This Is What Old English Likely Sounded Like

Or, Why I Will Persist In Calling It Anglo-Saxon The Moment You Lot Aren’t Around…

Just listen to this. Now, who here can honestly claim to understand that? Everyone who took Beowulf As A Second Language, sit down.

So that’s English. Officially, that’s the same language I learned at my mother’s knee. In reality, I think I got most of the function words. Some of the proper names. The subtitles helped.

Obviously, when deciding which speech acts go with which languages, the last thing you consider is mutual intelligibility. How idiotic of me to imagine otherwise.

Sounds more poetic though. Her voice reading that was pretty hot actually. :wink:

it’s not for nothing that English is considered a Germanic language.


Hey, I get corrected all the time when I refer to it as Anglo-Saxon and imply through word or deed that it isn’t a variety of English, but rather a predecessor language. It is Old English, and therefore English, and therefore the same language.

Danish and Swedish and Norwegian are all different languages, though. No doubts about that whatsoever.

Yes, the things which got written back then tended to be formal and therefore tended towards the poetic and flowery. I have no illusions that the normal everyday speech of that time sounded anywhere near as mannered, but nobody wrote down the normal everyday speech of that time, so we don’t really know what it sounded like.

Sounds Nordic.

They’re not the same language by any useful metric. They’re not even dialects of the same language. English isn’t the same language as Old English any more than I am the same person as my grandfather.

This is the kind of thing where there’s no clear distinction, but mutual intelligibility is a fairly accepted metric. And, as you said, modern English speakers do not understand Old English.

Kind of reminded me of listening to Dutch, actually. Not really intelligible, but bits and pieces made sense.

hell, Middle English is different enough to be barely intelligible.

Anglo-Saxon and Modern English are just as much the same language as Classical Latin and Modern French are.

Then they are different languages. Just as much as Polish is a different language from German. Lineage is not really a matter of practical sameness.

It does not help that she has pretty poor syllable definition, though at times she sounds like she hits it - and then the words are distinguishable, even if their meaning is not.

When someone is not separating the syllables all that well, they run into each other and its hard to identify each word and the correct parsing.

Also, bear in mind that the person speaking does not seem to have any native accent, which cannot be right - travel around the UK and you will get different accents and dialects in regions literally only 10 miles apart.

I think her own base accent just does not work at all, she sounds far too RP for me, it just does not match the tone of the passage at all.

So in answer to the OP, I don’t think she even slightly sounds like Old English, not in the least, as to what Old English does sound like, I confess I don’t know, but it surely does not sound like academic studentspeak