Old English level 1
Time: 14:30 - 16:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: RE168
Please choose a course date
Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
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.
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.
If you have never studied grammar before , you may benefit from attending a Grammar for ancient languages : an introduction at the Citylit ( daytime : RL602 / evening : RL674).
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) ISBN 978-0470659847.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Old English Level 2.
Stephen is a freelance researcher, tutor, presenter and author specialising in the Old English language and the history of Anglo-Saxon England. He has worked with a wide range of organisations from the BBC, major universities and museums to local history and poetry groups in several countries, bringing history to life through a combination of written texts, readings and artefacts. He has written for publications as varied as ‘The Reader’ and ‘The Oxford Companion to Military History’. Stephen is the author of more than a dozen books on aspects of early mediaeval culture including social institutions, medical manuscripts, military life, the applied arts, death and the afterlife, writing systems, pre-Christian religion and the Sutton Hoo treasure. He has provided Old English and Old Norse dialogue for television, and both visual and audio content for museums. His voice-over in Old English for television documentaries and CDs of readings have been widely appreciated.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.