Introduction to the Old English language

Course Dates: 31/10/19 - 05/12/19
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: KS - Keeley Street

What was the English language like before the Norman Conquest? How easy is it to translate their diverse literature? Can we write our own Old English? Come along and see.


What is the course about?

This course is an introduction to the key aspects of the Old English language, spoken in England before the Norman Conquest. While there are some aspects of Old English which will be familiar to English speakers, it was a more purely Germanic language, with inflection rather than word order being important for meaning. We will focus on the key characteristics of the language, and will undertake translation of Old English texts, including prose and poetry. The overall aim is to be comfortable with translation, and understanding effective ways of overcoming issues of interpretation through knowledge of the language, and also knowing how to find out the answer to questions of translation if problems arise.

What will we cover?

Key linguistic aspects of Old English such as vocabulary, cases, inflections, word classes
An introduction to the grammar of Old English.
Translation of Old English literature, from relatively simple prose sentences to the poetry of Beowulf.
What to do if you get stuck during a translation task!

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Adopt certain techniques and methods to translate texts.
- Describe the key characteristics of Old English.
- Parse Old English (we will discuss ‘parsing’ as part of the course)
- Be familiar with significant vocabulary.
- Be familiar with the similarities between Old English and Modern English texts.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course. Understanding of linguistic terminology would be useful but is not essential. Certain linguistic terminology (such as parsing, classes, etc. which have already been mentioned in this course outline) will be covered in the class, and we will not get into complex linguistic terminology at this level.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Demonstration, and individual and group tasks.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?


When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Other languages or civilisation classes. Check the website for more information.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

If you have an interest in the Old English language then I would recommend this course.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 19/12/2018)
This is a great way to start to learn Old English or to extend your knowledge with a group of learners who are just as keen as you are, and a tutor who is laid-back, knowledgeable and courteous.
Course Rating
Review by Old English Geek / (Posted on 07/12/2018)

Book your place

Course Code: RE104

Thu, day, 31 Oct - 05 Dec '19

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £119.00
Senior fee: £95.00
Concession: £73.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2644

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.