The History of the English Language ENGLISH X102

Course Description

The varieties of written and spoken English are astounding and potentially perplexing to anyone who has encountered the likes of reggae lyrics, the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer or the lilting drawls of the Old South. Examine the grammatical and semantic structure of English as it has evolved across centuries, with attention to the nature and function of languages in general, illuminating the connections between language and other elements of culture. Topics include the origin and derivation of words; historical changes in sounds, forms and meaning; literary and philosophical influences on the language; and contributions from other languages and cultures.


Access to the Oxford English Dictionary (most libraries now have the compact edition) and the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology is necessary. (You can subscribe to the OED online for as brief as a month.) Access to a library is recommended.


No sections of this course are available for registration.