The History of the English Language

Arachne | | Friday, October 30th, 2009

History of the English Language

    A panoramic view of the social, economic and historical influences which have shaped and continue to shape the English language.

    This course was developed and presented as a lecture over six 1½ hour sessions with 30 minutes set aside each session for questions and discussion. However the material can be used in a variety of ways; “one-offs”, short courses, discussion groups, as a stimulus for group work and independent research. Course leaders should feel free to adapt this material as needed. Suggestions about how this might be done are included.

    Course Outline:

        * What is language?
        * Where did the English language come from?
        * The Indo European family of languages.
        * Celtic influence.
        * Latin influence.
        * Anglo-Saxon influence.
        * Scandinavian influence.
        * French influence.
        * The Renaissance: an intellectual revolution.
        * World Expansion: new worlds to conquer — effect on vocabulary.
        * 17th — 18th centuries: attempts to standardise the language — grammar, spelling, dictionaries.
        * 19th century onwards: growth of science and technology — coining words for the modern world.
        * Where to from here for the English language?



       1. English Spelling — why is it so?
       2. Slang — its uses and abuses.
       3. Some old terms, many of which are no longer used.


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