Herred of the Viking Society

Ancient Tongues

The language of the Anglo Saxon people was much different to what we speak today.

5th to 7th century- Anglo Saxon (Old English) was a West Germanic language from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

8th to 9th century-  A significant influence on the shaping of Middle English came from contact with the North Germanic languages spoken by the Scandinavians.

10th to 14th century- The Normans spoke Old Norman, which in Britain developed into Anglo-Norman (Middle English)

15th century to Present Day- Early modern English-  the language used by Shakespeare,  is dated from around 1500. Modern English proper, similar in most respects to that spoken today, was in place by the late 17th century.

Many of the Old English words are still with us, as well as the many influences upon our ancient language.

Here is a collection of phrases and videos featuring Old English.

.The videos are not Ordgars creation.



Gargewinn eorlwerod hredsigor to Ordgar!!!!

Fight with spears, band of noble warriors, glorious victory to spear point!!!



Modern English version

LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,
from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore,
awing the earls. Since erst he lay
friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him:
for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve,
till before him the folk, both far and near,
who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate,
gave him gifts:




The Lords Prayer

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum,

si þin nama gehalgod.

To becume þin rice,gewurþe ðin willa,

on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.

Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg,

and forgyf us ure gyltas,

swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.

And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge,

ac alys us of yfele.


Modern English version

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. 
Thy will be done in earth, 
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
But deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom, 
The power, and the glory, 
For ever and ever. 


Place names of the Anglo Saxons

Anglo-Saxon name for town was burh. The word ‘burh’ still appears in place names in Britain – Peterborough and Scarborough are two examples.

Names that tell the tribes

The first Anglo Saxon Villages were often named after the Chieftain (Leader of the village). This made it clear which tribe the village belonged to. These places often have the letters ‘ing‘ of ‘folk‘ somewhere in their name, often at the end. The first part of the name was most likely to have been the name of the local chieftain.

The people who lived in the ‘village’ of Hastings were ‘Haesta’s people‘.
Haesta was the chieftain.

The people who lived in the ‘village’ of Reading were ‘Redda’s people‘.
Redda was the chieftain .

Names that tell the Landscape

Later Anglo Saxon villages were named after a feature in their surroundings rather than the name of the chieftain.

Oxford got its name because it was a place where oxen were driven across a ford in a river.

Anglo Saxon
Examples of
place name
fortified place
shallow river crossing
(a different way of spelling of ham)
enclosure within the bend of a river’
wooden hill
leigh / lee / ley
forest clearing
mer /mar /mere
market town
stead /sted
stow / stowe
meeting place
holy place
ton / tun
enclosed village / farmstead / manor
wick / wich
Produce of a farm
Greenwich (fields)
Woolwich (sheep)
Butterwick (dairy)
Chiswick (cheese)
Norwich (?)


English Ænglisc (Old English)
Welcome Welcumen
Hello (General greeting) Wes hāl (sg)
Wesaþ hāle (pl)
Wesaþ hāla (pl/f)
How are you? Hū gǣþ hit þē?
Hū gǣþ hit mid þē?
Hū eart þū?
Reply to ‘How are you?’ Gōd, þancung, and þū?
Long time no see Lang fierst e beseah
Lang tīd e beseah
What’s your name? Hwæt hātest þū?
My name is … Ic hāte …
Where are you from? Hwanan cymst þū?
Hwiðer eart þū fram?
I’m from … Ic cume of …
Pleased to meet you Fægen tōgēane þū
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Gōdne mergen
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Gōdne ǣfen
Good night Gōde nihte
(Parting phrases)
Far gesund (sg)
Faraþ gesunde (pl)
Faraþ gesunda (pl/f)
Wes Hāl (sg)
Wesaþ hāle (pl)
Wesaþ hāla (pl/f) Wes þū hāl
God þē mid sīe (“God be with you”)
Good luck! Gōd wyrd
Gōde wyrde
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Gōd hælo!
Have a nice day Hafa gōdne dæg! (sg)
Habbaþ gōdne dæg (pl)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Gōd metesōcn
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Gōd fōr
I understand Ic æt undergiete
I don’t understand Ic þæt ne undergiete
Yes Gea; Giese
No Nese
Maybe Gewene
I know Ic wāt
I don’t know Ic nāt
Please speak more slowly Ic bidde þē spraec māra slāwlice
Please say that again Ic bidde þē eftgia
Please write it down Ic bidde þē āwrīt hit
Do you speak Old English? Sprece þū Englisc?
Sprecest þū Englisc?
Yes, a little
(reply to ‘Do you speak …?’)
Gea, an fea
Speak to me in Old English Sprec tō mē on Englice
How do you say … in Old English? Hū sægest þū … in Ænglisc?
Excuse me Forgiefe mec
How much is this? Hū miccle þās is?
Hwæt ys se cēap þisses?
Sorry Sārig
Please Bidde
Ic bidde þe
Ic bidde eow
Thank you Ic þancie þē
Reply to thank you Welcumen
Where’s the toilet / bathroom? Hwǣr is þæt gangern?
Hwǣr is se gangstōl?
This gentleman will pay for everything Se wer sceal ealum gieldan
Se hlāford sceal ealum gieldan
This lady will pay for everything Sēo hlǣfdīge sceal ealum gieldan
Would you like to dance with me? Wilt þū mid mē sealtian?
I miss you Ic langie þē (sg)
Ic langie ēow (pl)
I love you Ic lufie þē
Get well soon Bēo gesund hraðe
Go away! Aweggā!
Gā onweg!
Leave me alone! Forlǣte mec!
Help! Helpe!
Fire! Fȳr!
Stop! Ōþstand!
Call the police! Cīg þǣm weardum!
Christmas and New Year greetings Blīþe Crīstes mæsse and Glæd Nīwe Gēar
Blīþe Gēol and Gesǣlig Nīwe Gēar
Easter greetings Gesǣlig Eastordæg
Birthday greetings Gesǣlig Gebyrddæg
One language is never enough Ān geþēode is nǣfre genōg
Ān Spræc is nǣfre genōg
My hovercraft is full of eels Mīn wandrian-scyf ful ǣlen is
Mīn lyfthærnflota is ful ǣla