Around the year 998, Ælfric of Eynsham produced a Grammar, written in Old English, but designed primarily to explain Latin.
The Grammar is the earliest surviving textbook written in English. Its structure derives from an existing Latin compilation, but includes numerous innovations.
This work, together with Ælfric’s Glossary and Colloquy, was evidently intended to increase Latin learning and literacy. This manuscript contains both Grammar and Glossary.
The Grammar includes notes on all sorts of constructions, from passive verbs to onomatopoeia like ‘haha’ and ‘hehe’: according to Ælfric, these were the same in English and Latin.
- Full title:
- Ælfric, Grammar (imperfect); Ælfric, Glossary; proverbs and maxims; grammatical dialogue; Old English translation of the Rule of St Benedict; account known as 'King Edgar's Establishment of the Monasteries' (incomplete)
- 3rd quarter of the 11th century–1st half of the 12th century, England
- Latin / Old English
- Ælfric Abbot of Eynsham
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.
- Held by
- British Library
- Cotton MS Faustina A X
- Article by:
- Becky Lawton
What was it like to be a student in early medieval England? We go on a journey from the Anglo-Saxon church to the classroom, and also encounter some riddles on the way.