from YWO. One of you techy people might be able to!
Ann




Yes, nice thread. Here's your link.

annswinfen's interview
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Athene
 12 Aug 2010, 07:13 #96151 Reply To Post
Quote: Zak Spundy, Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010 23:02
Quote: Athene, Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010 22:28
Sky-salt is a brilliant kenning for a star. I love it. I think it's better than the actual Anglo-Saxon kenning for star, heofoncandel (heaven-candle).
Flicking through the Anglo-Saxon dictionary (as you do) I've just found another good one that I'd completely forgotten: waegrap = wave-rope = ice.



Thanks Athene. I must put one of those dictionaries on my Christmas list.



There's quite a good on-line one at comcast.net (can't do links: I found it by Googling Anglo-Saxon translation) but it's quite limited if you want to translate into Anglo-Saxon. Many moons ago I started putting a "Teach Yourself Anglo-Saxon" section on my website, but I got side-tracked and I seem to remember we're still only on Lesson One. But if anyone's interested,I'll try to get round to posting some more.
Anglo-Saxon doesn't have that many kennings - lots of compound words, but not many are kennings in the Old Norse sense. Old Norse has far too many ... often very complicated, very contrived and even incomprehensible (as opposed to interestingy ambiguous).


Scias te fortasse Romanum esse si animal convivialissimum arbitreris esse caprum
(Henricus Barbatus)


my website
Prometheus X
 12 Aug 2010, 10:09 #96161 Reply To Post
Quote: mkrobinson12, Tuesday, 10 Aug 2010 15:32


I believe you're right. Ken is still used in the north. Kenning is not in the Webster's Dictionary, nor is it in my version of the Oxford Dictionary. Not often that a word escapes writers and dictionaries. ...


Have you tried Word Web? It's free!

And I find it invaluable.

It defines "Kenning" as - "Conventional metaphoric name for something, used especially in Old English and Old Norse poetry"; Synonyms for which include "a figure of speech".

I'm really surprised so many of you writers out there still thumb through dictionaries and thesauruses, when there are perfect little tools, like Word Web, out there on the internet, for free. We all must use our computers to write, otherwise we wouldn't be able to post it electronically onto this site.
I don't make predictions, and I never will - Paul Gascoigne ex-England footballer.
annswinfen
 12 Aug 2010, 11:52 #96174 Reply To Post
I'm glad Perry and others are enjoying this thread - I think we need more of this kind of discussion on the Message Board.

Initially I started it hoping to join in, then was caught up in website discussions and proof-reading, so time slipped away.

As several people have said, a kenning dispenses with the original noun, replacing it with the figurative term (usually composed of two words, often [always?] two nouns) which captures its essence, like wave-rider or poison-stick. No mention of 'boat' or 'snake' in those.

'Star-salted sky', though a lovely phrase, is not a kenning, but 'sky salt' is. I would see 'sky salt' as hail, myself, catching the hardness of hail, and the fact that it is sprinkled. 'Sky feathers' sounds more like snow to me.

Isn't this fun? Beats work.

Thanks for setting up the interview link, Malcolm. I must find out how to do it some day.

David (Prometheus), some of us LIKE books! I finally got around to looking up kenning in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. (Shorter because it consists of just two huge volumes, instead of about sixty.) The entry for kenning is too long to reproduce here, but covers all the variant meanings, historical roots and quotations from early usage. Lovely!

Marjorie, I really like your point about when does a kenning become a euphemism. When indeed? Essay to be completed in three hours, write on one side of the paper only.

Yes, Rosalind, the Norse usage is even more widespread and often baffling, which leads us naturally on to Tolkien . . . Michael, when I was at Oxford, Tolkien had retired, but used to drop in to give the odd lecture. I would dodge my lectures on differential equations and sit at his feet while he held forth on 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', never a note in sight. He would pace up and down, gown and long grey hair flying, describing the forest with sweeping gestures. It was clearly Mirkwood.

And he, of course, was Gandalf. Tolkien, word-weaver.
Ann
This post was last edited by annswinfen, 12 Aug 2010, 12:07
annswinfen
 12 Aug 2010, 12:04 #96178 Reply To Post
P.S. Sorry, Rosalind, poison-twig, not poison-stick.

I'm curious about this idea which hadn't occurred to me before. Does a true kenning always consist of two NOUNS?

Any ideas?

Ann
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