Germanic programme

This programme consists of four courses: Old Saxon and Old Dutch (Kerkhof), Old Frisian (Bremmer), Reading Old Norse Sagas (Quak), Old English (Porck).

Time slot 1: Old Saxon and Old Dutch (9.30-11.00)

Peter Alexander Kerkhof (Ghent)

Course outline
The course offers an introduction to Old Dutch and Old Saxon from a linguistic and a philological perspective. Old Saxon and Old Dutch represent an intriguing part of the Old Germanic linguistic continuum. Old Saxon is known from several iconic Carolingian text monuments such as the Heliand and the Genesis poem, and Old Dutch from three little-known post-Carolingian translations of German texts of which the Wachtendonck Psalms is the most significant. We will familiarize and learn how to read all of these texts, but, what is more, we will also take a look at the more fragmentary evidence that these languages offer, such as marginal and textual glosses in manuscripts, interlinear bible translations and vernacular personal names and place names. On a linguistic level, we will discuss such topics as the breakup of the West Germanic dialect continuum, the demise of Old Frankish in France, the establishment of the Dutch dialect area and the border between Saxon and Franconian in the Netherlands. On a philological level, we will discuss the dynamics of Carolingian literacy, the Saxon conquest and the sociolinguistic context in which such notes as the hebban olla vogela poem were created.

Level and requirements
The course is aimed at students of the Old Germanic languages who take an interest into historical grammar and philology. The course requires a basic knowledge of historical linguistics and familiarity with at least one other Old Germanic language is recommended. There will be short daily homework assignments training linguistic reconstruction and reading proficiency.

-Reader with texts will be distributed before the course starts.
-James E. Cathey, ed., Heliand: Text and Commentary. West Virginia University Press, 2002.

Time slot 2: Old Frisian (11.30 - 13.00)

Rolf Bremmer (Leiden)  

Course outline  
The course offers an introduction to the Old Frisian language. We focus on reading and appreciating Old Frisian texts, especially the law texts which make up the bulk of the corpus of Old Frisian and which can be very vivid. Old Frisian grammar and structure will be discussed, including such problems as dialectology, periodization and its place within Germanic, including the Anglo-Frisian complex. We also pay attention to how Old Frisian literature functioned within the feuding society that Frisia was until the close of the Middle Ages.  

The daily homework consists of small portions of text to be translated, some grammatical and other assignments on the text, and reading a number of background articles.  

Rolf H. Bremmer Jr, An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary (Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2009; revised reprint 2011). (This book can be ordered with a rebate through the teacher).

Time slot 3: Reading Old Norse Sagas (14.00 - 15.30)

Arend Quak (Leiden)

A general introduction into the Old Norse saga literature: konungasögur, íslendingasögur and fornaldarsögur. Origins, style, characteristics and relationship to medieval history. Reading of (fragments from) different kinds of sagas in Old Norse and in English translation. Special attention for 'Hrafnkels saga Freys goda' and 'Yngvars saga vídförla'.

Some knowledge of Old Norse is recommended.

- E. Gordon, Introduction to Old Norse (Clarendon Press, Oxford). (It is not a problem to use an older version of this book.)
- Photocopy of the 'Yngvars saga vidförla'.

Time slot 4: Old English (16.00 - 17.30)

Thijs Porck (Leiden)

Course outline
The course offers an introduction to the Old English language, with some attention, too, for the culture and history of early medieval England. Grammar and structure will be discussed with the help of original texts. During the course, we will read both prose and poetry.

The daily homework consists of small portions of text to be translated and some grammatical assignments.

R. D. Fulk, An Introductory Grammar of Old English with an Anthology of Readings (Tempe, 2014)