How do languages change over time?/More specifically, how have the conventions and grammar in Old English changed as time went on? What are some differences and similarities that we see today?

I would like to learn Old English for my  grade 10 Zip project. I chose this skill because I think that it will be a fun and unique experience, and it will give me a cool set of bragging rights! I enjoy learning languages, specifically German, and I believe that my experience learning German will further motivate and interest me in Old English. This line of inquiry excites me because unlike “living” languages with are constantly evolving and changing, Old English is dead! Except for a few enthusiastic academics, it’s really not spoken that much, which makes it an exciting challenge as I will have to work harder to find quality sources and resources.

I know:

      • Old English is also known as Anglo-Saxon
      • Spoken in England before 1100 AD
      • Four main dialects
      • West Saxon
        • Kentish
        • Mercian
        • Northumbrian
      • Most writings are in West Saxon, so I shall be focusing on that dialect
      • Experienced a renaissance in the ninth century under King Alfred the Great
      • Non-standardized spelling (phonetically spelled, so differences in pronunciation between regions)
      • Standardization was attempted but it was not effective
      • Less structure than modern English
      • Descendant of Proto-German
      • Precursor to Middle and New English

I have been taking German courses for a few years, and I think that my experience with another Germanic language will help me with my inquiry.

I hope to expand on my knowledge of Old English by the end of ZIP. This includes my spelling, knowledge of sentence structure, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

There is a surprising number of online courses designed to teach one Anglo-Saxon, including one through the University of Texas. I could reach out to an academic in the linguistics field if I happen to get stuck.

Some sources to help me with my inquiry are:

      • U of Texas “Old English Online” -a course on Old English that is part of a series of old/dead language courses
      • Richard Hogg, An Introduction to Old English (2002)
      • Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson, A Guide to Old English (7th edn., 2006)
      • Roger Lass, Old English: A Historical Linguistic Companion (1994)
      • Richard Hogg ed., The Cambridge History of the English Language vol. i: The Beginnings to 1066 (1992)
      • Philip Durkin, The Oxford Guide to Etymology (2009)
      • Philip Durkin “Old English- An Overview” (Oxford English Dictionary)

I might demonstrate my learning in a couple of different ways. I was thinking that I could have an organized notebook with an accumulation of everything that I’ve learned, a couple of translations, and some spoken dialogue for my learning center.










-Set up notebook

-Lesson 1 (U of T)


-Lesson 2


-Lesson 3


-Lesson 4

-Translations (simple)

-Lesson 5

-Lesson 6 + 7


-Lesson 9

-Lesson 10


-Organize notebook

-review other sources

-Work on dialogues

-Read in Old English

    • Highlight/annotate
    • Plan and Prep for presentations
    • Read in Old English

BREAK – Review – Put in final touches


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