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Author Topic: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?  (Read 42019 times)

Horsa

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #45 on: October 27, 2011, 09:28:58 PM »
I think an Old English language camp would be fantastic. I tried to start an Old English conversation group here in Toronto. We've got UofT here which has a fairly prestigious English department mediaeval studies department. So, it didn't feel like a silly thing to try. I got two people who were interested, but they had no knowledge of the language, so I changed it into a beginner's spoken Old English class. It was pretty good, quite a lot of fun, but broke down after a while because the members had other commitments and lived as far away from each other as possible so meeting in the middle took us all an hour to get there.

Here's what I found. One hour working orally with Old English in a group is worth between 5 and 10 hours working alone with your conventional Old English books.

I started to teach myself Ancient Greek a while back and came across an article that said that only 5% of people who take up self-study of Ancient Greek actually get so far as to be able to read texts, that number of people dramatically doubles to 10% for those studying New Testament Greek. I'd read elsewhere that between 1 and 2% of the population have the mental setup that enables them to learn effectively a language from a book.

I wish that my old english class could have continued, by now (a year later) things might have been interesting. I've mentioned this a couple of times here, but I'm currently trying to work out a way of developing my teaching techniques for the internet. I know what I want to do, and I know that it will work, but I have to adapt it to my level of ability with computers, or find someone who is both interested in Old English and capable with þissum searoweorcum.

Jayson

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #46 on: November 01, 2011, 04:17:34 PM »
Just a thought but how about contacting one of the national papers with the idea  --  perhaps the Express which seems to be the most pro-English paper at the moment.   Someone might e.mail the following address:     http://www.express.co.uk/haveastory     with a suggestion for an article.
Wessex Woman

Horsa

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2011, 03:39:44 PM »
Initially, when I read your post, Jayson, I wondered how how interested a tabloid would be in an online language course, especially one that's in the planning stage, but it is an interesting idea. If taken from a certain angle, I think there might be some interest. Perhaps push the oddness of the project: a language course that teaches an old dead language as if it were a living language.

I've got a few lessons planned up and have interactive activities designed that would not need a massive amount of tech wizardry to execute. I'm now wandering around my address book asking the computer geeks if they want to help me out with this. I've been thinking about this for over a year and the computer aspect really is a huge stumbling block for me. If I can't find someone who wants to commit to this project, it'll go nowhere.

peter horn

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #48 on: November 06, 2011, 09:09:02 AM »
weve gone a bit off topic, but never mind eh.

Back on topic, I was pleased to see, in the TImes Saturday review p 13, that Old English appears the submissions to the Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation in a different setting and different mood. 

In Category 18 & under is The Whale, translated from Anglo-Saxon
and in the open Category is The Collar trans from Beowulf.

Personally I much prefer straightforward translations, but this will help to spread the word a bit.

peter horn

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #49 on: November 25, 2011, 01:17:15 PM »
The Anglophile, Bill Bryson, spreads the word a bit in his book "Mother Tongue-The English language."

But describing KIng Arthur as 'semi-legendary' is only half true, if we take the term 'legendary' to mean fabulous or mythical. Also, his remark 'Many English place names are Celtic in origin (Avon and Thames, for instance)' depends on what is meant by 'many', and his examples are odd. Over most of England the place-names are over-whelmingly Anglo-Saxon. In the same paragraph he says 'the Celts left no more than twenty (words in the English language) mostly geographical terms to describe the more hilly and varied landscape' but makes no mention of river names, which are the most obvious examples.
I was particularly interested in his list of words which the Anglo-Saxons borrowed from the Romans before coming to Britain. He gives as examples the words street, pillow, wine, inch, mile, table and chest. and states 'the list of mundane items for which they lacked native terms underlines the poverty of their culture.' But I'm not too sure that the Anglo-Saxons did lack native words for these items. Consider the following:

street         Old English road/lane
pillow                 "         bolster
wine                  "         beer/ale (wine is a foreign drink)
inch                   "         finger (finger-breadth can be used as measurement)
mile                   "         furlong (used as measurement)
table                  "         board
chest                 "         This is the hardest to equate. Side board seems to come later and 'fodder' in
                                    the sense of boc-fodder (book case) is a bit obscure. But I find it hard to believe
                                    that the AS never had a word for a wooden box or chest.         


Horsa

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #50 on: November 25, 2011, 06:15:56 PM »
Once again, the fallacy of the impoverished Old English language rears its ugly head.

I don't think that the previous posts on Old English courses were off topic. Bowerthane (I think) gave the best answer to the question posed by the thread title, which is 'know your stuff'. There are certain drawbacks to this method, however. It works only on a one on one basis when gesithas come up against people who have, for whatever reasons, erroneous views on pre-conquest culture, and then only when they're receptive and willing to be put straight.

Someone with a good knowledge of Old English and its literature would not be able to assert that Old English was a 'primitive' impoverished language that needed loads of latin loans before anything interesting could be expressed. Also, someone who had a good knowledge of Old English would be able to identify Modern English words with an Old English derivation. So, another method would be to raise the profile of Old English and pre-conquest England. That is significantly more difficult; however, it is the mandate of the gesithas.

Lobbying to get pre-conquest history taught in schools and taught better in schools would be good. Making Old English language and literature more accessible would be another way. I've met quite a few people who've had an interest in learning old English who stop at the case system, which is fairly early if you're learning from Sweet. It is for those people that I am developing my internet based course.

Horsa

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #51 on: November 25, 2011, 06:21:25 PM »
wine                  "         beer/ale (wine is a foreign drink)

According to B&T, we also have líþ - , es; n. Strong drink :-- Ðá him ðæt líþ gescired wæs digesto vino, Past. 40, 4; Swt. 295, 6. Ðam men ðe hine ne lyst his metes ne líþes for the man that does not care for his meat or drink, L. M. 1, 19; Lchdm. ii. 62, 16.

I first came across the continental Saxon word for this in Heliand, which is regularly used to translate wine, and wondered if there was an Old English cognate. Wín is used a lot more than líþ.

peter horn

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2011, 01:31:57 PM »
wine                  "         beer/ale (wine is a foreign drink)

According to B&T, we also have líþ - , es; n. Strong drink :-- Ðá him ðæt líþ gescired wæs digesto vino, Past. 40, 4; Swt. 295, 6. Ðam men ðe hine ne lyst his metes ne líþes for the man that does not care for his meat or drink, L. M. 1, 19; Lchdm. ii. 62, 16.

I first came across the continental Saxon word for this in Heliand, which is regularly used to translate wine, and wondered if there was an Old English cognate. Wín is used a lot more than líþ.

Lith is sometimes used, as in 'Lith beor' equated with 'aqua mulsa'  Lith usually means smooth in these examples
(see my article on front page of main website)
Lith is also used with a number of different meanings, such as native win or fermented drink (see Clark Hall dict).
I dont think the AS had an OE term for wine; as soon as it was introduced it was it seems called wine
peter

Horsa

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #53 on: November 29, 2011, 02:16:37 PM »
That's a great article. Was it inspired by a thread on gegaderung (the old one? I can't find the thread on this new one)? It answered so many questions that I had about pre-conquest booze. Mind you, I still wonder if they brewed beer without boiling it.

I really like how it takes out the beor = cider theory. I never knew that England had no apples.

My point with lith is that the the English could have drafted the native term to refer to the new drink. Wine must have been different enough from what, blackberry wine? Crowberry wine? A drink doesn't have to be crazy different to get a new name - lager / beer. I get the impression that berries have a much lower sugar content than grapes, but I've never done a hydrometer test.

Also, I suppose the word may have been imported due to its cultural significance what with all the wine going on in the bible.

I'm not as good with old Saxon as I am with old English, but it seems that they use 'lith' a lot more often than they do in old English and they use it often to refer to wine. In fact I've only seen 'lith' in the B&T entry.

Now we really are off topic.

peter horn

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #54 on: November 30, 2011, 12:57:48 PM »
That's a great article. Was it inspired by a thread on gegaderung (the old one? I can't find the thread on this new one)? It answered so many questions that I had about pre-conquest booze. Mind you, I still wonder if they brewed beer without boiling it.

I really like how it takes out the beor = cider theory. I never knew that England had no apples.

My point with lith is that the the English could have drafted the native term to refer to the new drink. Wine must have been different enough from what, blackberry wine? Crowberry wine? A drink doesn't have to be crazy different to get a new name - lager / beer. I get the impression that berries have a much lower sugar content than grapes, but I've never done a hydrometer test.

Phil
It is based on lots of areas of research over the last 10 years. As a botanist it has always annoyed me to see the large amount of nonsense written about cider/apples/crab apples. But in order to refute the view that cider=beer, I had to examine the subject from various angles. All of them showed that beor was not cider.
Lith is harder to pin down. I think, but cannot prove it, that Lith prob means mild. We say today, or we used to say not that long ago, 'a pint of Mild'  Lith was certainly used by the AS to mean a weaker (less alcoholic?) form of drink. It is interesting to consider the AS Calendar where the summer months are called 'Litha."  I could never find any connection between Litha and the  moon. But here we are straying well away from the topic:)
peter















Also, I suppose the word may have been imported due to its cultural significance what with all the wine going on in the bible.

I'm not as good with old Saxon as I am with old English, but it seems that they use 'lith' a lot more often than they do in old English and they use it often to refer to wine. In fact I've only seen 'lith' in the B&T entry.

Now we really are off topic.

Wulfric

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #55 on: December 15, 2011, 11:49:58 AM »
Just a small thing to raise awareness of Old English,

Wish people a happy Yule or Yuletide and use the Wassail blessing. If they seem confused give them a suitable explanation.

It's not much and it won't change the world but it may get a few peoples attention and interest.

Wes thu Hal,

Wulfric.

Jayson

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #56 on: December 22, 2011, 05:11:30 PM »
----Wulfric:  I know what Wassail means, but what exactly is the Wassail Blessing?   BTW, I wish all my non-Christian friends a Glad Yule Tide.

Wessex Woman

Wulfric

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Re: How do we spread knowledge that A-S is a large part of Modern English?
« Reply #57 on: January 03, 2012, 01:37:45 PM »
Hi Jayson,

I wasn't thinking of anything complicated, just that to wish someone well can be considered a blessing.

Wassail/Wes thu hal/Wesath ge hal have become my standard toast all year round but it's nice to know that orchards in the west country still go wassailing to bless their trees and bring on a good fruit for the following year.

Norman Yoke

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Lobbying to get pre-conquest history taught in schools and taught better in schools would be good.


I was having a look at the most popular topics in the history of the Gegaderung and came across this from a decade ago. I thought I'd revive it because I'm keen to know what people think the status of Old English is today, ten years on from when this was first discussed. Has anything changed for the better or for the worse? Have shows like Vikings and The Last Kingdom elevated the status of OE and/or pre-Conquest English history in the public imagination?


I quoted Horsa's post because for me, the curriculum in secondary schools in England is what has to change if OE is to gain in popularity. I work in secondary education and the National Curriculum stipulates that Key Stage 3 pupils (11-14 year olds) are to be taught British history from 1066-present day. Now, it does dictate that an aspect of pre-1066 history should be taught at some point, as well as incorporating world history, but essentially KS3 curriculums usually take a chronological approach, teaching 11 year olds 1066 and by the time they're 14 they'll be on to the Cold War. At GCSE level (14-16 year olds), Norman Conquest modules are among the most popular (see charts: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jul/13/black-british-history-school-curriculum-england). However, these modules tend to set the scene of pre-Conquest England, before swiftly moving on to the Battle of Hastings and events thereafter.


There is thus a huge gap in the English school curriculum. Pre-1066 history is usually taught at primary school, including Anglo-Saxon England, Egyptians, Romans etc. Whilst this chronological approach makes sense in some regards, it essentially consigns pre-1066 history as "kiddie" history, whereas serious learning begins with the Normans.


Furthermore, and most crucially in my opinion, Anglo-Saxon England suffers most out of this neglect. Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman history find their home in the Classics/Latin curriculum. Now, whilst this subject isn't universally taught, it is ubiquitous enough that a student may have a decent chance as having this as an option when they enter secondary school. So Classics takes (British) history up to around AD400, and History begins from 1066 onwards. A c.600 year chunk of English history, including the re-Christianisation of England, Beowulf, Alfred's reign, Athelstan's forging of "England", Cnut's successful invasion, the foundation of our language etc., is completely passed over. I think there is one GCSE module (OCR?) that looks at Scandinavian/Viking history during this period, and that's your lot for AD400-1066.


It can of course be argued that many other aspects of British and world history have been passed over - but to me this is the most glaring and baffling. Is it a consequence of the Norman Yoke?


I have a career dream of creating an Old English GCSE/A-Level course, which (like Latin is) teaches the language through the history, literature and events of the time period. This would be one way to start plugging that enormous cavern between where Classics ends and History in this country begins in secondary education.

cynewulf

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Completely agree with you. Heaven knows what administrative hoops one would have to through to get such a course off the ground. I'm sure the staff leading the ASNOC degree at Cambridge could give advice and support. 'If you will it, it is no dream' (Theodore Herzl).