Monday, June 05, 2006

Old English, new English

I'm looking for a word for 'envoy' that isn't French in origin. Envoy, ambassador, emissary - they're all Frenchy. I'm fiddling with an idea for a Viking/Saxon historical, and seeing if I could do it without any of those new-fangled French words that the Normans brought later.

I suppose I could write it all in Old English (I did study it for a while at university), but, well, there might be a limited market for that ;-) And I'm not going to write it in any form of fake romancelandia dialect (cringe!); I just want to convey a sense of the language, through word choice and rhythm.

So, I'm trying to avoid obviously French words for things important to the plot. Words like, you know, 'marriage'. Which, for a romance, may be something of a challenge.

Fortunately, 'wife' and 'man' have their roots in good old Anglo-Saxon, as do an assortment of words related to sex in its rawer forms. But finding an equivalent for 'envoy' currently has me stumped.

I can see, if I ever decide to actually write this book, that I'll have to go and re-read some Old English... just as well I never threw out all those text books!

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