What is the course about?
This course introduces you to 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 grammatical 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.
We will use First Steps in Old English (Anglo-Saxon Books) 3rd edition, 2004.
There will be no class on 14 May, 21 May and 18 June.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
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.
- Methods of proceeding when you are 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.
- Have a grounding in Old English grammar and syntax.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is for beginners. 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 introduce grammatical and linguistic terminology.
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?
Ideally you should have a copy of Introduction to Old English, 3rd edn. by Peter S. Baker (2003).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Old English Level 2 next term.