Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Cunnan
This verb needs an inflection-table template.
- Middle Dutch: connen
- “cunnan”, in Oudnederlands Woordenboek, 2012
- to know, to be familiar with
- Iċ wāt þæt hē hīe cann, ac iċ nāt hwanon.
- I know that he knows her, but I don't know from where.
- Iċ nime þone hring, þēah iċ þone weġ ne cunne.
- I will take the ring, though I do not know the way.
- Nāwiht nis hefiġre þonne līċ. Atlas self ne cann þæt ġewiht.
- Nothing is heavier than a dead body. Atlas himself knows not the weight.
- Ne cūðe iċ hine wel, ac iċ cūðe hine oft.
- I didn't know him well, but I knew him often.
- c. 1005, Ælfric's Letter to Sigeweard
- Hū mæġ sē mann wel faran þe his mōd āwent fram eallum þissum bōcum, and biþ him swā ānwille þæt him lēofre biþ þæt hē libbe ǣfre be his āgnum dihte āsċīred fram þissum, swelċe hē ne cunne Cristes ġesetnessa?
- How can someone do well if they turn their mind from all these books [stuff that Ælfric wrote], if they're so stubborn that they would rather live their life always making their own separate judgments, as if they don't know the laws of Christ?
- (auxiliary) can, to know how
- Iċ cann ēow lǣran.
- I can teach you.
- Þrēo manna cynn sind: þā þe tellan cunnon and þā þe ne cunnon.
- There are three kinds of people: those who know how to count and those who don't.
Old English used several different words to mean "to know":
- Witan meant "to be aware of," and was used with facts and pieces of information: Iċ wāt þæt iċ nāt nāwiht ("I know that I know nothing"), Hwā wāt hū fela ōðerra manna sind mē ġelīċe? ("Who knows how many other people are like me?"), Hwanon wāst þū mīnne naman? ("How do you know my name?"), Þū wāst hwæt tō dōnne is ("You know what to do").
- Cunnan meant "to be familiar with," and was used with people, places, concepts, and skills: Mæġ iċ hine lufian swīðor þonne iċ hine cann? ("Can I love him more than I know him?"), Ne sorge ġē, iċ cann þis sċræf swā æftewearde mīne hand ("Don't worry, I know this cave like the back of my hand"), Ealdenglisċ cunnan þyncþ mē unnytt ("Knowing Old English seems useless to me"). With verbs, it means "to know how": Þū āna cūðest mē hreddan ("You're the only person who knew how to save me"), Wisson ġit þæt hē singan cann? ("Did you know he can sing?")
- Ġecnāwan and oncnāwan meant to recognize or identify, and could be used almost interchangeably: Þā stefne iċ wolde āhwǣr ġecnāwan ("I'd know that voice anywhere"), Ġecnǣwst þū þisne wer? ("Do you know this man?"), Iċ oncnāwe gōd handweorc þonne iċ hit ġesēo ("I know good craftsmanship when I see it"), Be þon oncnāwaþ ealle menn þæt ġē sind mīne frīend ("That's how everyone will know you're my friends"). Though cnāwan is the ancestor of modern know and was probably a synonym, it was many times less common than these two prefixed forms in the Old English period, being attested only a few times in the surviving corpus.
- Tōcnāwan meant "to distinguish" or "discern": riht and wōh tōcnāwan ("to know right from wrong").
Conjugation of cunnan (preterite-present)
|indicative mood||present tense||past tense|
|first person singular||cann||cūþe|
|second person singular||canst||cūþest|
|third person singular||cann||cūþe|
|subjunctive||present tense||past tense|