For the folio, you analyse short sections of text from four different works from different periods during the history of the English language Custom Essay

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For the folio, you analyse short sections of text from four different works from different periods during the history of the English language. The works will be divided up in class, and each student will be assigned a particular section for analysis. The analysis is normally done individually, however if you would like to work together on this particular task with another student, that’s fine — just make sure that the lecturer is aware of this when it comes time to assigning sections of text, so that the two of you get contiguous text segments.

For your analysis (about 500 words per work), you will need to look at different aspects of the language used in the excerpt, in particular focusing on:
•the lexicon (i.e. the vocabulary used)
•the morphology (inflections or forms of the words)
•the syntax (primarily the word order).

Obviously, depending on what is present in the text you are analysing, you may wish to focus more on one or two of these facets of the language used in the particular excerpt, but all should at least be mentioned. There may be additional features that you wish to mention, as well, depending on what is present.

In the analysis, you are likely to be making a comparison in many cases with modern English. You can also compare the data in your excerpts with each other to comment on any changes across time. Clearly, you should also be making use of the data to explore particularly important features of the English of the period, as discussed in lectures and in the required readings of the course.

These four texts have been chosen for several reasons. They are well-known, and there is quite a bit of discussion of the texts available in publications. In each case, the text and some sort of translation or analysis is available on a website. Each of these texts has at least one website which will assist you in the analysis, generally providing at the very least a glossary of words, often with some discussion of the particular inflectional form of that word. You may wish to do a Google search for other websites which could also be of assistance.

Wulfstan’s Sermo Lupi ad Anglos

The website http://english3.fsu.edu/~wulfstan/ has the text itself. In addition, you can click in the left frame on ‘Translation’ on the alphabetical ‘Glossary’, and on the ‘Grammatical notes’. Feel free to explore the other elements as well. To understand the ‘Notes’, you need to realise that there are several different versions (manuscripts, MS) of this text, and each is slightly different. Thus references to B, C, E, H or I are discussions of differences between those five manuscript versions.

Beowulf

There are various versions available with different possibilities; which you prefer is up to you. My favourite is http://www.oldenglishaerobics.net/beowulf.html; there are also http://www.heorot.dk/ and http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~beowulf/main.html. With the first of these, you can click on any word and get a translation and some grammatical information; you can also select ‘Clauses’ and ‘Idioms’ at the top and get some more useful information. What you don’t have on that site is a full translation; but you can get that (as well as the text, a summary, a glossary and lots of other discussion) on the other two sites. There’s also some sections you can listen to at http://faculty.virginia.edu/OldEnglish/Beowulf.Readings/Beowulf.Readings.html.

Petersborough Chronicles (2nd continuation)

The most useful website for analysis is http://members.optus.net/englesaxe/index.html – click either option, then use the menu bar across the top to find the appropriate text. Weirdly, the site has a whole lot of versions of ‘normalised text’, where the spelling has been changed to follow conventions of different periods, and hovering over or clicking on any of the words in any of these versions gives you some information about it. The actual version in the original spelling is available by clicking on ‘view original text’ … but then you can’t get any information on any of the words. If you’d like a full translation into modern English, try http://omacl.org/Anglo/.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

There are loads of versions on the web. Hear some excerpts at http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/noa/audio.htm. The site http://www.librarius.com/cantales.htm has side-by-side Middle English and modern English, plus you can click on particular words within the text to go to the appropriate point in the glossary.

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