Thursday, August 14, 2008

Learn Old English with the Wordhoard

For those of you following along with the Wordhoard's Old English class this semester, by now you should have laid hands on Peter Baker's Introduction to Old English. If not, get it right away, and read Chapter 1 before Tuesday.

Also, we are going to start memorizing vocabulary. Learn the pronouns below. Right now, it doesn't look like it makes sense ("Why have four different words for this and these?"), but it will make learning the first paradigms easier. Don't worry, it'll make perfect sense soon.

Ic ... I
þu ... you
he ... he
hit ... it
heo ... she
hie ... they
se ... the, that, those
þæt ... the, that, those
seo ... the, that, those
þa ... the, that, those
þes ... this, these
þis ... this, these
þeos ... this, these
þas ... this, these

By the way, that character þ, the one that looks like a p wearing a hat, is pronounced like th in modern English. Later on, we'll see the character ð, which looks like a lower-case d with a line through it, and that's also pronounced like th in modern English; they're pretty much interchangable. Don't worry about pronunciation yet, though -- that's not for another chapter!

If anyone is wondering, the vocabulary is taken from Baker's book. I try to introduce the words not long before you have to use them in paradigms or translation, to cut back on the glossary-flipping.

So, for Tuesday, just read 10 pages and memorize 14 words. Easy! You can do it!

[UPDATE: Blogger couldn't replicate my formatting, so I had to put the elipses between the OE and MnE words. Let me know in the comments below if that format is too hard to follow.]


  1. Anonymous1:33 PM

    NB you don't need a hardcopy of Baker's book: he provides it online right here.

  2. Anonymous1:36 PM

    No second person plural, or is that for later?

  3. non-substantive comment: This is extremely cool. I'm interested to see how this goes! (It'll also be a fabulous resource once finished, I bet). Thanks for doing this.

  4. Second person plural will come eventually, when we learn the paradigm. Actually, there's also a dual pronoun (something like "we two") that we won't focus on in class because it comes up so rarely. If you skip ahead in the book, it's the "wit" paradigm.

  5. Thanks, MKH. There was a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed breathlessly talking about the horrible, earth-shattering crime of syllabus plagiarism, by a scholar who was concerned that someone was stealing her intellectual property.

    Me, I couldn't possibly care less. If anyone out there wants to steal my vocabulary lists and use them in their own classes, have at it! I just culled them out of Baker myself, anyway.

  6. Thanks for this! I'm excited about the refresher (and the chance to get a better grip on some of the stuff I didn't really absorb my first go 'round). Hope I can hang as my own semester gets into swing.

  7. This is a great tool for people. I plan to follow along to keep myself in the mode of OE. I've taken a course in it each of the past two semesters, but will have none of it this fall semester--so I'll be following along with this online to keep it fresh in my head.

    Great resource and outreach!

  8. Anonymous2:07 PM

    YEAH!!! I want to learn OE! This is easy, too. I already memorized the words. Oh, and I think I might know why there are four different words for this, these, etc. It goes masculine, neuter, feminine, plural just like the third-person personal pronouns.

  9. Prof. Nokes -- I'm glad you're in the sharing crowd! Myself -- well, everyone knows that my first attempts at writing course syllabi were entirely composites of a few friends who were kind enough to lend them theirs. Made for some interesting spelling issues, as two were British...

  10. *lend me theirs. The grammatical errors in said syllabi, needless to say, were entirely my own.

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