Item description for Reading Old English: An Introduction (Medieval European Studies) by Robert Hasenfratz & Thomas Jambeck...
Traditionally Old English grammars have merely presented grammatical informtaion and teachers have been left to organize it and communicate it to students. Reading Old English, however, attempts to do quite a bit of the teaching, often warning students that one detail is particularly important to learn, or that they should not be discouraged upon encountering yet another seemingly illogical construction. The explanations are clear, and the exercises are well conceived and admirably plentiful. Furthermore, authors Robert Hasenfratz and Thomas Jambeck have been diligent in avoiding "dumbing down" the material: students are expected to with most of the complexities demanded of them by more traditional grammars.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 7.75" Height: 8" Weight: 2.05 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2005
Publisher West Virginia University
ISBN 1933202017 ISBN13 9781933202013
Reviews - What do customers think about Reading Old English: An Introduction (Medieval European Studies)?
It works Jul 23, 2007
I'm a PhD student in English taking Old English as a class. We are using several texts but this one seems to work better for me than anything else I've been exposed to. Easy to understand and follow. It has been a great help.
Intro to Old English Nov 5, 2006
The first edition has some typos, but it is much more user friendly than other Old English textbooks. Apparently, the authors envision it being used in a 6-7 week course, but that is too short a time for people. It just takes longer than that to memorize solidly all the necessary forms. Despite its minor problems, I highly recommend it.
Full of Mistakes Oct 30, 2006
Hasenfratz and Jambeck's book attempts to remove the philology from the study of Old English and make it available to a wider audience. Ignoring the mistakes in the book (which will be addressed momentarily), this can be seen as good from the point of view of non-academics or the many English grad students who plan to forget Old English as soon as they're done. However, academics actively interested in the field of Old English are much better served by Mitchell and Robinson's Guide to Old English. As far as the mistakes, the first edition of the book is full of them. The website contains many corrections, if you feel like taking the time to look there. Unfortunately, the greatest concentration of mistakes occurs in the two page reference grammar at the end of the book and on the website, which as of mid September when I printed mine out, remains mostly uncorrected. As a result, you must constantly cross-check the reference grammar with both the material in the book and with other books on Old English. The entire paradigm given for weak adjectives which change stems is wrong, and unless you compare with Mitchell and Robinson, you will never have any idea.
In conclusion, if a second edition is ever released which corrects the many mistakes, it will probably be a good text if you have a passing interest in Old English. But for now (or if you're seriously interested in Old English), the more traditional books such as Mitchell and Robinson are still your best bets.
A good book for a difficult subject. Jun 16, 2006
Old English is definitely a challenge, but Hasenfratz makes it a bit easier with clear writing with good reviews of modern English grammar. Each chapter is loaded with practice sentences and entire sections of actual historical texts to translate. The only drawback, no solutions are provided, so it makes an independent study of it a bit more difficult.