LUCAS Explains #11: How would you complain about the weather if you woke up in the Middle Ages?

LUCAS Explains #11: How would you complain about the weather if you woke up in the Middle Ages?

With the arrival of autumn, the weather has become rainier. Complaining about such bad weather seems to be a Dutch tradition. How would you have complained about it, though, if you had lived in the year 900? Sander Stolk explains how you can find out using newly available digital tooling.

Language helps us to convey ideas, call on others, communicate. In cases where the vocabulary of our language is not yet expressive enough for our communication, we tend to become creative. We create new words (neologisms) or we loan words from other language communities that capture the meanings required. A vocabulary, then, is vital in understanding a culture.

In this vlog, Sander Stolk explores the concept of bad weather for the early medieval period. Back then, how did inhabitants of what we now know as England complain about bad weather? Which words were available to them and what other concepts did these words bring to mind? This vlog answers these questions by turning to Old English vocabulary captured in A Thesaurus of Old English and explored using the online platform Evoke. This digital tool was developed as part of Sander Stolk’s research and incorporates the latest in linked data technology for working with lexicographical resources known as thesauri.

Sander Stolk: 'How would you complain about the weather if you woke up in the Middle Ages?'


In the video series LUCAS Explains, young researchers tell about current societal and cultural topics from a historical or fresh point of view. The subjects range from diversity to national identity and from inclusiveness to migration. The videos stretch the history from the Classics to the present and from Europe to Asia. LUCAS Explains is published every other Tuesday. LUCAS Explains is a video series of Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society and SOON media Amsterdam.


The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
Leiden University

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