• The Wordhord

  • Daily Life in Old English
  • By: Hana Videen
  • Narrated by: Sara Powell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook narrated by Sara Powell takes listeners on an entertaining and illuminating tour of weird, wonderful, and downright baffling words from the origins of English

Old English is the language you think you know until you actually hear or see it. Unlike Shakespearean English or even Chaucer’s Middle English, Old English—the language of Beowulf—defies comprehension by untrained modern readers. Used throughout much of Britain more than a thousand years ago, it is rich with words that haven’t changed (like word), others that are unrecognizable (such as neorxnawang, or paradise), and some that are mystifying even in translation (gafol-fisc, or tax-fish). In this delightful book, Hana Videen gathers a glorious trove of these gems and uses them to illuminate the lives of the earliest English speakers. We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friendship, and where you might grow up to be a laughter-smith.

The Wordhord takes listeners on a journey through Old English words and customs related to practical daily activities (eating, drinking, learning, working); relationships and entertainment; health and the body, mind, and soul; the natural world (animals, plants, and weather); locations and travel (the source of some of the most evocative words in Old English); mortality, religion, and fate; and the imagination and storytelling. Each chapter ends with its own “wordhord”—a list of its Old English terms, with definitions and pronunciations.

Entertaining and enlightening, The Wordhord reveals the magical roots of the language you’re reading right now: you’ll never look at—or speak—English in the same way again.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Hana Videen (P)2022 Princeton University Press
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“The perfect way to be introduced to Old English. There is insight on every page.”—David Crystal, author of The Stories of English
“A rich meditation on words, a thoughtful cultural history, and a delicious box of delights to dip into during stolen moments. I loved this book—and learnt more from it than from any number of solemn language primers. Hana Videen has created a marvel.”—Nicola Griffith, author of Hild
“A wonderful book heaving with linguistic treasure, a joyfully clever exploration of early medieval life.”—Edward Brooke-Hitching, author of The Madman’s Library

What listeners say about The Wordhord

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So Great! More please.

So Great! More please. A fascinating walk through words and histories of the Old English world.

1 person found this helpful

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wundrung!

Full disclosure: I have a BA in medieval studies and I adore Middle English. This book was an utter delight: fascinating facts and hilarious asides.

I don’t usually write reviews but wanted to give a shout-out to Susan Powell, who did phenomenal work narrating and nailing the prononciations.