ENGL 569 A: Topics In Language And Rhetoric

History of English Language

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
Location: 
SAV 140
SLN: 
13998
Instructor:
Colette Moore
Colette Moore

Syllabus Description:

 

1.  Course Description

The story of English tells of the dramatic changes to the English language over the past 1200 years – from an inconsequential offshoot of west Germanic spoken on a little island off of the North Sea to an international language spoken by nearly one and a half billion people. Scholarship on these linguistic shifts examines what are sometimes called "internal" process of change (grammar, sound change) and "external" processes of change (social, cultural), but these categories merge in exciting ways.

This course will investigate the stages in the development of English (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English and present-day Englishes) to consider changes in the sound and construction of the language. The goal of this course is to create basic proficiency in the phonological, syntactic, morphological, sociolinguistic and pragmatic evolution of English and to examine the scholarly conversation on historical English language. Historical language scholarship will be pursued partly as an end in itself, but partly as a methodology for other kinds of research since English language history provides useful tools for cultural studies, literary historical studies, colonial and post-colonial studies, language studies, and the teaching of writing.

No previous experience with language study or linguistics is required, and students will be encouraged to pursue course research that is relevant to their own areas of interest.

 

2. Texts

Mugglestone, Lynda, ed. The Oxford History of the English Language. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Additional articles to be circulated on Canvas

 

3.  Learning Outcomes

    1. Become conversant with the major linguistic concepts informing the study of the English language (and know where to go to find out more).
    2. Become conversant with the major developments in the periods of English language history (and know where to go to find out more).
    3. Become conversant with the topics and lines of inquiry in present research on English language history.
    4. Be able to approach the teaching of an undergrad course on the history of the English language.
    5. Be able to apply English language history to other areas of study in language, literature and composition studies – in particular, your own field of interest.

 

4. Course Requirements

A. Brief analysis / response papers

1-ish page (single-spaced) discussions of issues raised in the course reading. Five total to be submitted over the course of the term, of which one will be an analysis of the history of a word and one an analysis of the history of a grammatical rule (further details to be provided).

B. Participation

Graduate seminars, obviously, depend upon fruitful discussion for success.

C. Seminar paper

A longer research paper (10-15 pages) will be due at the end of the term. You may use this paper to develop your own research interests. I am happy to meet with you over the course of the term to help you to investigate and refine these interests. You should have some general sense for topics in week 6-7.

 

5. Schedule

Week 1: General questions, language change

Mar. 29 introduction

Mar. 31 language change and attitudes about language change

read: Aitchison from Language Change

 

Week 2: General perspectives and background

Apr. 5 overview

read: Denison and Hogg, "Overview"

Apr. 7 prehistory

read: Mugglestone, Hoad, OHE (1-31).

due: history of a word response

 

Week 3: Old English           

Apr. 12 OE I

read: Irvine, OHE (32-60).

Apr. 14 OE II

read: Townend, OHE (61-85).

due: response

 

Week 4: Old English/Middle English

Apr. 19 OE III

read: Watts

Apr. 21 ME I

read: Corrie, OHE (86-119)

due: response

 

Week 5: Middle English

Apr. 26 ME II

read: Smith, OHE (120-146)

Apr. 28 ME III

read: McMahon, OHE (147-177)

due: response

 

Week 6: Early Modern English

May 3  EModE I

read: Nevalainen, OHE (178-211)

May 5   EModE II

read: Blank, OHE (212-239).

 

Week 7: Eighteenth-Century English

May 10 18th century English

read: Tieken-Boon van Ostade, OHE (240-273).

May 12 18th century English

read: Percy

due: history of a grammatical rule response

 

Week 8: English, 1700-1900

May 17 19th century English

read: Mugglestone, OHE (274-304).

May 19 American English: history of American dialects

read: Finegan, "English in North America"

 

Week 9: Ideologies, Variation

May 24 world Englishes

read: Bailey, "Postcolonial English," also OHE (334-359).

May 26 English around the world

read: McArthur, OHE (359-393).

 

Week 10: World English

May 31 Future of English

read: Crystal, OHE (394-414).

June 2 reading TBA

 

Additional Details:

The story of English tells of the dramatic changes to the English language over the past 1200 years – from an inconsequential offshoot of west Germanic spoken on a little island off of the North Sea to an international language spoken by nearly one and a half billion people. Scholarship on these linguistic shifts examines what are sometimes called ""internal"" process of change (grammar, sound change) and ""external"" processes of change (social, cultural), but these categories merge in exciting ways.

This course will investigate the stages in the development of English (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English and present-day Englishes) to consider changes in the sound and construction of the language. The goal of this course is to create basic proficiency in the phonological, syntactic, morphological, sociolinguistic and pragmatic evolution of English and to examine the scholarly conversation on historical English language.         Historical language scholarship will be pursued partly as an end in itself, but partly as a methodology for other kinds of research since English language history provides useful tools for cultural studies, literary historical studies, colonial and post-colonial studies, language studies, and the teaching of writing.

No previous experience with language study or linguistics is required, and students will be encouraged to pursue course research that is relevant to their own areas of interest.

Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:14pm