Hello and welcome to ‘Highly has a new favourite word and will wander around muttering it under her breath for the next week’!
Say it nice and slowly. be-ste-al-kee-an1 It means ‘to move stealthily, to stalk’, and it has the most fabulous past tense form you could imagine:
Hinguar færlice swa swa wulf on lande bestalcode and Þa leode sloh…2
Hinguar (that’s particularly nasty Viking) suddenly, like a wolf, stalked on (the) land and then slew (the) people.3 Bestalcode. Isn’t it… sinister?
1. I think. In three years I still haven’t internalised the c/ch rules. I think, from peering at Alex Jones’ Guide To Everything, that that’s how it goes. And then you have to deal with the fact that my phonetic description may not match your phonetic description. No, I don’t know IPA, but I probably should learn it sometime.
2. Which is from AElfric’s Life of St Edmund, around l. 156 in the Mitchell & Robinson textbook edition.
3. Or ‘stalked on the land and slew the people’. Leod being a feminine singular accusative, Þa could be the accusative definite pronoun. Or not. I like it better not.