English | Celtic Language & Literature
G603 | 27671 | Fulk

G603 27671  FULK (#6)
Celtic Language & Literature

4:00p – 5:15p TR

The topic this semester will be the Middle Welsh language. Welsh is
a Celtic language, a lineal descendant of the language spoken in
most of Britain when the Anglo-Saxons invaded the island in the
fifth century. Middle Welsh is the form that the language took from
the middle of the twelfth century to the end of the fourteenth, the
period during which for the first time a corpus of literature in
Welsh is preserved—as opposed to the rare, stray glosses and names
that comprise nearly all of the small corpus of Old Welsh. Some
Middle Welsh texts, however, are plainly redactions of much earlier
compositions, some perhaps as old as the sixth century. The language
is something like English in structure, as it is syntactically
isolative and not heavily inflected, though the word order is
different, and syntactic functions are frequently indicated by
initial consonant mutations (as in Old Irish, though Welsh is much
easier to learn and pronounce). Our approach to the language will be
text-oriented, so that we will learn much of our grammar from the
process of translating texts (much as one learns, for example, Old
Norse reading the texts in Gordon’s Introduction to Old Norse).
Depending on availability, the texts to be studied will include
Branwen Uerch Lyr from the delightful, fairy-tale-like Pedeir Keinc
y Mabinogi ‘Four Branches of the Mabinogi’, as well as the tale
Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys and selections from the older heroic-
elegiac verse. There will be two examinations and some shorter
exercises. Please contact Dr. Fulk (fulk@indiana.edu) for
instructions about book ordering.