What did the Vikings ever do for us?
Well as it happens, they left us many words that are still used in our day to day language, both in English and in Irish. For a start the work Viking which mean a traveller, rather than a person from a specific background,
They must have been brave to get in to those boats and sail off on the sea, without knowing if a storm was coming or if they had enough supolies or if they would meet friendly or violent people on their journey. They were all on for the bit of violence, never knowingly avoided a fight.
But they had huge knowledge of the weather and the seas. They were clean and reportedly carried a change of clothes with them in the boats. They knew how to build big , waterproof boats that were easy to steer, well-balanced, well designed, could carry a load and could withstand the waves. They also had a rich folklore, a load of deity and a desire for adventure.
I was pretty devastated when I was informed, without much evidence, that they did not wear helmets with horns sticking out.
The person who put me on the quest for what the Vikings ever did for us was the director of the Natural Museum, who was enthralled by the discoveries and interest of my students. They had noticed the sun signs on the back of the Bell of St Patrick, among other things.. He understood what would intrigue 13 year old boys. So when we asked what trace the Vikings had left, he answered: You are standing on them.
The word leg comes from Viking. As does beserk, muck, ugly, skull. Hell-as a place and a concept, die, cake,Village and Slaughter are also Viking. , as is Hell, dirt, dregs, mire and rotten. Who knew we would need a word to describe what is left in the end of a bottle?
The words arec all a bit random and odd. In fact odd comes from the Vikings, as does, same, their and gift. Most importantly, a very important word: wrong.
Where would be be in todays society if we did not have the word wrong. All those who were wronged?
In the Irish language, we also have lots of words. Olc. guna,
Language is a reflection of the way we think. Grammar is to language what logic is to thought. Vocabulary encapsulates a way of thinking. What needs to be expressed?
Which word that we use today will manage to traverse time and be in use in 1000 years?