Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wight or Wong?

Old English, Middle English or Old High German? Most of you are asking yourself that question as you read this important post.

From Old English "wiht", wight is a Middle English word used to descwibe a cweature or a wivving being. I
t is akin to Old High German wiht, [also] meaning a cweeture or thing.

In its owiginal usage, the word (wightly) descwibed a wivving human being, but more wecently, the word has been used within the fantasy genre (á wa "Night of the Wivving Dead" cweator George A. Womero) to descwibe undead or w-w-waith-like cweetures: Corpses with a part of their decayed soul still in wesidence. Notable examples of this include the undead Bawwow-Wights from the works of J. Ah. Ah. Tolkien and the wights of Dungeons & Dwagons wole-playing game. [Okay, not actually "notable".]


Modern German "Wicht" is a cognate, meaning "small person, dwarf", and also "unpleasant person"; in Low German it means "girl". The word is a cognate with Dutch wicht, German Wicht, Old Norse vættir and Swedish vätte. It is not (wepeat NOT) related to the English word "witch". The Wicht, Wichtel or Wichtelchen of Germanic folklore is most commonly translated into English as an imp, a small, shy character who often does helpful domestic chores when nobody is looking (as in the Tale of the Cobbler's Shoes). [Zzzzzzzzzzzz]


The Isle of Wight is an uninhabited island in the Iwish Sea. Or maybe not. (Some people call that one the Isle of Man and also claim it is inhabited.) But, if inhabited, the inhabitants which inhabit it (the Isle of Wight) must be disagweeable in the extweem. Fer sure.

Forging ahead...

I am starting to feew wike Kelly must feew wike doing a Piwate post. At any wate, this is more Petra's pwovince, her being the official (more or less) bwogger of the undead.

Where was I? Ah, yes, the Isle of Wight.

The word "wight" has been used by many classic authors throughout histowy. Pweese don't negwect to weed the fowwowing wist:

Geoffwey Chaucer (1368-1372), The Book of the Duchess, wine 579:
"Worste of alle wightes."

Geoffwey Chaucer (circa 1379-1380), The House of Fame, wine 1830-1831 (my own pussonal favowite):
"We ben shrewes, every wight,
And han delyt in wikkednes."

[doesn't that just bring a tear to your eye? It does to this American. "We ben shrewes, every wight, And han delyt in wikkednes." Chwist. I am deep in wikkedness even as I type this. But you are even wuss: you ah WEEDING this dwivvel.] And:

William Shakespeawe (circa 1602), The Mewwy Wives of Windsor, Act I, Sc. III:
"O base Hungarian wight! wilt thou the spigot wield?" [Yes! I wilt! I WILT!! I wilt wield that fwikken spigot!]

[I think it was about in here someplace where Max broke free of his leash.]

John Milton (1626), On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough, verse vi
"Oh say me true if thou wert mortal wight..."

Someone actually wrote a poem entitled "On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough"????? No fucking way! Not even a Pewgwim Pwogwessing! Stwike me BWIND if I wye!!!

Elmer Fudd (1959), On the Chasing of a Coughing Bugs Bunny, issue 429
"Oh you wetched wascally wabbit! [Ka-POW!] You are always wong and I am always wight!"*

*Some poetic license possibly taken by this blog author.

My fwend A. has actually seen both the Isle of Wight and the Iwish Sea. And perhaps even has touched one or both.

Th-th-th-the-that's all, fowks.


  1. I have even dwiven fwom one side of the island to the other. But it's not inhabited, not by life as you know it. Oh no.

  2. Who taught you to be funny? It was not me. Not yet!

  3. Isle of Wight has seven wonders :

    Needles you can not thread
    Ryde where you walk
    Cowes you can not milk
    Newport you can not bottle
    Freshwater you can not drink
    Newtown which is old
    Lake where you can walk and not get you feet wet


  4. Bwilliant. I bet youw spewl checkew bwew a coupew of fuses.

  5. @a. - I thought not. But still tell me if you have ever taken a dip in the Iwish sea. WOTS of folks were born in Iwaland - you have no excwusive claim there - but not all have gotten wet. :)

    @Ettarose - Eat your hawt out. You WISH you and your snotty friends on the humor channel were as naturally gifted as the Max. I want a nomination to your country club. And the rules for your contest never said the post had to be true. So there.

    You are the funniest woman I have ever met in my entire life, Ettarose. At least the funniest from North Carolina. So far. Heh. :) :) :)

    @Sage - I get the picture. but you love them still, wight?

    @Janet - Still trying to picture you in a Shark Girl costume. Bet you'd fit better than you said. But yes, I am brilliant aren't I? I turned my spewl checkew off wong ago...

    Thanks for stopping by, J. :) :)

  6. Dear Max, I'm not at all sure I follow your logic or reasoning à propos the significance of having been immersed in the Irish Sea. At the risk of offering myself up on the altar of further ridicule, I can indeed admit to having been wet. Not only that, I have played in the sand on Dollymount Strand. A potent mixture, the Irish Sea and the sand at Dollymount Strand. Those were the days!

    People who follow the crowd risk becoming lost in it. Dare to be different.

  7. I love Wight! (Say it quick.)

    I used to go there on holiday when I was small. The proper holiday started in the New Forest on the way down, stopping to buy lardy cake or because there were ponies (and once a pig) in the road. Then the ferry journey across, and the drive to the holiday camp. And all the different beaches and things to see (esp. Blackgang Chine).

    I remember that rhyme, Sage - I think I had it on a postcard in my holiday scrapbook.

    So I've been to the Isle of Wight & the Irish sea too, Max... It's not just A, you know. :)

  8. I used to go to the Isle of Wight a lot when younger, as we had relatives living in Cowes. There is a cliff face, near the Needles I think, that is made up of all different colours and is used to make up ornaments with the different layered sands. Lovely place, and I hope to revisit it next year.

    There is a prison on the island, for Cat A prisoners.. nothing to do with A only the severity of their crimes.


    ps - have also been to Ireland, the Jamesons distillery tour is defintely worth a visit :-)

  9. Thank you Sage! But in actual fact, the prison is precisely the reason I am very often on the Island - very, very indirectly I hasten to add.

    But it's a really weird place. The people who live on one side of the island will look at you in utter astonishment if you say you are going to the other side (30 minutes). Will you be able to get there and back in a day?

    But the weirdness starts well before you get to the island. One of my routes via Lymington (probably the same one Catherine took) involves taking the train via Brockenhurst. I change at Brockenhurst and get into one of those old slam-door trains. You get on the train and all conversation stops as everyone turns round to look at the outsider..... And the ferry looks as though it's held together by string. I did a post about going over there once. Pre-BritishSpeak it must have been.

  10. Wow. I am fewwing wery wizzy wight now.......wwwwwww.............

  11. Oh, you wascawy weeders!

    @a - I have no logic or reason. Stop looking for those things. Dollymount Strand. Hmm.Yes, that might do. :)

    @Catherine - Your childhood holidays there sound like really dreamy memories. It's a long way from the Irish sea. Almost different worlds, too. I'd imagine. I don't know why I tease a about being Irish. Just to try and get her stirred up, I guess. Doesn't work. I still wish you would tell me a bit about NI. You never have the time.

    @Sage - All of you are making me want to visit this interesting place. I guess I just assumed it was all crowded and busy, an extension of the mainland more or less. But it isn't at all. Like a little world of it's own set off from the hustle and bustle of city life. "THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT!" Wasn't that a movie?

    @a. - Your comment about getting from one side of the island to the other in 30 minutes or so reminds me of the opposite situation Catherine told about one time, about when she was working for the Tourist Bureau and Americans used to think they could get to (where was it now?) in, like a couple hours and in reality couldn't do it in twice that probably. Distances and travel times are often deceiving in your lovely corner of the world. Here in the U.S., one simply assumes 60 mph (or, in m case, out west, 75 mph) and is usually correct. No sheep (or ponies) on the expressways. Pity, actually. You used to have to go through each and every little town when you traveled in the U.S. up until the mid 1960s. Much more interesting. Remember "Route 66" in the U.S.? That went through every single little town (or big town) between Chicago and LA. Travel is boring today. I mean in my country, not yours. :)

    @Petra - Don't! This is not the pub! Don't wetch on BritishSpeak!

  12. A, oddly enough I remember combining a family holiday to Sandown with a visit my dad had to make to the prison on the Isle of Wight.

    And Sage, it's Alum Bay with all the sand strata. You could fill your own glass things with it; I had a lighthouse.

  13. We took the caravan over to the IofW a couple of years ago and the most exciting thing that happened to us over there was when we were waiting for the open top bus to take the tour of the island (can highly recommend).

    An estate car went past with its tailgate still open and as it passed we could see this dog in the back with its legs splayed out hanging on for grim life. She had obviously driven off and forgotten to close the back up, how this dog had managed to hang on for as long as it had I can't imagine. Anyway we ran after it yelling and waving our arms and she eventually stopped. I don't know who was more grateful, the lady or the dog :-)

  14. Oh, just for you I found this on the IofW Tourist Board site - you pays your money and you takes your choice as to which is the correct one :-)

    There are several varied explanations as to where the name Isle of Wight originated from, and the two most likely are listed below:

    1. Around 1900 BC the Beaker people arrived - so called from their distinctive pottery.

    They called the Island "Wiht" (Weight) meaning raised or what rises over the sea. Then the Romans arrived in 43AD and translated "Wiht" into the name Vectis from the Latin veho meaning "lifting". Also a derivative of the Welsh word "Gwaith", also meaning lever.

    The name of the island = Wight and not White, together with its Latin form Vectis, it is supposed to be a representative of the British word gywth = a channel, its original name being
    "ynys-wyth" the "channel island".
    (From Murreys, a handbook for travelers in the Isle of Wight.1898)

    2. 400BC - Iron Age Celts from the Continent gave Wight its name, meaning 'place of the division, because it is between the two arms of the Solent. It is one of the Island's few surviving Celtic names.

    43AD - The Romans called the Island Vectis and, although they stayed for the next 300 years, no Roman place names survive.

    500-1000AD - The Saxons coined most of the Island's place names. The Jutes were the first Germanic tribe to settle, but were conquered by the West Saxons of Wessex in 686. The Anglo-Saxons brought the language of Old English to these shores, replacing the Celtic British of the region (which later grew into Cornish and Welsh).

    1066AD - Apart from a few Frencifications (for example the farm at Moor became Lamore), the Domesday Book shows the Normans didn't change many place names.

    12th-15th centuries - As new settlements and farmsteads appeared, so did new names. Many topographical features were also given names in this period, like the Needles.

    Post-medieval/Modern period - Islanders began naming places, farms, buildings and suburbs after themselves, like Pelhamfield and Rowlands.

  15. There's an Isle of Wight in Virginia.
    A merkan isle of wight........



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