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South for two hundred and fifty years after his time; he makes no distinction between Definite and Indefinite Adjectives, and their Plurals do not end in es. Writing, as he does, not far from the spot where the Northum. brian Psalter is thought to have been translated, he has a strong dislike to compound vowels. He often writes brest, callf, cnew, darr, dep, ledd, fihhtenn, frend, lernenn, instead of the old breost, cealf, cneow, dear, deop, led, feohtan, freond, leornigan. In the pronunciation of these words, as in many other things, we have followed him. By this time, the new sound ch had made its way from the South up to the Trent; we find bennche, læche, macche, spæche, instead of the old benc, lóéce, maca, spæce. Orrmin was the second English writer, so far as is known, who pretty regularly used sh instead of the former sc; he wrote shæfess, shæþe, shæwenn, shall, and shame: this change began in the South, and the older form had not altogether gone out in the North, for he uses both biskop and bishop. Nowhere more clearly than in the Ormulum can we see the struggle between the Old and the New. He continues the custom of soften

into y; eage with him is ezhe, not far from our eye ; geong becomes yung. We have happily not followed him in softening the g in words like give, get, and gate; or in corrupting deor (in Latin, feræ) into deoress, deers. He was the first to place y at the end of a word, after a vowel; as þe33 (they). He gave us lay instead of the Peterborough lai. Orrmin, being a true Northerner,

ing g

Our tongue is much enriched by having different forms of the same word; such as dike, ditch, shriek, screech, drink, drench, egg, edge, &c., owing to this intrusive ch.

dislikes the old fashion of setting a at the beginning of a verb : he will not write arise or awake. The Northern men, who settled our speech, clipped everything that they could.

In his Pronouns, he shows that he is a near neighbour to Northumbria. He uses I and icc; þegy, bezgre, þegym; but sometimes replaces the two last by heore, hemm. It was two hundred and sixty years before their and them came into Standard English ; they are true Scandinavian forms. Unlike the Peterborough Chronicler, Orrmin sticks to the Old English heo (in Latin, ea), which he writes zho. This is another reason for settling him as far to the West in the Danelagh as we can; his gho still survives in Lancashire as hoo, as we know from Mrs. Gaskell's works.

It would be endless to point out all Orrmin's Scandinavian leanings. In our word for the Latin stella, he prefers the Danish stierne to the Old English steorra, writing it sterrne. He even uses og, the Danish word for

et'in a phrase like azz occ azz. He employs the Norse ending lezze as well as the English ness in his substantives, as modizleggc, modignesse. In tende, his word for decimus, he follows the Danish tiende rather than the Old English teoða ; our tenth seems to be a compound of the two. The English Church talks of tithes, the Scotch Kirk of teinds. He uses a crowd of Norse words which I do not notice, since they have dropped out of use. Like the Peterborough Chronicler, Orrmin has fra, wicke, wrang, wiless, ploh, kirrkegærd. While weighing the mighty changes that were clearly at work in his day, we get some idea of the influence that the Norse settlement

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Deze, die

of 870 has had upon our tongue. I give a list of those Scandinavian words, used by him, which have kept their place in our speech." Old English. Scandinavian.

Orrmin. Tynan Angra

Anngrenn, to anger
Unscearp Blunda, dormire Blunnt
Ceapsetl Bûdh

Bobe, booth

Bule, bull
Hræd Buinn

Bun, ready?

Clip, tondere
Searu Krokr, uncus

Croc, a device
Sweltan Deyja
Wunian Dvelia, delay

Dwelle 3
Afaran Flytta

Flitte, remove
Pap Gata

Gate, path
Freme Gagn, commodum Gazhenn, gain
Gescrepelice Gegnilega, conveniently Gezznlike 4
Cræft Ginna, seducere Ginn, a contrivance
Okr, usury

Huccster 5
Ticcen Kid

Kide, capreolus
Tendan Kinda

Kindle Up-heah á Lopti

o Lofft, aloft Neát Naut

Nowwt, nolt in Scotch Sige Overhaand

Oferrhannd, upper hand Eax Palöxi

Bulaxe, poll-axe


Ille, ill


I give in my list the origin of a few Scottish phrases, and the reason why Yorkshiremen talk of the gainest way to a place.

? A ship is outward bound.

8 We still have the old sense, to dwell long upon a thought.' The sense of habitare has not quite driven out the sense of morari.

• Hence comes our ungainly. But the verb “to gain' is from the French

gagner. 5 Ster was the sign of the feminine for hundreds of years after this time, at least in the South; we see a change at work when Orrmin applies the ending ster to a man.



Old English. Scandinavian,

Orrmin. Arasian


Reggsenn, to raise Scóp


Scald, minstrel Forhtian


Skerre, scare Cræftig


Sleh, sly Spor


Slop, track Fægr

Smuk 1

Smikerr, beautiful Peon


Prife, thrive Fultume

Upphelldi Upphald, an upholding Rod


Wand, rod Wansian


Wantenn, carere Fyðer


Weng, wing

Werre, waur in Scotch Geol


Yol, Yule Orrmin's work proves that England had not yet lost the power of compounding words with Prepositions and such words as even, full, orr, un, and wan. This gives wonderful strength and pith to his verse. We de. generate writers of later days use few compounds but those with out, over, under, and fore; and in this respect England falls woefully short of India, Greece, and Germany. Orrmin, like the Peterborough Chronicler, separates the Verb and the Preposition; he says, 'to standenn inn' (instare), 'he strac inn, from the old strican, to pass. Inn is by him often pared down to i, as in the Southern Homilies; Shakespere has digged i the dark.' The letter n often vanishes before a dental, as in the case of tonth, tooth.

The old bufan now becomes abufenn (above); bifóran changes to biforr (ante).

· Every one remembers Cowper's "Sir Smug.' The old Danish word has been sadly degraded.

? Sir Roger de Coverley at the theatre 'struck in,' hearing some people talk near him. Addison would have been puzzled to give the derivation of this verb.


The Scotch forbye (præter) here appears as forrpbi; so forthward became forward. Orrmin often writes

ирро upon,

This is one of the Derbyshire peculiarities, which have lately been brought home to all lovers of good English by the authoress of Adam Bede. The old uppe preceded the more modern uppan.

Most striking is the number of Orrmin's words beginning with the privative un. We have lost many of them, and have thus sadly weakened our diction; but our best writers are awaking to a sense of our loss, and such words as unwisdom are coming in once more.

The privative or, as orrap, is still found in the Ormulum, but did not last much longer.

The old hwæt litles, which lingered on elsewhere, is here changed into summwhatt, which we have kept: there is a change in the consonants, if we compare

the old hwæt with the new what ;' we also find sum operr and summwhær.

Orrmin employs that for the Latin ille, a sense unknown before the Conquest; while London stuck to the old thilk for two hundred and fifty years longer.

Vol. I. p. 227. Whase itt iss patt lufeßþ gripp, patt mann shall findenn Jesu Crist.

For the Plural of this patt he employs þa (fifty years later this pa was to become pas).

· If we had kept the h in its proper place, at the beginning of the word, we should have full in our view the link between hwcet and the Latin cwid (quid). The interchange between h and c has not yet died out in our island. I have heard Scotch peasants talk of a cwirlwind instead of a hwirlwind.

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