In order to understand (a) language as a historical phenomenon, it does not suffice to treat history as a story and to merely describe the development of a language. If we wish to understand why and ... Lesen Sie weiter
In order to understand (a) language as a historical phenomenon, it does not suffice to treat history as a story and to merely describe the development of a language. If we wish to understand why and under which circumstances English developed the way it did, we will have to look at its history with reference to our understanding of how human languages change in general.
By taking a closer look at all historical periods of English we will see how subtle digressions from an established code, in the long run, cause completely new structures to emerge. This means that, the huge differences between the English from a thousand years ago and the English of today are caused by various mechanisms, all of which present every time we use language in our every-day world. Different mechanisms may operate on different levels of linguistic description - phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics - but these factors may conflict with each other and or may mutually reinforce each other. It will be the main aim of this class to gain an understanding of how these mechanisms work.
The lecture History of English Iwill not only accompany this class, it will provide the basics that form an essential prerequisite for the seminar. Participation in the seminar without attending the lecture is therefore not recommended. In the seminar we will be able to work with more detailed case studies. This allows us to expand and intensify the knowledge from the lecture. At the end of the term, the participants of this seminar will have gained a profound understanding into the methods and aims of Historical Linguistics as a central branch of linguistics.
Requirements for credit points are a short term paper, an oral presentation in class and regular and active participation. The seminar begins in the first week of term. Students who are interested in the class but cannot come in the first week, are kindly asked to notify me via email before the start of the lecture period.