Old English Discussion

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księżycowy
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby księżycowy » 2011-05-13, 21:19

Yeah, plus I'm old fashioned. I like actual books when I can get them.
And thanks for the insight sa wulfs!
I'll definitely pick up the Chaucer, and since the price for Beowulf is just too good to pass up I'll probably get that.
The thing I like about the Penguin version of the books is that they have glossaries and such right in the book. I won't need to pick up a dictionary.

What anthologies?

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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby sa wulfs » 2011-05-13, 21:29

This one, for example. I have no idea if it's any good (the review looks promising), but I just ordered it anyway because it was cheap (used, of course) and out of print.
http://ungelicisus.blogspot.com
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby księżycowy » 2011-05-13, 21:41

Interesting. I may look into that. I've also seen a reader on Amazon (w/grammar) so I might check that out as well.

At any rate, I've still got to make it through A Guide to Old English and A Book of Middle English first. I just wanted to start looking into some stuff for after.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby TeneReef » 2011-05-14, 1:55

Unfortunately I have found no books on phonetics of Early Modern English. :para:
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby sa wulfs » 2011-06-02, 8:50

So I just got my copy of Bolton's "An Old English Anthology". I was expecting more prose, and I already had modern editions of many of the most famous poems, but there's still plenty of material I haven't read. An interesting feature is that each text is explicitly attributed to a dialect, so it's a good way to start getting into basic OE dialectology (even though of course most texts end up being Late West Saxon). All in all, I think it's a good buy.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby Karavinka » 2011-12-08, 6:21

http://www.amazon.com/Canterbury-Tales- ... 36&sr=8-28

This is my copy of the Canterbury Tales. This one is based on a single manuscript (Ellesmere) so if you want a "critical" edition, then look elsewhere, but the formatting is pretty good and it has enough lexical glosses on the margin, so you can just delve right into it. And sa wulfs, I know Beowulf is cool, but Chaucer is no less cool!

http://www.amazon.com/Klaebers-Beowulf- ... 973&sr=1-1

What OE library is complete without Klaeber's Beowulf?

http://www.amazon.com/Beowulf-Student-G ... 011&sr=1-1

Klaeber is the definitive text for Beowulf, but you're going to have to do lots of flipping back and forth. This "Student's Edition" mas marginal glosses and footnote explanations, while Klaeber has notes and the glossary at the back of the book.

http://www.amazon.com/Old-Middle-Englis ... 114&sr=1-1

But this is my favorite OE/ME text collection. It's chronological. It covers a lot of Oe, the shady gray area between OE and ME, and ME proper. And better, it's a bilingual text, much like Loeb except the size is rather huge. So if you just feel like an "immersion" method without constantly stopping and looking up words, or if you think using bilingual texts is a good way to learn, get this.

http://www.amazon.com/Old-English-Stand ... 321&sr=1-1

I don't know if anyone mentioned this book on this thread, but this is just awesome. The texts are given in snippets, and the texts are chosen based on linguistic, not literary criteria but it tackles every chronological and dialectal variant (when there's a text which survives) and analyzes them more in depth. It also has many, many manuscript facsimiles so you actually get to the "source."

TeneReef wrote:Unfortunately I have found no books on phonetics of Early Modern English. :para:


You should take a look at the above book by Freeborn. He discusses EME phonetics there, and you can actually hear reconstructed EME from his companion website from Palgrave.


http://www.amazon.com/Old-English-Langu ... 505&sr=1-1

I've been reading Gothic back and forth and I'm kind of getting bored, so I thought I might brush up on Old English and do it legit this time. I ordered this one and I'm waiting for it. Unlike Bruce and Mitchell (which I have and have read), this one is in a lesson format with chapter readings, so it looks less like a grammar reference but more like a... textbook. I'm still waiting to get this shipped, so I might add more on this later on. Since I've read much more Middle English than Old, I'd like to see some new lights that a better knowledge of OE could shed on ME.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby Karavinka » 2011-12-08, 13:11

Karavinka wrote:http://www.amazon.com/Old-English-Standard-Language-Variations/dp/1403998809/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323325321&sr=1-1

I don't know if anyone mentioned this book on this thread, but this is just awesome.


Sorry, somebody already did. And it was me. *Embarrassed*
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby sa wulfs » 2011-12-12, 13:39

Hey, I like Chaucer. I too have an edition of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. :lol:
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby Karavinka » 2011-12-12, 14:58

Karavinka wrote:http://www.amazon.com/Old-English-Langu ... 505&sr=1-1

I've been reading Gothic back and forth and I'm kind of getting bored, so I thought I might brush up on Old English and do it legit this time. I ordered this one and I'm waiting for it. Unlike Mitchell and Robinson (which I have and have read), this one is in a lesson format with chapter readings, so it looks less like a grammar reference but more like a... textbook. I'm still waiting to get this shipped, so I might add more on this later on. Since I've read much more Middle English than Old, I'd like to see some new lights that a better knowledge of OE could shed on ME.


Okay, I got Marckwardt-Rosier (M-R) and I've had it for like three days. So, this is like my first impression of this rather under-evaluated OE textbook. I'm moving past lesson 11, which is a bit fast but it's because I'm using it to refresh what I learned, not to learn it from scratch. So that might be my bias, but in general I really like this.

First, if you're looking forward to get some "textbook" which teaches language lesson by lesson, this is probably the best option. There is a newer book by Hasenfratz and Jambeck (H-J) but H-J's layout is, honestly, pretty messy. It was a nice try, but just wasn't executed too well.

M-R has 25 lessons and the reading section. There is a glossary, but it's the weakest glossary that I've ever seen. So, unless you have a full dictionary or at least something that has a better glossary (like Mitchell and Robinson?), you're going to have to spend some time guessing random things. But the lessons themselves aren't bad. The first five lessons highlight some of the obvious cognates with boldface, and starting from Lesson 7, it discusses more historical linguistic aspects as well (e.g. fronting of West Germanic vowel /a/ in OE, resulting "daeg" as opposed to "dag").

The lesson layout is fairly traditional. You get some grammar and some readings, that's it. To my diappointment, there really isn't any exercise to manipulate things at the sentence level. In this respect, it feels kind of like Bennett's Gothic textbook, though M-R's explanations are less brief. The readings in the first 14 lessons are all taken from the OE translation of the Gospels, chiefly from Luke, and in the remaining lessons 15 to 25, Apollonius of Tyre is used. So, up to lesson 25, it's all prose. The readings are really short in the first few lessons, like Lesson 3 reading is only 4 verses long (Mark 11:15-18), and although it gets somewhat longer (Lesson 14 has Luke 21:20-28, 9 verses), it''s not a whole lot.

Unlike some grammars, where syntax gets a separate chapter thrown in the back, M-R discusses syntax from the very beginning. Case functions and inverted word orders are introduced in the first lessons with example sentences, and many of these example sentences use grammar that is not yet taught. The point is to just illustrate certain case usage so the rest might just be ignored, but I feel more comfortable only because I already knew some OE to begin with.

The reader section at the back is very nice. To quote the authors in the preface: "in selecting the texts an effort was also made to avoid, in part, duplication of poems and prose passages which have appeared as the traditional fare of many Old English grammars and readers." You know, it's not too exciting to read the same old thing when you're reading a different textbook. Other than some Bible passages, M-R offers following texts:

Aelfric's The Devil and the Apostate
Three Riddles
Aelfric's St. John and the Wayward Boy
The Wife's Lament
Wulfstan De Falsis Diis
Vainglory
Phoenix
Whale
Bede's Caedmon account
Genesis A: The Flood, The Capture and Rescue of Lot
Snippets from Christ and Beowulf

From what I can see, just two sections, Bede's account on Caedmon the Poet and The Phoenix are duplicates from Bright's Reader. Comparing with Mitchell and Robinson, Bede's account on Caedmon and The Wife's Lament are duplicates, but still this is not a lot.

If you compare Baker and Mitchell and Robinson, at least 9 out of 14 in Baker and out of 22 in Mitchell and Robinson are duplicates: (Cynewulf and Cyneheard, Fall of Adam and Eve, Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, The Wife's Lament, Wulf and Eadwacer, Judith, The Dream of the Rood, The Wanderer, Story of Caedmon). I think it was a nice gesture that Marckwardt and Rosier did this, since theirs came somewhat later than Mitchell and Robinson's first edition. (I don't want to bash Baker's textbook, but I didn't buy that one because of this problem: the text selections are so uninspired and lacks novelty. And Baker came out in 2003, that's like..inexcusable.)

The last thing: the book's binding looks kind of cheap, but looks sturdy enough, and I like the dimension, it's a bit smaller than Mitchell and Robinson and it's easier to pack this around. For the price, this is worth considering.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby sa wulfs » 2011-12-16, 10:50

I think Baker's one is the best introductory book I've seen, and it also has the best selection of texts in my opinion, but of course if you already had Mitchell and Robinson's (or any other guide) they overlap to a large degree. I'm not sure about the lesson format to learn a language for which you basically need to build up your passive knowledge - I prefer the reference grammar format.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby TeneReef » 2011-12-24, 12:19

There is only one r between a and ee in the English word career. Why is that?
I would expect rr. :hmm:
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby YngNghymru » 2011-12-24, 16:35

TeneReef wrote:There is only one r between a and ee in the English word career. Why is that?
I would expect rr. :hmm:


Probably for the (perhaps not very good) reason that English spelling is frequently not very predictable.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby lennyj » 2012-01-05, 12:45

YngNghymru wrote:
TeneReef wrote:There is only one r between a and ee in the English word career. Why is that?
I would expect rr. :hmm:


Probably for the (perhaps not very good) reason that English spelling is frequently not very predictable.


I'll second that. There is definitely no consistency in the structure of english words thereby making spelling predictions virtually impossible!

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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby YngNghymru » 2012-01-05, 22:50

lennyj wrote:
I'll second that. There is definitely no consistency in the structure of english words thereby making spelling predictions virtually impossible!


Whut

English words have a perfectly normal structure. The problem is that the spelling is a mishmash of different systems (including different languages and different styles of transliteration from different languages) from different periods, plus plenty of analogy, etymological respellings and failed etymological respellings. Add to that the persistent effects of sound change and you get all sorts of craziness.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-01-05, 23:19

lennyj wrote:I'll second that. There is definitely no consistency in the structure of english words thereby making spelling predictions virtually impossible!
Spelling predictions are quite possible. If they weren't possible, we wouldn't have spelling bees. Especially at the higher levels the participants are correctly spelling words based on what they know about the patterns in English spelling, not because they've memorized every word in the unabridged dictionary.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby sa wulfs » 2012-01-08, 15:03

Regardless, that doesn't fall within the scope of Old English. Most inconsistencies of Modern English spelling were introduced during Middle English times by French-speaking scribes. "Career" in particular pertains to early Modern English.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby Zireael » 2012-02-27, 20:02

Bump. Taking a course in "History of English Language" (nicknamed HEL). Looking for good books/articles on Old English, since I can already see we're focusing on it.

While we're at it... my fav OE king, Aethelred II Unræd - traditionally the nickname is translated as Unready, but my lecturer said it's not right. What should be the correct translation?
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby YngNghymru » 2012-02-27, 21:35

It means 'bad advice', and is a pun on his name (which means 'well-advised').
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby sa wulfs » 2012-03-01, 11:32

"Unready" is a pretty good translation, though. It's not literal, but it's close enough and it retains the pun, which is the whole point of the nickname.

You may want to check Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson's Guide to Old English, or Peter Baker's Introduction to Old English. This site has some interesting OE texts, with notes, and here you can listen to many OK readings of Old English poems.
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Re: Old English Discussion

Postby hlysnan » 2012-04-16, 8:32

I recorded myself speaking the first couple of lines of Genesis 22*, and I'd like some feedback.

The text:
"God wolde þa fandian Abrahames gehiersumnesse, and clipode his naman, and cwæð him þus to: 'Nim þinne ancennedan sunu Isaac, þe þu lufast, and far to þam lande Visionis hraðe, and geoffra hine þær uppan anre dune.' Abraham þa aras on þære ilcan nihte, and ferde mid twam cnapum to þam fierlenan lande, and Isaac samod, on assum ridende."

The recording:
http://vocaroo.com/i/s0SUa84wtZFc

Some questions:
-should fricatives at the start of a word, which follows a word that ends in a vowel, be voiced? For example, "wolde þa" has a <þ> between two vowels, but the vowels are in separate words. Should it be pronounced as /θ/ or /ð/?
-should the <c> in ancennedan be pronounced as /tʃ/ or /k/? It wasn't marked with a dot in the textbook, but it precedes a front vowel, so I didn't know what to do here.

Yes, I know that there isn't exactly a consensus on pronunciation, especially considering it hasn't been spoken as a living language for almost a thousand years, but I'd like to know your** thoughts anyway.

*as simplified by Murray McGillivray
**whoever decides to listen


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