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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


Learning outcomes
At the end of the “Germanic Philology” module, the student will demonstrate familiarity with the main stages of the evolution of the Common Germanic from Indo-European and the development of the Germanic languages from the medieval to the modern phase.
He/she will also acquire a basic knowledge of the structures and working of Old Norse. The student will also gain a core knowledge of the main tools and methods for analysing literary texts and learn how to apply them to Old Norse texts (runic inscriptions and an eddic poem).
Furthermore, the essential skills for communicating these contents effectively and for evaluating and critically examining supporting information will also be developed.
Finally, he/she will acquire a command of the main bibliographic tools related to Germanic Philology in general and in particular to the specific subjects discussed throughout the module. He/she will also be able to independently retrieve additional bibliographic material, use it critically and thus be ready to take an advanced module in “Germanic Philology”.


Pre-requisite qualifications
Good knowledge of a modern Germanic language (English and /or German) is necessary.


The topics covered will include:
a) introduction to Germanic languages and their main phonological, morphological and syntactic characteristics, starting from the features of Indo-European and sources of the comparative method; aspects of Germanic culture and religion (about 10 hours);
b) characteristics of the runic alphabet and its use. Some runic inscriptions, written in Proto-nordic, will be examined to identify possible traces of paganism preserved therein; introduction to the main phonological and morphological aspects of Old Norse/Old Icelandic (about 12 hours);
c) reading in the original and analysis at various levels of selected passages taken from the eddic poem Sigrdrífumál “The Lay of Sigrdrífa” (about 8 hours).

Any students who cannot attend lessons are kindly requested to contact the teacher to discuss the exam syllabus.

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods

Further activities:
-coursework through in-class exercises for testing the understanding of specific topics and for revision purposes
-a lecture on the features of Indo-European culture (given by our Faculty’s Sanskrit professor, Tiziana Pontillo)
-lectures on a topic of interest for the module (given by a foreign colleague who will lecture on the course as part of the European Erasmus + Teaching exchange programme).

Verification of learning

Assessment involves an oral exam in which the student will be asked to:
1) demonstrate his/her knowledge of standard concepts and information and techniques relevant to the discipline, showing a use of appropriate vocabulary (relationship between the Indo-European, Common Germanic and historical Germanic languages; phonological, morphological and syntactic characteristics of Germanic languages, and their modern outcomes, with reference to English and possibly to German; the comparative method);
2) demonstrate understanding of the working and structures of Old Norse using appropriate vocabulary (phonological and morphological characteristics; main phonetic changes);
3) read in the original, translate and comment on one of the runic inscriptions analysed during the module;
4) read in the original, translate, and comment on a passage from the eddic poem Sigrdrífumál chosen from those discussed and analysed during the module.

In order to pass the exam (minimum mark = 18/30), the student is expected to demonstrate that he/she has gained sufficient knowledge of the topics referred to in points 1 and 2 above and sufficient mastery of the tasks described in points 3 and 4 above.
Full marks are awarded (30/30) to students who are able to demonstrate that he/she has gained an in-depth knowledge of the topics referred to in points 1 and 2 and achieved a very good level in performing the tasks described in points 3 and 4. He/she will also be expected to show a good command of critical terminology.
Students can be awarded 30/30 with honours if they show an excellent level of knowledge of the topics and tasks indicated in point 1-4, a logical organisation of contents and an excellent command of critical terminology.


Reading list
– Nicoletta Francovich Onesti, La Filologia germanica, Carocci, 2002 (with reference to letter a of the Syllabus section) (NOT the following sections: 2.4.1-2.4.3; 2.4.6-2.4.9; 2.7.1-2.7.4; 2.8.1-2.8.2);
– R.I. Page, Reading the Past – Runes, British Museum Press, London (with reference to letter b of the Syllabus section), pp. 6-31, 43-52;
– R.I. Page, Norse Myths, British Museum Press, London, 1990 (with reference to letter b of the Syllabus section) pp. 7-55;
– Gustav Neckel – Hans Kuhn (eds.), Edda. Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. I Text, Carl Winter, Heidelberg 19835 (with reference to letter c of the Syllabus section), pp. 189-197 (edition of Sigrdrífumál).

PPT presentations will be used throughout the module and then made available to students on the Moodle website (

More Information

Further information
Office hours:
Fridays, 10-12 am
Office: Room 24 (second floor of the main building, Campus Aresu, via San Giorgio, 12)

Germanic Philology is an optional module (6 credits) of the First Degree Course in Languages and Culture for Linguistic Mediation: Linguistic-Intercultural Curriculum (third year). It can be chosen as one of the modules in the “Filologia e linguistica applicata e generale” area or as an optional exam in “esame a scelta dello studente”.

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