Beowulf: Gē dōþ hit yfele. (Translation Notes)

Beowulf: Gē dōþ hit yfele

Beowulf: You’re doing it wrong.

“Gē”  is the second person plural.

“Dōþ” is the second person plural conjugation of the verb “dōn,” “to do.” OE does not have a separate  conjugation for progressive tense, nor does it use an auxiliary like the MnE “are doing,” so the progressive is expressed with the present tense conjugation in the appropriate context.

“Hit” is the neuter singular pronoun. Technically, the masculine may have been more appropriate since I’m speaking generally (I’m not certain on that point), but I chose the neuter since it’s closest to MnE and easiest to recognize.

“Yfele” may cause the most problems for readers. As an adverb, it is translated both as “badly” and “evilly.” I have come across the word “wrang” before, which would have sounded closer to the original meme, but it’s a noun form, not an adverb. Technically, the original meme uses an adjective (wrong) when it should use an adverb (wrongly), but I thought that grammatical correctness would aid in translation.


Beowulf: Gē dōþ hit yfele. (Translation Notes) — 1 Comment

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