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An Introduction to Old English

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | An Introduction to Old English.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Peter S. Baker(Author)

    Book details


This innovative introduction to the Old English language focuses on what students need to know in order to engage with Old English literary and historical texts.
  • A pioneering introduction to Old English designed for a new generation of students.
  • Assumes no expertise in other languages or in traditional grammar.
  • Opening chapters and ′Quick Start′ sections cover the basics.
  • ′Minitexts′ give students practice in reading Old English.
  • Includes two chapters on syntax and three on reading poetry.
  • Anthologises fourteen readings, including ′The Wanderer′, ′The Dream of the Rood′ and ′Judith′.
  • The accompanying ′Old English Aerobics′ website features additional readings and exercises.

"In its references to web–sites and computer–links, [An Introduction to Old English] is very much a book of the twenty–first century; and many of its novel features – for example the chapter on the grammar of poetry, or the appendix on common spelling variants – will be extraordinarily helpful to teachers and students alike." Michael Lapidge, University of Notre Dame

2.4 (4082)
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*An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Formats for this Ebook

PDF
Required Software Any PDF Reader, Apple Preview
Supported Devices Windows PC/PocketPC, Mac OS, Linux OS, Apple iPhone/iPod Touch.
# of Devices Unlimited
Flowing Text / Pages Pages
Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 352 pages
  • Peter S. Baker(Author)
  • Wiley-Blackwell (22 May 2003)
  • English
  • 8
  • Languages

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Review Text

  • By Neal S. Brodsky on 9 September 2005

    As a learning tool, Peter S. Baker's Introduction to Old English succeeds marvellously in that it is concise and clear without erring on the side of oversimplification. The ordering of chapters is intuitive and the key concepts are easily accreted along the way; in comparatively little time readers will acquire a wealth of knowledge, and in its practicality the book is sure not to intimidate the uninitiated.The basic review of English grammar is both thorough and efficient without being overly pedantic. Unfortunately, more and more students of English are finding themselves ill-equipped and poorly acquainted with the basics of grammar. Baker's review will familiarize them with the grammatical essentials while simultaneously providing a useful review to those more accustomed to them. There is sufficient treatment of the main topics in the text without any superfluous explication that might confuse the introductory reader. Baker's plain English explanations are unambiguous and, where possible, he offers Modern English correlates and analogues that effectively frame the linguistic topic being discussed.The chapters on the style and grammar of poetry are essential resources. Poetry makes up such a significant part of the extant Anglo-Saxon literature that it would be a failure on the part of the author to leave the student stranded in the intricacies of the form. Taking the chapter on reading manuscripts into consideration, as well as the appendices, Baker helps the student build a truly solid foundation upon which to base further study. The glossary, for example, allows students who are as yet unfamiliar Anglo-Saxon word forms to easily find what they are looking for, and will furnish them with the skills they need to approach more ambitious dictionaries.The companion web site provides a variety of resources for the student. The Old English "Magic Sheet" is a tool that students will find invaluable in their initial approach to Anglo-Saxon Literature. As the student refers to it repeatedly in his or her reading, he or she will quickly become more familiar with the forms and may soon be weaned off of it. In each chapter there are references to relevant "Old English Aerobics" exercises online, which can assist students in need of some basic practice with the material. The ability to look up a word, part of speech, or clause with the click of a button is a testament to the work that was put into developing the resource. While I must applaud the author's forward thinking and effective use of the technology, getting a sufficient amount of online time may yet provide challenges at times for certain students, and the exercises themselves can prove somewhat short and elementary. A simple solution to these minor problems might be to include self tutorial exercises in a new edition, or to publish a companion workbook at some point in the future. To my knowledge, no such resource exists in Old English, and it must be said that there is simply no substitute for routine practice when learning a new language.These minor concerns are truly subordinate to the effectiveness of the work as a whole. Though the book itself may not be a substitute for practice, passages appropriate for initiates to tackle and translate are included in the anthology, and students will find themselves far better equipped to approach Old English after having covered the main topics. It was with great pleasure that I found my own abilities dramatically improved after simply having covered the sixteen initial chapters. Introduction to Old English proves to be not only an exceedingly effective primer with regard to Anglo-Saxon literature, but an invaluable reference to accompany further readings and studies within the context of the language. Every student of Old English should sleep with a copy of this book under their pillow.

  • By JB on 25 May 2010

    Be warned: this is probably not the book to start with if you are a complete beginner. The chapters on grammar might be overwhelming and the "minitexts" for translation - scattered throughtout the book - come with no translations of their own. Better for the initial stage is Beginning Old EnglishHowever, if you have already leaped the first few fences in the study of Old English, then you will find this book both absorbing and rewarding.Baker is authoritative on the grammar of poetry particularly, but the essential substance of the book is a thorough grounding in the subject, and though work is required, the payback is worth the effort.Facsimiles are included, together with an anthology of key texts. In the end the reader begins to realise the wisdom of the policy of not providing translations; this book requires you to think for yourself, and equipped with the instruction of the opening chapters it's perfectly possible to acquire sufficient skills to negotiate even the most abstruse pieces of Old English. (The subject of translation is a somewhat sticky one, but this book skillfully bypasses these areas and puts the onus on the student to make up his or her own mind.)The website links are largely irrelevant, an uneccessary gimmick. Concentrate on the words on the page. They are well worth reading.

  • By Delia on 5 November 2011

    I bought this book to learn more about the Old English language. It proved very helpful and made me even more excited about it.I especially like the site Peter S. Baker has provided. It gives you the texts he listed in the back with a verbatim translation giving the word's gender and case and translation. It really helps to understand how the language works, not just what the text says.


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