Englisc List Website--A Forum for Composition in Old English

Wilcume, leofe lar-gebroðor ond lar- gesweostor!

These pages announce the


an electronic discussion group dedicated to writing and communicating in Old English. The following paragraphs include:

Starting the ENGLISC listserv:

ENGLISC was begun by Bill Schipper (Memorial University) and Cathy Ball (Georgetown University) in December 1996, both of them inspired by a discussion on a related listserv (ANSAX-L) about the relevance of writing in a dead language. Latin has always enjoyed this kind of attention, as we can see from Finland's Nuntii Latini, which delivers the news in Latin on-line; the New Anglo-Saxon Chronicles" (NASC), formerly maintained by Michel van der Hoek but now hosted by Anthony Appleyard, has followed suit with a monthly announcement, in Old English, of the world's news, many of its contributors being members of the Englisc Composition Listserv.


To subscribe to ENGLISC, send a message to:

wherein you leave the subject line blank, and write on the first line of your text:

sub englisc Your Name.

You can get the Englisc List Archives at:

The Aims and Activities of Englisc:

The list is moderated by Bill Schipper, which means that he "handplaces" each message on the list: it is not managed by a listserv robot. He will send you a guideline for participation. While some discussion is conducted in Old English, a lot of it is not; but activity on this list aims primarily to: 1) compose a message or an original text in Old English, 2) translate a modern or medieval text into Old English, 3) participate in ongoing projects devoted to the above, 4) comment on the contributions, 5) offer something new, 6) pose questions about grammar and vocabulary, 7) be tremendously entertaining while remaining relevant, or 8) just lurk and learn.

Projects in Englisc; "finished" and "unfinished":

No text that we've mounted here is entirely "finished"; the debate surrounding Isidore's De Portentis is still ongoing, and we encourage visitors to these pages to give us their comments and suggestions. Nonetheless, the following sites house the texts in Old English that members have collaborated on:

Other On-line resources for learning Old English:

The point of the Englisc Composition Listserv is pedagogical and practical: here is an opportunity for you to hone your skills at a challenging medieval language--in a way that more passive, traditional methods of study don't offer--and learn how to teach it. To this end, we direct you to a number of resources that you should check out. Cathy Ball has been particularly prolific in her production of websites for Old English students and scholars, and both Bill Schipper and Matt Carver have worked hard on accessible on-line glossaries. Make sure you also look at Murray McGillivray's on-line Old English course, as well as Peter Baker's "Old English Aerobics":

  • The Skipper's Wordlist, a succinct Modern English/Old English Glossary devised by Bill Schipper.
  • Concise Modern-English Old-English Wordlist, another ME-OE Glossary devised by Matt Carver.
  • Old English at the University of Virginia, pages maintained by Peter Baker; see especially his Old English Aerobics, an electronic course in Old English language and literature, with pronunciation practice using sound files.
  • Instant Old English, a Phrase Book of Conversational Old English devised by Cathy Ball.
  • Hwaet! Old English in Context, a teach-yourself Old English primer using Old English texts, again devised by Cathy Ball.
  • Old English Pages, comprehensive webpages devised by Cathy Ball that include texts, translations, sound files, dictionaries, grammars, histories, art--definitely a goldmine!
  • Today in Old English, a cgi text which gives the day, time, and date in Old English everytime you log-on. Conceived and executed by Cathy Ball.
  • About the Old English Corpus, important information on the entire collection, on-line, of extant Old English texts, hosted by the Oxford Text Archives, and offered by Cathy Ball.
  • Cyrcelwyrde Wordhord, a glossary of Old English terms for computerese, conceived and webified by Carl T. Berkhout at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
  • A University of Calgary Course on the Old English Language, by Murray McGillivray. Not only has Professor McGillivray made a comprehensive on-line course on Old English grammar through a perusal of the prose texts (which can be "attended" by anybody who has an internet connection), but he has exquisitely illustrated it. "English 403" is promised, a course on the poetic texts.
  • Þa Engliscan Gesiþas, a U.K. historical society for people interested in all aspects of Anglo-Saxon language and culture. Members who join (for a modest fee), receive a handboc and a quarterly issue of Wiþowinde. There are feasts, annual meetings, and a correspondence course designed by Steve Pollington.

Events, Articles, Announcements:

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Website designed and maintained by
Sarah Higley,
Associate Professor of English at the
University of Rochester