Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Techno-Saxon, or, Not-so-old English

I've known about this page for a while and just thought to share it: Old English Computer Glossary. See, Old English is a practical tool for the modern world!

Ok maybe not. But it is fun to see how these words were formed. True to the Germanic tradition, this page builds words out of much simpler words and concepts which actually turn out to be pretty accurate. Much of the time this merely entails using the corresponding Old English words for the Latin and Greek roots we use now (a fun thing to do anyway). Some of my favorites:

anonymous: uncuðlic   'un-known'  (So anonymous people are uncouth!)
external: utweardlic   'outwardly'
frequently asked questions: oftgeacsunge   'oft-aksed'  (Yes, even in Old English people used to say 'aks' for 'ask'!)
hexadecimal: sixtynelic   'sixteenly'
kilobyte: þusendbita   'thousand-byte'
manual: larboc   'lorebook'
nerd: oferleornere   'over-learner'
pixel: leohtspecca   'light-speck'
spam: geondspiwan   'far-spewing'

Then there are all the cool tech words that are pretty much straight out of Wessex:

chip: cipp
freeware: freowaru
hardware: heardwaru
network: nettweorc
mouse: mus
thread: ðræd
upload: uphladan
web: webb

But none come close to how much this one just tickled me:

lurker: sceadugenga,   'shadowgoer', used to describe Grendel in Beowulf.

1 comment:

Q. Pheevr said...

manual: larboc   'lorebook'

...whence comes the expression RÞFLB (ræd þā fukkende larboc).