On Middle English

Yesterday, as I chatted to my students, I discovered that they have read Beowulf and the Canterbury Tales in their usual school.  Flabbergasted doesn’t really cover it.  I asked if they had read them in English and they said yes.  I realised when I got home that it could have been the modern English versions – they didn’t seem to understand when I asked WHICH of the Canterbury Tales they had read – but still.  That’s quite a big ask for teenagers who have trouble even with the present simple.  Italian schools are clearly hardcore.


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About Kate Bailward

Kate Bailward is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
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2 Responses to On Middle English

  1. Burgundy says:

    I'm not sure how useful it could be, to teach them a version of the language no one uses anymore. They were talking about the books and not the films (Beowulf being the animated and rather annoying to watch film with Angelina Jolie as a beautiful and beguiling witch and the Canterbury Tales being the old black and white film about a chap who throws sticky stuff into girls' hair (the film claims it is glue, before you ask). That film has quaint pictures of the Downs but also an annoying American GI who keeps saying "Can o' berry" for Canterbury. I was disappointed he wasn't shot before the end of the film.

  2. Katja says:

    I agree: it doesn't seem to serve much purpose apart from confusing them mightily. I got the impression, however, that it was for a presentation project, rather than actually *reading* the things. One of the other girls in the class was talking about a presentation that she had to give about the Romans and the Celts, and I think it was for the same class, albeit different schools. Still – bloody hard work, even if they're not studying it in detail.

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