Saturday 19 November 2022

Ethelred in Anglish - by Michael Baron

Ethelred was a dreadfully bad king. His afterdeath and wordplay name "unready" more truly awends to something like badly-shepherded, with undermeanings of one who made many foolish, or even wicked, choosings; one of which was to adearth England and strengthen the Danish sea-reavers at the same time, by truly entish fees of Danegeld over many years (rather than kilter, and fight the raiders). 

Ethelred had come into a birthright from thrymfast forebears, such as Alfred and Athelstan, an English Richdom (that is of the Saxon Kingdoms such as Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria), which Wood betells as the wealthiest and most high-standing Kingship in Europe. 

By Ethelred's death, the English stock had been greatly unknitted and downhearted by year-tens of helpless reaving under rule of a loatheful, moody, unfit and gutless king; and made weak to the Norman raidings some two begettings later.

The above is part of commenter Michael Baron's enjoyable rendering of a recent blog post of mine, which was about Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready -- in which he replaces non-Germanic-derived (especially Latin and French) words from modern English with Old English-derived equivalents; somewhat as if the Norman Conquest had never happened...

Read the whole thing, in the comment section. 


WJT said...

Those who don’t know it already should check out “Uncleftish Beholding” by Poul Anderson.

Mikep said...

Surprising easy to follow, suggests that the Norman impact on English was really quite superficial. If I understand correctly a lot of Latin and French derived words flowed into English well after the time of Edward III when English was once again the language of government, perhaps there was a lingering sense of inferiority about it.