Hey everyone. I wanted to drop a quick post here to let those of you who are still subscribed to the feed (a surprising number of you!) that I’ve not abandoned this blog. I’ve been extremely busy with classes, and both of my blogs (this one and System 13) have suffered because of it. But, one must have priorities.
I won’t, however, post here without writing at least a little bit about language. So:
I have long been frustrated with people thinking that modern words with an -e slapped on the end constitute “Old English.” (Or should I say “Olde English”?) I hear expressions from people surprisingly often, showing how little they know about the evolution of their own, native language.
The most recent case was when I was discussing Myne Owne Ground, a book I had to read for a class I’m in. As can be discerned from the extended title (Myne Owne Ground: Race and Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640-1676), the book is concerned with 17th century Virginia. Throughout the book, there are excerpts from court cases, land grants, etc. Many of the words in these excerpts are spelled incorrectly or inconsistently, and a great deal of the words have an unneeded -e appended to the end.
When talking about this with a fellow classmate, he commented that, “Yeah, all of that Old English will get you everytime.” (I suppose he could have meant “old” as an antiquated, from a previous time, etc., but I seriously doubt it.) I just nodded and smiled, but I wanted to say: “Alas, no – that’s not Old English! You’re only about 5 centuries late. If I were to show you real Old English – Anglo-Saxon – you’d realize how silly you sound.”
Old[e] English, indeed.