Hist of the English Language

Please note that this course satisfies the “PRE-1700” historical breadth requirement for the English major.

From Old English to Shakespeare to present-day meme culture, this class considers the history of the English language: how it is shaped by us, and how we are shaped by it. We will combine the study of linguistics and phonetics with a consideration of the role of important historical events on the development of the English language. We will also make use of a variety of literary and cultural texts to help us understand the ways in which people, throughout history, have both responded to and resisted the dominant style of English in their time. In the process, we will come to a better understanding and appreciation of the possibilities, limitations, and ever-shifting nature of the English language.


Attendance/Participation/In-class Work — 10%
Word Study Paper 15%
Language+Culture Essay 20%
Language+Culture Presentation 5%
Quizzes x 3 — 15%
Midterm — 15%
Final Exam — 20%

Required Texts:

Pidgin Grammar: An Introduction to the Creole English of Hawaii by Kent Sakoda and Jeff Siegel. Bess Press, 2003.

The History of English: An Introduction by Stephan Gramley. Routledge, 2012.