Polish—alongside Czech, Slovak, and Sorbian—belongs to the West Slavic family of languages, which began to diverge from each other towards the end of the first millennium. Polish is the largest member by far of the Lechitic subgroup, which also includes Silesian and Kashubian. The 13th-century Book of Henryków (księga henrykowska) contains, among other things, a … Continue reading The oldest written sentence in Polish
Epic poetry is everywhere. The Great Seal of the United States, found (among other places) on the back of the one-dollar bill, contains two Latin mottoes on its reverse, which is on the left side of the bill. The seal was officially adopted by the U.S. government in 1782. I had never looked into these … Continue reading The Great Seal
There is an 8th-century Latin-German glossary (named Abrogans after its initial entry) that presents a large number of Latin words along with their Old High German meanings. The vocabulary is largely religious and/or biblical, but there are such occasional flights of whimsy as the following: cit · Inprinnit · Crapula · ummazzi · Ebrietaſ · … Continue reading Some Old High German vocabulary for ‘intoxication’
Many Indo-European languages exhibit a word for 'human being' that is built off of PIE *dʰéɡ́ʰom- 'earth, ground.' Celtic *gdonyo- (Irish duine 'person,' Welsh dyn 'man') < *dʰɡ́ʰom-yo- Germanic *guman- 'man' (Old English guma 'man,' English [bride]groom; Old High German gomo 'man,' German [Bräuti]gam) < *dʰɡ́ʰm̥-mon- Latin homō, -minis 'person' < *dʰɡ́ʰm-on- (whence also hūmānus) Phrygian ζεμελως 'man … Continue reading An ancient word for ‘earthling’?
An obsolete word for 'dream' in English is sweven. Here is an example of it "in the wild," at the beginning of Book I of Chaucer's House of Fame (c. 1380): God turne us every drem to goode! For hyt is wonder, be the roode, To my wyt, what causeth swevenes Eyther on morwes or … Continue reading Etymology: archaic English sweven ‘dream’
Go to Intro The rear panel of the Franks Casket depicts the Siege of Jerusalem of 70 CE, when the future Emperor Titus sacked the city of Jerusalem and famously destroyed the Second Temple. The Jews who inhabited the city are put to flight by the Roman forces. Left ᚻᛖᚱᚠᛖᚷᛏᚪᚦ herfegtaþ Top ᛏᛁᛏᚢᛋᛖᚾᛞᚷᛁᚢᚦᛖᚪᛋᚢ HICFUGIANTHIEᚱUᚴALIM titusendgiuþeasu … Continue reading Franks Casket (Rear Panel)
These two lines (ll. 3–4) of Old Low Franconian, which we may call "Old Dutch," together with the Latin text that precedes them (ll. 1–2), date from the 11th century. They are the result of a monk's attempt to break in a new quill—called a probatio pennae 'test of a pen': quid expectamuſ nunc Abent … Continue reading All the birds have begun their nests …