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Literacy

Kennings. You might not have heard of them, but you've probably heard of at least a couple of examples. 

 

What's a really tall building called?

That's right, a sky-scraper.

 

How about a really sad film?

You might have heard it called a 'tear-jerker'.

 

These are examples of kennings. They come from around 1200 years ago, in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking age, when warriors used to name their swords and axes things like "blood-taker", "hole-maker" and my favourite, "Fotbitr" which means "foot-biter".

 

You might have spotted a pattern in them - noun, verb. So that's naming word, action word, but you can have noun-noun too. Only two words, with a hyphen. There wasn't any TikTok around back them so people had to find another way to entertain themselves so they were often told as riddles. For example, can you guess what this kenning is about?

 

Mouse-hunter

Milk-drinker

Tree-climber

Night-purrer

Furry-friend

 

Can you guess? If you guessed a cat, congratulations, you solved the riddle! See if you can make your own kennings on animals - remember it's a riddle so you can't give away the answer. You can pick any animal you like to write your kenning about. We'll see if you can stump anyone!

 

 

 

 

 

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