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December 15, 2007

Ða Engliscan Christmas Carol Quiz
Posted by Teresa at 12:00 AM *

Ða Engliscan Gesiðas Gegaderung is an online forum for Anglo-Saxonists. In 2003 and 2004 they ran a Christmas carol quiz. The game is simple: identify the Christmas carol (or seasonal recording) from its first line in Anglo-Saxon. Both years’ quizzes are reproduced below, with permission of the authors.

Ruth did it the first year, saying “Here are a few Christmas carols to guess. If you want to improve or add, please do (some of them match the tunes, and some don’t). As before, try to strike the balance between lofgeorn and downright grædig …”

1. Eall se ðe me is niedþearf on Geole bið twegen teð…

2. Hwæt, cumaþ, ge treowlic, eadig, and sigefæstan…

3. Se forma Noel se þe sungon se ar…

4. Cwæþ se lyttel lamb to se sceaphyrde-cniht, Hærest þu se ðe ic hiere?

5. Forstig, se snawceorl, wæs se gliwgeorn, eadig mann…

6. O halig niht! þa tunglu beorhte scinaþ. Seo niht is cennes ure leofan Nergendes.

7. On geardagum on Beþleheme, swa cweðeð se halig æ, Mara lyttle cniht-cild wæs geboren on Cristenmæsse dæge…

8. We of eastfolcan cyningas þrie giftberende faraþ feorr…

9. Hwonne sceaphyrdas weardiað heord nihterne, gesettan eall on grunde…

10. Se holen and se ifig, þonne hie beð full geweaxen, of eall treowum on wudum, se holen bereþ corona…

Horsfreond (Philip?) did it the year after:
1: Ic seah ðreo scipu segliende in, on Cristesmaesse daegum, on Cristesmæsse daegum.

2: Ic seah modor cyssan Sanct Niclas …

3: On Cristmæsse forman dægum, sende min deorling me …

4: Ymbhoþ þa healla mid holenes twige
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hit is se sæl to beonne bliþe
Fa la la la la la la la la

5: Hlim, hlem myriglice on heanese; ða Geolan bellan hlynnaþ

6: Aweg on binne. ne crib for His bedde
Se lytel Cristdryhten dunlæg His swete heafd

7: Wynn to ðære worulde; her is se Dryhten;
Sceal eorðe hire cyning onfon.

8: Hwæt! þa engelbodan singaþ; tir biþ to þæm niwcendum cyninge.

9: Ic swefnie of hwite Cristmæsse, mid ælcum Geoles runstæfe ceorfe ic.

10: Engelas from wuldores rice, lacaþ eower lyftgelac ofer middangeard.

“To strike the balance between lofgeorn and downright grædig” is to balance greed against desire for fame; i.e., if you can read these all straight off, go ahead and post a few solutions, but leave the rest to be prizes for those who have to work harder, or who aren’t on line right now.

Embarrassed addendum:

Oh, damn. This post wasn’t supposed to go public. I must have misconfigured it. I put it into the entry queue months and months ago, back when I was trying to track down someone I could ask for permission to re-post the quizzes at Christmas. I hadn’t gotten anywhere with that search as of this past July, when life got busy and thereafter stayed that way.

There’s no use trying to unpublish an entry that’s grown a comment thread; as I know from experience, the “recent comments” list will still access it. Deleting the entry is worse, unless you leave an empty entry in order to preserve the comment thread.

So: I hereby tender my abject apologies to the authors of the quizzes, wherever they may be. (Does anyone know?) If this comes to their attention, I hope they’ll contact me. What happens after that can only be their call. My preference would be to heap praise and full credit on their heads; but it has to be their call.

Comments on Ða Engliscan Christmas Carol Quiz:
#1 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:35 AM:

Fun game!

The second year seems less tricky than the first.

Of the first, 8 is "We three kings of Orient are" and 9 is "While shepherds watched their flocks by night", I think. (Do those have names other than their first words?)
Both firm childhood favourites if only because of the Many Variations on the words to be sung.

#2 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Didn't realise I remembered that much's been decades.

Picks two at random from the second set.

8. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

9. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

#3 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:39 AM:

I'm in no sense an Anglo-Saxonist, so these are guesses based on...well, my amusement at what some of these sound like, basically.

rot13ed anyway

1.5 Sebfgl gur Fabjzna -- ohg V ybir gur anzr Sbefgvt, fr fanjprbey, nffhzvat gung vf uvf anzr
1.6 Bu Ubyl Avtug
1.8 Jr Guerr Xvatf
2.8 V qba'g xabj, ohg raqf jvgu n jbeq V guvax V'ir qrpvqrq zrnaf "xvat"

#4 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:40 AM:

The second song in the second list is that ancient hymn I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

#5 ::: alice ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:41 AM:

On the second set, #6 is Away in a Manger, #7 is Joy to the World and #8 is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. #9 can't possibly be White Christmas, can it? I'll stop now.

#6 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:42 AM:

Let's go with ROT-13, at least this early in the set...

#7 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 01:01 AM:

First set, #10: The holly and the ivy When they were both full-grown Of all the trees that are in the wood the holly bears the crown

Second set, #1: I saw three ships come sailing in On Christmas Day, On Christmas Day

2.3 On the first day of Christmas my truelove sent to me....

#8 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 01:03 AM:

The funny thing with these is that I've never done any Old English, only Middle, but most of these seem readable. I'm even learning words from it. Forma = svefg, right? (Sorry for not ROT-13ing before.)

I definately find the older carols easier, perhaps because I know them better? I can't work out 1.1, though.

#9 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 01:47 AM:

I know no Anglo-Saxon, but I think I can guess some yet-unrevealed ones:

1.4: Qb lbh urne jung V urne
1.6: B ubyl avtug
1.7: Znel'f obl-puvyq

2.4: Qrpx gur unyyf
2.5: Qvat, qbat zreevyl ba uvtu
2.10: Natryf sebz gur ernyzf bs tybel

#10 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Oh, this is fun!

I had two semesters of Old English, so this wasn't too difficult, except that in some cases I know what the words mean but am not sure of the songs!

Anyway, without looking too much, and in rot13:

1.2. B Pbzr Nyy Lr Snvgushy
1.4. Qb Lbh Urne Jung V Urne?
1.5. Sebfgl gur Fabjzna
1.6. B Ubyl Avtug
1.8. Jr Guerr Xvatf
1.9. Jura Furcureqf Jngpurq Gurve Sybpxf Ol Avtug
1.10. Gur Ubyyl naq gur Vil

2.1 V Fnj Guerr Fuvcf
2.2 V Fnj Zbzzl Xvffvat Fnagn Pynhf
2.3 Gur Gjryir Qnlf bs Puevfgznf
2.4. Qrpx gur Unyyf
2.5. Qvat Qbat Zreevyl Ba Uvtu
2.6. Njnl Va N Znatre
2.7. Wbl Gb gur Jbeyq
2.8. Unex gur Urenyq Natryf Fvat
2.9. Juvgr Puevfgznf
2.10. Natryf Jr Unir Urneq Ba Uvtu

#11 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 01:55 AM:

Oh, and I think 1.3 is "Gur Svefg Abry."

#12 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 01:56 AM:

And -- man, I am probably annoying the hell out of everybody here -- 1.1 is "Nyy V Jnag Sbe Puevfgznf Vf Zl Gjb Sebag Grrgu"

#13 ::: Iain ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:13 AM:

And now there is another game for people with no anglo-saxon knowledge; to wit, guess the christmas carol from the number and length of words (and repeated characters therein) in the name of a song, as revealed in the rot13'd title of said song.

#14 ::: McMartin ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:14 AM:

1.7 is B Yvggyr Gbja bs Orguyrurz

My answers otherwise match Lea's, except for the ones where I hadn't heard of them in *modern* English.

#15 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:21 AM:

Also, I am excessively grædig, I fear! I shall have to try my hand at working out a few more in compensation (though my OE is if anything worse than my Latin)...

#16 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:24 AM:

How would "Forstig, se snawceorl" be pronounced?

#17 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:45 AM:

I'm finding it sometimes only needs a few words to be recognisable. Placenames, even one word which hasn't changed and oretty well gives away the whole title. Well, that one is three consecutive words, and five with one vowel change and one spelling that looks advertising-antique.

#18 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:53 AM:

Interesting that my answers for 1.7 and 2.10 are different from Iain and Lea's. I'm impudent enough, despite my lack of Anglo-Saxon, to believe that mine are right.

#19 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:53 AM:

Sorry, make that McMartin's and Lea's. Classic off-by-one error.

#20 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 04:27 AM:

I got more of those than I thought I would, getting six of the first set and seven of the second. I'm proudest of getting 1.5 though.

I'm not at all familiar with 1.4 - though I managed to translate almost all of it, I have no idea of tune or title. 1.6 I've never sung, likewise 2.7 (though both I translated, again) and I managed a scrappy half-translation of 2.10.

This is a fun game!

#21 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 05:07 AM:

I this gives my brain warm fuzzies. Having lived in Iceland and being a native speaker of English --- I won't say it's easy but having an idea of the pronunciation helps quite a bit.

#22 ::: Darice Moore ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 05:26 AM:

Here I am awake, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but... Anglo-Saxon! It's been years since I wrangled with Klaeber, but I did my best:

4. “Fnvq gur yvggyr ynzo gb gur furcureq obl, ‘Qb lbh urne jung V urne’?”
5. Sebfgl gur fabjzna, jnf n wbyyl, unccl fbhy…
6. B ubyl avtug! Gur fgnef ner oevtugyl fuvavat. Vg vf gur avtug bs bhe qrne Fnivbhe’f ovegu.
8. Jr guerr Xvatf bs Bevrag ner Ornevat tvsgf, jr geniry fb sne…
9. Jura furcureqf jngpurq gurve sybpxf ol avtug…
10. Gur ubyyl naq gur vil, jura gurl ner obgu shyy tebja, bs nyy gur gerrf gung ner va gur jbbq, gur ubyyl ornef gur pebja…


1: V fnj guerr fuvcf pbzr fnvyvat va, ba Puevfgznf qnl, ba Puevfgznf qnl
2: V fnj Zbzzl xvffvat Fnagn Pynhf
3: Ba gur svefg qnl bs Puevfgznf, zl gehr ybir frag gb zr…
4: Qrpx gur unyyf jvgu obhtuf bs ubyyl
Sn yn yn yn yn yn yn yn yn
‘Gvf gur frnfba gb or wbyyl
Sn yn yn yn yn yn yn yn yn
6: Njnl va n znatre, ab pevo sbe uvf orq
Gur yvggyr ybeq Wrfhf ynl qbja uvf fjrrg urnq
7: Wbl gb gur jbeyq, gur Ybeq vf pbzr
Yrg rnegu erprvir ure Xvat
8: Unex! Gur urenyq natryf fvat; tybel gb gur arjobea xvat.
9: V’z qernzvat bs n juvgr Puevfgznf, whfg yvxr gur barf V hfrq gb xabj.
10: Natryf jr unir urneq ba uvtu, fjrrgyl fvatvat b’re gur cynvaf

#23 ::: Catherine ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 05:55 AM:

OK, I have no Anglo Saxon, but an extensive knowledge of Christmas Carols (honed by too many years as a paid carol singer and more running the work Christmas Choir). I'm pretty sure I have them all, but the only one where in my arrogance and ignorance I am determined to disagree is 1.7, which I'm convinced is in fact (in rot13):

Ybat gvmr ntb va Orguyrurz, fb gur ubyl ovoyr fnl
Znel'f obl-puvyq Wrfhf Puevfg jnf obea ba Puevfgznf qnl...

Anyone think this is likely?

#24 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 06:15 AM:

Catherine -- absolutely!

#25 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 07:35 AM:

Sorry for not encoding. Twas late, and I didn't think of it.

Ignoring other peoples ROT-13 for the moment and trying a few more on my own. Apologies for spelling errors, I used to be able to do this in my head...

1.3 Gur Svefg Abry

1.5 Sebfgl gur Fabjzna

1.7 B Yvffyr Gbja bs Orguyrurz

1.8 Jr Guerr Xvatf

And that is where I'll stop for the moment. ROT-13 shifting in my head is harder than I remembered.

#26 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 09:14 AM:

2.4 is way too obvious....
(I can get some of them, but I have never actually met that version of the language.)

#27 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Since I think all of them have had at least one answer suggested, I'll give my whole list (in rot13, of course).

1.1. Nyy V Jnag Sbe Puevfgznf Vf Zl Gjb Sebag Grrgu
1.2. B Pbzr Nyy Lr Snvgushy
1.3. Gur Svefg Abry
1.4. Qb Lbh Urne Jung V Urne
1.5. Sebfgl gur Fabjzna
1.6. B Ubyl Avtug
1.7. Znel'f Obl Puvyq
1.8. Jr Guerr Xvatf
1.9. Juvyr Furcureqf Jnfurq Gurve Fbpxf
1.10. Gur Ubyyl naq gur Vil

2.1: V Fnj Guerr Fuvcf
2.2: V Fnj Zbzzl Xvffvat Fnagn Pynhf
2.3: Gur Gjryir Qnlf bs Puevfgznf
2.4: Qrpx gur Unyyf
2.5: Qvat Qbat Zreevyl Ba Uvtu
2.6: Njnl va n Znatre
2.7: Wbl gb gur Jbeyq
2.8: Unex Gur Urenyq Natryf Fvat
2.9: V'z Qernzvat bs n Juvgr Puevfgznf
2.10: Natryf Sebz gur Ernyzf bs Tybel

Points to note:
a. I have no Anglo-Saxon.
b. Nevetheless, I got all of these without looking at anybody else's suggestions.
c. The only one that gave me any serious trouble was 1.1.
d. I was going to say that, given how easily I got them, I probably got a few wrong - but, now that I have read everyone else's suggestions, I really don't think I did.

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 09:55 AM:

I believe Lea (#12) is correct about 1.1.

I believe that 2.10 is actually Natryf sebz gur Ernyzf bs Tybel (Jvat lbhe syvtug bire nyy gur rnegu).

#29 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Since (as noted above) 2.4 *is* really obvious, I'll ask a direct question: Does "Ymbhoþ" translate as something like "emboss"? Or "embellish"? The first possibility must just be my imagination, since the days when I could distinguish "eth" from "thorn" are long past. (And as for remembering which things are actually vowels in words that look like they're all consonants, hopeless!) Still, this is definitely fun.

#30 ::: robert west ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Sam Kelly, at #20: a somewhat famous rendition of 1.4 is here at youtube.

#31 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 11:07 AM:

The verb is Ymbhon (to surround, deck, clothe). Ymb- is one of those general locationword-prefixes that means "around/about/near/upon."

#32 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 11:37 AM:

What does it say about me that I can make more educated guesses from glancing at the rot13 than I can from the original gibberish??

#33 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 11:54 AM:

Fascinating. I don't know any Anglo-Saxon, but after a while things start to make sense.

#34 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Folks who have seen the recent Beowulf: The Videogame movie heard some Anglo-Saxon (it's what Grendel is speaking). They also have a scop reciting some of Beowulf while they're doing the show of the Grendel-fight in front of the elder Beowulf.

They had an anglo-saxon consultant listed in the credits. Nevertheless, the actors all pronounced "Geat" wrong. I expect the anglosaxonist was called in after principal photography started and by then it was too late.

#35 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:38 PM:

But you can't ROT-13 Anglo-Saxon! If you include eth and thorn, you have to ROT-15 it! Or maybe it didn't have all today's letters anyhow, so you have to ROT-someothernumber. Did alphabetical order, indeed, exist at the time?

(actually if you are just ROT13ing the answers in modern English this is not a problem.)

#36 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:11 PM:

1.5 is evil... :D

I'm getting about half of them, based on my knowledge of Chritmas carols and a few context-based guesses (because the same phrase appears in one I know and one I don't, for example.) I have now added forma and cyssan to my vocabulary. Heh.

Anybody else want to throw a few more carols into the mix? It'll give the later readers something to work on.

#37 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:49 PM:


About the only contribution I will be able to make to this subject is to point out that adding two characters would mean you'd ROT-14 it.

I wonder if this would be easier or harder if we could hear a person pronounce this authentically (not that we have any idea how). I can't tell what is throwing me off more, the differences in spelling or the true differences in words. For example, hwite probably is a lot more similar to white when spoken than when written.

Anyway, cool idea.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 02:57 PM:

B. Durbin #36: My first reaction, when I began to puzzle it out was that a snow churl must be some sort of rude demon found in the Himalayas.

#39 ::: Marce ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 05:00 PM:

Awesome. Now I can harass my not-so-linguistically-inclined friends.

#40 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Oh, fun! I needed something else to procrastinate on my Yuletide story with :-).

1. 1. Nyy gung vf arrqshy gb zr ba Lhyr vf gjnva grrgu...
1. 2. B pbzr, lbh snvgushy, cebfcrebhf, naq ivpgbel-snfg...
1. 3. Gur svefg Abry vg jnf fhat gur ...fbzrguvat...

Uhu. V'z abg fher bs gur shyy yvar gurer.

1.4. Fnvq gur yvggyr ynzo gb gur furcureq obl, Urnerfg gubh gung juvpu V urne?
1.5. Sebfgl, gur fabj-puhey, jnf n tyrr-rntre, cebfcrebhf zna...
1.6. B ubyl avtug! Gur fgnef oevtugyl fuvar. Gur avtug vf gur ovegu bs bhe orybirq Fnivbe.
1.7. Va qnlf bs lber va Orguyrurz, fb fnlf gur ubyl [bar] nyjnlf (??), bs Znel n yvggyr obl-puvyq jnf obea ba Puevfgznf qnl...
1.8. Jr bs gur Rnfg-sbyx xvatf guerr tvsg-ornevat geniry sne...
1.9. Juvyr furcureqf thneqrq n ureq avtugyl, gurl nyy fng ba gur tebhaq...
1.10. Gur ubyyl naq gur vil, jura gurl ner shyyl tebja, bs nyy gerrf va gur jbbq, gur ubyyl ornef n pebja...

2.1: V fnj guerr fuvcf fnvyvat va, ba Puevfgznf qnl, ba Puevfgznf qnl...
2.2: Vp frnu zbqbe plffna Fnapg Avpynf …
V fnj zbgure xvff Fnvag Avpubynf...
2.3: Ba gur svefg qnlf (?) bs Puevfgznf, zl qneyvat frag zr...
2.4: Ebhaq-unat(?) gur unyy jvgu gjvtf bs ubyyl
Sn yn yn rgp
Vg vf gur gvzr gb or oyvgur
Sn yn yn rgp
2.5: Qvat qbat zreevyl ba uvtuarff; gur Lhyr oryyf fbhaq
2.6: Njnl va n ova, ab pevo sbe uvf orq,
Gur yvggyr Puevfg-ybeq qbja-ynl uvf fjrrg urnq
2.7: Wbl gb gur jbeyq; urer vf gur Ybeq;
Gur rnegu zhfg erprvir (tenfc?) vgf xvat.
2.8: Unex! Gur natry-zrffratref fvat; tybel gb gur arj-obea xvat.
2.9: V qernz bs juvgr Puevfgznf, jvgu rnpu ehar-fgnss bs Lhyr V pneir.
2.10: Natryf sebz gur xvatqbz bs jbaqre, syl lbhe nve-syvtug bire Zvqtneq

#41 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 05:36 PM:

Jim #34-- Well, the scop was reciting actual OE. Grendel and his mother were speaking some sort of cracked-out Anglo-Danish macronics with only the vaguest gesture in the direction of case endings and a heckuva lot of anachronistic words (I think I might have flinched as hard on 'boy' as I did on 'Geats.')

#42 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 07:35 PM:

My mind, for some reason, keeps wanting to make 'Engliscan' into 'Anglican'.

#43 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 08:59 PM:

I think this has been posted in years past, but it deserves to be here:

Incipiunt gesta Rudolphi rangiferi tarandi
by Philip C. Chapman-Bell

Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor –
Næfde þæt nieten unsciende næsðyrlas!
Glitenode and gladode godlice nosgrisele.
Ða hofberendas mid huscwordum hine gehefigodon;
Nolden þa geneatas Hrodulf næftig
To gomene hraniscum geador ætsomne.
Þa in Cristesmæsseæfne stormigum clommum,
Halga Claus þæt gemunde to him maðelode:
“Neahfreond nihteage nosubeorhtende!
Min hroden hrædwæn gelæd ðu, Hrodulf!
“Ða gelufodon hira laddeor þa lyftflogan –
Wæs glædnes and gliwdream; hornede sum gegieddode”
Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor,
Brad springð þin blæd: breme eart þu!”

In modern English:

Hrodulf the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer –
That beast didn’t have unshiny nostrils!
The goodly nose-cartilage glittered and glowed.
The hoof-bearers taunted him with proud words;
The comrades wouldn’t allow wretched Hrodulf
To join the reindeer games.
Then, on Christmas Eve, bound in storms
Santa Claus remembered that, spoke formally to him:
“Dear night-sighted friend, nose-bright one!
You, Hrodulf, shall lead my adorned rapid-wagon!”
Then the sky-flyers praised their lead-deer –
There was gladness and music; one of the horned ones sang”
Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer,
Your fame spreads broadly, you are renowned!”

#44 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 12:18 AM:

While Shepherds Washed their Socks?

Clearly I was deprived as a child.

#45 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 11:51 AM:

I got 17 before looking at the comments (list below) I'm kicking myself over the 3 I missed, and (on seeing Tim) conclude I got 2.10 wrong (the right answer is one I've heard of but don't know, and I badly misread "Midgard"). Anglo-Saxonists could be a little less loose with the definition of "carol"....

Eric: you can rot-anything; rot-13 just happens to give the same result forward and backward. (Yes, I'm feeling pedantic.)

Ruth's list:
1. "Nyy V jnag sbe Kznf vf zl gjb sebag grrgu"
3. Gur Svefg Abjryy
4. "...Qb lbh urne jung V urne"
5. "Sebfgl, gur Fabjzna" (vf "puhey" fb zhpu yrff qronfvat va Natyb-Fnkba?
6. Pnagvdhr gb Abry ("B Ubyl Avtug")
8. Jr Guerr Xvatf
9. Juvyr Furcureqf Jngpurq Gurve Sybpxf ol Avtug
10. Gur Ubyyl naq gur Vil (puhepu be qnapr irefvba, abg "Fnaf-Qnl")

Philip(?)'s list:
1. V Fnj Guerr Fuvcf
2. "V fnj zbzzl xvffvat Fnagn Pynhf"
3. Gur Gjryir Qnlf bs Kznf
4. Qrpx gur Unyyf
6. Njnl va n Znatre
7. Wbl gb gur Jbeyq
8. Unex! Gur Urenyq Natryf Fvat
9. "V'z Qernzvat bs n Juvgr Kznf"
10. Natryf Jr Unir Urneq ba Uvtu

#46 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Eric: you can rot-anything; rot-13 just happens to give the same result forward and backward. (Yes, I'm feeling pedantic.)

Yes, I realize that, but if we're encoding an ancient language a) we don't have the same character set
b) I am not sure whether alphabetical order existed or was the same in older times.

#47 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Erik @ #46

[Warning: I am not an Anglo-Saxonist]

Certainly the concept of an alphabetical order existed - abecedaria in latin & related alphabets go back to ancient times, & the runic alphabet is known as the Fuþorc from its order. The only contemporary ordering of the Anglo-Saxon alphabet I've been able to find online is that of Byrhtferð in 1011, cited in this document on the status of the Latin letter þorn and of its sorting order:

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V X Y Z & ⁊ Ƿ Þ Ð Æ

(The authors do note the existence of other early English alphabets which may differ from this one.)

Discarding "&" & "⁊", which aren't exactly letters, that gives us a 27-letter alphabet. But if there's an odd number of letters no rotation will be involutary, so I'll arbitrarily & anachronistically split "U" from "V". (Alternatively I could merge "Þ" & "Ð", since they're pretty much interchangeable in Old English, but both are used in the examples so I'd rather preserve that.) & I'll say "W" is the same as "Ƿ" & write it as the former. That gives us the rot-14 table:


& "Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor" becomes (by hand) "Xloe, Xcæsfwu ctpsðædp xlpðstæl".

#48 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Since they're all solved now, I want to thank Teresa for posting this, and everyone who has participated in this thread, for a very fun time reading and deciphering both the A-S and ROT-13 texts!

I had a very hard time with 1.1 but most of the rest were much easier.

Special thanks to Evelyn at #40 for the literal translations back into modern English (via ROT-13).

(McMartin (#14): 1.7 can't be "B Lvggyr Tbja bs Orguyrurz" because the first line of "B Lvggyr Tbja bs Orguyrurz" is "B yvggyr gbja bs Orguyrurz, ubj fgvyy jr frr gurr yvr".)

#49 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 12:03 AM:

Oops. Must have typed that into my ROT-13 reader ( wrong. "B Lvggyr Tbja bs Orguyrurz" should of course be "B Lvggyr Gbja bs Orguyrurz". Or else it becomes something quite different. Fbeel!

#50 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 12:39 AM:

Evelyn @ #40:

Like Lois, I thank you for those translations.

(Anybody who might know: What's the Anglo Saxon for "Eia, nitet!"?)

#51 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Lois #48, Paul #50--

Thanks! But I wouldn't swear to the accuracy of any of it; those are strictly rough-and-ready sight translations, and parts of it I really ought to have looked up.

#52 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 12:39 PM:

On the use of letters not commonly found in modern English...

Check out the end papers* on the Steve Martin kid's book The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! , they have illustrations of the letters that didn't make it into the book, and the letters are talking about how they feel. My husband was wondering if we should get a one for ourselves instead of copies for the niece and nephews.

*abi, is that the right term, for the papers on the inside of the covers? It's what I've always heard, but now I'm anxious that I've been using/learning the wrong terminology.

#53 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Those of us on the Unicode mailing list have been amused recently by a discussion of possible Unicode-compatible versions of rot-13. Maybe we'll end up with a UTR and a standard.

#54 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 07:10 PM:

I don't know Anglo-Saxon, but I guessed most of them. 1.1 and 2.10 gave me the most trouble. I did think of "grrgu" but didn't see how it could be right.

I'm proudest of getting 2.7, and I learned something about The Lives of Christopher Chant, which has a character called the Dright.

#55 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 10:15 PM:

Aren't 1.7 and 1.9 verses of the same song?

#56 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2007, 12:48 AM:

Julia (55), they're entirely different carols, I promise. Stare long enough at halig and it may come clear. Alternately, if you think they're both the other carol, gesettan eall on grunde may do it for you.

Sian (1), you're right: Ruth has a trickier turn of mind than Horsfreond.

#57 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2007, 07:26 AM:

Ah. There's a line of seven that's the same as the first line of nine, but the next line is different.

never mind.

#58 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Julia@55: Also, 1.7 has been recorded as a calypso, while one of the tunes for 1.9 was previously the Yorkshire(?) drinking song "On Ilkley Moor Baht Hat".

#59 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Oh, man, that is serious fun.

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