ENGL 319

History of the English Language: Later History (3 credits)

Course Description
The purpose of the course is to provide students with an understanding of how the English language has changed from the Norman Conquest (1100) to today. The course begins with a description of the historical events leading to the growth of Middle English (1100–1500). The linguistic features of Middle English are studied, focusing on the rise of analytic features. We then trace phonological, grammatical, and lexical changes into Early Modern English (1500–1700), with an emphasis on the Great Vowel Shift. Grammatical and lexical changes in the Late Modern English period (1700-1920) are explored and the rise of prescriptivism in the eighteenth century is studied in depth. Finally, the course considers lexical and grammatical changes in Present-Day English and the effects of media and computer-mediated language upon the development of English. The concept of ‘global English’ is also explored.

Required Texts
Laurel J. Brinton and Leslie K. Arnovick, The English Language: A Linguistic History. 3rd edition (Oxford UP, 2017). ISBN 9780199-019151
Online supplemental material: www.oupcanada.com/BrintonArnovick3e

Knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is required – this is non-negotiable. ENGL 318 or ENGL 330 or the equivalent is recommended (these courses may be taken concurrently). Students must have third-year standing and have completed the Writing Requirement of their Faculty.

ENGL 319 (partially) satisfies requirement (B) for the English Language Emphasis Major, the combined Language & Literature Emphasis Major, the combined Language & Literature Honors, and the Minor in Language. It also satisfies category (c) in the English Honors degree.. It (partially) satisfies admission requirements for the secondary teaching programs in English Education and English Language Learner Education in the Faculty of Education.

Course Format
The course consists primarily of traditional lecture, with time allotted for questions and discussion and occasional (ungraded) group work on exercises. The Powerpoint slides for all classes are posted on Canvas (in advance of class whenever possible). Since topics may be covered in class (in response to questions) that are not on the Powerpoint slides, attendance in class is strongly encouraged. However, attendance is not taken and does not figure into the final mark. Readings for the course should be done in advance of the day assigned and reviewed after class.
English 319 is a fact-based course. There is a body of factual information, a set of grammatical concepts, and a technical vocabulary to be learned. Students will need to become conversant with a wealth of details related to changes in the English language on all linguistic levels.

The work required in this course includes:
TWO in-class tests                                               72%
FOUR online quizzes                                          28%
Total                                                                  100%
TWO in-class tests                                               62%
FOUR online quizzes                                          28%
Optional paper                                                     10%
Total                                                                    100%

The two tests are non-comprehensive. The second test will be held during the April examination period, but will be no different in kind, length, or value from the mid-term test. You must sit every test to pass the course. (Students who for personal/medical/family/academic reasons are unable to sit an examination on the date scheduled must speak to the instructor beforehand.)

The online quizzes (on Connect) will consist of multiple choice, matching, and T/F questions. Quizzes will be released on Friday afternoon and due the following Friday at 11:00 a.m. There is otherwise no time limit. You may attempt the quiz only once.

For a description of the optional paper, see the Assignment folder on Canvas. Late submissions are not accepted unless prior permission has been granted by the instructor.

Self-testing Exercises
Self-testing exercises from the book will also be assigned. Answers are provided at the end of the text. The in-class tests will be similar in kind to the homework exercises. For success in this course, it is crucial that the self-testing exercises be completed when assigned. There are additional self-testing exercises on the companion website: www.oupcanada.com/BrintonArnovick3e

Learning outcomes:
Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to

  • recognize the (later) major stages of English (Middle English, Early Modern English, and Late Modern English), describe their linguistic features, and trace the developments from one stage to another;
  • understand the rise of prescriptivism and its effect on current attitudes toward language;
  • explain ongoing changes in the language, including the effects of media and computer-mediated language, and see the place and role of ‘global English’; and
  • recognize how the current state of the English language has resulted from historical change.

All materials of this course (course handouts, lecture slides, assessments, course readings, etc.) are the intellectual property of the Course Instructor or licensed to be used in this course by the copyright owner. Redistribution of these materials by any means without permission of the copyright holder(s) constitutes a breach of copyright and may lead to academic discipline.