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Anglo-Saxon Basics

Pronunciation and Grammar

Vowels a, , e i, o, u, y, ea, eo, ie Consonants c, g, f, s, /, h, sc, cg Cases

 This page provides very basic information about pronunciation and cases.  More information on pronunciation can be obtained by practice reading on the Poetic Transcription Page.  More information on the grammatical value of individual words is accessible through the Poetic Transcription Page and is in the Glossary.

Vowel and Diphthong Pronunciation Chart

Vowel/Dipthong Pronunciation Examples
a like a in "say 'ah'" habban, dagum, mann
~ like a in father stan, ban, last
F like a in can mst, t, fter, ws
like a in jazz dd, rd, wron
e like e in get gebiddan, bedd, setl, stelan
like a in shade her, let, deman
i like i in wit biton, wiste, inn, him
like i in machine ride, win, scir
o like "au" in haughty holpen, bond, oft, on
like o in told god, oer, bot, dom
u like u in put full, sumor, upp, 
like oo in shoot ful, tun, brucan
y like German h or like overemphasized u ("uew") in yule. fyllan, dydon, cyme
 like ew in "achew" tynan, bryd, lyt
ea + "a" as in Cuba healp, geaf, heard, eal
a     + "a" as in Cuba beam, geafon, dea, neah
eo e  + "a" as in Cuba weorc, beorn, feoh, seolh
o   + "a" as in Cuba beodan, beor, leof, seo
ie i   + "a" as in Cuba ieldran, hierde, scielde, bierhtan
e    + "a" as in Cuba hierde, hieran, liesan, prie

Consonants Pronunciation Chart

Letter Pronunciation Example
c c can be  "k" as in kiss

c can be "ch" as in which

cynn, camp, clud

lic, cirice, dreccan

g g can be "g" as in guts

g can be "y" as in yet

g can be "nj" sound in hinge

g can be the "gw" sound combined

gamol, gold,  grap

gear, gieldan,  gebiddan

hengest, engel, leng

fugul, dagum

f f can be unvoiced "f" as in four

f can be voiced v as in verb

full, fter, hlaf

heofon, hfde

s s can be unvoiced "s" as in so

s can be the "z" as in zoo

sunu, last, gos

risan, rsde

/   / can be unvoiced "th" in think

/ can be voiced "th" in that

eaw, breca, wi

cwean, cwidon

h h can be "h" in hound

h can be "ch" in loch

h can be the "h" in Hugh

hund, hlaf, hream

fohten, fuhton, eahta, feoh

riht, liehtan

sc sc usually = "sh" as in she scolde, fersc, scrud
cg cg usually = "dg" as in edge ecg, fricgan, brycg


Nominative Case:

  1. Primarily the subject of a sentence.
  2. The complement of a linking verb

The King is good. (both "king" and "good" are  nominative--in O.E. )

  1. Direct addresses are in the nominative case.

Genitive Case:

  1. Primarily to note possession.

  2. A noun or adjective can function as an adverb by using the genitive.

  3. Membership as part of a whole can be expressed in genitive case.

"one of the warriors" is expressed by writing one and "warriors" in the genitive.

Dative Case:

  1. Primarily to denote indirect object of the verb.

  2. The object of a preposition is usually in the dative case.

  3. Can indicate the means by which something is achieved.

She stabbed him with a knife. ("with" is unecessary in O.E., put "knife in dative.)

  1. Expressions of time use the dative case.

Accusative Case:

  1. Primarily used to denote direct object of the verb.
  2. The object of a preposition sometimes is in the accusative.
  3. A noun can be used as an adverb by using the accusative case.
  4. The subject of an infinitive is in the accusative case.



Diamond, Robert E. Old English Grammar and Reader. Detroit: Wayne  

      State U P, 1970.

Moore, Samuel and Thomas A. Knott and James R. Hulbert. The Elements

    of Old English. 10th edition. Ann Arbor MI: George Wahr,  1977.



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