By Old English, I mean words in modern use whose roots are in pre-Norman English, like get, got, hide, fight. Is there a dictionary which contains nothing but these words ? If not, how did Churchill manage to write his speeches ?
Mike Gooding
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
By Old English, I mean words in modern use whose roots are in pre-Norman English, like get, got, hide, fight. Is there adictionary which contains nothing but these words ? If not, how did Churchill manage to write his speeches ?

A good workman knows his tools: you yourself seem to be able to identify the class without difficulty, so I'm intrigued to know why you think Churchill would have needed a special dictionary. People often refer to these words as "Anglo-Saxon", or even "good old Anglo-Saxon".
Have I misunderstood the question?
Mike.
By Old English, I mean words in modern use whose roots are in pre-Norman English, like get, got, hide, fight. Is there a dictionary which contains nothing but these words ?

Yes, there are dictionaries of Old English or Anglo-Saxon (same thing). I don't know if there are any free on-line, but they exist in book form as well as CD-ROM. Check book-dealers.
If not, how did Churchill manage to write his speeches ?

Did someone tell you that Churchill wrote out his speeches entirely in Old English before translating them into Modern English? I'm afraid that would be absurd. He was no scholar of ancient languages, although he did study Latin as a schoolboy.
But he would have known that most short, concrete (and hence effective) words came from our Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) heritage, while longer, more abstract, Latinate words mostly came via French. He did recommend using short, simple, concrete words whenever possible.
I think Churchill wrote out some advice for good writing. At the moment all I can find is this:
"Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all." Winston Churchill
Is your question, "How could he have known which words were old?"

Best - Donna Richoux
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Shouldn't there be two question marks at the end of "Is your question, 'How could he have known which words were old?'?"?

john
Did someone tell you that Churchill wrote out his speeches entirely in Old English before translating them into Modern English?

He specifically said in the question (which you quoted) that he was using the term "Old English" in a way other than the one you replied to
I think Churchill wrote out some advice for good writing. At the moment all I can find is this: "Short ... short are best of all." Winston Churchill Is your question, "How could he have known which words were old?"

He said he meant that.
But the question wasn't at all clear, once slightly deconstructed.

Whatever, here's an A-S Dictionary I have bookmarked: http://beowulf.engl.uky.edu/~kiernan/BT/Bosworth-Toller.htm

Mike.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
(Restoring what little context there was:)

How do you account for his saying "pre-Norman English," then? There wasn't much around before 1066 except for Anglo-Saxon/Old English.

I'm aware that some people use "Old English" to mean "any English that is old," and I can sympathize with that, because what else would you call it? But I don't get that impression here.
I think Churchill wrote out some advice for good writing. ... question, "How could he have known which words were old?"

He said he meant that.

I'm sure he'll let us know if we have collectively failed to divine his intent.

Best - Donna Richoux
I'm aware that some people use "Old English" to mean "any English that is old," and I can sympathize with that, because what else would you call it?

Then there's our president, Jed Bartlet, who thinks Beowulf was written in Middle English.

Steny '08!
By Old English, I mean words in modern use whose roots are in pre-Norman English, like get, got, hide, fight. Is there a dictionary which contains nothing but these words ? If not, how did Churchill manage to write his speeches ?

Though Churchill apparently didn't do very well at school, his education would have been seriously biased towards Latin and some Greek. So he would have been able to recognise Latinate words in English. Of course, his own writing is by no means confined to words derived from Old English, but perhaps the most memorable passages in his speeches more closely match his theoretical ideal. Yet the climactic phrase in his "We shall fight them ..." speech is "we shall never surrender". "Surrender" is both polysyllabic and French-from-Latin in origin; its first use in Churchill's sense is said by OED to,be mid-16th century. "Pure" Latin would have been "capitulate", I suppose. Would the speech have been more telling if he had said "we shall never give in"?
Alan Jones
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more