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A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge -- Valantine's Edition
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SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 14 2013, 5:14am

Post #1 of 47 (922 views)
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A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge -- Valantine's Edition Can't Post

Welcome to another edition of A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge (MEVC). For those who like a little romance with their romaunce, this instalment is in honour of Valentine's Day!

Many of you know the drill... flowers, a box of chocolates, candles and soft music... with all that, who wouldn't be in the mood for a little Tolkien inspired philological fun?

It is difficult to defend the appropriateness of a Valentine's Day edition of MEVC without spoiling Tolkien's most significant Middle English text, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Suffice it to say, Sir Gawain's biggest challenge is not having to attend at the Green Chapel to have his head chopped off by the Green Knight, rather it is how he should respond during some romantic situations on the way there.

Now to the matter at hand:

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

Note: publication dates are of my copies; yours may be as old as 1922 and 1925 respectively.

The Rules:

This is a game of guessing, reasoned or otherwise. If you want to be funny, take it to Main (just kidding!!! please answer in whatever way seems best to you). We ask those who have access to the glossaries to 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. holsumly
2. forşer
3. reuerence
4. laȝter
5. sweuenes
6. ȝiftis
7. forȝeue
8. şryue
9. ouermoche
10. teuelyng

A little help here:

Regarding the characters ş and ȝ -- as not to make things too easy, let's just say one can usually be read as "gh," the other as "th." At the end of words one often sounds the same as the letter "z."

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."

Answers to follow within a few days... what are you waiting for? Laugh

___

(Cool story: The other day I met a fellow who had just found a 1922 edition of A Middle English Vocabulary -- published separately from Sisam, apparently -- among a late professor's library he purchased during an estate sale. Can you imagine?)


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 14 2013, 6:30am

Post #2 of 47 (574 views)
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I actually found [In reply to] Can't Post

a reprint of Tolkien's and Gordon's Sir Gawain on a shelf of miscellaneous used books in an auction warehouse in Rangiora, a small town in New Zealand just north of Christchurch. For two dollars, or whatever it was, I snapped it up. I think I have the same edition of Sisam's book as you.

Appropriately for the day the full name of Tolkien's collaborator was Eric Valentine Gordon, by the way.


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Feb 14 2013, 1:56pm

Post #3 of 47 (538 views)
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Oh, fun! I like languages... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. holsumly - wholesomely

2. forşer - further? farther? If I must guess one...further.

3. reuerence - reverence

4. laȝter - laughter

5. sweuenes - swans? swines? swains? Gah. I will go with swains, it is the most Valentiney among my guesses.

6. ȝiftis - gifts

7. forȝeue - forgo

8. şryue - thrive

9. ouermoche - overmuch

10. teuelyng - toiling

Weird, the forum likes only one of the special Middle English characters. Maybe next time I need to quote, not copy and paste...!

Nope, tried that too, it still does not like the cursive z that sounds like "gh". Only the th one!


(This post was edited by arithmancer on Feb 14 2013, 1:59pm)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 14 2013, 2:12pm

Post #4 of 47 (543 views)
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No way and oh no you di'int [In reply to] Can't Post

How cool is that? And I always assumed the E stood for Eugene. I guess I was confusing him with Vinaver, another Mid-Twentieth Century, Oxford published purveyor of Middle English.

Eric. Valentine. Gordon. (Gordon is a family name don't you know.) Wow, this could not have turned out better... unless no one plays, in which case I suppose it could have.

The MEVC is a game for all skill levels, an opportunity for us to learn together as we contend with words as Tolkien may have -- they're his glossaries so there's a very good chance he began by guessing at some of the words himself. I do hope people give it a whirl.

Besides, there's this arcane rule:

"In the first instance of replying to a challenge thread, the poster shall guesseth at the wordis."

Laugh


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 14 2013, 2:35pm

Post #5 of 47 (529 views)
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An opportunity arises: [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, regarding yogh ( Ȝ ) and thorn ( ş ): if you are using chrome (maybe it's the same for IE, et al?) it is best to copy the text from the thread pane rather than to do it from the reply pane. In other words, copy the list before clicking "Reply to this Post." AND you have to set "Post Style" (inside the reply pane) to "Markup and HTML."

Here are the steps again:

Copy text from inside thread
Click Reply to this Post
Set Post Style to Markup and HTML
Paste text into reply pane

One other thing you should know: if you edit the post (in the 10 minute window for doing so) the characters may change to code... you will have to (quickly) copy and paste the characters from somewhere else (open a new tab, hurry, hurry!) and make sure you reset Post Style to Markup and HTML before finishing the edit.

All this is to say I really commend anyone who gets the characters to present correctly.


Phew. Thanks arithmancer! Cool


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 14 2013, 4:18pm

Post #6 of 47 (529 views)
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For Valentine's and to increase the u count in this thread, [In reply to] Can't Post

which is quite substantial already:


Quote
"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."

http://en.wikiquote.org/..._for_Vendetta_(film)



CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 14 2013, 5:43pm

Post #7 of 47 (507 views)
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Guesses [In reply to] Can't Post

 
1. holsumly - wholesomely. Holding hands on a date, and that's all.
2. forşer - forger, as in forging a signature?
3. reuerence - reverence, how knights feel toward lovely Ladies
4. laȝter - leather? Well, I won't go there.
5. sweuenes - swoons. Superb word for Romance Day.
6. ȝiftis - gifts?
7. forȝeue - for thee?
8. şryue - no idea
9. ouermoche - overmuch. I think Eomer says that at Theoden's death, "Mourn not overmuch." If you love overmuch, you're a stalker.
10. teuelyng - toiling?



Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Feb 14 2013, 6:14pm

Post #8 of 47 (572 views)
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My attempt: [In reply to] Can't Post

1. holsumly--wholesomely
2. forşer--further (or farther?)
3. reuerence--reverence
4. laȝter--laughter
5. sweuenes--suaveness?
6. ȝiftis--gifts
7. forȝeue--forgive
8. şryue--thrive
9. ouermoche--overmuch
10. teuelyng-- no idea. All I can think of is "towelling" , and I'm pretty sure that's not right.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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


Feb 15 2013, 3:33am

Post #9 of 47 (496 views)
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I like that you [In reply to] Can't Post

tried to tie the words to the theme... I set about trying to do so myself but it proved difficult. I think about 70% of the words relate to the theme without stretching overmuch ;) (I actually like that word -- I've used it around the place a few times.)

ps great guesses!


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Feb 15 2013, 3:34am)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 15 2013, 3:36am

Post #10 of 47 (497 views)
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Was thinking of you when making this list [In reply to] Can't Post

after the last one I thought you deserved more of a challenge.


Morthoron
Gondor


Feb 15 2013, 4:34am

Post #11 of 47 (525 views)
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Here goes... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. holsumly - comfortably
2. forşer - further
3. reuerence - reverence
4. laȝter - laughter
5. sweuenes - dreams
6. ȝiftis - gifts
7. forȝeue - forgive
8. şryue - thrive
9. ouermoche - overmuch, too much
10. teuelyng - toiling

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



Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Feb 15 2013, 12:38pm

Post #12 of 47 (481 views)
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After looking at everyone else's answers [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm kicking myself over number 10 :-D


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



BoromirOfWinterfell
Rohan


Feb 15 2013, 4:06pm

Post #13 of 47 (546 views)
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<Prepares to be embarrassed> [In reply to] Can't Post

Ironically enough, my signature is from an Old English poem which is of course a lot more difficult than Middle English to understand. Crazy

1. Wholesomely.
2. I would say "father", but that has nothing to do with Valentine's Day. I hope.
3. Reverence.
4. Laughter,
5. Suaveness.
6. Gift(s).
7. Forgive.
8. Thrive(?)
9. Smitten(it felt right...)
10. I have no idea.

Şæs ofereode, şisses swa mæg - that has passed, so may this.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Feb 16 2013, 12:00pm

Post #14 of 47 (466 views)
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Ah, but is it a first edition? ;-) [In reply to] Can't Post

- in reply to:

(Cool story: The other day I met a fellow who had just found a 1922 edition of A Middle English Vocabulary -- published separately from Sisam, apparently -- among a late professor's library he purchased during an estate sale. Can you imagine?)

There are several examples of MEV about with the date 1922 on 'em, but they ain't firsts - take a look here

http://www.tolkienbooks.net/php/details.php?reference=11620

I have two copies - a reprint from 1945 IIRC, and also a re-bound copy which used to belong to one of Tolkien's former pupils Joan Blomfield, which I think might be a first. Funny story - I had occassion to write to Priscilla Tolkien about Joan some years ago, and P. kindly gave me several interesting snippets, inc. the fact that her parents had attended the wedding of Joan to yet another of T's former pupils, Gabriel Turville-Petre. I passed this info. on to Wayne and Christina, and it appears in their book The JRR Tolkien Companion and Guide - and the dealer I bought the MEV from used that info. in their catalogue. What goes around comes around.

Smile




(This post was edited by geordie on Feb 16 2013, 12:01pm)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 16 2013, 5:45pm

Post #15 of 47 (456 views)
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Great story [In reply to] Can't Post

You certainly have a lot of interesting anecdotes. Thanks for sharing.

With only two thousand printings it seems unlikely that it would be a first edition. He indicated that the number of dots around the border were significant, and that the book was from the library of an old (late) professor at Queens (read old money ivy league type). I mentioned you to the fellow and the first thing he said was "it's not for sale" -- which I thought a little rude since I said nothing about buying or selling. Anyway he said he's keeping it for his retirement so he at least is convinced of its value.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Feb 16 2013, 6:26pm

Post #16 of 47 (445 views)
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Heh - [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, as I say I already have a couple of early editions, plus one or two later printings incorporated into Sisam's book. I don't know why I have so many; it's just that they turn up frequently at book-fairs for not a lot of money. I wish your friend luck with his retirement. Smile


geordie
Tol Eressea

Feb 16 2013, 6:34pm

Post #17 of 47 (456 views)
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Vinaver didn't think much of Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

- or at least so I guess. He once wrote that Oxford University never made a bigger mistake than when they by-passed Kenneth Sisam for the professorship of Anglo-Saxon (Sisam was Tolkien's rival for the Chair). On the other hand, Vinaver became a great friend of CS Lewis, so - make of that what you will.

.


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Feb 16 2013, 6:35pm

Post #18 of 47 (460 views)
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I'll make an attempt :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a lot of question marks, having studied Middle English only slightly .

1. holsumly: wholesomely. Goodness?
2. forşer: further?
3. reuerence: reverence. Being reverent and respectful.
4. la&#541;ter: laughter.
5. sweuenes: swains? Keeping in mind Valentine's Heart
6. &#541;iftis: gifts?
7. for&#541;eue: forgive. To err is human; to forgive, Divine.
8. şryue: thrive? To grow in health and happiness.
9. ouermoche: overmuch?
10. teuelyn: toiling?

Fun! Thank you :) And sorry about the weird symbols in place of the proper characters, my computer doesn't appear to speak Middle English :(


'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'


(This post was edited by Aragalen the Green on Feb 16 2013, 6:36pm)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 16 2013, 9:15pm

Post #19 of 47 (449 views)
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My goodness -- I hope people [In reply to] Can't Post

don't think they need to have studied ME in order to play.

Everyone's doing great so far... I thought this list to be quite a bit more challenging than the last one.


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Feb 16 2013, 11:10pm

Post #20 of 47 (441 views)
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No worries here! [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't really studied ME, just poked around a little! Not enough to figure these out, just tried sounding them out and guessing :) Thanks for a fun thread and challenge!

'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 17 2013, 2:37am

Post #21 of 47 (431 views)
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I don't see "chocolate" on this list... [In reply to] Can't Post

Come to think of it, they would not have known about chocolate in the Middle Ages - how sad!

1. holsumly : wholesome, good

2. forşer : could this be "further"?

3. reuerence : reverance

4. la[gh]ter : laughter

5. sweuenes : I'll guess it's "sweetness"

6. [gh]iftis : gifts, presents

7. for[gh]eue : forgive

8. şryue : thrive

9. ouermoche : overmuch, in excess

10. teuelyng : another guess here, "toiling", labouring

Thank you for the challenge, SirD!


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

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






arithmancer
Grey Havens

Feb 17 2013, 3:19am

Post #22 of 47 (426 views)
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I haven't! [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I do think my knowledge of German was helpful.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 17 2013, 7:33pm

Post #23 of 47 (444 views)
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Now I'm wondering about Roger Lancelyn Green [In reply to] Can't Post

Roger Lancelyn Green, author of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table -- a favourite version of mine, for what it's worth -- was a member of the Inklings (or so I'm told). How did he get along with Tolkien? Might his book have had anything to do with Tolkien's decision to abandon his own soon to be published Arthur tale?

Now that I think of it, Viniver's claim to fame was his work with the Winchester and the Caxton Morte d'Arthur manuscripts....intriguing.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Feb 17 2013, 8:19pm

Post #24 of 47 (433 views)
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Not an Inkling, so far as I know [In reply to] Can't Post

Green was a close collaborator of Lewis', but he was never a member of the Inklings, to the best of my knowledge. At least not according to Diana Glyer's The Company They Keep, and David Bratman's very complete appendix to that work, "The Inklings, Their Lives and Works."

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


geordie
Tol Eressea

Feb 17 2013, 10:10pm

Post #25 of 47 (430 views)
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Roger got on well with Tolkien, and Lewis [In reply to] Can't Post

- he wrote affectionate remembrances of both men; of Tolkien in the Tolkien Society's Amon Hen (no.44) and of Lewis in a children's book - The Puffin Annual no. 1.

And yes, Vinaver made his name with his work on the Winchester manuscript of Malory's Morte d'Arthur. This manuscript was so called because it was found at a boarding-school, Winchester College, in 1934. (It was not Vinaver who made the discovery, BTW, but a junior master at Winchester called Walter Oakeshott). Lewis was very taken with this discovery; he went to a talk on the subject given by Vinaver to the Oxford Arthurian Society. (Tolkien attended this talk too, IIRC). Lewis and Vinaver corresponded with each other over the years, and were mutually complimentary to each other in various papers on the subject. And Tolkien's friend and former collaborator E.V. Gordon co-authored a piece with Vinaver on the manuscript in a journal called Medium Aevum. (Tolkien was on this journal's editorial board). As for the manuscript itself - as far as I know, Tolkien seems to have taken little professional interest in the matter.


(This post was edited by geordie on Feb 17 2013, 10:17pm)

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