First recorded conversation


First recorded conversation


  • Intro

    This is the earliest recorded example of an English conversation – a dialogue between pupil and teacher including the following exchange about learning Latin. It was designed as a teaching aid for use in monastic schools. It is written in Latin, but the text written between the lines is the Old English translation.




    The text was written by Ælfric (c.955–c.1010), abbot of Eynsham, and a prolific writer, working in Oxfordshire. His works include a Latin grammar and glossary, lives of the saints, and homilies – also known as sermons.


    Ælfric of Eynsham, Colloquy, c.1000–50.

    Shelfmark: Cotton MS Tiberius A.iii, ff.60v–61.

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