Introduction to Old English A

Subject 106-024 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1.5-hour seminars per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually 12.5 points of first year English. This subject is a prerequisite for all other Old English subjects.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Bernard James Muir


Bernard Muir

Subject Overview:

This subject is an introduction to the language and literature of the Anglo-Saxons from 750 to 1150, focusing on both prose and poetry, read in the original. The basic grammar of Old English is taught. Students are introduced to linguistic concepts and grammatical terminology. They will also learn about fundamental rhetorical devices used by medieval poets. The texts taught represent many genres and are drawn from a period covering 300 years of English literary history. Students who successfully complete this subject should have acquired the basis for further Old English studies and the ability to extend this knowledge into other areas of literary studies.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should.
  • have acquired a basic knowledge of the English language in its earliest form;
  • have a basic understanding of the structure of the Indo-European language family structure, and a more advanced knowledge of the sub-groups of the Germanic branch;
  • be familiar with the major cultural and linguistic impulses that shaped English during the medieval period;
  • be equipped to undertake more advanced research in this and related areas of literary studies and language acquisition.

A 2000 word essay 50% (due late in the semester); class presentation and translation exercises 25% (completed throughout the semester) and class quizzes on grammar and translation 25% (completed throughout the semester) equivalent to 2000 words. Assessment will not be accepted in electronic format.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.
Prescribed Texts:
  • A Guide to Old English (B. Mitchell & F. Robinson), Blackwell, 6th ed
  • The Age of Bede (Recommended Text: Farmer), Penguin
  • Alfred The Great (S Keynes & M Lapidge), Penguin
  • Old English Literature (Daniel Donaghue), Blackwell 2004
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • developing self-awareness and the capacity to shape persuasive arguments;

  • applying research skills (especially in library and online resources) and critical methods to an emerging field of inquiry;

  • communicating arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and in group discussions;

  • detailed readings of a range of texts in different media;

  • thinking critically about the relations between academic and popular forms of knowledge of the past.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient and Medieval Studies
Ancient and Medieval Studies
Ancient, Medieval && Early Modern Studies Major
English Language Studies
English Language Studies Major
English Literary Studies Major
European Studies

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