Cambridge Introductions to the English Language.

Date Published: April 2009.

Old English provides a clear linguistic introduction to English between the fifth century and the Norman invasion in 1066. Tailored to suit the needs of individual course modules, it assumes no prior knowledge of the subject, and presents the basic facts in a straightforward manner, making it the ideal beginners’ text. Students are guided step-by-step through the main characteristics and developments of English during that period, aided by concise chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading, and a comprehensive glossary. Each chapter is accompanied by an engaging set of exercises and discussion questions based on authentic Anglo-Saxon texts, encouraging students to consolidate their learning, and providing essential self-study material. The book is accompanied by a companion website (, featuring solutions to the exercises and useful additional resources. Providing essential knowledge and skills for those embarking on the study of Old English, it is set to become the leading introduction to the subject.

From the book:
Runes did indeed have a function in Germanic magic, but they were also used throughout the north and west Germanic world with more humdrum functions, as well as for recording literature: for communicating simple messages on perishable materials such as slips of wood, for commemorating the dead on funerary monuments, and for marking ownership of objects. In other words, runes were a writing-system used for a range of functions, in ways similar to those of PD writing-systems.

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