This book is designed to ease the beginner into competent reading of Old English texts. It presents the essential points of Old English grammar and also includes a selection of short, relatively simple original language texts, glossed and annotated. Numerous practice exercises are also included throughout. A companion website includes additional interactive exercises, a fuller grammar, and further original language texts.
“If the magister in Ælfric’s Colloquy shows himself more than willing to apply the rod, teachers of Old English today, one hopes, have carrots to entice modern students, as well as sticks with which to discipline them. Murray McGillivray’s Gentle Introduction to Old English brings a refreshing perspective on the traditional carrots (actual Old English readings) and sticks (paradigms to memorize) that have long characterized the teaching of Old English. McGillivray’s approach should ease modern students into the grammatical paradigms of Anglo-Saxon that have long frightened many a beginning learner of the language. And the readers who make it to the end will have also made it through the whole of Ælfric’s Colloquy, and thus, one hopes, enjoy the rewards of the reading while having endured a lesser pain from the paradigms themselves than many an earlier generation of students.” — Thomas Bredehoft, West Virginia University
“This timely and welcome textbook fields the neglected middle ground where twenty-first-century students of Old English increasingly huddle: eager, culturally savvy, but unaware of the rudiments of linguistic terminology, even if they have fluency in modern languages. This introduction is not a petting zoo of artificial, defanged texts along the lines of otherwise excellent introductions of fifty years ago, but anticipates students’ most frequently asked questions as well as organizing the syntactic and morphological fauna with which they most need to be acquainted before going on safari in the next generation of edited texts.” — Mary Blockley, University of Texas at Austin