WiSe 12/13: S-Historical Linguistics II: History of English II
In this course, we will study the history of the English language from its beginnings in the Migration Period until about the time when English started its spread around the world. We will ... Lesen Sie weiter
In this course, we will study the history of the English language from its beginnings in the Migration Period until about the time when English started its spread around the world. We will investigate how the West-Germanic dialects in Britain changed over time, absorbed Latin, Scandinavian and Romance elements, were adapted to the changing requirements and mindsets of their speakers, and eventually turned into the language we know today.
When dealing with Old, Middle and Early Modern English, linguists have to rely exclusively on what written material has come down to us from these periods as their object of investigation. They work with editions of manuscripts and prints which include notes, glossaries and translations. In order to better understand the nature of the data we are studying and the difficulties inherent in working with such data, we will take a critical look at the methods of philological text reconstruction and the various types of scholarly editions.
With English as our object of investigation, we will study general principles of language change on all levels of linguistic analysis - phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Students will be introduced to the aims and methods of diachronic linguistics and gain an understanding of the way human languages change, not just in the past, but also in the present and the future.
A reader will be made available at the beginning of the course. Credit requirements are:
Active participation in discussions based on weekly reading assignments.
A very short oral presentation of one of the reading assignments as an introduciton to that week's discussion - your thoughts on and questions to the text, ideas for discussion, etc.
A short essay of about 2000 words, to be handed in by the end of the semester.