Historical Dimensions of the English Language

Aus Iaawiki

Sommersemester 2019

  • no current announcements

Course Information
Nr. Kursbezeichnung Typ Zeit Raum DozentIn
154141 Historical Dimensions of the English Language, Group A 2 S Mi 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
Course Description

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

Credits will be given for regular attendance, active participation, and passing two class tests.

2009 303
2016 304
Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften/Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften:
PO vor WS 16/17:
  • Kern: 3a, 6bc, 7bc
  • Komp: 2b, 4a
PO ab WS 16/17:
  • Kern: 3a, 6bc, 7bc
  • Komp: 2b, 4a