Mere Inkling offers up a fantastic overview of the Vikings linguistic legacy. It’s enjoyable and informative, but not too overwhelming – if you’re not already interested in Norse influence on the English language, you will be after reading robstroud’s post from April 14th.
Victims of the onslaught, like the unfortunate monks of Lindisfarne, paid a steep price, but the Norse eventually became farmers and craftsmen like the people they initially displaced.
Their contribution to the British gene pool was small, as was their donation to the English language, but it was not insignificant.
Some of the words fit the Viking mystique. Klubba becomes club (as in the weapon, not the association). Rannsaka may have initially meant searching the house for something like your missing keys, but the English experienced it as ransack. And slatra transfers into slaughter. The original word means “to butcher,” and one wonders if it originally applied to meal preparation. It so, the decades of Norse raids modified that focus.
Other adopted words arose from the more peaceful pursuits of the Scandinavians. Bylög meant…
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