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Old 05-21-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
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Default Old and middle English in high school

Back in1987 we had an English Lit teacher who tried to teach us how to read the prologue to Beowulf and Canterbury Tales in their original language. I loved it! Everyone else in class hated it. I was a shy student so I really got shy when she was so excited over my reading(which she recorded) and encouraged me to try to go to college for Literature and drama. She may have felt I had the talent, but I wasn't emotionally suited for drama. Anyone ever study old and middle English while in high school?
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:26 PM
 
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Yep. Here.

I also took a lot of medieval lit in college. It's really interesting how quickly one just picks it up, as long as you have some of the twists in grammar, spelling, etc., explained to you.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Yep. Here.

I also took a lot of medieval lit in college. It's really interesting how quickly one just picks it up, as long as you have some of the twists in grammar, spelling, etc., explained to you.
What I liked was trying to imagine how the story would have been told by a roving storyteller. For Beowulf, I did a deep menacing voice because it's a warrior's tale. For Canterbury Tales, I made my voice light and flowing as I imagined the Norman influence would have made to the language. Sounded similiar to the elves language in Lord Of The Rings.
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
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My mom had a book of English poetry and long before high school I was reading it. I loved the Old English poems. She helped with meanings and the format of the language a bit and I read most of it without problems. When I decided to take German over the other two choices, French and spanish, it was easy to understand its layout and many of the older words. We even had a segment the second year of traditional middle and old german folk tales (the ones the brothers Grimm poached) and it wasn't hard to read since Old English and Old German are so close.

I saw on a series about American history, that the costal southern accent is actually the prevelant one of Englishmen, including Shakespeare, at the time he wrote his works. If read with that cadence and rhyme, many of the hard to smooth segments flow very easily. I wonder what accent old english was intended to be read in, if it was more a drawl like Shakespeare's middle English or more guteral without the merging of language which came inbetween.
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:47 PM
 
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I think it's pretty common to learn the first 15 lines or so of The Canterbury Tales either in modern or middle English. It's a party trick I pull out from time to time for those who didn't. We didn't have to memorize any part of Beowulf, though, but our teacher read some of the old English to us as it had been part of what she studied in college.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:55 AM
 
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I took History of the English Language in college. Fascinating. Should be at least a Unit of high school English.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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Yep, we did both Beowulf and Canterbury Tales in the college prep track in junior and senior English classes. It was interesting, but I found once I got to college and became an English major that I wasn't nearly as interested in those eras of English literature as I was some later ones, and I was never as interested in English lit as I was in American lit.
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