Grendel- Thanks for the recommendation! I have to laugh because this is the second time on the Drudge that I've brought up some Beowulf related work and you've been underwhelmed by it. I have a deep interest in many things Old English, but really only an undergraduate class on the History of the Language and the one book that you thought was a bit of a stretch (I forget the title offhand, but it dealt more with social history than the language anyway) under my belt. I love these small opportunities to pick your brain because I'm always looking for more ways to expand my knowledge in this area. I hope you don't mind.
I had to look up "Hiberno-English." Your criticism there seems completely valid. His use of such language seems entirely valid. I was somewhat aware of the controversy regarding the first word, and honestly I always felt "So" seemed a bit anticlimactic. And I had no idea that he didn't really "translate" it; I'll have to keep these things in mind when I finally reread it, which I've been meaning to do for quite some time.
I'm actually curious as to whether you'd recommend Bill Bryson's "The Mother Tongue." It's been on my read list for a while, but I also read some very heavy criticism of the book from some linguists, and while their criticism focuses on things I'd hardly notice myself, I'd still like to be reading accurate material.
Speaking of which - I'm also listening to a podcast about the history of the language. It's done by a lay person, but it seems very well researched, and I find it very entertaining in an intellectual sort of way. It's titled "The History of English Podcast," (www.historyofenglishpodcast.c
om), and while I doubt you yourself would need such a resource, you might recommend it to your students (I've always assumed you're a University professor somewhere; forgive me if I'm wrong).
Anyway, thanks for always humoring me. I think I'm done hijacking the thread now. Unless of course you respond with anything else I find fascinating.