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A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge -- Nowel Edition
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SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 22 2012, 6:09am

Post #1 of 31 (1252 views)
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A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge -- Nowel Edition Can't Post

Apparently the world did not end today, so... Welcome to a special Nowel (Christmas) edition of "A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge!"

As many here know, a significant portion of Tolkien's labours in Middle English were based on the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, itself a tale spread across two consecutive "holiday" seasons -- hence the timing of this edition. According to this article, for some the poem has an apocalyptic interpretation as well. How convenient!

As in past instalments, our word game is based on a list of ten words drawn from two of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle English glossaries:

A) A Middle English Vocabulary, by J.R.R. Tolkien, as published in Sisam, Kenneth, ed. Fourteenth Century Verse & Prose, London: Oxford University Press, 1955; and

B) Tolkien & Gordon ed. Sir Gawain & The Green Knight, London: Oxford University Press, 1963.

The Rules:

This is a game of guessing, reasoned or otherwise. We ask those who have access to the glossaries to please wait until after posting to look up the words! As always, no answers in subject lines please.

The Challenge:

For each of the following words, please state its definition and/or a contemporary equivalent word as you deem appropriate.

1. daunsyng
2. woržyly
3. schulderes
4. bryȝt
5. Crystemas
6. twelmonyth
7. doȝtyr
8. žorghout
9. vnryghtwisely
10. wundred

You may have noticed some odd characters in this special edition. As not to make it too easy, let's just say one can usually be read as "gh," the other as "th."

As well, it may pay to hearken to NZ Strider via NEB: "Try reading Middle English aloud while looking at the text. A few words that your eye misses your ear will catch."


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Dec 22 2012, 6:14am)


DanielLB
Immortal


Dec 22 2012, 8:01am

Post #2 of 31 (750 views)
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I'll give it a go ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I normally look at other people's answers. But hey, let's embarrass myself .... here goes....

1) Dancing
2) Not a clue.
3) Shoulders (but that's not Christmassy. Perhaps Soldiers?)
4) Bright?
5) Christmas ...but that seems to obvious? Are you tricking us SirD?
6) Twelfth month
7) Daughter?
8) Nope. I don't know.
9) Spent wisely (total guess)
10) Wondered

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geordie
Tol Eressea

Dec 22 2012, 9:27am

Post #3 of 31 (768 views)
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Tricky.. [In reply to] Can't Post

let's have a go -

1. daunsyng - dancing
2. woržyly - worthly
3. schulderes - shoulders
4. bryȝt - bright
5. Crystemas - Christmas
6. twelmonyth - twelvemonth, that is, a year.
7. doȝtyr - daughter
8. žorghout - throughout?
9. vnryghtwisely -unrightwisely - foolishly?

10. wundred - might be wondered, but I don't think so. I recall Tolkien wrote a poem called 'The Hoard'. printed in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, in 1962. There are several earlier versions of this poem, the earliest of which was published in _The Gryphon_, at Leeds university, some time in the 1920s. This version was called 'Iumonna golde galdre bewunden', which means 'The gold of ancient Men wound round by spells'. So I think 'wundred' might have something to do with 'winding'. Am I right/

Merrie Nowell.

Smile


.


Ethel Duath
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 7:45pm

Post #4 of 31 (733 views)
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Aren't the nowels [In reply to] Can't Post

a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes why?Wink

Anyway, here goes!

1. dancing
2. worthily
3. shoulders
4. bright
5. Yes.
6. twelve-month (year)
7. daughter
8. throughout
9. This looks like "unrightwisely" but I'm not sure if it would mean "not wisely" or instead something like "rightwise" only the reverse (maybe "[doing/obtaining something that you do] not have a right to?")
10. wondered


Ardamķrė
Valinor


Dec 22 2012, 7:53pm

Post #5 of 31 (718 views)
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Gawd, not this again [In reply to] Can't Post

Angelic

1. drowsy - yeah, not even close.
2. worthily - I only know "thorn" from the Shibboleth of Feanor, so this better be right!
3. shoulders
4. bright
5. Christmas
6. twelfth month?
7. daughter
8. throughout
9. bright wisely - err...Crazy
10. wondered

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


Morthoron
Gondor


Dec 23 2012, 1:05am

Post #6 of 31 (738 views)
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Tough one this time! [In reply to] Can't Post

1. daunsyng = dancing

2. woržyly = Worthily

3. schulderes = shoulders

4. bryȝt = bright

5. Crystemas = Christmas

6. twelmonyth = a year

7. doȝtyr = daughter

8. žorghout =throughout

9. vnryghtwisely = unrighteously? (I could find no text to support this)

10. wundred = one hundred? (the texts, such as in Ecclesiastes speaks of multitudes, so I'm guessing a number)

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 23 2012, 5:36am

Post #7 of 31 (731 views)
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A Nowel present - a quiz! [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, I'm game for this! Let's take a look:

1. daunsyng : dancing
2. woržyly : worthily, of worth
3. schulderes : sounds like "shoulders", but could it really mean "shudders"?
4. bry[gh]t : bright - back in the day when "gh" was actually pronounced.
5. Crystemas : Christ-mas (the religious mass for the Christ birth)
6. twelmonyth : a year
7. do[gh]tyr : daughter
8. žorghout : throughout
9. vnryghtwisely ; unwisely, done in a manner not right or correct
10. wundred : wondered

(I've had to alter the spelling of a couple of words, as the "yogh" is not printing out correctly when I review this.)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Dec 23 2012, 6:25am

Post #8 of 31 (758 views)
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I'll give it a go. [In reply to] Can't Post

(I once read Chaucer's "Treatise on the Astrolabe" with the original spelling, but I was pretty motivated get the information from it.)

1. daunsyng--dancing
2. woržyly--worthily
3. schulderes--shoulders
4. bryȝt--bright
5. Crystemas--Christmas
6. twelmonyth--twelvemonth (a year)
7. doȝtyr--daughter
8. žorghout--throughout
9. vnryghtwisely--unrighteously
10. wundred--wondered


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 23 2012, 8:40pm

Post #9 of 31 (716 views)
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About answers and bonus words :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you to our participants so far. You've all done very well! (One of you has achieved a perfect score already!)

I'll post the answers on Crystemas day, in case anyone else wants to have a go at the first list.

In the meantime, for those who have already played, here are some bonus words:

A. aȝayn
B. togeder
C. ientyle
D. fyngres
E. Krystmasse
F. haȝžorne

And a super-ultra-mega bonus: "Žat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges," (I just love this line!)


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Dec 23 2012, 9:28pm

Post #10 of 31 (786 views)
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OK, here are my guesses. [In reply to] Can't Post

A. aȝayn--again
B. togeder--together
C. ientyle--gentle
D. fyngres--fingers
E. Krystmasse--Christmas
F. haȝžorne--hawthorn

"Žat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,"--"That gleamed full gaily with many gold fringes." I don't think it's really fringes, but I can't think of anything else.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 24 2012, 7:11pm

Post #11 of 31 (723 views)
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Even more? [In reply to] Can't Post

What fun, thank you!

A. a[gh]ayn : again
B. togeder : together
C. ientyle : at first I read this as "lentyle", and thought it referred to the lintel over a door, but now I see that it starts with an "i", which makes it seem like "gentile", which usually means someone who is not Jewish.
D. fyngres : fingers
E. Krystmasse : another variation of Christ-mas?
F. ha[gh]žorne : hawthorn (tree)

And a super-ultra-mega bonus: "Žat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges": that gleamed prettily with many golden fringes! What does this refer to, a fringed cloth cover or article of clothing?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






Lissuin
Tol Eressea


Dec 25 2012, 2:40am

Post #12 of 31 (682 views)
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Are two guesses allowed? [In reply to] Can't Post

Happy holidays, Sir Dennis!

1. dancing
2. worthy/worthwhile
3. shoulders/soldiers
4. bright
5. Christmas
6. December/one year
7. daughter
8. through out
9. venerate/venerable
10. hundred/wounded


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 25 2012, 3:03am

Post #13 of 31 (690 views)
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Did you see the second list Liss? [In reply to] Can't Post

It was here, in a reply to Auntie.

A. aȝayn
B. togeder
C. ientyle
D. fyngres
E. Krystmasse
F. haȝžorne

And a super-ultra-mega bonus: "Žat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,"

Have at thee m!


Lissuin
Tol Eressea


Dec 25 2012, 3:03am

Post #14 of 31 (690 views)
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bonus words [In reply to] Can't Post

again
together
until/eventual
fingers
Christmas
hagthorn/hawthorne

"that gleamed full gaily with many gold fringes"



Lissuin
Tol Eressea


Dec 25 2012, 3:08am

Post #15 of 31 (685 views)
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How do you like my line party costume? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry. Just a bit off topic. I was going for a visual interpretation.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 25 2012, 3:19am

Post #16 of 31 (695 views)
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Such lines are what makes it an "alliterative poem" [In reply to] Can't Post

It is astonishing to me the brilliance of the original work. A great debt is owed Tolkien for cleaning it up as it were.

The line, "Žat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges," refers to Sir Gawain's horse Gryngolet's saddle. Here is the complete description Sir Gawain's of his horse and tack:

"Bi žat watz Gryngolet grayth, and gurde with a sadel
Žat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,
Ayquere naylet ful nwe, for žat note ryched;
Že brydel barred aboute, with bryȝt golde bounden;
Že apparayl of že payttrure and of že proude skyrtez,
Že cropore and že couertor, acorded wyth že arsounez;
And al watz rayled on red ryche golde naylez,
Žat al glytered and glent as glem of že sunne.


source: http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/gawaintx.htm

alot of alliteration


Heart


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Dec 25 2012, 3:21am)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 25 2012, 3:23am

Post #17 of 31 (672 views)
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Great answer! ... and ... wow. O.O // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 25 2012, 5:16pm

Post #18 of 31 (684 views)
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Answers -- don't peek if you still want to play. [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are the answers from the first batch of words:

1. daunsyng -- dancing
2. woržyly -- worthily
3. schulderes -- shoulders
4. bryȝt -- bright
5. Crystemas -- Christmas
6. twelmonyth -- a year
7. doȝtyr -- daughter
8. žorghout -- throughout
9. vnryghtwisely -- unrighteously
10. wundred -- wondered



Scores (including half marks) out of 10:

Daniel 7 (I wasn't trying to be tricky, rather to include a range of difficulties.)
Geordie 9
Ethel 9.5
Ardamire 7.5
Morthoron 9
Dernwyn 9.5
Auntie 10!

Lissuin 8

Judging be the excellent scores, I think we are getting better at this! Smile

A couple of you had a go at the bonus list, answers follow in a seperate post (in case the rest of you still want to play).

Thank you again to our participants, many blessings be upon you in the New Year.



(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Dec 25 2012, 5:20pm)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 25 2012, 5:46pm

Post #19 of 31 (726 views)
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Bonus list answers -- don't peek if you still want to play! [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are the bonus word and phrase answers:

A. aȝayn--again
B. togeder--together
C. ientyle--gentle
D. fyngres--fingers
E. Krystmasse--Christmas
F. haȝžorne--hawthorn

"Žat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,"--"That gleamed full gaily with many gold fringes."

Regarding "ientyle" it does look like jentile or gentile, but in context the meaning is gentle/noble. As such, I suppose it might have been pronounced gen-teel, though the meaning "noble" or "fine" remains. What fascinates me of course is the use of "i" in place of "j" or "g."

Togeder? Why not togežer? I wonder if it was a transcription error?

Actually across all the words (of both lists) there are interesting little quirks such as swapping the position of "r" and "o" for throughout or dropping the first "e" in wondered. Perhaps this marks the progression of phonetic spelling over the years?

Vnrightwisely was quite a stumper I thought since it somewhat relies on a cultural sensibility that has changed over time.

Scores out of 10 (1 each and 4 for the phrase):

Auntie DB 10! or 20/20
Dernwyn 9.5 or 19/20
Lissuin 9 or 17/20

Note: second score is your combined total for the thread.

Thank you to our 3 players so far Heart


Ardamķrė
Valinor


Dec 26 2012, 11:25pm

Post #20 of 31 (706 views)
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Lots of fun, SirDennisC! [In reply to] Can't Post

Can't wait for the next one. Not that I'm any good at it, but they're certainly fun to do Smile

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


acheron
Gondor


Dec 30 2012, 3:49pm

Post #21 of 31 (669 views)
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j wasn't a letter in Middle English [In reply to] Can't Post

J didn't really come along as a separate letter from I until the 1700s. (Same for U/V.) Even as late as 1755 -- Samuel Johnson's famous dictionary from that date didn't have separate sections for I/J or U/V. By then some words were written with I and others with J (generally I for vowels and J for consonants, basically what evolved when they became separate letters), but Johnson just considered them variants of the same letter.

So you could probably transliterate "ientyle" as "jentyle" if you wanted without being too far off the mark. How it turned into "g", I couldn't tell you though.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 31 2012, 10:27pm

Post #22 of 31 (687 views)
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Further on the mysterious "ientyle" [In reply to] Can't Post

First, thank you for the historical information Acheron...

In a note appearing just before the text proper of Sir Gawain -- least ways in my 1963 edition -- Tolkien has this to say:

"The spelling of the manuscript is reproduced, except for corrections of scribal errors... The long i of the manuscript is printed as j except in Iwis and the pronoun I."

And it is true; consider line 86 (line 85 included for context):

85 "Bot Arthure wolde not ete til al were serued,
He watz so joly of his joyfnes, and sumquat childgered:"

Incidentally this is an Arthur trope -- that he wouldn't eat the Christmas feast until everyone was served, and then only if some adventure presented itself at his halls (in this instance, enter The Green Knight).

It is also true that Tolkien's glossary doesn't have a "J" section, in spite of his swapping "i" for "j" where he deemed it appropriate.

Finally, ientyle appears as gentyle elsewhere in the text and in separate entries in the glossary, though they are the same word. So we might have stumbled here, upon an exception to Tolkien's editing strategy. Or perhaps soft g could sometimes be written as i, i.e. as it sounds?Laugh

Oh, one more thing... from the text above, I just love "sumquat" for "somewhat." Qu standing in for wh appears elsewhere in the poem.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Dec 31 2012, 10:30pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 1 2013, 1:34pm

Post #23 of 31 (740 views)
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"childgered"? [In reply to] Can't Post

Now that is one I can't make out! What does it mean - or imply?

Fascinating how the i's, j's and g's have been swapped around over the centuries! I wonder if Tolkien considered making words consistent, or felt it best to leave them as close to the original state as possible.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 8:38pm

Post #24 of 31 (692 views)
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Great question -- now where is Phibbus? [In reply to] Can't Post

Childgered is a word I might better had left for a future MEVC... but hey, this party is just getting started!

Tolkien's glossary is particularly helpful here in that it has listings for childgered as well as gere(d), childgered being a compound of "child" (OE ċild meaning "child") and "gere" (Old Norse gervi for gear, armour, behaviour, fashion et al.). In short the straightest translation is "child-like" or perhaps "childish."

Now, Tolkien glosses childgered as "boyish, merry" which I believe is in keeping with the light-heartedness of the passage. However, according to the authors of "Judging Camelot: Changing Critical Perspectives in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" the Gawain poet's use of childgered has been a source of debate for some years. The debate, as might be expected, stems from the word's ambiguity. This passage gets to the heart of it I think:

"While critics writing during the 1950s and 1960s weighed the moral gravity of Camelot, a similar preoccupation fails to arise in the 1970s. Patricia Moody ("Childgered Arthur"), for instance, explores the varied meanings of the word childgered, ranging from "boyish, merry" to the notion of "restlessness." Such a term in Gawain, Moddy claims, invites ambiguity, a hallmark of this elusive romance."

... yes, great question dernwyn (I hope I haven't crossposted with anyone in the time it's taken to make this response).

Smile

* From: Lupak, Alan ed. New Directions in Arthurian Studies. Cambridge, DS Brewer: 2002


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 1 2013, 8:47pm)


Lissuin
Tol Eressea


Jan 1 2013, 8:55pm

Post #25 of 31 (633 views)
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Not likely, SirD. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
(I hope I haven't crossposted with anyone in the time it's taken to make this response).


Look at the childish and merry rush that ensued to post a competing well-researched explanation for "childgered". Shocked

No, no, we are grateful for this. I had been about to ask it myself. Thanks for the interesting and informative thread. How does one say "brain food" in Old English? Smile

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