A few observations to help in your quest, Michael:
If you read, The Last Legion, by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, which is set in the late 5th c., at one point a Roman soldier (it may have been Vatrenus, but memory fails me) tells a bunch of invading Visigoths what to go do with themselves in Latin (modesty forbids that I repeat it on here, of course :-)
Then again, if you're also interested in the Celtic languages, the movie Centurion premiered on Channel 4 last night (you may be able to watch it on catch-up/Channel 4 +24 or whatever). At the start, the eponymous hero repeatedly swears (mildly) at his (Pictish?) assailants when captured in the highlands, somewhere near Inchtuthil. Though since we have so little evidence for what the Picts/Caledonians actually spoke to each other before they were colonized by the Gaelic Scotti from Ireland, I'm guessing the script-writers used something more like the latter.
There was also a delightful sketch on the Dick Emery show, decades ago, where he played an amiable old vicar coming out with (pseudo) Anglo-Saxon profanities in front of his daughter and her boyfriend (don't know if any of it was actually genuine). You could check by consulting:
My namesake (he forms my middle initials), William Somner, who compiled the first Anglo-Saxon dictionary (as opposed to Johnson's English one) in the mid-17th c. I believe Canterbury Cathedral have a copy in their archives.
As for riddles being confusing, I suspect that's the whole idea... :-)
From: British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Michael <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: 18 October 2015 14:43
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Help me: Old English crude language
thanks for the help.
I finally found Robert Frank's "Sex in the Dictionary of Old English"
itself within: "Unlocking the Wordhord: Anglo-Saxon Studies in Memory of
Edward B. Irving, Jr."
However, John raised an interesting point about whether references to
sexual anatomy were or were not seen as "crude" (lewd, vulgar). And the
riddles are just confusing me - as I can't work out whether they were
more or less open about sex at that period.
On 18/10/2015 11:50, Carol Primrose wrote:
> They certainly enjoyed 'doubles entendres' . Once again I refer you to
> the Riddles, see:
> From: John Clark
> Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2015 10:59 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Help me: Old English crude language
> I just don't think you should expect to find Old English 'crude
> language'. Why assume that they felt that certain parts of the human
> body and certain bodily functions were so 'unclean' they must not be
> 'named' or that the name must not be spoken in polite society? That
> sounds Biblical to me.
> If on the other hand you are looking for words that they would use as
> a matter of course but that WE regard as 'crude', then looking up the
> etymology of the 'dirty words' in the OED is a good start.
> John C
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