Sunday, 4 March 2018

national grimoire day

Kids today who don't know the difference between its and it's!

Heere could I breath my soule into the ayre,
As milde and gentle as the Cradle-babe,
Dying with mothers dugge betweene it's lips.
Henry VI part 2 III ii, Folio I

This Musicke crept by me vpon the waters,
Allaying both their fury, and my passion
With it's sweet ayre: thence I haue follow'd it
(Or it hath drawne me rather) but 'tis gone.
The Tempest I ii, Folio I

How sometimes Nature will betray it's folly?
It's tendernesse?
The Winter's Tale I ii, Folio I

In my greene Veluet Coat; my Dagger muzzel'd,
Least it should bite it's Master,
The Winter's Tale I ii, Folio I

By Iesus hee is vtter as praue words vpon the bridge
As you shall desire to see in a sommers day, but its all one,
What he hath sed to me, looke you, is all one.
Henry V I i, Quarto I

Swords, any thing he cares not, and the diuell come to
him, its all one, by Gods lid it dooes ones heart good.
Troilus and Cressida I i, Quarto I

lose and loose!

Duke. You doe but loose your labour.
Measure for Measure V i, Folio

Rich. You are old enough now,
And yet me thinkes you loose:
Father teare the Crowne from the Vsurpers Head.
King Henry VI, part 3 I i, Folio I

Hath he deseru'd to loose his Birth-right thus?
King Henry VI, part 3 I i, Folio I

Riu. These Newes I must confesse are full of greefe,
Yet gracious Madam, beare it as you may,
Warwicke may loose, that now hath wonne the day.
King Henry VI, part 3 IV iv, Folio I

Que. Let not thy mother loose her praiers Hamlet,
Hamlet I ii, Quarto I

Then giue me leaue, for loosers will haue leaue,
Titus Andronicus III i, Folio

The worthy Gentleman did lose his Life.
King Henry VI, part 3 III ii, Folio I

who and whom!

Lau. Can nothing speake? Master, shall I strike?
Pro. Who wouldst thou strike?
Lau. Nothing.
- Two Gentlemen of Verona III i, Folio 1

Boyet. Now Madam summon vp your dearest spirits,
Consider who the King your father sends:
To whom he sends, and what's his Embassie.
- Love's Labour's Lost II i, Folio 1

For certaine friends that are both his, and mine,
Whose loues I may not drop, but wayle his fall,
Who I my selfe struck downe
- Macbeth III i, Folio 1

Alb. Run, run,O run.
Edg. To who my Lord? Who ha's the Office?
- King Lear V iii, Folio 1

speake to him againe. What do you read my Lord?
Ham. Words, words, words.
Pol. What is the matter, my Lord?
Ham. Betweene who?
Pol. I meane the matter you meane, my Lord.
- Hamlet II ii, Folio 1

Iago. Not this houre Lieutenant: 'tis not yet ten
o'th'clocke. Our Generall cast vs thus earely for the
loue of his Desdemona: Who, let vs not therefore blame;
- Othello II ii, Folio 1

they now are in my powre;
And in these fits, I leaue them, while I visit
Yong Ferdinand (whom they suppose is droun'd)
And his, and mine lou'd darling.
- The Tempest III iii, Folio 1

Spare not the Babe
Whose dimpled smiles from Fooles exhaust their mercy;
Thinke it a Bastard, whom the Oracle
Hath doubtfully pronounced, the throat shall cut,
And mince it sans remorse.
- Timon of Athens IV iii, Folio 1

And others more, going to seeke the graue
Of Arthur, whom they say is kill'd to night, on your (suggestion.
- King John IV ii, Folio 1

But such a one thy vassall, whom I know
Is free for me to aske, thee to bestow.
- All's Well that Ends Well II i, Folio 1

Elb. My wife Sir? whom I detest before heauen, and
your honour.
Esc. How? thy wife?
Elb. I Sir: whom I thanke heauen is an honest wo-
- Measure for Measure II i, Folio


"Lift him out," said Squeers, after he had literally feasted his eyes in silence upon the culprit. - Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby 

He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room - Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

And with his eyes he literally scoured the corners of the cell - Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading

the wretch did not make a single remark during dinner . . . whereas I literally blazed with wit - William Makepeace Thackeray, Punch magazine

He literally had to move heaven and earth to arrive at this systematic understanding - Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, was literally run off her feet. - James Joyce, Dubliners

Literally, I was (what he often called me) the apple of his eye. - Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Saturday, 10 February 2018


Wardruna is a Norwegian band that uses the "oldest of Nordic instruments and poetic metres as well as lyrics written in Norwegian, Old Norse and Proto-Norse tongue". 

A band that sings in Proto-Norse?

I think what Wikipedia calls Proto-Norse is the same as what Fortson in Indo-European Language and Culture calls Runic: the language of the Elder Futhark alphabet and possibly the ancestor of Old Norse.

This Runic inscription dates from AD 400: a golden horn found in Gallehus, Jutland.
The runes are read from left to right and begin with the dark ᛖ to the right of the word in the centre. They read:

ᛖᚲᚺᛚᛖᚹᚨᚷᚨᛋᛏᛁᛉ ᚺᛟᛚᛏᛁᛃᚨᛉ ᚺᛟᚱᚾᚨ ᛏᚨᚹᛁᛞᛟ
ekhlewagastiz holtijaz horna tawido
“I, Hlewagastiz Holtijaz, made (this) horn.”

Its phonology isn’t that different from Proto-Germanic; it retains the final *-z that became r in Old Norse. Wardruna uses a transliteration with R instead of z. Fortson says “The rune for this sound is frequently transcribed R, on the assumption that its phonetic value is between that of a z and an r; but this assumption is unnecessary.”

All of Wardruna's Runic song titles are names for runes. The origin of rune names is interesting. As far as I can tell, someone hypothesized Proto-Germanic and Runic names for the Elder Futhark letters based on evidence in later Anglo-Saxon rune poems. In other words, the names for the runes might not have been used at the time of the Elder Futhark, they might be later developments. On the other hand, this blog post argues that many of the rune names might date back to Proto-Germanic.

What I will do here is try to figure out what languages the song titles are in. But I know very little about North Germanic languages so I'd recommend just reading this blog.

Ár var alda: Old Norse “in days of yore”
Hagal: Runic *haǥalaz “hail”
Bjarkan: Old Norse “birch”
Løyndomsriss: løyndom is Norwegian "secret"
Heimta Thurs: Old Norse heimta “summon”, þurs “giant”
Thurs: Old Norse þurs “giant”
Jara: Runic *jāra “year”
Laukr: Old Norse “leek”
Kauna: Runic *kauna “ulcer”
Algir - Stien klarnar: cf Proto-Germanic *alǥiz “elk”. stien klarnar is Norwegian "the path is clear"
Algir - Tognatale: Icelandic togna "to be stretched", tal "speech"?
Dagr: Old Norse “day”

Rotlaust tre fell: Old Norse "rootless tree fell"?
Fehu: Runic *fehu “wealth, cattle” (English fee)
NaudiR: Runic *nauđiz “need”
EhwaR: Runic *ehwaz “horse”
AnsuR: Proto-Germanic *ansuz “god”
IwaR: Runic *īwaz “yew”
IngwaR: Runic *inǥwaz “Yngvi”
Gibu: Runic *ǥeƀu “gift”
Solringen: Norwegian “the sun ring”
Sowelu: Runic *sōwila “sun”
Helvegen: Norwegian “The road to Hel”

Tyr: Norwegian “Tyr”
UruR: Runic *ūruz, “aurochs”
Isa: Runic *īsaz “ice”
MannaR - Drivande: Runic *mannaz “man”. I’m not sure what drivande should be; the Old Norse is drifa, Proto-Germanic *drīƀan
Raido: Proto-Germanic *raiđō “ride”
Pertho: Runic *perþō, no one knows what this means
Odal: Runic *ōþilą "native land" (German edel)
Wunjo: Proto-Germanic *wunjō “joy” (Old English wynn)
Runaljod: Old Norse runa ljóð “song of runes”?

The rune wunjo ᚹ found its way into the Old English alphabet as the letter wynn Ƿ ƿ which was later replaced by W.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

gable and cephalopod


Proto-Indo-European *ghebh-(e)l- "head" became Proto-Germanic *ǥaƀlaz "top of a pitched roof", then Old Norse gafl, borrowed into Old French as gable, then borrowed into English as gable.

In Greek *ghebh-(e)l-became κεϕαλή kephalē "head", which was borrowed into English as cephalopod with Greek πούς, ποδ- pous, pod- "foot". Cephalopods were so named because their feet are attached to their head, altho they are usually called arms.

In Tocharian A, *ghebh-(e)l- became śpāl "head".

Saturday, 15 July 2017

fight and ctenophore

pelagic ctenophore
benthic ctenophore
Proto-Indo-European *peḱ- "to pluck the hair" in the extended form *peḱt- became Proto-Germanic *feχtan "to fight" and English fight.

The zero-grade form *pḱt-en- became Greek κτείς, κτενός kteis, ktenos "comb", borrowed into English in ctenophore, the comb jelly.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Kamasutra and hymen

The kama of kamasutra is from Sanskrit कामः kāmaḥ "wish, desire, love", cognate with whore.

sutra is from Sanskrit सूत्रं sūtraṁ "thread" and "any work or manual consisting of strings of such rules hanging together like threads", from Proto-Indo-European *syuH- "to bind, sew" in the variant suffixed form *sū-tro-.

The suffixed form *syuH-men became Greek ὑμήν humēn "thin skin, membrane", borrowed into English as hymen.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Crepax's reversed Lautverschiebung

Guido Crepax's Valentina comics feature a subterranean race with a language that was heavily influenced by Germanic languages - he calls it "Lautverschiebung in reverse" as I noted in my previous post.

These stories have recently been published by Fantagraphics in beautiful English editions and I am reading them for the first time. Here are some of the words of the subterranean language, their meanings, and my guesses on where Crepax got them. Most of them are from Gothic.

In writing this post I looked in a bunch of Gothic dictionaries.

Gothic himina- "heaven"

Old High German líh

imprison, arrest, take
Gothic niman

Gothic qens "wife"

Gothic qiman "to come", qam "come (1s pret)"

Old High German ih

Gothic wit

Gothic neƕ

Gothic brukjan

vital space
German Lebensraum

Gothic greipan "to snatch, clasp"

Gothic dauþus

Gothic wairþan "to become"

Gothic nasjan "to escape"

Gothic þiuda

Gothic wairpan

Gothic watō

Gothic diups "deep"

Old High German blint

Old High German weih



Gothic si

we can
Old High German magan

Old High German gēn

Gothic saíƕan "to see" with a present participle type ending

German laut

Gothic unsara

Gothic habai "have" (3s pres act subj)

Gothic iup

short hair
Gothic sild is "rare" and tagl is "tail, hair"

Gothic ôgan "to fear" with a present participle type ending

Gothic qaþ, 1s pret of qiþan "to say"

Proto-Germanic *hehald "stop" (1s past ind)

relative pronoun
Gothic þáiei "relative pronoun (nom pl m)"?

There are a few that I can't find:


man, men






Saturday, 10 June 2017

Lautverschiebung in reverse

From Valentina in Sovietland by Guido Crepax