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What about Old English?

Old English is a beautiful and widely unknown language, and most people (including me) were exposed to it by reading Beowulf. I have a friend who speaks and writes it (he asked a college professor for help), and it's quite impressive. Native English speakers should learn where the original language they speak every day derived from. I will ask my friend if he can help contribute if it is created!

September 2, 2015



That actually would be pretty cool!


But what Old English would they teach? Even in a hundred years, the English language can change a lot.


Probably the one which Beowulf was written in, given that it's the most famous work written in the language.


That would be Late West Saxon.


good old times when English was a "true" germanic language haha. I'd love to see it in Duolingo, along with Old Norse, Gothic, Latin, Gaulish :D


"True" Germanic language? Ok, yes, English has poached a lot of -words- from French and Latin, but grammatically, it's as Germanic as can be.


From wikipedia:

The English language changed enormously during the Middle English period, both in grammar and in vocabulary. While Old English is a heavily inflected language (synthetic), an overall diminishing of grammatical endings occurred in Middle English (analytic). Grammar distinctions were lost as many noun and adjective endings were leveled to -e. The older plural noun marker -en largely gave way to -s, and grammatical gender was discarded. Approximately 10,000 French (and Norman) loan words entered Middle English, particularly terms associated with government, church, law, the military, fashion, and food.



I'm well aware of English's history, but thank you.

I was more objecting to your phrasing and tone, but I think I might have been misreading you. I don't like linguistic elitism :P


I just wanted to add a bit of humor in my first comment, I didn't meant it to be a criticism towards Modern English. Sorry if it sounded harsh.


Unlike other Germanic languages, modern English has SVO word order rather than V2 word order.


There are some remnants in Modern English though. While it is true that English grammar has many peculiarites (for a Germanic language, and word order isn't the only peculiarity at all), it is still very Germanic at its core. And (most of) the parts which aren't typically Germanic aren't really typical for any other language family either (apparently it has been influenced in some instances though, e.g. by Celtic languages).


Indeed there are some remnants, but it’s no longer the rule that it is in the other Germanic languages.


Old English would be an amazing feature to Duolingo. I was also thinking to teach Latin... They would both be beneficial for reading and translating old books or texts.


Apparently, it's a lot like Dutch, or maybe just Frisian.


Apparently Frisian is the closest modern Germanic dialect to English.


I read somewhere that someone learned Old English, then attempted to buy a cow from a Frisian farmer using Old English and they were able to communicate. I don't know if it's true, but it's a good story.


It's on Youtube: Mongrel Nation - Brown cow. The communication is somewhat difficult but they manage, to a point.


I once spent a few months "playing" with learning Latin, and learned a very minimal amount of old English in a survey course. The trouble with both, I found, is that they ceased growing when they stopped being used, so are useful only for studying the literature and the world in which they thrived. Great, if one really loves the poem Beowulf (or other works of old English), but of limited applicability to the modern world. I doubt you can ask anyone to fix your computer using either Latin or old English. ;)


You can certainly ask in either Latin or Old English; whether you’ll be understood or not is the important bit. ;*)


I would love to learn Old English for fun! Klingon is being developed for Duolingo, and I highly doubt anybody would learn that for a practical reason. Thanks for your feedback!


The vocabularies of both continue to be expanded to match the needs of the modern world. You can find articles in OE on subjects such as the automobile (https://ang.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selff%C4%93rende_w%C3%A6gn), for example, and the Vatican and Wikipedia (https://la.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocinetum) have modernized Latin words.


Chaucer's Canterbury tales is a good read. If you're a native English speaker or have a good command of the English language it's an easy read. I read it in university many years ago. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Canterbury_Tales

Learning old English is like eating pizza without the cheese/toppings. German is a lot more worth while(pizza with toppings). But if someone wants to go at in creating a course good luck.


The Canterbury Tales are Middle English literature, not Old English.


i actually torrented a bunch of old english learning books last year. beautiful language.


I am not able to understand written or spoken Old English, however I agree that it is very interesting to have a "duolingo" section or tree for this Current English root!


This would be really cool!

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