Stop! Viking time!

I am pleased to report that my super-fast historical intro in class today, entitled Our Friends The Anglo-Saxons by Amy Age 27 1/2, did include two slides reading STOP! VIKING TIME. Next week I’m totally dividing the historical/literary section of class from the language work with a cry of Stop! Grammar Time!

I haven’t got much useful to say at the moment, except that I’m super excited about Old English. I’m teaching OE, I’ve put together a syllabus on saints’ lives that allows plenty of time for language work, and also two beheadings! Two! One of the heads even starts talking again (I love you, St Edmund, never change…). Plus, I’m teaching mostly non-native speakers, so everyone knows not only what a noun is but what an indirect object is and how to distinguish beteen indirect and direct articles. It’s delightful.

The scary bit is that I haven’t seriously done any OE work since 2008. The awesome part is that since 2008, so many cool new resources have sprung up online and off. Baker’s OE Aerobics  has been refurbished, too, which is great.

Things I have only just discovered:

  • The Old English Coursepack hosted by Oxford’s English Department.
  • Bosworth-Toller now keyword searchable and in a decent website. And the supplement entries turn up right below the original entries in the lists! (I dunno about you, but I’ve been carefully hoarding a free javascript file which requires junicode installed and does indeed do keyword searches, but it’s… clunky)

And nifty hard-copy texts (I’m teaching mostly out of Baker’s Electronic Introduction, but I could be tempted to use one of these to in future to get a different range of texts):

  • Hasenfratz and Jambeck, Reading Old English: this is not a traditional medieval lit textbook. It’s mostly detailed but straightforward language explanations and exercises. LOTS of exercises. It’s got plenty of white space to scribble in, and has obviously been designed by people who’ve drawn on the best of modern language teaching techniques. It looks a lot like the homework book from first-year french in its exercises. Plus they clearly love St Æthelthryth as much as I do – there aren’t all that many texts in the translation part but two of them are Æthelthryth (Bede and Aelfric)
  • McGillivray, A Gentle Introduction To Old English: This one looks a bit more like your usual OE textbook (Mitchell and Robinson, Baker, etc). But it’s lightweight – few texts, so it’d be easy to use alongside the OE coursepack. And the first chapter ‘some grammatical concepts you need to know’, is clearly designed with the fact that anglophone students often don’t know a noun from a handsaw. It’s also available in two different e-book formats, which is nice. It looks like the website might have interactive online exercises, too, so I might consider using this next year (so students can take two classes without repeating all the Baker material)

I’ve also built up a huge pile of readers, introductions and handbooks out of the library, by boss’ office, and interlibrary loan. I’m quite liking Hugh Magennis’ Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Literature. I couldn’t figure out why CUP need that as well as the latest Godden & Lapidge Companion to Old English Literature (which has also improved since last I saw it, not only by now having Dan Anlezark in it), but Magennis considers OE and Anglo-Latin texts alongside one another, which I like. The style is clear, not too dense, and has the sense of continuity which you get from a single-author monograph.

Old English: still as much fun as it was in 2007!

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