This seminar will acquaint students with the main historical periods of the English language (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English) and theoretical and methodological problems and approaches in studying these varieties. Students will also learn about language-internal and language-external explanations of linguistic change and apply them to historical varieties of English. We will also examine topics in the history of linguistics, with particular reference to linguistic schools and approaches that have been crucial to the development of historical linguistics as a discipline. Through the use of various media apart from academic literature (video, audio presentations, online sources, computer corpora), the seminar will offer students various modes of learning about the history of English, language change, and linguistic theory.
The course has 2 timetabled hours per week. Consultation sessions are available prior to the submission of the final research essay. Details to follow.
Weekly reading materials will be made available on Moodle every week. Please note that the HKU library has in its collection various monographs, edited books, journals pertinent to this course. Some of them are retrievable under the call number [420.9].
The course will enable students
- To critically engage with historical linguistics as a field and with the various assumptions about the ontology of language and languages
- To get an understanding of the main periods of English and of some of its major structural developments.
- To familiarize themselves with the various approaches to language and change
- To acquaint themselves with the ideological dimensions underlying the discourses on language change, and the English language in particular.
- To provide students with the opportunity to research aspects of the history of English of particular interest to them.
This course will be based on 100% coursework.
1 – a personal reflection on the course (500 words) (10%)
2 – In-Class Written Test (40%)
3 – An individual research paper (2000 words) (50%)