ok a bit odd, but can anyone read late medieval english?

(85 Posts)
ruty Fri 16-Mar-07 15:40:42

loving this thread and the Bill Bailey links Pruni. Brilliant. Going to a college gaudy for the first time this weekend, bloody hope no one talks about Anglo saxon - the memories are far too traumatic.

RosaLuxembourg Tue 13-Mar-07 21:58:23

DD has done Beowulf in class recently. Year 5. I got her Rosemary Sutcliff's version, not a translation, but a retelling for children which is absolutely fab.

Pruni Tue 13-Mar-07 20:42:09

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Marina Tue 13-Mar-07 20:30:30

Back to the topic, I agree totally about the Heaney. It is loved by acting students who come all over faint when confronted with the unmistakeable black spine of an unadorned Penguin Classic

Marina Tue 13-Mar-07 20:29:22

Oh, yes. Honestly I'd sooner snog Tamsin Greig! But it makes me happy to know that he gives two of my Mn pals great pleasure, so to speak
Now, Jeremy Northam anyone?

Swizzler Tue 13-Mar-07 20:28:47

Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is inspired. So much better than the translation by Michael Alexander that we used - sadly the Heaney was published after I graduated

JackieNo Tue 13-Mar-07 20:28:34

Oh yes, Dylan Moran. And Eddie Izzard.

Pruni Tue 13-Mar-07 20:27:21

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Marina Tue 13-Mar-07 20:25:24

Another queue forms with Pruni and marina tussling it out with others, but Tamum goes straight to the five fanciers or fewer checkout with dough-faced Dylan

Pruni Tue 13-Mar-07 20:24:23

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JackieNo Tue 13-Mar-07 20:23:49

Marina - yes, 'curiously sexy' - I'm with you on that one.

Marina Tue 13-Mar-07 20:22:51

I think the man is a national treasure, and curiously sexy. Anyone remember the old sketch of the Civil War Reenactment Society in the pub car park?

JackieNo Tue 13-Mar-07 20:21:41

Brilliant - thanks Pruni. Also had to watch him doing the Hokey Cokey in the style of Kraftwerk - also v funny.

Pruni Tue 13-Mar-07 20:11:44

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JackieNo Tue 13-Mar-07 20:04:11

I applied to do the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic degree at Cambridge, but wasn't accepted.

Marina Tue 13-Mar-07 20:01:33

Pruni that sounds like a wonderful degree and I adore Bill Bailey
I'm afraid we call gloves mitaynes and pillowcases pilwe beers in this house in homage to the dirty old Pardoner's Tale. (Dh is the owner of the proper English degree though).

DrDaddy Tue 13-Mar-07 19:57:33

The Seamus Heaney version is excellent in my opinion...

<<Ducks for cover as more knowledgable English scholars reach for missiles...>>

Fillyjonk Tue 13-Mar-07 19:43:12

<shudder> at A level english chaucer

and thus endeth my knowlege thank god

Swizzler Tue 13-Mar-07 19:41:16

Remember the Wanderer and the Seafarer - is the W about the exiled chap?

kiskidee Tue 13-Mar-07 19:02:42

loved doing the Battle of Maldon. i felt all emotional reading it. very moving.

the Wanderer is also OE. Anyone else a fan of it?

Aloha Tue 13-Mar-07 18:08:47

You can get a children's Beowulf - ds has it, bought it in a jumble sale. Might read it tonight, actually, after Stuart Little (currently my favourite literary character - so brave! so inventive! so poetic!)

My old English teacher was so old that we speculated that he'd learned it as his mother's knee. The overhead projector fell on him during one lecture. I think that was my favourite bit.

Swizzler Tue 13-Mar-07 18:03:21

Hadn't thought about reading to DS - chance to try out my dodgy ME accent

Swizzler Tue 13-Mar-07 18:02:39

I remember the Battle of Maldon - one of the first OE texts we did. Not a great choice for your first tortuous translation though, as I could never figure out who was hitting who

So good to hear people slagging off Piers Ploughman ... not a conversation I have often anymore
I read Beowulf to ds - but would never ever admit to that in RL

Greensleeves Tue 13-Mar-07 15:49:57

I can a bit, did some with my degree (am out of practice, brain has turned to organic peach melba yoghurt)

Classicist here but loved doing Chaucer at A level.

Did any of you Anglo-Saxonists do the Battle of Maldon? I used to live in Maldon.

Pruni Tue 13-Mar-07 15:33:20

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Enid Tue 13-Mar-07 11:04:56

I specialised in Medieval English in my degree

LOVED the Faerie Queen and Sir Gawain

DrDaddy Tue 13-Mar-07 11:04:23

Medieval Latin manuscripts should have said

DrDaddy Tue 13-Mar-07 11:03:46

What a fantastic thread! I was a medievalist once, but a historian (PhD in Medieval History and Philosophy), but always loved listening to OE ME and Anglo Saxon being read....while I toiled away transcribing 13th century manuscripts. Those were the days!

kiskidee Tue 13-Mar-07 10:57:05

oh, god, no!

my professor of English who tortured me with the Faerie Queen also did his thesis on it which i think made him drone on ad vomitum with it.

Pruni Tue 13-Mar-07 09:31:10

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kiskidee Mon 12-Mar-07 22:13:57

wow Pruni! you are my kind of geek.

Mercy Mon 12-Mar-07 22:12:09

ok, thanks

( but now can't get that bloody song out of my head)

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:09:54

I remember having to draw in all the thorns and eths and all the rest of them in my essays - v tedious

kiskidee Mon 12-Mar-07 22:09:54

I second your opinion on the Faerie Queen, RosaL. It was the most stultifying thing i had to sit through.

I loved The Wanderer.

RosaLuxembourg Mon 12-Mar-07 22:09:35

Actually I think the title of my degree was Medieval and Renaissance English, Swizzler because we also got to do Shakespeare, Revenge tragedy and fun stuff like that which made up for any amount of Spenser and Peirs Plowman. Also there is only so much a girl can take of those sodding mystery plays if you ask me.

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:09:02

UNI that is...

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:08:23

Well, anyone at usi with me will never forget the lecture on i-mutation as a way of scrounging money from elderly aunts

Iota Mon 12-Mar-07 22:07:48

it's a thorn Mercy - a th sound

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:07:00

Thorn - 'th' as is 'the'.

MrsPhilipGlenister Mon 12-Mar-07 22:06:46

LOL at the idea of a medieval keyboard!

Waswondering Mon 12-Mar-07 22:06:32

(Involuntary shiver at the "Great Vowel Shift")

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:05:45

Never had to do Spencer thank God . I felt so cheated cos I'd specialised in medieval English partly cos the texts were nice and short - then they sprung PP on me

Mercy Mon 12-Mar-07 22:04:59

Iota, what's that letter that looks like a 'p' ?

Iota Mon 12-Mar-07 22:04:25

Of course not Mrs PG - I don't have a Medieval keyboard.

I can remember the tune though

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:04:20

Westron wind when wilt thou blow
The small rain down both rayne
Crist if me love were in min armys
And I in me bed ayayne

RosaLuxembourg Mon 12-Mar-07 22:04:15

Piers Plowman was deathly, Swizzler but for me the worst abomination of all was Spenser's blasted Faerie Queen. And it wasn't even as if the language was that difficult compared to Beowulf for instance, it was just such ghastly rotten stuff. Still shudder when I catch sight of my copy lurking in the top corner of my deepest darkest bookcase.

MrsPhilipGlenister Mon 12-Mar-07 22:02:10

I betcha didn't do that from memory, Iota!

Pearl, yes, I'd forgotten all about Pearl! One of my RL friends has a dd called Pearl - which really suits her as she is half-Irish and half-Malaysian, and is very pearly indeed!

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:02:07

Or what about
An hendy hap ichave y-hent
Ichot from hevene it is me sent
From alle women me love is lent
And light on Allysoun

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 22:01:01

What about Pearl? Still keen on it for a girl's name cos I loved the poem so much.

Iota Mon 12-Mar-07 22:00:24

right now all together:

Svmer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!

Awe bleteþ after lomb,
Lhouþ after calue cu.
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ,
Murie sing cuccu!

Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes þu, cuccu;
Ne swik þu nauer nu.


Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!

MrsPhilipGlenister Mon 12-Mar-07 21:58:35

Ooh, I've still got my Sweet's too! Eadward se eadiga, and all that.

My fave was Sir Gawain, though.

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 21:58:02

Still enjoy reading ME lyrics, but have nightmares about having to read that bloody Piers Ploughman again

RosaLuxembourg Mon 12-Mar-07 21:57:10

I've come a bit late to this thread but I have a Medieval English degree too. Didn't know there were so many kindred spirits about. It is 20 years but the pale yellow cover of Sweet's Anglo-Saxon primer is ever before my eyes. Chaucer was my best bit though.

Mercy Mon 12-Mar-07 21:53:53

When I was in top year Junior school (probably year 6 now) our Friday afternoon 'treat' was to be read a bit of Beowolf. Oddly enough we loved it!

I like Chaucer too. Reading it, not seeing it performed though.

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 21:52:22

And of course I-mutation and the Great Vowel Shift

Swizzler Mon 12-Mar-07 21:51:12

Can't remember much of my medieval English (OE and ME language at St Andrews) apart from the rude words...

Iota Mon 12-Mar-07 21:48:52

I just had a look at Beowulf on the net - couldn't read any of it now

I think I could manage some Chaucer though

TheArmadillo Mon 12-Mar-07 21:45:07


Bill Bailey is great - I know the sketch you mean, very funny

I did linguistics and phonetics in London but never did anything with it. Enjoyed it at the time but never wanted a career in it. But am excited at the idea of programming being easy for linguists, how would one get started Senorapostrophe?

Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:45:04

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Mercy Mon 12-Mar-07 21:40:39

I don't know why I grinned after I mentioned Simeon.

Am a bit disconcerted that dd is telling me about phonemes (she's nearly 6) - I had to look it up in the dictionary

Waswondering Mon 12-Mar-07 21:36:17

Man, can't spell either!!!!!!!

Waswondering Mon 12-Mar-07 21:35:34

I never got phoenetics. Liked writing in the phonetic alphabet, but boy did I struggle with that side of my degree!!

(English, Aberdeen . . . )

hunkerismunkerless Mon 12-Mar-07 21:35:15

<vivid flashback to translating The Franklin's Tale>

blacke rokkes indeed


Mercy Mon 12-Mar-07 21:34:30

ok, thanks Pruni (I think!)

I once read something by Simeon Potter which is probably a highly simplistic/idiots guide to your subject. Was very interesting btw.

Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:34:00

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Iota Mon 12-Mar-07 21:32:22

and a bit of Linguistics - forgotten it all now though

Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:32:07

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Iota Mon 12-Mar-07 21:31:40

I did a bit of Anglo Saxon at Uni - Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Primer anyone?

now, you see I am a language geek who doesn't even know which adjectives had es on the end.

but you can ask me anything about phonetics.

DrunkenSailor Mon 12-Mar-07 21:30:44

It helps to read it out loud - sometimes you can "hear" the meaning when you can't see it IYSWIM.

Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:29:40

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Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:27:33

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no, none in Linguistics either, but it turns out it lends itself very well to programming. they're funny things, degrees.

Mercy Mon 12-Mar-07 21:25:46

My mum would be able to help but I guess you've got your answer now.

Pruni, what's philology?

TheArmadillo Mon 12-Mar-07 21:25:30

thanks pruni - that makes sense.

Its part of the prologue of the Wycliffite Bible concerning the translation of the Bible from Latin to English. For seminar on Lollardy (history module looking at late medieval culture, especially literature).

Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:24:27

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I would have guessed stones shall cry.

that sounds like a good degree, pruni. I'd have loved to have done some of that. maybe I'll do a course when I'm old.

Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:22:12

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Pruni Mon 12-Mar-07 21:21:40

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JackieNo Mon 12-Mar-07 21:21:02

'stoonis' possibly stone statues?

JackieNo Mon 12-Mar-07 21:19:44

Could it be 'stones'? 'stones shall cry'? Are they praying to the stones, or something (don't really know any medieval english, just guessing...)

TheArmadillo Mon 12-Mar-07 21:12:31

Am reading through document. Can read most of it but cannot understand what 'stoonis' is or 'schulen'

talking about heathen men worshipping 'stoonis' as a god? adn the phrase 'stoonis schulen crie'?

COuld schulen be children?

Anyone know?

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