Early Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 175 pages of information about Early Britain.
for various details.  Professor Rolleston’s contributions to “Archaeologia,” as well as his Appendix to Canon Greenwell’s “British Barrows,” have been consulted for anthropological and antiquarian points; on which also Professor Huxley and Mr. Akerman have published useful papers.  Professor Boyd Dawkins’s work on “Early Man in Britain,” as well as the writings of Worsaae and Steenstrup have helped in elucidating the condition of the English at the date of the Conquest.  Nor must I forget the aid derived from Mr. Isaac Taylor’s “Words and Places,” from Professor Henry Morley’s “English Literature,” and from Messrs. Haddan and Stubbs’ “Councils.”  To Mr. Gomme, Mr. E.B.  Tylor, Mr. Sweet, Mr. James Collier, Dr. H. Leo, and perhaps others, I am under various obligations; and if any acknowledgments have been overlooked, I trust the injured person will forgive me when I have had already to quote so many authorities for so small a book.  The popular character of the work renders it undesirable to load the pages with footnotes of reference; and scholars will generally see for themselves the source of the information given in the text.

Personally, my thanks are due to my friend, Mr. York Powell, for much valuable aid and assistance, and to the Rev. E. McClure, one of the Society’s secretaries, for his kind revision of the volume in proof, and for several suggestions of which I have gladly availed myself.

As various early English names and phrases occur throughout the book, it will be best, perhaps, to say a few words about their pronunciation here, rather than to leave over that subject to the chapter on the Anglo-Saxon language, near the close of the work.  A few notes on this matter are therefore appended below.

     [Transcriber’s note:  For this Latin-1 version, macrons have
     been marked as [=x], and breve accents as [)x].  See the
     Unicode version for a proper rendering of these accents.]

The simple vowels, as a rule, have their continental pronunciation, approximately thus:  [=a] as in father, [)a] as in ask; [=e] as in there, [)e] as in men; [=i] as in marine, [)i] as fit; [=o] as in note, [)o] as in not; [=u] as in brute, [)u] as in full; [=y] as in gruen (German), [)y] as in huebsch (German).  The quantity of the vowels is not marked in this work. AE is not a diphthong, but a simple vowel sound, the same as our own short a in man, that, &c. Ea is pronounced like ya. C is always hard, like k; and g is also always hard, as in begin:  they must never be pronounced like s or j.  The other consonants have the same values as in modern English.  No vowel or consonant is ever mute.  Hence we get the following approximate pronunciations:  AElfred and AEthelred, as if written Alfred and Athelred; AEthelstan and Dunstan, as Athelstahn and Doonstahn; Eadwine and Oswine, nearly as Yahd-weena and Ose-weena; Wulfsige and Sigeberht, as Wolf-seeg-a and Seeg-a-bayrt; Ceolred and Cynewulf, as Keole-red and Kuene-wolf.  These approximations look a little absurd when written down in the only modern phonetic equivalents; but that is the fault of our own existing spelling, not of the early English names themselves.

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Early Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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