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Old 06-24-2013, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
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Old English is an esoteric, "foreign" language that requires translation by a scholar the way one would translate Homer or Cervantes into modern English. Beowulf is about the only surviving story written in Old English. Most literate folk back in those times were church-educated and wrote in Latin.

Chaucer is considered middle English, and Shakespeare is considered modern English. Shakespeare can be generally understood but requires a lot of footnotes because of the change in meaning, pronunciation, and culture over the centuries. Chaucer requires even more extensive footnotes, and you usually see the Canterbury Tales printed with the middle English on the left-hand page and the modern translation on the right.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
Old English is an esoteric, "foreign" language that requires translation by a scholar the way one would translate Homer or Cervantes into modern English. Beowulf is about the only surviving story written in Old English. Most literate folk back in those times were church-educated and wrote in Latin.

Chaucer is considered middle English, and Shakespeare is considered modern English. Shakespeare can be generally understood but requires a lot of footnotes because of the change in meaning, pronunciation, and culture over the centuries. Chaucer requires even more extensive footnotes, and you usually see the Canterbury Tales printed with the middle English on the left-hand page and the modern translation on the right.
Yes. For Middle English, often times the difficulty it is just a spelling issue. I mean, if they change the text word by word from Middle to modern English, the text is not hard to understand.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:43 AM
bg7
 
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Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
I know it is Middle English, I used Old English because the general public don't distinguish them strictly unless necessary. But maybe I should not. There's Old Chinese and Middle Chinese too, but usually we call both of them "old Chinese" . I just assumed English speakers do the same.

It seems you or your son don't like Chinese? or your son works in an awful company? What a pity!
To avoid confusion, just state old English, which just means previous versions of English. Once you've capitalized it into Old English, you have named it, you are talking about a specific era of English.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma
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Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
So should all the Chinese my son works with who can't get the job done. However he is making a TON of money on overtime because they can't do what they were hired to do. So there you go.

BTW: Chaucer wrote in Middle English. Not Old English. Very little Old English survived in written form and what did is nearly indecipherable. No one "learns" Old English.
Chinese government forces every student to learn ancient Chinese language and culture to preserve the tradition.

But as an individual, it's probably the least useful thing a Chinese kid learns in school.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
Chaucer is considered middle English, and Shakespeare is considered modern English. Shakespeare can be generally understood but requires a lot of footnotes because of the change in meaning, pronunciation, and culture over the centuries. Chaucer requires even more extensive footnotes, and you usually see the Canterbury Tales printed with the middle English on the left-hand page and the modern translation on the right.
Old and Middle are formal terms that are used in school. Casually many people regard Shakespeare as "old fashioned" even though it is modern English. Often the term "Early modern English" is used to distinguish the earlier works.

The introduction of "Old English" came with the invasions of the 5th century. "Middle English" was started by the invasion and conquest of 1066.

The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in England between 1350 and 1700. Because English spelling was becoming standardized starting in the 1400's the Great Vowel Shift is responsible for many of the peculiarities of English spelling.

Normally a student listens to Old English for a few classroom sessions in school, but they are not told how to read it or pronounce it. Middle English is normally read quietly, but not pronounced. Besides Chaucer there are a handful of other stories, prominently, "Gawain and the Green Knight" which is anonymous.

Memorization and reading in front of the class is usually only done with Shakespeare. I do remember reading a speech from Romeo and Juliet in the 9th grade (age 14). I think it was fairly common speech to learn.

44 O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
45 It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
46 Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;
47 Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
48 So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
49 As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
50 The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
51 And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
52 Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
53 For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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Trying to teach kids Old English would be a huge undertaking. It's completely indecipherable to the modern English speaker. An English speaker would have a much easier time trying to understand something written in French, Spanish, or German, even if they know nothing of those languages.

Here's an example:

Oft him anhaga are gebideð,
metudes miltse, þeah þe he modcearig
geond lagulade longe sceolde
hreran mid hondum hrimcealde sæ,
5 wadan wræclastas. Wyrd bið ful aræd!
Swa cwæð eardstapa, earfeþa gemyndig,
wraþra wælsleahta, winemæga hryre:
"Oft ic sceolde ana uhtna gehwylce
mine ceare cwiþan. Nis nu cwicra nan

They should be made familiar with it and know that it exists but actually trying to learn it would be a huge waste of time in my opinion. That time would be better spent learning a 2nd language like Spanish, German, Mandarin, Italian, etc.
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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There is also a difference between learning an ancient language and gaining exposure to one.
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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Originally Posted by campion View Post

Most students used to (it's been a while since I was in school and I don't have kids) learn some Chaucer. I think it's helpful to understand where the language came from and how it developed. In addition, it can build vocabulary. And even STEM people need to be able to communicate. This idea that we should be raising a bunch of culturally-illiterate cretins to build and invent stuff without the slightest knowledge of history, ethics, or culture is sad.
Agreed. There is no reason to avoid exposure to culturally significant information. It's not like you're going to run out of brainspace if you get exposed to too many new and interesting things to learn.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ag77845 View Post
Chinese government forces every student to learn ancient Chinese language and culture to preserve the tradition.

But as an individual, it's probably the least useful thing a Chinese kid learns in school.
It makes people sound intelligent lol
Often times, archaic Chinese terms and phrases show up in newspaper too.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,641 posts, read 18,050,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
Such as Chaucer's:

Madame, for youre newefangelnesse,
Many a servant have ye put out of grace.
I take my leve of your unstedefastnesse,
For wel I woot, whil ye have lives space,
Ye can not love ful half yeer in a place,
To newe thing youre lust is ay so keene.


In China we study classic Chinese (used since 3000 years ago) together with modern Chinese, and there is a debate whether it is necessary. Many languages in Europe and Asia have a long history of literature and I wonder how many countries require their kids to learn the classics in the original form.
That's actually Middle English. Old English is found in texts such as Beowulf:

Hwæt wē Gār-Dena in geār-dagum
þēod-cyninga þrym gefrūnon
hū ðā æþelingas ellen fremedon
Oft Scyld Scēfing sceaþena þrēatum
monegum mægþum meodo-setla oftēah
egsian eorl syððan ǣrest weorþan

And no, Old English is not studied in American schools. However, Beowulf and Chaucer are common high school and college texts - but they are translated into modern English.

The closest equivalent to the teaching of Old Chinese would be Latin or Greek - which used to standard subjects in secondary school long ago.
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