4 thoughts on “gysternlīc-dæg

  1. I’m somewhat new to Old English and the use of ‘g’ as both a hard ‘guh’ and a soft ‘yuh’ seems quite arbitrary. Could it be that gyst-ern is hard rather than soft & therefore a completely different word?


    • More often than not it depends on the vowels around the ‘g’: front vowels like i, y, e produce the ‘soft’ pronunciation while back vowels like o, u (and a) produce the hard one. The same is true for ‘c’: Sometimes it’s pronounced like MnE “child” (OE cild) and sometimes like “come” (OE cuman).

      There is however some seeming arbitraryness: “cyning” is pronounced kyning, not chyning. In those cases it often helps to compare the word to the modern equivalent: “cene” looks like it should be the “child”-sound, but MnE “keen” tells you that it’s actually a ‘k’. However this isn’t 100% accurate and often I don’t quite know how a word should be pronounced. In those cases I *think* it helps to know the ethymologies, but having looked up the examples I don’t quite see what to make of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would assume that they are unrelated? I imagine “gysternlīc-dæg” is a variant of “geostran dæg” which would make it related to Old High German “gestere” from Proto-Germanic *gestra- same as English “yester” (PIE *dʰǵʰyes- “yesterday”)
    While “gyst-ern” is from Proto-Germanic *gastiz (PIE *gʰóstis – “guest, stranger”). The second element “-ern” being “aern” “house” eg. hors-ern “horse-house”, stable.

    Liked by 1 person

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