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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


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, i.e. Modern English and German (according to the Dublin Descriptors OF 2 and 16, hereafter DD)
- acquire a basic knowledge of the structures and working of Old English (DD-OF 2 and 16)
- gain a core knowledge of the main tools and methods for translating and analysing medieval literary texts (DD-OF 1)
- learn how to apply the methodological tools and framework used throughout the course to the specific subjects discussed throughout the module and, in particular, to Old English texts (DD-OF 1, 3, and 24)
- develop the essential skills for communicating these contents effectively and for evaluating and critically examining supporting information (DD-OF 25 and 28)
- learn to independently retrieve additional bibliographic material, use it critically and thus be ready to take an advanced module in “Germanic Philology” (DD-OF 26, 27, and 29-31).


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


a) introduction to Germanic languages and their main phonological, morphological and syntactic characteristics, starting from Indo-European and from the features and sources of the comparative method; aspects of Germanic culture and religion; the runes (about 6 hours);
b) characteristics of Old English literature; introduction to the main phonological and morphological aspects of Old English (about 12 hours);
c) The Franks Casket: runes, riddles, and linguistic and iconographic puzzles.
Reading in the original and analysing at various levels the inscriptions that are attested on the panels of the Franks Casket, which will also be examined from an iconographic point of view.
Reading in the original and analysing selected passages concerning the ups and downs of the mythical smith Weland (about 12 hours).

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

Teaching Methods

Because of the health emergency related to Covid-19, the usual teaching methods (lectures and coursework through in-class exercises) could be changed throughout the next academic year (see the “Manifesto degli studi a.a. 2020-2021”). Updates on this issue will be promptly published in the Notices section of the teacher's website:

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); minimum mark = 6 out of 10;
2. demonstrate knowledge of the main characteristics of Old English literature and of the structures of Old English using appropriate vocabulary (phonological and morphological characteristics; main phonetic changes); minimum mark = 6 out of 10;
3. read in the original, translate and comment on the iscriptions attested on the Franks Casket and on one of the poetic passages analysed during the module; minimum mark = 6 out of 10;

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 letters a-c of the section Syllabus.
Full marks (30/30) are awarded to students who are able to demonstrate that he/she has gained an in-depth knowledge of the topics and achieved a very good level in performing the tasks described in letters a-c of the section Syllabus. 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 letters a-c of the section Syllabus, a logical organisation of contents and an excellent command of critical terminology.


A) Reading list with reference to letters a and b of the section Syllabus:
N. Francovich Onesti, La Filologia germanica, Carocci, Roma, 2015 (excluding sections: 2.3.6; 2.4.1-2.4.9; 2.7.2-2.7.4; 2.8.1-2.8.2).

B) Reading list with reference to letter c of the section Syllabus:
R.I. Page, Runes (Reading the Past), University of California Press, Berkley, CA, 1987.
Leslie Webster, The Franks Casket, British Museum Press, London, 2012.
Nicoletta Francovich Onesti, “Interazione tra testo e immagini nel Cofanetto Franks”, in M. Grazia Saibene Marina Buzzoni (eds.), Testo e immagine nel medioevo germanico (Atti del XXVI Convegno della Associacione italiana di Filologia germanica), Cisalpina, Milano 2001, pp. 1-20.
Catherine E Karkov, “The Franks Casket speaks back: The bones of the past, the becoming of England”, in Eva Frojmovic, Catherine E. Karkov (eds.), Postcolonising Medieval Image, Routledge, New York, 2017, pp. 37-61.

C) PPT presentations will also be used throughout the module and then made available to students on the E-learning Unica website (

More Information

Office hours:
Thursdays, 10-12 am
Office: Room 24 (second floor of the main building, Campus Aresu, via San Giorgio, 12). Any changes are promptly published in the “Notices” section of the teacher’s web-site:

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

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