The History of English

Linguistics/English 395
Prof. Suzanne Kemmer
Spring 2009

Course information
Owlspace Course Management

Tentative Course Schedule

TJan 6 Introduction: The English language. Course organizational issues. Begin reading Chapter 1. Intro to chapter and section 2 most relevant to first lecture.
ThJan 8 Overview I: a broad history of English to the Norman Conquest (1066) Chapter 1. Focus here is on Sections 1 and 3. Chronologies: 1) Linguistic chronology of English incorporating 2 dramatic stories (Alfred; Norman Conquest) highlighted. 2) Chronology in our textbook: Appendix 3, pp. 313-317. This one includes many historical milestones putting English history in wider perspective.
TJan 13Overview to Norman Conquest, cont. In-class DVD showing, The Adventure of English, Part I, the Birth of a Language. Follow along in the chronologies (above). The DVD is part of an 8 part series and all the parts are on reserve in Fondren under Ling/Engl 395. Available for 2 hour loan and overnight 10pm-10am.
ThJan 15 Overview II: From Norman conquest to Modern English Follow along in corresponding parts of chronologies above (linked at Jan. 11).
T Jan 20 Background: alphabetic writing systems. Spelling and standardization in English. Chapter 2.
ThJan 22 The rise of the standard written form. Old English orthography and modern orthography. Irregular spelling (grapheme-phoneme mismatch): how and why. Processes of language change. Properties of Old English vs. Modern English. Chapter 2 cont. Spelling and Standardization in Written English: Historical Overview
TJan 27 The history of pre-English from spread of human language to Proto-Indo-European. 50,000 years ago to 5,000 years ago in the blink of an eye (or one chapter). Writing. Indo-European to Germanic. Reconstruction. Chapter 3
ThJan 29 The development of Anglo-Saxon (= Old English). OE spelling/pronunciation correspondences. Runes. Listening to and producing speech sounding like OE. Chapter 4 through section 3, pp. 47-56. Begin looking at Appendices, p. 79-90
TFeb 3 Anglo-Saxon/Old English Grammar. Grammaticalization. Synthetic to Analytic. Chapter 4 sections (3), 4, 5. to p. 72. Also view appendices, just to see what you can see in the texts and facsimiles that look like examples of spellings/phenomena/cognates discussed in chapter.
ThFeb 5 Final words on OE syntax. Text: Pope Gregory sees Anglo-Saxon slaves in the market and sends Augustine to convert Britain to Christianity. Chapter 4 sections 6-7, 73-77. Finish viewing appendices with same aim as above.
TFeb 10 Anglo-Saxon dialects; lexical changes: vocab expansion; vocab replacement; lexical differentiation of native and borrowed words; semantic change types; folk etymology. Ch. 4 73-77; and review whole of Chapter 4.
ThFeb 12 The English lexicon from Old to Middle English. Celtic loanwords; Latin loanwords. Scandinavian influence. Chapter 5. Loanwords in the History of English
TFeb 17 From Old to Middle English cont. Scandinavian cont. French influence after the Conquest. Dating loanwords. The English lexicon. Language contact. Issues surrounding use of native words vs. loanwords; (related) Orwell's campaign against bad English; creole origin. Think about uses of native vs. borrowed even if not discussed in class. Chapter 5.
ThFeb 19 KMiddle English. Loanwords; texts, sounds, spellings. Chapter 6 to p. 120.
TFeb 24 Middle English. Above topics cont.; Morphological changes. Start section on syntactic changes. Chapter 6 to about p. 130 (end of Section 3).
ThFeb 26 Middle English. Syntax; lexicon/word formation; dialects. Chapter 6, cont.
TMar 3 Midterm recess - No class
ThMar 5 Midterm recess - No class
TMar 10 Middle English, cont.; lexicon and word formation Chapter 6 to end. First midterm to be posted on this day.
ThMar 12 Middle English readings Texts: Miller's tale and others as time permits.
TMar 17 Early Modern English, background. Religion, state, and culture. Texts and authors. Bibles. Chapter 7 to p. 166. Background on religion, society, literacy in England in the transition to Early Modern English. Also Spelling and standardization in English has related information in the sections on the period after the conquest and on printing. First midterm DUE on this day before class. Upload to Owlspace.
ThMar 19 Early Modern English Chapter 7 to p. 171
TMar 24 Early Modern English Chapter 7 to p. 180. See also for expressions from the King James Bible persisting in Modern English.
ThMar 26 Standardization, Dialects, Dictionaries Chapter 7 pp. 180-190
TMar 31 (Standardization, dialects, dictionaries cont.) EME texts. Observation of some Early Modern English works (Woodson Research Center). Also have a look at Early Modern English literature. Assignment 3 due April 1, 5 p.m.
ThApr 2 Spring recess - no class
TApr 7 Modern English 1700s-1800s Chapter 8, 203-220
ThApr 9 Modern English 19th and 20th centuries Chapter 8, 220-233. Midterm 2 to be posted on this day.
TApr 14 World Englishes: English in the 21st century. Prospects. Chapters 9 and 10.
ThApr 16 Conclusion (Ch 10) and cookies. Recitation of texts for extra credit (use audiofiles under Owlspace Resources to prepare). Midterm 2 due on this day.

© 2001-2009 Suzanne Kemmer
Last modified 30 March 2009