Did you know the Anglo-Saxons didn’t really celebrate Halloween? They had a Catholic mass-day off all saints “ealra hālgena mæssedæg” but “All Hallows’ Eve” doesn’t appear until as late as 1556.
I’m going to post some fun and useful videos that reveal how Anglo-Saxon was actually spoken. It really helps you to get a feel for the tongue and to learn to speak Old English properly. This first one is a reading of a fragment of a poem called the Dream of the Rood which is carved onto the Ruthwell monument. The writing is the oldest example of the English language. The cross is kept in a church in Ruthwell near Dumfries in Scotland (in those days it was England).
The next video is technically in early middle English but you can hear that it still sounds very much like Old English. The poem describes the town of Durham after the Norman conquest. The video includes an English translation and the original Old English text so that you can read along and learn the translation at the same time.
The Seafarer is a classic Anglo-Saxon poem which was translated by the world famous poet, Ezra Pound. This video includes an excerpt from Ezra Pound’s translation followed by the same section of the poem read in the original Old English. You can click for subtitles and use them to help you learn to speak Old English.
The final video is just a bit of fun. Set in snowy modern London, it can help you learn to speak Old English words for animals that you might encounter on a winter’s day in England. Hopefully after watching all these videos you’ll be talking just like an Anglo Saxon!