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Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction

Beginning LanguagesGermanic StudiesLinguisticsThe Middle Ages
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.
Middle High German (MHG) is the umbrella term for the German dialects used in the Holy Roman Empire from about 1050 to 1350. Its written form was the language of the court, and most MHG poetry embraces chivalric intellectual interests – adventure, romances, and courtly love! In our epic introduction to the language, we begin with a poem on subject matter that Old English and Old Norse students will immediately recognize: Das Nibelungenlied, the story of Siegfried (Sigurd) the dragon slayer, who we all know from the Völsunga Saga, the Poetic Edda, and (as his father Sigmund) Beowulf.

This module requires absolutely no modern German, but you may find that the course awakens that bit of “school German” you remember from high school. We will read our text – the 14th “Adventure” of The Nibelungenlied – slowly, as a small reading group. The benefit of the Nibelungenlied’s style is that enjambment is rare and each line can be treated as a single sentence.

Required Texts

A Middle High German Reader by M. O’C. Walshe (ISBN: 0198720823). The grammar (pp. 1-51), the glossary (pp. 182-216), and our reading text, “Âventiure 14” of Das Nibelungenlied (pp. 137-149; Strophes 814-876), will be supplied as scans.

Iterations

March 2023 Candidate

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