English 464

ENGL 464
History of the English Language

Catalog Entry

ENGL 464. History of the English Language
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisite: CORE 101 and CORE 102.

Study of the history and development of the English language from its origins to the present.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course provides an overview of the history of the English language from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present, with an emphasis on the relationship between the history of the English language and the history of the English-speaking peoples. Syllabus topics include:

1. The development of English in the British Isles after 449, including the Norman invasion and the reestablishment of English; the Renaissance; the spread of English to Scotland and Ireland; dialect variation in contemporary Britain.
2. The spread of English through migration to North America and elsewhere.
3. The spread of English to non-English-speaking areas through colonization and trade, and the development of World Englishes.
4. The development of Standard Englishes, and the relationships between standard and nonstandard varieties, especially in the United States.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Students read selected texts on the history of English and on the relationship between language and social forces. They may also view videotapes on the history of English, e.g. the “Story of English” series produced by PBS and the BBC. Especially since this material is initially unfamiliar to most students, class time is devoted to a combination of lecture and discussion led by the instructor.


Goals and Objectives of Course

A central goal of this course is to make students more aware of the nature and history of the English language, so that they can be more sensitive to their own and others’ use of the language, as well as to their own and others’ attitudes toward language. They are expected to understand the ways in which English has developed from Old English to Middle English to Modern English, and to understand the ways in which historical, social, and cultural factors have influenced that development.


Assessment Measures

Written assignments may include:

1. Quizzes on readings.
2. Brief response essays.
3. Tests and a final examination, including short-answer questions and essay questions.
4 A review or summing-up essay, the purpose of which is to give students an opportunity to reflect on their understanding of the history and development of the English language.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval

October, 2009