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  • Mysteries of vernacular:

  • Window,

  • an opening constructed in a wall to emit light or air.

  • When the Scandinavian settlers invaded England

  • in the Middle Ages,

  • they brought with them a whole slew of words

  • whose modern decedents have become part

  • of our everyday vernacular.

  • Their word for window was related to the Old Norse word

  • for the same architectural feature,

  • vindauga.

  • Vindauga was a compound,

  • composed of two separate words:

  • vindr, meaning wind

  • and auga, meaning eye.

  • The word vindauga was probably quite old,

  • having come into being long before

  • windows were made of glass.

  • This type of metaphoric compound,

  • called a kenning,

  • was very popular in both Norse and Old English.

  • The beautiful literary trope was used

  • in the Norse word for ship,

  • literally "wave stead."

  • And, in the epic poem, "Beowulf,"

  • where the sea is described as a whale road

  • and blood is described as battle sweat

  • and slaughter dew.

  • From its literal yet lyrical beginning,

  • the word window has expanded

  • beyond its concrete definition

  • as a construction or design element

  • to be used figuratively

  • in phrases like the poetic

  • "window of opportunity."

Mysteries of vernacular:

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B2 TED-Ed norse window compound beowulf scandinavian

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Window - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

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    姚易辰 posted on 2014/02/13
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