Faculty Academy 2012

Breathing New Life into Old English

Presenters: Paul Fallon Mallory Somerset

In this presentation, we will demonstrate a student-developed website, “Sounds of Old English,” which provides critical pronunciation resources for the recitation of Old English. Student Mallory Somerset was inspired to develop this project as an individual study after taking professor Paul Fallon’s course on the History of the English Language (LING 310), in which students are required to recite brief passages of poetry or prose in Old English. Fallon provided students with a few resources, both online and in a variety of audio formats (LP, cassette, and CD), both scholarly and commercial. However, it quickly became apparent that audio performances varied wildly in both accuracy and enthusiasm, and even published sources and scholarly presentations varied in their level of detail and pedagogical purpose. Somerset wrote book reviews of standard textbooks, audio reviews of various oral performances, and a pronunciation reference guide, as well as her own video performances of Old English. The resultant website is a convenient resource for those interested in hearing the best and most accurate renditions of Old English. Such a website has significance for all those interested in making dead languages come alive in the classroom and beyond.

Author: Martha Burtis

Special Projects Coordinator

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