Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Linguistics Portal

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Academic Writing Skills

This module covers some of the basic skills which will improve your academic, scientific, and professional writing. ‘Academic Writing Skills’ is ideal for those who are looking to start an undergraduate or postgraduate course, to resume/advance their academic career, or simply to improve the objectivity, accuracy, and clarity of their writing style. Eight individual lessons cover the following topics: how to structure your academic essay; how to argue in an academic essay: evidence, logic, analogy, and other reasoning skills; how to conduct a literature review; how to use citations and references accurately and effectively; things to avoid in academic writing (Part I and II); how to reduce subjective style; how to write successful funding proposals. Hamish Williams (PhD in literary studies) has written 4 books (academic and fiction) and published over 25 academic articles and chapters.

A Casual Look at Etymology in Paleontology

Have you ever wondered what Tyrannosaurus Rex means? How about Basilosaurus? Deinosuchus? Gigantopithacus? Argentavis? Okay you have to know Megalodon, right? Well, if you are interested in learning about the meaning behind some of your favorite prehistoric animal names, then join me for this sit down discussion. No prior knowledge of a secondary language (namely Greek and Latin) is required. This module is intended to be a fun chat to help you better identify certain creatures the next time you head to a natural history museum -- or the next time the topic shows up on Jeopardy!
Precepted by Joshua Sosa

Advanced Old English Readings: Alice in Wonderland

Dr. Peter Baker, then of the University of Virginia, translated Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland into Old English. This module will work with and translate back into Modern English this fun and delightful text, Æðelgyðe Ellendæda on Wundorlande: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Old English.
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

Ancient Greek Morphology

Designed for intermediate students of Classical or Biblical Greek with roughly a year under their belts, this course will provide a detailed look at the inflectional system of Ancient Greek, moving past the memorization of paradigms to provide a rich linguistic explanation for why Ancient Greek word forms work the way they do.
Precepted by James Tauber

Constructed and Fictional Languages in Science Fiction

The use of fictional languages in science fiction from the good to the bad. This includes fully constructed languages, references to constructed and foreign languages, as well as misuse or misunderstandings of language change. How these subtle points contribute to or detract from world building. This will expand on the work of Ria Cheyne through examples and delving deeper linguistically.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Conversational Japanese for Daily Life

Japanese is a complex language with a strong emphasis on formality. In any given situation, there are multiple ways to communicate the same idea. This course will introduce some of those common situations in daily life and offer some practical, useful, and modern ways to communicate within them.
Precepted by Sam Roche

HSK Mandarin 1 First in the Series

In this first module, students will be introduced to Mandarin—the language used throughout most of China. Students will get a sense for the tone system, basic grammatical structure, Pinyin, Chinese characters, and some snippets of useful, conversational Mandarin. We will follow the HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test-Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi 汉语水平考试 ) Standard Course Curriculum for HSK Level 1.

Main topics for this module include:
1. An emphasis on Pinyin (the method of romanized transliteration for Chinese)
2. An introduction to reading and writing Chinese characters (Simplified, not traditional)
3. Basic grammar and vocabulary
4. Conversation

We will also look at some authentic materials, including song lyrics and dialogue from popular T.V. and movies. These will help to give us context for what we are learning and gauge where we are in our journey.

If you've ever wished to understand and speak Mandarin, here's a great stepping stone to get you started!
Precepted by Sam Roche

HSK Mandarin Series Series of 1

This series is for people looking to begin their journey with Mandarin--the language spoken throughout much of China and its surrounding territories. We will follow the HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test-Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi 汉语水平考试 ) Standard Course Curriculum for HSK Level 1.

Throughout the course we will also look at some authentic materials, including song lyrics and dialogue from popular T.V. and movies. These will help to give us context for what we are learning and gauge where we are in our journey.

If you've ever wished to understand and speak Mandarin, here's a great stepping stone to get you started!

Introduction to Computer Programming Concepts

This module introduces you to the grammatical structure of a programming language. It's designed to give you the mental framework to learn any programming language more easily; though the syntax of programming languages can differ, the basic principles are the same. You'll learn about building blocks like variables, objects, and functions, and common patterns like if statements, switches, and for loops. And you'll put it all together and write your first simple program.

Note: Two class sessions will be considered lab sections, one in the middle of the month and one at the end. They will give you dedicated time to ask questions about your own projects, and explore topics we may not have covered in class.

Precepted by Seth Wilson

Introduction to Historical Linguistics/Language Change

Why do people increasingly find Shakespeare challenging to read? Why do we translate Beowulf? How did Latin become Spanish, Italian, French, and other languages? Languages change over time. They are affected by internal and external factors. Many of these changes are recorded, and some fairly well understood. In this module we will explore the variety of changes that occur to languages over time, including sounds, word structure and order, and semantics, as well as language spread and language death. This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Introduction to Language Classification and Families

How do we group and categorize languages? What does it mean that two languages are related? What is a parent language? Which languages are more closely related and which are not? Some languages are genetically related, meaning they have a common origin, while others are typologically similar, in that they have similar structures. While English is well known, and Indo-European, the language family it is in is also well studied, it is just one of 7000 languages in the world. We will explore the world's languages, how they fit into their own families, discuss how relationships are determined, and what we can learn when talk about language families. This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Introduction to Language Contact

Languages come in contact with each other all the time and have done so throughout history. Many of the patterns that emerge from language contact have been studied and can provide some explanation for what happens. Why do English and Spanish drive out some languages? What happens when one language, through invasion or culture, moves into the area of another language? How do languages compete with one another and how do they “cooperate”? We will explore the varieties of language contact in this course, through military expansion, cultural dominance, and side by side contact, as well as other forms of interaction between languages, and look at the results. This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Introduction to Linguistics

This course is a basic introduction to the scientific study of the mechanics of language, with a bit of an extra focus on considerations relevant to studying literature.
Precepted by Aidan Aannestad

Introduction to Morphology

Morphology is the study of how words are formed and the meaning in their constituent parts. In this module we will explore English morphology first, to build up a vocabulary of useful terms and ideas, and then move on to other languages, both familiar and rare. We will examine different strategies that languages use to communicate information and how that information is encoded into words. We will use a number of problem sets or puzzles to “take apart” other languages, to learn more about their structure, and to take away some interesting new facts about language. We will look at Turkish, Swahili, and others to see the variety of human languages. This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Introduction to Phonetics

Phonetics is the study of speech sounds (and, in the case of sign languages, how gestures reflect their own meaning). We will explore how sounds are made and heard. Our goal will be to understand the IPA, or International Phonetic Alphabet, how to listen to and write out English, as well as to explore the variety of sounds in the words languages. We will practice transcribing English, which, for many people, provides additional insight into how the language sounds and why language learning is challenging. This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Introduction to Phonology

Phonology is the study of how languages organize their sounds. Each language has its own rules or constraints on what sounds they use, what combinations of sound are allowed, and how sounds change in different environments. This module will first look at some of the patterns of English but will then explore a number of phenomena across the world's languages. Problem sets, or small linguistic puzzles, will help us figure our patterns and train us to look for other patterns in the languages we encounter. This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules. However, it is helpful if you have taken phonetics or have some familiarity with the IPA.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Introduction to Sociolinguistics

Sociolinguistics explores how society uses language. This includes how we view a “standard dialect”, how different groups of people or demographics use language differently from that dialect, how languages varies over geographic regions, and how we use language to create identity or exclude. We will look at the dialects of the US, their vocabulary, sounds, and structures, as well as other countries and regions. Why do I say “frappe, bubbler, and clicker”? And why do they sound like “frap, bubbla, and clicka”? Do you drink “soda, coke, pop, or what?” This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Introduction to Syntax

Syntax explores how phrases and sentences are built. We will explore word order in the world's languages, questions, ideas about what underlies our spoken language and how we can delve deeper into our own languages. Why do some languages look like they have no subjects? How do we build a sentence in English? What can we do to it? What can I move around, and how does this work in other languages? This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Japanese for Advanced Beginners Series of 10

In this series, we will continue to explore the beauty of the Japanese language and culture. We will read tales, learn more complex structures, widen general vocabulary, and we will also start reading and writing kanji. みなさん、これからも一緒に日本語を勉強したい!楽しみにしています!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Japanese: From Zero Series of 13

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to begin studying Japanese. We will begin by learning Hiragana and Katakana and cover some basic grammatical structures. We will also cover some conversational Japanese and explore how it is used in anime, manga, and music.

This Japanese module has the potential to grow into a series of beginner courses. Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 1 First in the Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to begin studying Japanese. We will begin by learning Hiragana and Katakana and cover some basic grammatical structures. We will also cover some conversational Japanese and explore how it is used in anime, manga, and music.

This Japanese module has the potential to grow into a series of beginner courses. Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 10 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 11 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 2 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 3 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 4 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 5 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 6 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 7 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 8 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 9 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese Through Culture

In this module, we will learn about various Japanese expressions and grammar through history, daily life, and pop culture such as anime. We will read, listen, speak, and write Japanese.

Note: Japanese Through Culture will be taught in Japanese. Therefore, it is for students who already have basic level of Japanese.
Precepted by Hitomi Takemura

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters Series of 4

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 1 First in the Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 2 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 3 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 4 Continuing Series

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over several months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!

Korean for Beginners 1 First in the Series

What do Korean dramas, K-pop, webtoons, and Korean films all have in common? ... The Korean language!

This module is for those who are ready to begin their journey in Korean. In this first step, we will learn to read the Korean alphabet (Hangeul), cover basic vocabulary, and begin exploring grammar and honorifics. We will be following a textbook, but will also spend time exploring song lyrics and a webtoon. The textbook we will be following is: Yonsei Korean 1-1 published by the Yonsei Korean Institute.

Note: This course has the potential to become a series of modules for those who wish to pursue higher levels of proficiency.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Korean for Beginners 2 Continuing Series

Having completed our study of Hangeul and introduced formal speech (하십시오체), we will continue working primarily with formal speech and the "casually polite" (해요체) as we move into more everyday subjects. Following the Yonsei Korean 1-1 textbook, we will focus on the "Family and Friends" and "Food" units, respectively. Though reading, writing, listening, and speaking will all be covered, this module will have a slight emphasis on conversation.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Korean for Beginners 3 Continuing Series

Join us as we continue our study of Korean! Though reading, writing, listening, and speaking will all be covered, this module will have a slight emphasis on conversation.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Korean for Beginners Series Series of 3

What do Korean dramas, K-pop, webtoons, and Korean films all have in common? ... The Korean language!

This module is for those who are ready to begin their journey in Korean. In this first step, we will learn to read the Korean alphabet (Hangeul), cover basic vocabulary, and begin exploring grammar and honorifics. We will be following a textbook, but will also spend time exploring song lyrics and a webtoon. The textbook we will be following is: Yonsei Korean 1-1 published by the Yonsei Korean Institute.

Note: This course has the potential to become a series of modules for those who wish to pursue higher levels of proficiency.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Lowdham’s Report on the Adunaic Language

Tolkien wrote a grammar of the Adunaic language, the language of Númenor, as part of his Notion Club Papers in the 1940s. Unlike his other language invention, this work was never revisited and so, even though it is incomplete, we don’t have to sort through multiple layers of corrections and changes-of-mind. This is an uncharacteristically “clean” description of one of Tolkien’s languages.

In this module, we’ll take on the role of budding philologists, working our way through the “Report”. We’ll not only get more insight into Tolkien’s language invention but into grammar, philology, and linguistics in general. We’ll draw comparisons with “real” languages of the primary world and see how languages were described in the tradition Tolkien was trained in.
Precepted by James Tauber

Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction First in the Series

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.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation Continuing Series

This module is a continuation of Middle High German 1 with the plan to continue with the 14th âventiure of the Nibelungenlied until we complete it. After that, we will switch to some Arthuriana - Iwein, by Hartmann von Aue, the German “translation” of Chrétien de Troyes’[s] Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Also, if the students want to read something else, your preceptor is all ears!
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Middle High German 3: The Return of Brünhilde Continuing Series

This module, a continuation of the Middle High German series, picks up where the previous module left off (ie. Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation). Although each MHG cohort learns and reads at different speeds, this module will probably continue with the 14th Âventiure of the Nibelungenlied and then switch to Hartmann von Aue’s Iwein, the German adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes’[s] Yvain, the Knight of the Lion.

As always, students are welcome to make suggestions if they would prefer a different text or even a different genre – farces, courtly epics, sermons or even legal texts are just a few examples of what we could read.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Middle High German Beginning Series Series of 3

This is the landing page for Dr. Isaac Schendel's Middle High German Series which consists of two modules: Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction and Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation. For more information check out the module links below.

Also: Please wishlist this page if you are interested in taking Dr. Schendel's Middle High German series when we offer it next.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Middle High German Series: A Month of Minnesang

During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Provençal tradition of courtly love poetry spread to Germany, where it became the lyrical genre known as Minnesang. It quickly took on a life of its own and developed into a medieval literary scene of the best type—complete with rivalries, drama, and satire! Come join us for a month of reading a selection of poems from this almost inexhaustible literary field.

This class is simultaneously meant as a literary survey and as language practice for Signum’s growing cohort of Middle High German enthusiasts. For every iteration, Dr. Schendel chooses a selection of poetry from the Early, Classical, and Late periods based on student interest. The shorter length of these poems makes them perfect reading material for beginning-, intermediate-, and even advanced-level MHG readers and will allow for an in-depth discussion of the poems.

The reading texts (which vary by iteration) will be supplied from a number of anthologies and editions according to the Fair Use doctrine, but Dr. Schendel will also provide ISBN numbers so students can buy their own copies. After all, who wouldn’t like to impress their houseguests with a hardcover copy of Des Minnesangs Frühling on the coffee table?
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Readings in Middle High German: Das Eckenlied

This module, which builds on the skills taught in the previous Middle High German Modules, looks at a representative of the Medieval German aventiurehafter Dietrichepik, or legendary stories of the mythical King Dietrich von Bern (Theoderic the Great?). This song, equal parts romance and epic, tells the stories of the wannabe knight Ecke, the foolhardy giant who seeks out Dietrich von Bern and perishes in the duel, and of Dietrich von Bern’s subsequent quest to return Ecke’s disembodied head to his (Ecke’s) home of Seburg.

This module, like the other Readings in Middle High German, will both look at the poem as literature and as a chance for interested students to continue perfecting their Middle High German reading skills. We will read selections of the text in Middle High German and translate them into English. Once translated, we will then discuss the segments both in isolation and in connection with the poem as a whole. Although no English translation of the Eckenlied exists, a summary of the complete poem will be supplied.

Questions discussed in the module will include questions of genre and the relationship of the poem to oral poetry, characterization of ambiguous heroes like Ecke and his brothers, perceptions of the so-called “Heroic Age” during Medieval Europe, intertextual relationships between Dietrichepen and other heroic poems, and gender in the past-within-the-past.

The language of the Eckenlied is roughly equivalent to the language of the Nibelungenlied, so completion of the Middle High German 1 and 2 modules are strongly encouraged. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact Dr. Schendel.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Readings in Middle High German: Diu Klage

This module, which builds on the skills taught in the previous two Middle High German modules, focuses on the “concluding poem” of the Nibelungen Mythos, Diu Klage (The Lamentation), a 4360-line epic in rhyming couplets devoted to the aftermath of the slaughter in Etzel’s Hall. We will devote ourselves to both a close, philological reading of selected lines (about 20 lines per hour) and a general discussion of the entire work in English translation (German material can be consulted, of course, but the language of instruction is in English).

This session is intended both for veterans of the Middle High German modules and for beginners. If any beginners enroll, the discussion of MHG verse will focus a bit more on foundational grammatical concepts, but there will still be enough to interest and challenge advanced MHG readers.

Discussions of the text will look at it from a variety of perspectives, including: The “Heroic Age” in a High Medieval perspective, investigations of emotion in Middle High German verse, and intertextuality (both within German literature and across Germanic tradition). Students are, of course, welcome to bring their own expertise and interest – feel free to take up contact with the instructor ahead of time with your input!
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Readings in Middle High German: Herzog Ernst

This module, which builds on the skills taught in the previous Middle High German Modules, looks at another representative of the Medieval German so-called Spielmannsdichtung (pseudo-minstrel tales). It tells the story of the Duke Ernest, who after unsuccessfully waging an assassination attempt and civil war against his misled step-father (and Holy Roman Emperor) flees to the Far East as a crusader, encountering mythical creatures and far-off places reminiscent to anyone who has read the Old English Wonders of the East.

We will follow the methods used in other Middle High German modules and look at the Herzog Ernst poem both as literature and as a chance for interested students to continue perfecting their Middle High German reading skills. We will read selections of the text in the original language and translate them into English. Since it’s not entirely feasible to assume that everyone has access to a modern English translation, we will primarily discuss the translated sections, although a summary of the poem in general will be given.

Questions discussed in the module will include questions of genre (as always) and the connection between the frame story and the second narrative, monsters and the bridal-quest, the medieval political philosophy and the HRE (Holy Roman Empire), crusade poetry, and more.

The language of Herzog Ernst is roughly equivalent to the language of the Nibelungenlied, so completion of the Middle High German 1 and 2 modules are strongly encouraged. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact Dr. Schendel.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Readings in Middle High German: König Rother

This module, which builds on the skills taught in the previous Middle High German modules, focuses on a poem that combines fairy tales, crusader epics, heroic poetry, and farces into a single masterpiece representative of the so-called Spielmannsdichtung (pseudo-minstrel tales) genre: König Rother. In this epic, the eponymous hero King Rother is in desperate need of a wife in order to secure political stability for his empire. Calling together his warriors and some violent, yet very endearing giants, he sets off for the Byzantine Empire, ready to kidnap (or free?) the princess from her overprotective (and maybe a bit incestuous) father Constantine.

The poem is a fun adventure and, for all the silliness inherent to the plot, a good window into Western Europe’s perceptions of the Byzantine Empire, its own political systems, and the idea of the miles Christianus.

In this module, we will follow the pattern of other MHG reading modules and look at König Rother both as literature and as an opportunity for language practice. We will read selections of the text in the original language and translate them into English. Questions discussed in the module will include (but are not limited to) questions of genre, the bridal-quest, and the interplay between heroic and crusader poetry.

The language König Rother is a bit more advanced than that of most MHG poetry, so completion of the Middle High German 1 and 2 modules are strongly encouraged. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact Dr. Schendel.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Readings in Middle High German: Orendel

This module, which builds on the skills taught in previous Middle High German Modules, looks at a representative of the Medieval German so-called Spielmannsdichtung genre of short epics: Orendel. The titular hero of the epic, distantly related to the Old Norse Aurvandill, is a King with a fairy-tale mission to woo the beautiful Bride. He undergoes a number of adventures, including the discovery of Christ’s Tunic, in a paradigmatic example of a medieval Bridal Quest.

This module will both look at the poem as literature and as a chance for interested students to continue perfecting their Middle High German reading skills. We will devote ourselves to a close, philological reading of the most important passages in the text.

This module is intended both for veterans of Middle High German and for beginners. If any beginners enroll, the discussion of MHG verse will focus a bit more on foundational grammatical concepts, but there will still be enough to interest and challenge advanced MHG readers.

Discussions of the text will also look at it from a variety of perspectives, including: What is the Spielmannsdichtung genre? How do the Christian Faith and Bridal Quest narratives, which spring from two different cultural traditions, mesh? Does Orendel actually resemble in any way Aurvandill, or should questions of “Germanic origin” be put to bed? And are there any intertextual connections between this poem and other monuments of Medieval Literature?
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Readings in Middle High German: Parzival

This module, yet another entry in Signum’s SPACE Middle High German curriculum developed by Dr. Schendel, is dedicated to the most complex and possibly best romance of the High Middle Ages: Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, a retelling of the Grail story. With this text, which reaches nearly 25,000 lines, Wolfram von Eschenbach completes the legend originally brought to life by Chrétien de Troyes. Parzival succeeds in the Grail Quest, heals the Fisher King, and fathers the famous Swan Knight, Lohengrin. Simultaneously, Parzival’s cousin Gawan (=Gawain) succeeds in a number of quests in defense of the honor of secular knighthood. Join us for a journey through the vibrant storytelling of the Middle Ages and meet a number of fascinating characters, like Parzival’s father Gachmuret, the noble Muslim knight Feirefiz, the African Queen Belakane, and Parzival’s wife, Condwiramurs. Well-known figures like King Arthur, Kay, and the infamous Red Knight also make an appearance.

This module is dedicated to the unique language of Wolfram von Eschenbach, but we will study it by reading excerpts of Parzival. We will begin with a short overview of the life of Gachmuret, Parzival’s father. We will then continue at the pace at which the group feels most comfortable, with occasional excursions into different elements of Medieval Culture when appropriate.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Readings in Middle High German Series

This series will help introduce students to the breadth and depth of texts available for study in Middle High German. Each month, Dr. Isaac Schendel surveys the group to see which text students are most interested in exploring next.

Some of the texts we could explore in a given month include:
Diu Klage
Das Eckenlied
Herzog Ernst
König Rother
Orendel
Parzival

Note: Please refer to the Required Texts section on a month's iteration page to see which texts the group has decided upon for a given month.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

The Latin Vulgate Bible Series

The Vulgate Bible is one of the most significant Latin texts ever written. Jerome's Latin translation is not only a significant literary work, but is also a more intuitive text to translate, given the familiarity of Biblical texts to many people. This series is geared towards those who already have a good grasp of the case and conjugation system of Latin as well as basic grammar and vocabulary.
Precepted by Patrick Lyon

The Old Saxon for Old English Readers

Old Saxon, the continental cousin to Old English, was the language spoken in Northern Germany from the ninth to the twelfth century. It is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Anglo-Saxon, so Old English students will easily be able to read and understand it. The language boasts a number of smaller texts, but the Hêliand, an epic poem of nearly 6,000 lines, remains its most prestigious literary monument. It tells the story of Jesus Christ (the “Hêliand,” meaning “Savior”) reimagined as a Saxon lord with a retinue of twelve thanes, and it is comparable to the Old English Beowulf. In this module, we will read and discuss selections of this poem. Some familiarity with Old English is required.
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

The Science of Reading: Teaching Your Kids How to Read

Is your child struggling to learn how to read? Do they have trouble sounding out words, or understanding the meaning of new words? Do you struggle to explain why "one" begins with an o, and not a w? Then come learn more about the Science of Reading!

This introductory module will show you all about the Science of Reading, and why everyone should understand these fundamental linguistic principles throughout their reading journeys (not just kids!). We will discuss the history of the American Reading Wars and how they have impacted reading instruction, what happens in your brain as you learn to read, and how to use systematic, "building-block" approaches in your own home when reading with your little ones. If you're interested in the "why" and "how" of reading, then this module is for you!

The Vulgate Bible 1

The Vulgate Bible is one of the most significant Latin texts ever written. Jerome's Latin translation is not only a significant literary work, but is also a more intuitive text to translate, given the familiarity of Biblical texts to many people. This is the first module of the Vulgate Bible series, geared towards those who already have a good grasp of the case and conjugation system of Latin as well as basic grammar and vocabulary.
Precepted by Patrick Lyon

Tolkien’s Invented Languages in The Lord of the Rings

In this puzzle-solving course we will work to piece together Tolkien’s invented languages based primarily on how they are used in The Lord of the Rings. Although much richer linguistic information became publicly available later, this course will look primarily at those aspects of the languages revealed through the main text and appendices of The Lord of the Rings.
Precepted by James Tauber

Tolkien's Writing Systems

This module will study various writing systems invented or adapted by Tolkien. We will primarily look at the Tengwar and the Angerthas (Cirth) described in The Lord of the Rings but we will also touch on other systems such as the Hobbit runes and other runic variants as well as the Goblin Alphabet from Letters from Father Christmas. Along the way we will introduce some basic phonetics and place Tolkien’s inventions in the context of the writing systems of the primary world.
Precepted by James Tauber

Weird Languages

Many people do not realize the variety of language structures and strange language phenomena that exist in the world's languages. This class will introduce a number of features that can be found across the globe. These include object agreement, verbs that necessarily encode the shape of items, ergativity, discourse particles, languages with 20 grammatical gender classes, pronoun hierarchies, circumfixes and infixes, and the complex systems of taboo words that arise in some languages. We will look at a number of these, at what is rare, common, surprising, but all of which are real. Language families from Africa, the Caucasus, Siberia, Australia, and the Americas.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].