Monday, September 21, 2015

Paul Kingsnorth's: The Wake, A Working Glossary

As I read Paul Kingsnorth's: The Wake, a post-apocalyptic novel that takes place around a thousand years ago, I have found myself creating a glossary for the Kingsnorth's shadow tongue. His language mirrors Old English in a modern, updated manner, and uses many variations of words that one would have found during the novel's era. While much of the language begins to flow as you read it, a list of terms can help. Thus, this what I have so far (updates will flow):

  • Beornan: Burning People (the invaders)
  • Bodigs: Bodies
  • Brocs: Badgers 
  • Cenep: Neck
  • Cepan: Keeping 
  • Circe: Church
  • Cyng: King
  • Deoful: Devil
  • Eages: Eyes
  • Efry: Every
  • Folc: Folk
  • Freondscipe: Friendship 
  • Fugol: Bird 
  • Geburs: Landless Peasant Farmers 
  • Gerefa: Sheriff
  • Holt: Countryside
  • Ingenga: Foreigners
  • Lytle: Little
  • Oxgangs: 20 acres 
  • Preosts: Preists 
  • Regn: Rain
  • Sceolde: Should
  • Scramsax: Knife
  • Seolfor: Silver
  • Thegn: Thing 
  • Thrall: Viking era slave
  • Wealsc: pre-anglo Brits
  • Weodmonth: weed month (July)
  • Wyrmfleoge: Dragonfly 
  • Wyrst: Worst


  1. This is great.
    I'll add some - best guesses

    hwit - white (lic hwit silc ofer my land)
    ham - hamlet or town
    mergen - morning
    cycan - chicken ? (i was hopan to see all those cycan men runnan i wolde haf smerced at this)

  2. Eald = old
    Cnawan = known
    waet = wheat
    teorned = turned
    hus = house
    fyr = fire
    holt. I am not persuaded holt means countryside. Top of page 41: "we was in the holt, a lytle holt only for in the fenns the islands (sic) and the trees...."
    holt = pasture, meadow?
    ealu = ale

  3. fefor = fever
    smerc = smirk
    secg = sedge
    dweorg = dwarf
    fyrs = fires

    1. Nice reference here. Holt means "wooded area" no doubt.

    2. Good stuff here. Really enjoyed the book overall.