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How do YOU think languages are useful for studying History? watch

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    Hey, how do you think languages are useful for studying history? I mean is it that all important to read a piece of anglo saxon primary evidence in it's original language to get the full meaning?

    or do you think speaking in the languages enables us to unlock the mindset of the people we're studying?

    Ideas please!?
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    I think if you're studying history with a view to becoming a historian then I think languages are very important; it could be embarassing when you're writing a book and have to rely on someone else to do the actual translations for you! However, if you're doing it just as a subject you're interested in, and you're not intending it to become a profession, then I don't think it's a problem. Although I think knowing the language does give you a certain level of connection with the people you are studying .
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    Dunno it depends on what type of History you're doing. At A-Level you won't need to learn any language to do History successfully of course. At Uni you could say the same, but it depends what History you pick (Russian history in 1600s, Spanish etc.) you might want to do further reading, interpret first hand sources etc. so learning those languages may be good.
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    Say, specifically, Old English and Old Norse, with a view to studying AngloSaxons and Vikings!?
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    Depends on the period. If you're serious about medieval or ancient history, you'll be completely dependant on being able to find other people's translations, which will seriously limit the primary sources you can use. If you're only studying those areas at undergraduate level as part of a larger course, then I don't suppose it matters too much.
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    p.s. have you tried the Teach yourself Old English book & CD as an easy primer for Anglo-Saxon? I thought it was quite fun, although I imagine serious students would tell you to use something more definitive.
 
 
 
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