What does the sign at the end of the corridor say?

Gracing the south wall of the main corridor in the CSL is a quotation from King Alfred the Great of England (c. 849-899), commenting in the late 9th century about the lack of translations of Latin texts into the English of his day. He writes: ‘They didn’t know that men would every become so reckless and their learning in such decline, therefore they had purposely forsaken it [the translation of Latin and other texts into Old English] and wanted that here there would be more wisdom in the land, the more languages (ġeðēode NOM pl; ġeðēoda GEN pl) we knew.’ This Old English citation has been incorporated into the design and publications of the center, touching on the role of the study of foreign languages amidst the role of English as a lingua franca on a global level as well as at the level of our daily communicaton in the center, yet at the same time the citation reminds us that English can be impenetrable, even to native speakers. The final line underscores the role of the language center in increasing knowledge and wisdom through the pursuit of studying languages.

Alfred's Quote in manuscript form

One Response to “What does the sign at the end of the corridor say?”

  1. on 01 Jun 2007 at 10:24 am Michael Berger

    It’s great that this available. Thank you CSL!

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