Someone asked this on Quora and Oscar Tay gave a fascinating answer.
The oldest recorded word In English is Gægogæ mægæ medu.
The Undley Bracteate
In 1982, a farmer in Undley Common, Suffolk, England, was walking across his field when he came across a fantastic bit of history: The Undley Bracteate, an Anglo-Saxon medallion dating to 450 AD. It was small, no bigger than a penny, and inscribed with the image of two babies – presumably Romulus and Remus – suckling from a wolf.
The Undley Bracteate is believed to be made in or near southern Denmark. It may have been brought to England by some of the earliest Germanic-speaking settlers. Image: the British Museum.
Gægogæ mægæ medu
The find itself would be interesting enough, but look carefully at that inscription around the edges. It’s not just a random pattern: in Runes, it says ᚷᚫᚷᚩᚷᚫ ᛗᚫᚷᚫ ᛗᛖᛞᚢ, gægogæ…
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