Old English Dictionary Exercise

The University of Illinois library has a link to the online Old English Dictionary (up to the letter G so far). The dictionary server is actually at the University of Toronto.

For this exercise:

  1. Go to the UI library site, click on Online Research Resources

UI library home page

2. type "Dictionary of Old English" in the search box

online resources

3. click on the dictionary link


4. at thus point you have to enter your u of i net id and pwd to continueL

5 Go to the Dictionary home page--it should look something like this:

Dictionary of Old English home page

6. Browse through the dictionary by clicking on one of the letters A - G

for example, here's a screen shot of the start of the material for the letter F--

Letter F from Old English dictionary

7. Then browse through the word list in the left window until you find a word you'd like to look at. Below is the screenshot for the word fals, a noun meaning 'a false or counterfeit thing':

Dictionary entry for fals, 'a false thing'

8. Read the dictionary entry and in a paragraph or two, compare the meaning of the word in Old English and Modern English. Has it broadened or narrowed? Shifted significantly? Disappeared entirely? If the word does not exist in Modern English, then discuss what, if anything, has replaced it; why it may have disappeared (did it suddenly become unnecessary?); and whether and how it might be revived. You may consult the OED (online, through the U of I Library site) as well to see what it has to say about your word.

For example, here's what the OED says about the noun false:

OED entry for 'false' as a noun

9, Write up your findings for class and be prepared to discuss them and to turn them in.