Do you think someone should make an Old English (Ænglisc spræc) course?

What do all you duolinguists think about the possibility of creating a course for Old English. It would certainly be one of the more exotic languages to learn, but I'm sure some people out there in the world would be up to it. I know there are many linguists that study it. Also, what do you guys think about other dead languages like Old Norse, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Mayan? Let me know your thoughts.

June 1, 2015


I've actually applied with some friends to create a Gothic course! We are a long way from being accepted as there are many more applicants of living language courses but someday I hope to build the first complete, approachable Gothic course that is not geared toward academic linguists only. Benjamin P. Johnson has a great "Gothic for Goths" series on YouTube that I highly recommend as well, quite humorous and informative. Learning Gothic can really help with other early Germanic languages such as Old English, Old Norse, Old Saxon, etc. It's not too far removed from Proto-Germanic, as it is the earliest attested form of a Germanic language. :)

June 3, 2015

I recently stumbled across your original post where you propositioned for a course to be made. I hope one day it is created. I feel a deep love for all the old Germanic languages and what has spawned from them. (Currently focusing deeply on Swedish).

August 18, 2016

Germanic languages are just the best. Especially West Germanic languages.

December 15, 2016

Thank you! I hope we're able to be added someday. We don't have a huge amount of interest or support but I feel like it's growing. I'm confident we'll get there someday. :)

August 19, 2016

Another language I studied at uni. Very restricted vocab, as remants of the language are found only in two of the NT gospels, and a couple of negligible other sources. Good luck with it!

June 3, 2015

We actually have a good portion of the NT, not only the gospels, as well as a few deeds and a biblical commentary known as the "Skeireins." We have some runic transcriptions on spearheads etc. as well that are less important linguistic contributions but still neat. Check out: if you are interested!

June 3, 2015

There even exist an wikipedia on the language, so of course there should be a Duolingo on it, see here:

about the english language:

the wikipedia mainpage:

June 1, 2015

Yeah, that Wikipedia's awesome and kinda funny too sometimes. Like how it calls modern English "new english"

June 1, 2015

I'd be doing the course already if it existed. So yes, please, if possible. No idea what I would use it for but that's not going to stop me!

June 1, 2015

Yeah! I wonder how many people there are out there who know it. I'd totally learn it if someone made it.

June 2, 2015

I am now doing Basic lessons on OE in the Duolingo Forums - click here to keep updated -

August 30, 2016

that would be cool, i would love to learn old English!

June 1, 2015

Yeah. I think that even for non-native english speakers, it would be cool to discover the roots of the international language, which has one of the most interesting stories of all languages.

June 1, 2015

I am now doing Basic lessons on OE in the Duolingo Forums - click here to keep updated -

August 30, 2016

I would love to learn Old English and Norse!

May 14, 2016

What you need is Sweet's Anglo Saxon Primer.

June 1, 2015

Indeed, there is nothing like Sweet!

June 1, 2015

That would be amazing! I wonder what flag they'd use, maybe the St George?

June 1, 2015

Maybe their monument would be something of King Alfred.

June 2, 2015

Statue in Winchester springs to mind (even though it's a modern statue).

October 28, 2016

I'd suggest the Ruthwell Cross, which has part of the Old English poem The Dream of the Rood inscribed on it in runic letters:

October 29, 2016

Since it is most likely they will use the Westseaxna dialect, the flag of Wessex seems like a viable choice - a golden wyvern on a red field.

June 3, 2015

that flag's bad-a**

June 4, 2015

Oh, yes, absolutely! Does anyone here know Old English? If I did I would contribute.

May 3, 2016

PLEASE. I'd study Anglo Saxon or Old Norse before Latin

May 10, 2016

old norse would be fantastic! as would old english

December 8, 2016

That would be so cool. I am for it.

June 1, 2015

I would be very interested in an Ænglisc course. That is why I did the German tree and am working through the Dutch tree now. Last year I tried teaching myself some Ænglisc and plan to keep trying. I am working through some of the Ænglisc courses at Memrise too.

June 1, 2015

They have Old English on Memrise? sweet! thanks for telling me

June 2, 2015

I can contribute to a Old English course. I know how to speak it so I guess that's something. 2nd language so yeah.

November 30, 2017

Same here. Which courses are you learning? Any that are particularly good?

May 29, 2016

I have worked through several over the last 12 or 18 months. Right now, the only one I am learning is !Old English Core Vocabulary. I am about halfway through that one and only pick it up once every month or two. Looking over the Anglo-Saxon category at the Memrise website, the only courses that I recognize that I have done Basic Old English I and II. I may have done more? I can't find where a list of courses I have taken and retired from is on Memrise. I liked that the latter half of the Basic Old English I was the conugations of wesan and habban.

May 30, 2016

Yes. This.

June 1, 2015

PLEASE can this happen. One of my (compulsory...) modules at uni is on Old English poetry and a duolingo tree would be fabulously helpful.

May 8, 2016

Learning Old English from an OE grammar is really not at all difficult. You will never have to speak it! I mastered it in a couple of months before I went to uni with no difficulty at all.

May 8, 2016

I realise, but I have so much else to prepare for my course that finding the time to teach myself a new language with just an OE grammar would be tricky, even if only for the purpose of reading! Thanks for the encouragement though. I'm in a bit of a panic about it.

May 8, 2016


June 1, 2015

I am trying to study Old English with my husband, and a Duolingo course would make things easier for us. We have a toddler that we would like to teach this to, and he can say "eale gedon" when he's all done, and, and, and...

I'm not as interested in non-English dead languages. Old Norse and Old German might be interesting because there's a bit of literature that has cultural similarities to Anglo Saxon.

July 27, 2016

You're teaching your child to speak Old English? That is so cool.

December 15, 2016

how far are you into learning the language?

July 29, 2016

We have Sweet's Anglo Saxon Primer and Aelfric's bible, as well as various dictionaries, there's Leofwin on Youtube, I just learned about Memrise, and we have a list of food-related vocabulary in the kitchen, so I know quite a bit of vocabulary. I am still a little shaky on the grammar. I am but an amateur linguist. My husband is the one with the degree.

August 1, 2016

Ah, poor Leofwin. Rest his soul. Have you seen Leornende Eald Englisc?

August 1, 2016

Great channel! I guess this means I should participate in social media now.

August 11, 2016

Wait, Leofwin died? The guy that wrote that Old English children's book?

September 12, 2016

Yeah, he died in 2011

From complications of the heart, if I remember correctly

September 12, 2016

I'm not fluent in Ænglisc, but I have a pretty good knowledge of it. I was able to translate Beowulf into English. I'd contribute to this course.

April 25, 2017

I know how to speak Old English. It was the 2nd language I learned. Scottish Gaelic being my first. anyway I would love to contribute to the course if it pops up.

November 30, 2017

Definitely. Although it may not be overly useful in modern conversation, I'm sure it would be extremely useful for people studying or thinking of studying ancient texts, and an excellent way of attracting new users.

June 1, 2015

Still would be awesome, like learning Latin

July 24, 2016

it would also be useful for looking at how english connects with it's Germanic relatives and understanding how it evolved, not to mention how fricking awesome an Old English course would be. I'd certainly take it.

June 1, 2015

Yeah, that is fair as well. You can kind of start to see how European languages tie in to one another after you try to learn a few as well, hey? It'd be awesome if they also provided some material about the root/source of words. Duo could be such a useful tool for so many more people than it already is. :D

June 1, 2015

Yes, but they are now coming out with High Valyrian and Klingon so.... xD

December 14, 2016

I am now doing Basic lessons on OE in the Duolingo Forums - click here to keep updated -

August 30, 2016

I would love this!

May 17, 2016

This would help a lot with understanding ancient texts

June 1, 2016

YES! Old English! I know it would be difficult, but this language would be so much appreciated! I know it would be a bit of a challenge (e.g. the vocabulary would have to be restricted to things concerning the ancient world) but it would be such a plus to have.

June 9, 2016

Late to this convo, I know, but honestly I think dead languages are more useful than made up ones (Esperanto excluded). I don't get why they're doing stuff like klingon first.

November 4, 2016

I agree completely. I suppose the reason is there are more die-hard /Star trek/ fans than linguists (and also linguists have it harder because there are many ancient languages and Klingon is a single language). I wouldn't be surprised (although I'd be quite annoyed) if we got a Quenya course before and Old English course.

November 22, 2016

Many people seem to be confused about what Old English (Anglo-Saxon) actually is. It is not Shakespearean English. Shakespearean English is early Modern English. It is not even the language of Chaucer (Canterbury Tales), which is Middle English.

Old English was spoken from about 400-1100 and is quite different from Modern English. It is an inflected Germanic language. It will not help you learn Modern English or read Shakespeare or even Chaucer. It will, however, allow you to read the epic poem Beowulf and many other old poems and manuscripts in their original. For a sample of Old English, I have included Cædmon's Hymn below along with a modern translation so you can see just how different they are.

Nū scylun hergan hefaenrīcaes Uard,

metudæs maecti end his mōdgidanc,

uerc Uuldurfadur, suē hē uundra gihwaes,

ēci dryctin ōr āstelidæ

hē ǣrist scōp aelda barnum

heben til hrōfe, hāleg scepen.

Thā middungeard moncynnæs Uard,

eci Dryctin, æfter tīadæ

firum foldu, Frēa allmectig.

Now [we] must honour the guardian of heaven,

the might of the architect, and his purpose,

the work of the father of glory

as he, the eternal lord, established the beginning of wonders;

he first created for the children of men

heaven as a roof, the holy creator

Then the guardian of mankind,

the eternal lord, afterwards appointed the middle earth,

the lands for men, the Lord almighty.

December 4, 2016

I could contribute to to this course.

June 12, 2017

Old english is just plain awesome. I would totally love a duolingo course for it.

February 10, 2018

I am interested in learning Old English and Old Norse.

April 10, 2018

I studied Old English at university (Leeds, UK - many decades ago!) One of the advantages of learning it is that there are not that many surviving texts, so the vocabulary pool is quite small. There are some wonderful poems: The Wanderer, and The Seafarer, well worth learning the language so that you can read them.

June 1, 2015

Not to mention Beowulf. I sure would like to read it in the original Anglo-saxon.

June 1, 2015
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Middle English (from Chaucer's time) would be interesting as well.

June 1, 2015

It would be interesting, but I'm not sure a native English speaker needs a whole Duo course to learn Middle English. With just a small bit of instruction a speaker of modern English can learn to read Chaucer fluently in a short bit of time, in my experience.

July 12, 2016

Do you think it would be beneficial for non-English speakers?

August 1, 2016

Yes, I've more or less taught myself to read Chaucer, primarily by using side-by-side versions as well as prior intense reading of Shakespeare and the King James Bible. A little German is helpful too (there are cognates no longer common in Modern English, an early easy one is Holt), and the grammar is slightly more Germanesque too (also true of Shakespeare). Note that Chaucer is not exactly highbrow literature - it's chock full of off-color jokes and political satire. No, really, it is. If you find yourself wondering, "Hey, is he really talking about that?" the answer is yes, he probably is.

September 15, 2018

When I was in high school, my English teacher assigned the Canterbury Tales to the class. We were to present one of the stories as an oral presentation to the class.

One person in the class found a modern translation and presented the story from the Wife of Bath. Needless to say, that was the last oral presentation.

January 7, 2019

And there is a lot more reading material for it.

May 29, 2016

look it up, it just requires a bit french vocab, and you can understand most of it!

October 28, 2016

I'd be up to it.

June 4, 2016

what would the flag be though?

June 6, 2016

The dragon of Wessex.

June 6, 2016

Learning Old English sounds like an awesome idea!

June 8, 2016

I think old english would be a great course!

June 24, 2016

make an old english course

July 13, 2016

Yes, we must do this!!!

July 17, 2016

is anyone still discussing this? If so, add me, as I am inspiring to learn old english, and could use some hints, tips , etc

July 18, 2016

This needs to be a thing.

July 25, 2016

I would love there to be an Old English course and I might be able to contribute to one.

Now my mind is starting to run on what kinds of grammar and vocabulary would get covered...

July 31, 2016

Of course, that'd be fantastic!!!!!

August 1, 2016

I'd love an Old English course!!

August 1, 2016

I am now doing Basic lessons on OE in the Duolingo Forums - click here to keep updated -

August 30, 2016

It would be excellent course for the ones who study English language and literature or for the ones who are interested in history of English language. It'll be very educative if the course is made on DuoLingo.

September 11, 2016

Indeed it would :)

September 12, 2016

I spoke to Steve Pollington ( about a DL course in Old English. He said he had no interest as Anglo-Saxon books was barely surviving right now; taking money away from books like his would likely kill AS Books. :'~(

October 28, 2016

That's not good :( I have so many of the AS Books and they're my go to publisher for books on the Dark Ages.

I have the Pollington OE book and cds and I've really enjoyed learning from them, but I do find myself sometimes wanting more information on specific points, e.g. if I can't work out why a certain rule applies in a particular case. Books alone will only take you so far. Duolingo only takes you so far too, which is why I've bought 'Complete Norwegian' to use alongside Duo's Norwegian tree. I think if anyone wants to learn seriously (and with OE you pretty much have to be serious about learning it) they will look for more depth than Duolingo offers. And if they're not that serious the £25 price tag* for Pollington's book would probably put them off too :/

*it's well worth the price

October 29, 2016

Had he considered that people might pay him to participate in this process? I'd gladly contribute to a crowdfunding campaign for this. As for the death of books, what is worse, less people buying it or less people reading it? Do libraries kill book sales? Why should Duolingo?

March 26, 2017

I think so long as Anglo-Saxon books is making money, it would be less problematic. I could suggest the crowd-funding idea to him as a means of off-setting losses.

March 28, 2017

I would LOVE an old English or Old Norse course. One of the failings of Duolingo is that it doesn't have courses for dead languages. I have been studying Old English for the past couple weeks, and one of the wonderful things about it was that since i basically knew basic German grammar, I was able to learn OE grammar with ease. And since Old Norse Grammar is very similar to OE, it would be very easy to learn that as well. I would be eternally grateful for an OE course.

December 15, 2016

I would love to learn this!

December 29, 2016

Dead languages would be cool.

January 1, 2017

Heck yea, sign me up. This would be so fun

March 8, 2017

definately because it helps in highschool and university

March 15, 2017

I would love to see "Anglo-Saxon from English made available at Duolingo! ("Anglo-Saxon", I believe, is now the preferred term for Old English, although Middle English is still called "Middle English".)

April 14, 2017

That would be amazing!

April 29, 2017

yes please

May 1, 2017

I know that this would actually help many teens because I know that our English teachers used to try and get us to read some of this when doing the Old English sections. And it's also used in some college classes.

May 2, 2017

I think it is a very good idea and it should be created. I enjoy studying old texts and one of my goals is reading Beowulf in it's original language. This course would be extremely useful for me and for my studies.

May 22, 2017

Definitely! Ancient languages are extremely interesting and knowing them opens a window to our world's history!

July 7, 2017

Yes please! I would love this.

August 27, 2017

Please, please PLEASE make an Old English and/or Middle English course!!! Old Norse would be amazing as well!!!

October 6, 2017

Absolutely :D

November 5, 2017

I'd take it!

November 25, 2017

I wrote a phrasebook for folks who want to practice conversational OE:

I have a few other OE books, if you click my name, you can see a few others.

November 30, 2017

I would really love an Ænglisc course. I took a class in uni, but now I want to keep learning it and duolingo would be really helpful. And if they have Klingon and High Valerian, surely Old English isn’t LESS relevant irl xD Especially with its connections to various modern languages, and with the fascinating texts that have been written in OE

December 9, 2017

Yes please!

December 31, 2017

I think it's a good idea. Online resources for learning Old English are limited. Many of the links are dead.

January 3, 2018

I love this idea! I would take this course.

January 11, 2018

I would like to study Old English (and Old Norse as well) as I am interested in all European languages in general, and Germanic, Romance, Celtic and Finno-Uralic languages in particular.

Besides general interest, I can actually think of several fields where knowledge of Old English could be useful: History of the Germanic people and Germanic studies , historical linguistics, Beowulf studies and of course, missiology as the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons have occured when they still spoke Old English.

I also do not think that Old English is that exotic. It should be fairly similar to Dutch and I personally also find it quite similar to German (which is of course,a Western Germanic language just like Old English).

And one last suggestion: For those who are interested in the history of the English languages, I would also suggest to add courses in Middle English, Sccotish Gaelic, Cornish, Scots, Old Norse and Latin.

February 1, 2018

Yes yes yes yes!

February 4, 2018

Remember you need to have lots of upvotes on the request before they will consider adding it. About 800-1000 upvotes will go a long way to convincing the admins.

June 30, 2018

Anglo-Saxon would be an important language to learn especially for those interested in the history of England and the English language. Some of the most important pieces of writing are in Anglo-Saxon and it would be just as satisfying to read as Biblical Hebrew or Ancient Greek. Please create the course!

July 11, 2018

I want to read Beowulf in the original

January 7, 2019

Old English has my vote! It’s my heritage, and I think it’s beautiful!

March 17, 2019

I like the idea. But how old English are we talking about? 16th century English or 6th century English, or something in the between?

May 9, 2016

Old English refers to the language spoken (roughly) between 600AD and 1100. It's the earliest form of the English language, and was very different to Modern English (spoken c.1500-today).

May 10, 2016

Thank you for the information.

May 10, 2016

This and Old Norse would be interesting to learn, particularly in conjunction with German!

July 27, 2016

Yes! I'm trying to learn Old English on YouTube. I think Duolingo would be much better. I also REALLY want to learn Old Norse and Latin. I'm doing Latin with a Compass Classroom DVD called Visual Latin. It's pretty good, but not free. You can buy it at Ancient Greek, Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic would be good. Then we could read the original manuscripts of the Bible!

August 1, 2016

Please make it happen, someone. :D

August 24, 2016

I would take it.

September 15, 2016

I would absolutely love to learn this!!! same with other extinct languages

October 1, 2016

[deactivated user]

    I've got Sweets Anglo-Saxon dictionary & Complete Old English, by Mark Atherton but learning from books pales in comparison to programmes like Duolingo. I really hope Old English is added to Duolingo. in the mean time, I've started on Memrise.

    October 2, 2016

    I'd also recommend "A Guide to Old English" by Mitchell and Robinson, although it's a bit drier and more academic.

    October 2, 2016

    [deactivated user]

      Thanks, I'll check it out!

      October 3, 2016

      I would absolutely love to learn Old Norse.

      October 5, 2016

      Yes please!

      October 27, 2016

      Of course! I am not a native English speaker, but I seek to speak it like a native, learning Old English may help me improve grammar, pronunciation, words I never heard, etc. Besides it would be a new challenge, it would be like learning English again, but differently.

      December 3, 2016

      Actually, I don't really think learning Old English will help you speak Modern English at all. They are very different languages with different grammars and speakers of English can not read Old English. While some of the words are the same, Modern English has had a large influx of vocabulary from French and other languages and the Germanic words that have survived generally have very different pronunciation due to the Great Vowel Shift in the history of English, which might only confuse you more.

      Of course, I still encourage you to learn it if you are interested in Old English literature and poems but I just wanted to warn you that it is very different from Modern English so it won't help you much with that.

      December 3, 2016

      Perhaps you could upload a sample of Old English to immersion? I frequently have to explain that it is not (for example) Shakespearian or Dickensian English!

      December 4, 2016

      I don't think it would be appropriate to put it in any particular language's immersion but I'll add it to the thread here.

      December 4, 2016

      Well, I wasn't referring to something like feeling familiarised with it, like hat happens with a Spanish speaker when this reads something in Portuguese, a lot of it can be understood.

      I was referring to something like:

      Maybe the accented letters, like the í, may make me tell the difference if an i is pronounced like in "Swine" or like in "Fatigued", if a word like that is still in Modern English; well, that's what I suppose, it might work only in some words, or not at all.

      December 5, 2016

      Those are actually good examples of why I don't think Old English would help you learn Modern English, even pronunciation.

      "Swine" is from an Old English word "swīn" which would have been pronounced with an "ee" vowel like "keen". But English went through a "Great Vowel Shift", which is why many English vowels are pronounced different than other European languages.

      "Fatigue", however, came into English from French, which is why the "i" is pronounced differently.

      I guess learning Old English would help you know which English words have a Germanic origin and which came into English from French and other languages, but the pronunciation will still be dramatically different than Modern English so it seems to me it would only cause more confusion (and that's not even going into how different the grammar is). It would be like learning German to improve your English; they're essentially completely different languages.

      It's not a bad idea and for some other languages it might work but English has a pretty complicated past, having studied Old English before, I'm just offering my opinion on the strategy of learning Old English in an attempt to improve your Modern English.

      December 5, 2016

      Tangential knowledge won't help you on the first leg of the learning curve, but it can sometimes surprisingly help you break through a learning cliff. There are commonalities enough between Old English and German, that a kenning of the one furthers growth in the other.

      March 26, 2017

      That would be a cool idea, though I probably won't use it.

      January 1, 2017

      I'd love it! Also Old Norse and other 'dead' languages!

      January 27, 2017

      Yes Anglo Saxon/Old English

      March 28, 2017

      Teeeny bit nitpicky, but there is no one single Mayan language. There are at least 21, unless you're talking about the Mayan proto-language, which was ancient to the ancient Mayans.

      July 6, 2017

      For anyone who wants to try it, I have a Memrise course teaching Old English grammar:

      And some vocabulary:

      All based off the free University of Texas at Austin website of Indo-European Languages:

      July 14, 2017

      Ænglish would be a great language for Duolingo to add.

      August 14, 2017

      For thise who might be interested, I run a FB page and Twitter in and about Old English. It's mostly memes and other things but it helps to learn some phrases. Look up EaldEnglisc Or

      November 26, 2017

      I have a family who wrote books throughout time. I have a lot written in those languages and just simple carvings and stuff. I have a brother who can get around the pronounciations for it. He has spent a long time studying maybe he can help out?

      January 3, 2018

      It would be interesant

      February 11, 2018

      Very interesting! I'd like to see the differences and similarities!

      March 14, 2018

      Good idea

      August 3, 2018

      I'd have an interest to learn Middle English

      August 26, 2018

      Ænglisc spræc would be cool

      August 28, 2018

      what about shakespearean like 1300 to 1500?

      November 1, 2018

      That's modern English

      January 7, 2019

      An Old English course would be great! I would also enjoy an Old Norse course, and Ancient Mayan, but not Ancient Greek. I'm sure others feel differently though, so I'll vote for that too.

      November 6, 2018

      they could release this with latin.

      December 15, 2018

      I like Chaucer, it would be good if there were a Duo course which could help me understand it better

      December 19, 2018

      That's Middle English

      January 7, 2019

      I would totally learn Old English. Seriously, English in all its stages is so super awesome.

      Latin also has my vote, and so will Icelandic (and Greenlandic) in a moment, but Old English is another old language I really want to learn, and there really aren't many good resources for learning it.

      February 21, 2019

      I would love to have a course like this to learn! I hope to learn more languages soon and I would love to try one of the more exotic ones.

      March 9, 2019

      I would like to vote for this! As a historical reenactor, it would be so much fun to not only educate people on the clothing and lifestyle, but also the language of the person I am portraying (usually a generic person rather than a specific historical figure).

      March 18, 2019

      I like the idea of courses for dead languages. It'd be neat to see how the way we speak has changed and evolved over time

      March 26, 2019

      I'd be all over it if there was a course for Old English. Please Duo make this happen!

      April 9, 2019

      I would love to see a Duolingo course for Old English (and especially Old Norse).

      April 20, 2019

      I believe that we should bring back dead/endangered languages!!!

      May 28, 2019

      Just to show how brilliant you are to people I think this would be an excellent course lol

      June 3, 2019

      Yes I would absolutely love to learn Old English and think the Duolingo ormat would be the easiest way to do so

      July 1, 2019

      Great! Sounds like a plan! It would be an exotic piece in the course collection of Duolingo. I looked "Ænglisc spræc" on Google and found this playlist on Youtube:

      Hope it helps and good luck on your journey!

      July 3, 2019

      I would LOVE to learn Old English. That and Old Norse would be amazing for getting in touch with my ancestry.

      August 2, 2019


      August 3, 2019

      Yes Please this post is like 4 years old , make it happen!

      August 6, 2019
      Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.