This week, instead of a normal blog post, I’m reflecting on my study as a whole, thinking about my progress and process and looking into the future.
So far, I think this independent study is going really well. I have learned all of the basic grammar of Old English, and at this point I’m just focusing on developing my translation skills. This part of the process has gone much faster than I expected. While Old English is certainly not an easy language, the foundational grammar does not take too long to learn, especially since I have already studied Latin and Greek, and there are not too many forms (especially of verbs) to memorize and distinguish between. As things are going now, I plan to be in good shape to start studying translation theory and medieval approaches to translation after Spring break and then moving to analysis of Old English poetry translated from Latin. I will soon update my proposal to fit this new timeline, as I initially planned to take longer learning the grammar.
I think my process has been good so far. I try to spread my time throughout the week, though I do certainly spend longer on the weekends before my Tuesday meetings with Dr. Shores. I am really enjoying learning Old English; it combines some of my favorite elements from Latin and Greek with new Germanic features. One thing I could improve in the process is my memorization of vocabulary and forms. Though I have been working on this, I could still spend more time making and studying flashcards, which would increase my reading speed and proficiency with the language. I hope to do this more now that I have finished learning the basic grammar. Finally, I’ve mostly been keeping track of my ideas in my notebook, which I’ve found to be the best place to copy down paradigms and write my translations. I also keep track of the patterns I notice or concepts I read about that I want to keep track of. For example, I recently learned about the standard word orders in different types of clauses, which I want to keep thinking about because it will become important to distinguish when an author or translator intentionally varies from normal syntax for effect or meaning. I also have noticed frequent use of repetition (either of exact words or synonymous phrases) and want to track how different authors use that device and to what effect. Understanding these patterns will be important when I start analyzing translations.
Overall, I’m very happy with how this has gone, and I couldn’t be enjoying Old English more. I can’t wait to continue.