The language spoken by the Angles, Jutes [Goths] and so-called Saxons [pre-600 AD], has been given many names, but probably the most useful would be "Old Scandinavian", or "Anglish".


under prolonged construction


                                                                                                 


Sund Again

More or less as has already been said before, or previously, in actual fact.
If you haven't got a headache yet, try this.

Here follows a determined effort to get to the bottom of pesky sund.
Since Swedish is by far the best entry to Anglo-Saxon, we'll start with Hellquist:


Hellquist, 1922   Sorry, it would be too tedious to translate.


Sad to say, Hellquist, like Anderson/Arngart, is deferentially under the cosh of the Anglo-Saxon "scholars", so his definitions are already somewhat distorted. He comes up with one interesting comment though, to whit: "Alltså, egentligen ett ställe som man simmar över"; ie, "a place one swims across." Perhaps this is the fons of the chaos.


Skeat, however, goes astray --- surely ? --- in his etymological derivation of "sound", above left. How can this word possibly relate to a "weak grade of swimman" ? What is a "weak grade" ?

On the other hand his understanding of the meaning and origin of "sunder" is unexceptionable. How could the connection between "sound", referring to a strait, and "sunder", referring to separation, fail to have been made ?

Hellquist, above, initially hits the bullseye, with mellanrum, from Icelandic, which translates precisely as "interval". He then seems to fall for Skeat's "swimman", and meanders off-piste, muttering about "a place which can be swum across". ??? I was unduly dismissive about this comment on a former page, and will have to correct what I said there.

Zoëga, column at right, appears to hold the key. A sund is a place where some geological deity has put asunder, or forcibly parted, two land-masses; and the obvious ones are Sweden and Denmark, which still today are separated by The Sound, or sundet. This is called Öresund, separating Hamlet's castle from Helsingborg.

What God had joined together, Nature had put asunder.

Inexplicably, Zoëga often substitutes "swimming" in compounds where "channel", "strait" or "sound", implying a body of water, would do equally well, and more sensibly. "Sundferð" = channel trip, or journey, not "swimming"; etc.

Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic, 1910/1975.

Here we have Bosworth, 1838, and Bosworth Toller, 1898.
Both heavily into swimming.


Here we have Clark Hall, 1894:

The primary interpretation of sund, as "swimming", by Bosworth, Toller, and Clark Hall strikes me as totally bananas. "Sund" equals capacity for swimming ? "Mere" equals bath ? "Nytt" equals exercise of the power ? "Sundbuende" equals mankind ? Are we all mermen ? There's something seriously haywire about all this. It will take the DOE another 40 years to get to S to be of any help, and even then, judging by the last 40, I doubt it will be much use.


Anglo-Saxon studies, in the sense of getting closer to the truth of Anglo-Saxon life, literature and thought, are unlikely to advance as long as this discipline is dominated by Anglo-American academe, and as long as the deep-rooted Scandinavian and Friesian origins of Anglo-Saxon England continue to be side-lined. While the language continues to be called "Old English" there is no hope of any change for the better. In top-heavy bureaucracies it is immaterial what is said --- all that matters is who says it. Those with the sway to say what's what are not those whose prime concern is for truth, but those with the sharpest elbows, the biggest mouths, and the most ferocious dedication to self-promotion.


Good on you, Reverend; at least you were on the right track in 1868. And in 1838.


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Extract above from The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, 1979.

There can't be great doubt that a "holm" is a little hill, a hillock, perhaps located in the vicinity of water: eg Stockholm, Ängelholm. It is remotely conceivable that it may occasionally designate little bumps on the surface of the sea, billows, or even waves; but the greater likelihood is that it refers to the skerries typical of much of the coast of Scandinavia, especially Sweden, such as Väderöarna, home of the Weder-Geats. The etymology for "skerry" given in the ODEE is risible, and mis-copies Skeat's correcter etymology.


© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2018
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