Monday, December 3, 2012

Reconstructed lexis in Tolkien and Gordon’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

I recently posted a list of reconstructed word-forms compiled from Tolkien’s Middle English Vocabulary, which met with some enthusiasm. Thus encouraged, and as a further public service, I have now compiled a similar list from the glossary to Tolkien and E.V. Gordon’s 1925 edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, for which Tolkien was responsible for the text and glossary, Gordon the notes. There are several entries common to both glossaries, but there are a lot more French forms in Sir Gawain. In addition, the Old English forms are predominantly Mercian. This list adds to the raw material available to researchers into Tolkien’s philological work.

My copy of the book is a 1946 reprint with the corrections of the 1930 impression, and it happens to be somebody’s Examination Prize from Pembroke College, Cambridge. I wonder whose? The impression is important, because in 1967, the edition was revised by Tolkien’s student Norman Davis; therefore, the glossary may not be an entirely reliable guide to Tolkien’s work from that point on.

As before, please let me know if you spot oversights or errors. The only deliberate change I’ve made is not to mark vowels that were long but in the process of shortening with both the macron and breve. Since most fonts do not contain those glyphs, I’ve simply marked them long.


*ǣniges cynnes; at any
*be līfe; at biliue
*bitācnung; at bytoknyng
*boþm; at boþe
*byldan; at bylde
*byrde; at burde
*clædde, pret. of rare clǣþan; at clad
*cyllan; at kylled
*dræht; at draȜt
*drūhþ–, drūgoþ; at droȜt
*dylle, rel. to dol; at dille
*féldan; at felde
*fician, cf. befician; at fyked
*forþ, ford; at forþe
*gēgan, rel. to ON geyja; at ȜeȜe
*gelping; at Ȝelpyng
*georran; at Ȝar(r)ande
*glimerian; at glemered
*halian, or OFr haler; at hale
*hecg; at hegge
*hyppan; at hypped
*lēofman; at lemman
*mān, rel. to mǣnan; at mone
*mysig; at misy
*piccan, cf. late pīcan; at piched
*pīn; at pine
*pīpian; at pipe
*rāmian; at rome
*rīfe; at ryue
*rittan; at rytte
*ryccan, cf. ON rykkja; at ruch(ch)e
*(ge)sǣte; at sete
*scaterian; at schaterande
*slīet, *slēt, cf. MLG slōte; at slete
*slittan; at slyt
*slūmerian; at slomeryng
*stecan; at stoken
*stertan; at start(e)
*stihtlian; at stiȜtel
*stiorne; at sturn(e)
*strāc; at strok(e)
*talcian; at talk(ke)
*toht; at toȜt
*trȳstan; at tryst
*unto; at vnto
*wæ(c)st; at wast
*smīlan, cf. OHG smīlan; at smyle
*wíld; at wylde


*a(u)mail; at aumayl
*blanc de mer; at blaunmer
*cel(e)ure, cf. L cēlātura; at selure
*cout(i)ere; at cowters
*daliance; at dalyaunce
*malgred; at mawgref
*molein; at molaynes
*reuerenc(i)er; at reuerenced
*sa(u)ve-nape; at sanap
*teme; at teme


*kenil; at kenel
*lekerous; at lykkerwys


*avanter; at avanters
*entrelude, Anglo-Latin interludium; at enterludeȜ


*banke, later bakki; at bonk(e)
*beiðna, later beina; at bayþe(n)
*blenkja, later blekkya; at blenk(e)
*drahtr, later dráttr; at draȜt
*fjaska; at fyskeȜ
*glenta, cf. Norw glenta; at glent
*hrunka; at ronkled
*ke(a)rr–, later kjarr; at ker(re)
*renk, later rekkr; at renk
*skiuj–, later ský; at skweȜ
*slenta, later sletta; at slentyng
*sprenta, later spretta; at sprent
*þoh, later þó; at þof
*trýsta; at tryst
*dréug–, later drjúgr; at dreȜ


*cauelaciounȜ; at kauelacion
*inurned; at enn(o)urned
*quoþ; at coþe


*crag, cf. Middle Breton cragg; at cragge