Historical Dimensions of the English Language

Aus Iaawiki
Wechseln zu: Navigation, Suche
Current Announcements
  • The new course can be applied for during the Nachmeldephase.


  • WS 18/19

Course Information

Nr. Kursbezeichnung Typ Zeit Raum DozentIn
154141 Historical Dimensions of the English Language - Group A 2 S Di 16:15 – 17:45 R. 3.306 Ronan
154142 Historical Dimensions of the English Language - Group B 2 S Mo 08:30 – 10:00 R. 3.208 D. Hamblock
154143 Historical Dimensions of the English Language - Group C NEW COURSE 2 S Di 08:30 – 10:00 R. 3.205 D. Hamblock

Course Description

Group A:
This seminar investigates the development of the English language from its earliest roots – the Indo-European language family via developments leading towards the creating of Old-, Middle-, Early Modern-, Late Modern- and Present Day English.
To do this, we will investigate the cultural, historical and societal background in the respective eras, and changes that influence the development of language and see how they influence phonetics, phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax and pragmatics of the language over time. In the class, we will apply this knowledge in textual work in the class.

Group B: and Group C:
The earliest English texts date back to around 700 - and their language is extremely different from the English language as we know it. And even if we consider a text from the end of the 14th century, we will find it more recognizable, but still far from easily readable. Shakespeare's works seem to offer a safe footing - but why are the sisters in Macbeth weird, and why couldn't Shakespeare find correct rhymes, at least some of the time? Then again, Shakespeare's language is markedly different from 14th century English, and even more so from the earliest texts. The explanation to all this lies in the fact that English is a language, and languages are forever subject to change, be it in pronunciation, vocabulary, or syntax. We will outline some of the major changes which have affected the English language over its long history, and which have contributed to its present shape. In the process, we will consider some basics about historical linguistics, i.e. the description and explanation of language change. This will involve the search for causes of linguistic change, which may be found inside language itself, but also in the cultural circumstances in which languages are embedded.

Course Requirements

Group A:
Evaluation is by a portfolio of two in-class tests during the term.
The course reading is Kohnen, Th. Introduction to the History of English. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Group B:
Credits will be given for regular attendance, submitting a series of exercises, and the end-of-term written test.


Lehramtsstudiengänge: MA BML 2005:
LPO 2003:
  • GHR:
  • GyGe: 4a
  • SP1. Fach:
  • SP2. Fach:
  • BK: 4a
LABG 2009:
  • G:
  • HRG:
  • GyGe/BK: 303
  • SP:
LABG 2016:
  • G:
  • HRSGe:
  • GyGe/BK: 304
  • SP:
Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften/

Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften:

  • B.A.ALK:
  • B.A.AS: Kern: 6bc, 7bc, Komp: 2b, 4a
  • M.A.ALK:
  • M.A.AS: 1ab
Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften/

Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften PO ab WS 16/17:

  • B.A.ALK:
  • B.A.AS: Kern: 3a, 6bc, 7bc Komp: 2b, 4a
  • M.A.ALK:
  • M.A.AS: 1ab