I’m busy working away on the first stage of my analysis for my supervisor which is due at the end of this week. It’s an undertaking which is opening up a myriad of interesting avenues that I need to keep well under control.
One of these is due to the fact I am working with Old English again – a language which I love to hear spoken when academics and enthusiasts get together to discuss their latest ideas.
It is difficult to access the mind-set of past times and some would say impossible. But I believe that examining language is one way of at least attempting to understand older societies.
That is not just to translate, but to examine the range of meanings associated with a particular word and to attempt to apply that broader understanding my ideas of cultural context.
So for today here is a word for you to think about:
láf – meaning widow
The other meanings of this word include – remnant, relict, remains, remainder, survivors of battle.
What does this suggest to you about the way widows were considered within the Anglo-Saxon world?