English 312 traces the dynamic development of the English language from its prehistoric Indo-European roots to contemporary Modern English. 

We will first examine the nature of language and language change while investigating the various factors encouraging the birth of English in the fifth century; then we will turn our attention to the cultural contexts of the language’s growth and transformation from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day.We will trace this development of English with special attention to phonology, morphology, and vocabulary.

By the end of the course, you can expect to have attained a basic understanding of the cultural and linguistic phenomena that have shaped and continue to shape the language we currently speak, write, and read.

You will also be familiar with the methodology and terminology of historical linguistics, and you will have acquired a sense of the sound and form of Old, Middle, and Early Modern English as well as some of the language’s contemporary varieties.


last updated 01/09/05