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Dr. Thomas Klein

A Very Brief History of the English Language

What is Old English and how is it different than the language we speak today? In this talk, we look into what characterizes the different stages of the English language and consider how the various invading peoples and historical events gave English its particular form and flavor. We'll compare the same Biblical passage at different stages of English and enjoy trying to pronounce earlier forms of the language.

Good and Bad Pilgrims in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

Are knights always noble, and are monks always up to no good? Let's investigate the types and stereotypes underlying the pilgrims of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. In this talk, we look into the medieval idea of the "estates" of mankind and decide together how to tell when Chaucer is praising and when he is making fun. We will also read a bit of the original Middle English.

The Monsters of Beowulf

Why do monsters scare us? Where do they come from? For this lesson, we'll explore the origins of the monsters in Beowulf, their motivations and geneaology in the "Race of Cain," the horrible places they live in, and why they strike such fear into their victims. The talk also samples some of the Old English in which the poem is written.

State Standards

These presentations meet the following state education standards for high school students:

English Language Arts/Literacy

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.

 

Key Ideas and Details

RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain

RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.11-12.3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.

RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

RI. 11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.