|Daily Vocab Quizzes||15|
This video provides a peek into Old and Middle English. Old English and the epic Beowulf are the focus of this course.
Lectures: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session
hƿæt ƿe gardena in geardagum þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon…
Those are the first words of the Old English epic Beowulf, and in this class you will learn to read them.
Besides being the language of Rohan in the novels of Tolkien, Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) is a language of long, cold, and lonely winters; of haunting beauty found in unexpected places; and of unshakable resolve in the face of insurmountable odds.
It is, in short, the perfect language for MIT students.
After learning the basics of grammar and vocabulary, we will read not just excerpts from the great Beowulf but also heartrending laments (The Wanderer, The Wife's Lament), an account of the Crucifixion as narrated by the Cross itself (The Dream of the Rood), and a host of riddles whose solutions range from the sacred to the obscene but are always ingenious. We will also try our hand at composing our own sentences—and maybe even poems—in Old English.
|Daily Vocab Quizzes||15|
|LEC #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|Unit 1: Old English Grammar|
|1||Course introduction; preliminary discussion of case system and pronunciation|
|2||Pronunciation, grammar review, and the case system; word-formation||Vocab quiz|
|7||Adjectives, numerals, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions||Vocab quiz; Mock exam 1 distributed|
|8||Concord and word order; discussion of mock exam 1||Vocab quiz; Mock exam 1 due before Lec 8|
|9||Exam 1 – Cases, declension of pronouns, noun, and verb form recognition||Exam|
|Unit 2: Prose and Short Poems|
|10–11||Ælfric, Preface to Genesis; syntax||Vocab quiz|
|12||Meter and poetic style; Bede's account of the poet Caedmon||Vocab quiz|
|13||The grammar of poetry; reading Old English manuscripts; Bede's account of the poet Caedmon, continued||Vocab quiz|
|14||The Wife's Lament||Vocab quiz|
|15||The Husband's Message||Vocab quiz; Mock exam 2 distributed|
|16||Riddles; discussion of mock exam 2||Vocab quiz; Mock exam 2 due before Lec 16|
|17||Exam 2 – Vocabulary and translation, both seen and sight passages||Exam|
|Unit 3: Longer Poems|
The Dream of Rood ||Vocab quiz|
|20||Beowolf (Seamus Heaney translation)||Vocab quiz|
|21||Beowolf, The Fight with Grendel||Vocab quiz|
|22||Beowolf, The Death of Grendel||Vocab quiz|
|23||Beowolf, The Death of Æschere||Vocab quiz|
|24||Beowolf, The Lay of the Last Survivor and Beowolf's Funeral–congratulations, you now know the 2000 most commonly used words of Old English poetry!!!||Vocab quiz|