- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Stanford University Press (28 Oct. 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804722218
- ISBN-13: 978-0804722216
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,001,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Old English and Its Closest Relatives: A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages Paperback – 28 Oct 1993
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
More About the Author
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
"Jah sum gaudras in airtha goda, jah gaf akran (acorn = fruit) urrinnando jah wahsjando (wachsend) jah bar (bore) ain (one) 30 jah ain 60 jah ain 100."
And some fell in earth good, and gave fruit going up and growing and bore one 30 and one 60 and one 100.
"En sumt kom (came) i gotha (good) jorth ok varth (ward) at avokti (wax) hundrath (hundred) hlutum meira (more) en hann sathi (sowed)"
But some came on good earth and became and grew one hundred times more than he sowed.Read more ›
Each chapter also begins with a potted history of the speakers of the language, and after the grammatical section each chapter has some sections considering other aspects of the language which may touch on one of more of the other languages too; so for example the chapter on Old Saxon has a section on Germanic poetry via examples from Old Saxon and also from Old Norse, as being two forms at either end of a spectrum.
There is also an introductory chapter followed by another with a grammatical overview of Germanic languages, and at the end a chapter considering the phylogenetic grouping of the languages, indicating that the standard division of East, North and West Germanic languages is not so simple as it seems and rather more problematical.
It's all at a relatively introductory level (pitched at undergraduate introductory text perhaps, but also accessible to the non-specialist and interested amateur) but none the worse for that. It's a good précis of comparative Germanic linguistics.
Go for it without second thoughts
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For example -- here is a phrase in Old Frisian, which is a Germanic language that only grad students have ever heard of. The phrase is this, ""Thu skalt erja thinne feder and thine moder, thet tu theste langor libbe." Look familiar? If your life has ever brought you into contact with the Ten Commandments, it might remind you of the phrase "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother, that you might longer live." That's good if you make that connection, because that's what it means. That isn't even in English! Isn't that cool?!?! The whole book is full of things like that.
In terms of layout, Robinson begins with two introductory chapters in which he walks us through some of the more salient ideas in historical linguistics. The second chapter is very important to understand the bulk of the book. Please dwell on it, and try to read it through at least twice before moving on. Seriously, do this, it will only help. Then there are seven chapters on seven "dialects" of Proto-Germanic, followed up by an interesting little chapter on some controversial issues over which scholars wrangle. Each chapter has several recommendations for further reading at the end of the chapter. I myself have only tried out the recommendation for two of the chapters, Old Frisian an Old Norse, but Robinson's recommendations were terrific for me.
One thing I need to mention -- there is a chart of correspondences in sounds and grammar, on pages 250-251. Somehow, this chart was left out of the table of contents. It is very helpful -- you might want to dog-ear page 250, so you can always find it easily for quick reference, as you're going through each chapter.
Anyway, this book is great for the undergrad linguist, or for any armchair time traveller. Two thumbs up!
The book summarizes the main common characteristics of the ancient Germanic languages, then moves on to describe 7 different languages individually. For each language the author describes significant features of its history, phonetics, and grammar. Moreover, for each language, a few short texts are presented to the reader. They are accompanied by a glossary with examples of words from modern English and German to ease the understanding of the words in the text. After the text a thorough vocabulary follows, where all the words are translated into English. Finally, at the end of the book there is complete translation of each text.
The book is clearly based on strict linguistic principles and methods, it's well-structured, and the author is able to keep the balance and avoid too many details - after all, the aim is to give a comparative survey of the language family. But most important, the author isn't just a scholar - he also knows how to teach.
I won't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone interested in comparative linguistics and the history of the Indo-European languages. However, knowledge of modern German is clearly an advantage when reading the text samples.
I particularly appreciate the discussion of Old Low Franconian (= Old Dutch, Old Netherlandic), the predecessor of modern Dutch that is the mother tongue of more than 20 million speakers in the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium).
Although there are very few extant texts in OLF this language has undergone few sound changes (compared to e.g. OE or OHG) and therefore is very well suited for the comparative linguistic discipline.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Languages > By Language > Ancient Languages > Old English
- Books > Poetry, Drama & Criticism
- Books > Reference > Language
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Linguistics > Historical & Comparative Linguistics
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Linguistics > Reference