Old English – widow

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?