Old English: A Linguistic Introduction

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Old English provides a clear linguistic introduction to English between the fifth century and the Norman invasion in 1066. Tailored to suit the needs of individual course modules, it assumes no prior knowledge of the subject, and presents the basic facts in a straightforward manner, making it the ideal beginners' text. Students are guided step-by-step through the main characteristics and developments of English during that period, aided by concise chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading, and a comprehensive glossary. Each chapter is accompanied by an engaging set of exercises and discussion questions based on authentic Anglo-Saxon texts, encouraging students to consolidate their learning, and providing essential self-study material. The book is accompained by a companion website, featuring solutions to the exercises and useful additional resources. Providing essential knowledge and skills for those embarking on the study of Old English, it is set to become the leading introduction to the subject.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'A much-needed tool for students, which contextualises Old English language and literature and introduces students to linguistic terminology in a friendly and informative way.' Bernard J. Muir, University of Melbourne
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jeremy J. Smith is Professor of English Philology in the Department of English Language at the University of Glasgow. His recent publications include Sound Change and the History of English (2007), Essentials of Early English, 2nd edition, 2005) and An Introduction to Middle English (with S. Horobin, 2002).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures page viii

Preface ix

Notations and Conventions x

1 About Old English 1

2 Describing Language 11

3 The Structure of Old English 25

4 Spellings and Sounds 37

5 The Old English Lexicon 59

6 Old English Grammar I: Syntax 74

7 Old English Grammar II: Inflexional Morphology 94

Appendix 1 Texts 124

Appendix 2 Discussion Questions and Further Reading 143

Glossary of Old English-Present-Day English 147

Glossary of Key Terms 183

References 191

Index 195

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  • Posted January 17, 2010

    Good Book For Study

    I've been studying Old English (sometimes called Anglo-Saxon) for most of my life: I started in first grade- when it was learned as part of English Comprehension (and to understand the background of the English language)- and I had a lot of fun with it; so, I kept with it, to a minor degree (I had other things to learn as well).

    Anyway, this book, from a scholarly perspective, is very well-written. it is concise, organized, and almost everything you will need to learn- including some linguistic terms- is held right in the book. even better, the book gives some historical information on the "meaning" of language, how languages develop, how they are categorized, distinctions between languages within the group, and some information on the relatives of English & Old English. all of this is greatly appreciated; and while it is not required for the learning of Old English, the extra information is something I personally enjoy learning.

    for anyone interested in the potentially serious study of Old English, and\or Historical Linguistics, I would recommend this book as... a precursor to more careful and technical studies that one will find in a university. In the event that one is learning Old English simply for fun or what-have-you, then I will certainly recommend this book as a near-complete guide to the language.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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