How to Write in Old English

Written by matt scheer
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How to Write in Old English
(Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Old English was an early form of English spoken in Britain and Scotland between the fifth and twelfth centuries AD. The language appeared in writing in the eight century AD. The written language has many similarities with modern English, and viewers will recognise all of the letters. However, the letters have a special design and format. Further, there is no "Z" but there is a letter that modern English does not have, "ae." Despite these differences, learning to write Old English is a straightforward practice that takes nothing more than practice.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Visit the website in the Resources section, which gives a list of all the Old English letters.

  2. 2

    Study these letters and note the differences between them and modern English letters, including the tic marks above the "y" and the serifs.

  3. 3

    Print out this list of letters and place it below a blank sheet of paper. Trace the letter shapes using a pencil, both the upper and lower case letters.

  4. 4

    Continue tracing these letters on new sheets of paper to practice the motion of your hand needed to form the shape of the letters.

  5. 5

    Dispense with the original printout of letters and begin writing the letters on your own, taking care that they look natural and fluid.

  6. 6

    Use these letters to write words and sentences in English once you have a good handle on their shape. Learn some Old English words in texts such as "Beowulf" to make your writing in Old English more authentic.

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