For some time, the idea of learning to read Old English has been on my “someday maybe” list. To be able to enjoy Beowulf
or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the original language, the way it was spoken a thousand years ago, would be amazing.
I recently borrowed from the public library a course of lectures titled “History of the English Language” by Michael D.C. Drout, the Prentice Associate Professor of English at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. (Do you know why we use “apostrophe+s” to indicate possession? I do!) I was so impressed by his ability to make a potentially dry subject a lot of fun that I went to his home page. There I found gold:
- Anglo-Saxon Aloud: A daily reading of the entire Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, which includes all poems written in Old English (Free, a podcast)
- Beowulf Aloud: A Reading of Beowulf in Old English ($20, on CD)
- King Alfred’s Grammar: A tutorial on Old English (Free, HTML)
- Wormtalk and Slugspeak: Professor Drout’s blog
If you’re an English wonk like I am, I’m sure you’ll enjoy these.
[edit 2008-04-26: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was in a particular dialect of Middle English, not in Old English. Sorry about that.]
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