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Old English for English Speakers?

Old English (Anglo-Saxon) for English Speakers

I've always been interesting to learn Old English.. I feel like a large number of people on Duolingo would too.

Information on Old English

Do you want Old English in the Incubator?

Post Thoughts Below!

Link of Course (Perhaps if Started):


(Sorry if the Incubator Courses Images are bad looking, my Photoshop skills are poor)

Some Translation Examples:

If anyone (or anyone you know) has some basic or much knowledge on Old English.. Apply in the Incubator. Instructions Below!

How to Apply for OE (AS) - EN:

  1. Go Apply

  2. Under Course, Follow Images:


  3. And Complete the Rest!

I know that reviving a Dead Language that almost no one knows will be difficult, but perhaps this course might help!

But even if this course does become Incubated, it'll take awhile.


  • Dead Language
  • Lot of Research
  • Not Too Many Speakers
  • Very Slim Chance to Become Incubated
  • Hard to find a TTS

Examples of Old English:

(Simplified Old English on Right, that would be the one most likely taught via Duolingo, if this course would be made. It's much more modern and simple to type and understand)

Old English Incubator Link in the Future??

Old English (Anglo-Saxon): https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/oe-AS/en/status

Share Your Thoughts Below!

March 7, 2016



The version on the right is not "simplified" in terms of the language, but merely replaces some letters and letter forms which are no longer used with those that are.

And that's the opening of Beowulf, if memory serves me right.


Yes, by simplified, I meant as in easier for Duolingo for users to type out and understand (less characters and accents). And yes, it is Beowulf =)


I don't think St. George's Cross is the correct emblem to represent Old English. Presumably the course will teach the Wessex dialect of Old English, Westseaxna. There is a modern flag of Wessex with a rampant gold dragon on a red background but that has no historicity beyond the 21st century.

There are a couple of twitter accounts for Old English people. @OEWordhoard and another one, Old English Wisdom (I don't remember their twitter handle off the top of my head). You might hit them up. Or the guy that does the Leordende Ealdne Englisc on YouTube.


Ok. I have created one via Photoshop. It's very poor, but it shows the basic design. Hopefully you like the design of it.


You are right, I couldn't find the exact flag for Old English. It seemed the St. George's Cross was the one most listed. I'll do more research. If you have the correct flag, please let me know.


I think it's a great idea even though I have no intention of ever learning Old English. Modern languages like English, French and Spanish have tons of user friendly methods of learning so I think the ability of Duolingo to facilitate contributors in creating a course for a language like this is great. I imagine there aren't that many Youtube videos and NewInSlowOldEnglish web sites.

My only comment, and you are probably more knowledgeable than me on the subject, is that I think the George's Cross originates after Old English had been more or less replaced by Middle English, so it may not be the best flag.

Best of luck with the course, I hope you succeed.


Here's one I've created one via Photoshop. It's very poor, but it shows the basic design. Hopefully you like the design of it, or if it's the correct flag.


Yes. I'm looking / researching for the correct flag. If you have the correct flag, please let me know.


I am with you. As a non - native English speaker and a German learner, I believe this course would aid me with both.


Old English would be an awesome thing to learn! Duolingo really should allow it, considering they allowed Klingon to enter the incubator, and that is a fictional language.


Hopefully this will be added, since it apparently is getting a lot of positive feedback from the community.


It will ! I just know it ! I want to learn it , don't you ?


I don't think it's quite the case that almost no one knows it.


Actually it seems that a lot of people do ... Of course we'll need to do some research on it in order to get it into the incubator , but I'm sure a few people can contribute !


If you want pre-Norse, pre-Norman English, then try out the Dutch course. It's the closest thing for now.


I'd love a good Old English course. Norman French and Old Norse are high on my list as well.


I'm game! Years ago, I took a summer course at Oxford on Old English language and literature. I bought a passel of Old English books at a used bookstore. I had planned to continue improving my skills and work at translating these texts, but life got in the way (had a baby!). But yes, now I would love to learn!


Read Middle English to your child . I wonder how a baby will react to it ...


I did read ME and OE as well as Shakespeare to her. She loved them all! And she never, ever corrected my horrible mispronunciations either. She just gurgled happily. Now, as a preteen, she's a bit more critical :-)


My mother used to recite Chaucer (ME pronunciation) to me when I was little. I survived. (Actually, it gave me a love of language that persisted throughout my life.) And helped me understand the Scots language too.


Haelend, does the summer course still exist? I have tried looking for any Old English summer course in the UK, but so far in vain...


Yeah! Wonderful idea! I am learning Ænglisc independantly, and it'd be nice to help set up a base. Record Audio reading.

Like me, I like learning by translating to and from, but I don't know if I am always 100% right:

"For þé mínes déaþ on þæm ſigebéame oferéode ſwaſwa þínes þorn oferéode mid mé."

"For thee, my death on that/the victory-tree(cross) passed, just as thy thorn(of the flesh) passed, with me."

It's a reference to "the Lament of Déor:" "Þǽs oferéode, þiſſe ſwa mæg(that passed, this likewise may.)" And to when the Apostle Paul spake of his thorn in his flesh (some believe loss of eyesight.)

So what it hopefully says is: "Just as my death for you passed on the Cross(in instramental/dative case, so the cross is what killed him) your thorn has passed(while it's a thorn currently in the flesh, Jesus is declaring it has passed already,) with me(I mean it as: through my name, through my power, but you can say it died with him.)"

This is important, even if any are offended, for the majority of Old English literature are Christian-based-catholic documents.


Yeah it would be cool to learn old English but unless you want to study the Anglo Saxons it wouldn't be the most useful language to learn.


I know it's a long shot -- VERY much a long shot -- but I emailed Mr. Stuart Lee and asked him if he would be interested in moderating. I was fortunate enough to take an Old English course from him at summer school at Oxford years ago. He was an absolutely mesmerizing teacher. Old English and electronic learning are among his specialties. Maybe he or one of his students would be interested? I can only hope!!


I think this is a great idea! I would definitely take the course if available.


I have tried learning Old English in the past and just couldn't pick it up. But, there is just something about the language that feels right and sounds right.


Awesome, I want to take the course.


Cool! Hopefully the course will be started soon if Duolingo accepts!


Hyllning - have you had any contact at all with Duolingo developers? both your thread and mine are about a year old. Have you heard anything?


Definitely! If the course was released, I would certainly start the course!


Great idea!, I would be likely to take the course if they had it, my mother would probably like me to!:P


I would so totally take that course if it came out.


Me too ! I wonder if the knights of the round table legend was written in Old English .


No. The earliest accounts of the Arthurian legends refer to before the Anglo-Saxon conquest, and are about the people who occupied England before the English. They date from the 9th century and are in Old Welsh. The chivalric legends that are most familiar have their origins in medieval romances written in Old French during the Norman period. New characters, such as Lancelot, appear in these tales, which were written down by people such as Cretien de Troyes. Sir Thomas Malory wrote the earliest collection of stories about Arthur and his knights, and he wrote in Middle English.


Sooner or later, I hope they just open up the incubator for 'anybody that wants to have a go'...

I don't mean that in a bad way at all, and I understand why they don't, in fact I remember Luis writing words to the effect of 'we don't want to publish anything unless we are happy with the quality'. Memrise is a counter example, you can find pretty much anything you want on that site, but the level depth and quality of any particular course can be all over the place, and there are loads of redundant efforts where as a user, you only really want one - ie the best one. I wouldn't want Duolingo to become the same thing, but despite that I think there is a threshold where you have to allow people that want to create something obscure like an old English course the chance to actually try - even if it has to be behind the scenes.

There is something of a secretive and exclusive air to Duolingo, you can volunteer for a course but you have to be selected, and I am sure they agonise over the selection, but is is really the most efficient way? Do we ever get to see the point where they have enough experience building courses, that they can quantify everything that is needed into simple, straightforward stages that anyone can understand, and simply open up the floodgates? If you think about all the collective effort people have put in to the immersion section over the years, can you imagine what might happen if the non-existing language courses were opened up to being crowd sourced in a similar way?


This would be awesome!


That sounds great! I'm a bit of a history freak so I'd love to take the course just to immerse myself in the history aspect of it.


This is awesome!


It would be cool, and I'd like to learn!


Hyllning , this is perfect ! It's going to be hard , but Old English would be great . I only speak 21-century English , so I cannot contribute . : C . But I'm still going to be rooting for it ! No one can stop me there ! We'll have this thing in the incubator in no time !


I will take the course once available , and I hope you don't mind if I add Middle English to my Discussion ? : D



I am also extremely interested. I have wanted to learn Old English for a while.


Oh man I wish this would happen.


I would absolutely love this as well. I'm even prepared to pay for a course like that. I'll work on finishing my Norwegian course while I'm waiting for this to become a reality.


ġif Ænglisc becumþ Duolingo geþēode, understandaþ ġē hƿæt iċ seċġe!


I'd be down for this if it was a course I could learn


I hope that this course can be made! It's a wonderful idea!


I would absolutely take this course!


Yes please. Those of you who claim you could not contribute, perhaps you could work together to get some basics done?


Yes, I would most definitely do this. Modern English is my first language and I would like to learn its origins. I think it would be the coolest thing ever if a small culture sprang up around the Old English language, much like what has happened with Klingon or Elvish, only cooler because it was actually the native language of some people once.


This is great stuff. Excellent thoughts and comments! I'll be following this thread. Here's a thread I started about a year ago: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/12145946$from_email=comment&comment_id=24788584


It sounds fascinating. Even if it was just enough to get a taste of the old test I would love to try it.


Hello. I am rusty at the language I am quaderlingual (I'm sure that's how you say it xD) although I am rusty on some of them as I haven't spoke them in a while. I speak old english, spannish, scottish gaelic, and I guess you can count scots english as one?


More than three: multilingual. And it's cool that you can speak so many, have you applied to be a contributor to the course? I'm not sure, it can be a sort of dialect perhaps?


What about the letters oethel (œ) and optional wynn (ƿ) for w?

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