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Country diary: 'little horned one of the oak' says more than 'squirrel'

Deister, Lower Saxony, Germany: There are Saxon traces in many English wildlife names, but we don't have some of the more evocative ones you find in GermanAmong the whaleback forested hills of north Germany, where my father grew up and where hikers may walk for hours at a time without coming out from under the cover of trees, there are words that speak to Britain of gain and loss.On an early-morning rise into the forest fringe, I began to check and recite the names that scarcely need translation - beech, birch, hazel, oak: Buche, Birke, Hasel, Eiche. The Saxon settlers who crossed the Channel to colonise Britain more than 1,500 years ago found leafy familiars in their new country and attached labels from their own language that have stuck to this day. Even their word for tree - Baum - survives in "beam". Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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