Old English/history of the English language

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Hello all,

Any books to recommend on the subject (if available online it would be even greater)?
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Do you mean a book to learn Old English, or just a general outline of the history of the English language?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Thank you! I think I may order the first one.
 
I would highly reccoment _THE_ELEMENTS_OF_OLD_ENGLISH_ by Samuel Moor, and Thomas Knott. It can be a bit annoyingly American, especially in its overly modern use of Modern English; but it is very thurough in its exposition of the development of Anglo Saxon phonology and morphology going back to its deepest roots.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Thanks (Arca and everyone)! Unfortunately I don't have the least familiarity with German - I'll manage without it.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
But you live in Belgium, right next to the "germanophones"!
The Wallonians have something against their eastern neighbours?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Not especially (well some have against the Flemings, as they against Waloons, but against the Germanophones not really. They seem to be a bit outside the "war".)... but most people here speak only French, you know lol.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Yeah, I know .... I just find it a little surprising you've never been interested in German. De gustibus non disputandumst, I guess.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yeah, I know .... I just find it a little surprising you've never been interested in German. De gustibus non disputandumst, I guess.
I've already thought of learning it. But well, I just can't learn everything at the same time (everyone isn't like a certain Arca lol ;)) . I seem to have had a tendency recently to favour long-dead languages for some obscure and unpractical reason, lol. Lucky enough that I at least learnt English before I contracted that strange disease!
 

Arca Defectionis

Civis Illustris
The secret is usually good books. I've yet to really tackle French, which is kind of like a huge project looming over my head (at least if I want a job with languages), but if this is anything like its German counterpart, the crazy grammar will start to make a lot more sense soon...

In that vein, it's thanks to this that I was ever able to get anywhere with German. I highly recommend it (and probably already have). If you've ever tried your hand at Dutch, that will help with the vocabulary as well, but the absurdly complicated adjective declension is too sensibly reduced in Dutch to get you anywhere with that of Old English.

Anyways, you Europeans can take a day trip to a foreign country (or even part of your own country) that speaks a different language. The closest option for us is Quebec at five hours. Take advantage of that ;)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The secret is usually good books.
But first taking the time, being willing to open the book, to start something new and not staying lazily altogether immersed in one language as I've been doing with Latin for quite a while! ;)

Now I've started Greek, that's already something (even if dead as well).
I've yet to really tackle French
Please stop kidding. You have to perfect your French (but maybe that's the hardest part? ;)).
If you've ever tried your hand at Dutch
Ahem, I "tried my hand" at it ages ago at school, when it was compulsory... but I tried the nail of the little finger rather than the hand. To put things clearly, my Dutch is about limited to: een twee dree vier vief zes seven acht negen teen... Ik ben Sarah, dank u well meneer/mevrouw, tot ziens.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
Anyways, you Europeans can take a day trip to a foreign country (or even part of your own country) that speaks a different language.
Yes, it's not getting there (to Europe) or even making yourself understood that's the problem for a Brit; it's remembering to drive on the wrong side of the road.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yes, it's not getting there (to Europe) or even making yourself understood that's the problem for a Brit; it's remembering to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Don't you realize that it's YOU who drive on the wrong side? Can't you do like (almost) all the rest of the world? Lol.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
I could probably get used to driving on the right - after about 100 years.
One thing I'm not sure I could ever get used to is your and France's system of priorité à droite (actually, does it still apply?). You know, that thing you learn about the hard way when you're driving along a major road in the country at a comfortable 70 mph and suddenly without warning a tractor doing 5 mph pulls out on you from a dirt road to your right, and being almost on top of him when he makes his move you have virtually no way of avoiding a collision. What is that all about? Was it made law after concerted lobbying by a powerful consortium of coffin manufacturers or something?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I don't drive myself, but yes it still applies. I understand the logic behind the rule that someone should have the priority; I mean they meant it to make sure that of the two drivers one is supposed to stop to let the other one pass, and both of them know which one is supposed to stop, so the purpose of this is to prevent them from both going ahead at the same time and colliding. On the other hand, if the one on the left doesn't care for the rules and goes ahead, and the one on the right assumes everyone cares for the rules and goes ahead without hesitation, as legitimate, then there's a collision that might not have happened if there were no rules; because if the one on the right had not expected the one on the left necessarily to let him pass, he would have slowed down a little to see what the other one was going to do instead of going straight ahead... Hmm.
 
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