ENGL482 - History of the English Language

An exploration of the origin and development of the English language, in all its varieties, from its distant roots in Proto-Indo-European, through its modern standardization, to its current status as a world language with close to half a billion native speakers and many more non-native speakers. Special emphasis will be placed on the analysis of linguistic forms (i.e. phonological, morphological and syntactic constructions) and the ways these vary both regionally and historically, as well as aspects of the social and political history in which these forms evolved. Course work will largely involve the reading and analysis of primary texts from Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English and various other non-standard Englishes. Written work will include 4 problem sets (2-5 pages each), a research paper (7+ pages, not including data and references), and a final exam. Students in 482 are expected to be familiar with some basics of phonetic transcription and grammatical analysis. Previous coursework (e.g. ENGL 280, LING 200, HESP 120 or an advanced course in the grammar of English or another Indo-European language) is therefore strongly recommended, if not rigidly required.


ENGL280 or LING200 or permission of department.