Instructables

How to speak old english?

what would be the correct way to reply to 'good day fair maiden, how do you fare?' using old english,...?

misha.horan2 years ago
So I am confused, can anyone help me speak old english, cos I like totally suck and I really need to know how to. Its very important
seandogue4 years ago
I fair well good sir, and thee?
I am unsure why people consider this to be "Old English". English began in the 5th century and to hear it today it sounds like a completely different language. Most modern English speaking people can not speak nor understand TRUE old English.

What you are talking about here was considered late middle to early modern English.
facepalm. Thank goodness I live in America, where old English is just the provenance of pedantic Language Arts majors.
I suggest you look here www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk/

It allows you to translate single words from modern english to old english and backwards.
Now this translator is truly in Old English. Not that thee and thou you are calling Old English.
Necessary but not sufficient.  The grammar also changed, in particular with the imposition of those "cheese eating surrender monkeys" and their peculiar language.  And, as Orksecurity said, the Great Vowel Shift threw a spanner into the works as well.
Yes. Practice on this
Beowulf, Chapter One.
And if you websearch for "Beowulf audio" you'll find some recordings.

A song for the linguists and historians in the audience:
http://www.echoschildren.org/NonCDlyrics/Yogh.html
Interesting link ! Thanks
kelseymh4 years ago
That would be Middle English, in any event.  For Old English, start with German and go from there.
Kiteman4 years ago
Either:

I fare well / poorly, good sir. (accompany with curtsey and roughish smile if desired)

Or

>slap<
 I believe that you are looking for archaic Modern English (~1600) or possibly Middle English (~1400). Old-fashioned Modern English like Shakespeare's might sound a bit odd, but it's still basically understandable to present-day speakers.

With Middle English like Chaucer used, you can get the gist of what they're saying, but only if it's written down. Old English (~1000) as was used in Beowulf is a very different language. You would probably have an easier time trying to puzzle out present-day German or Dutch.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Vowel_Shift
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Canterbury_Tales
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf
http://www.renfaire.com/Language/

jtobako4 years ago
Depends on who is asking and who is answering and how you wish to be perceived-both social class and, um, availability.
Koosie4 years ago
Do you mean old English like:  I doth fair appropriately and how be thee on this fine Summers morn?
JimFlo4 years ago
Just imitate the queen, she is old and english, and has impeccable manners...
Old English like in Beowulf ????
orksecurity4 years ago
Warning: Getting the pronunciation right is a further complication. The Great Vowel Shift, among other things.