Translation Musings: Happy Thorsday!

Oct 9, 2014 | Language

Today, Thorsday, we’re looking at what the Vikings brought over… And I’m not talking about looting or pillaging , but the words they left behind. And they left us a lot!

Now, I don’t condone plagiarism in any form, but this was too good not to use. I do not claim it for own, but instead am quoting in full from its author, John-Erik Jordan, writing on a the rather marvelous www.babel.com, from which the inspiration and information for this blog came. Have a read of this:

Traust me, þó (though) it may seem oddi at first, we er still very líkligr to use the same words as the Vikings did in our everyday speech. Þeirra (their) language evolved into the modern-day Scandinavian languages, but þeir (they) also gave English the gift of hundreds of words.

As you can see, Old Norse is at the root of many of our everyday words, including, of course, that very important day of the week, Thursday!

They also loved a bit of war, did the Vikings, so it will come as no surprise that many of our war-ry words derive from these chaps too – such as club (klubba), slaughter (slatra – to butcher) and, my favourite, berserk. This is a good one – a Viking berserkr was a warrior who was so hard he would do battle in a frenzy with only an animal skin (bear-skin, see what they did there…) to protect him. Ooh, those Vikings…

Please go to Mr Jordan’s enlightening article for more Viking words which have found a permanent home on our shores!