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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2004

E 364M • History of the English Language

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33065 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
PAR 306

Course Description

In this course we will survey the history of what could be argued to be now the most popular language in the world, and certainly the most widely known. Beginning with its prehistory on the Continent over two thousand years ago, we will trace the fortunes of English from Anglo-Saxon times to its present manifestations across national boundaries. We will learn the distinctions of sounds, inflectional endings, and sentence patterns that mark each major stage of the language. Though the course will focus on the different forms of the language as they survive in various texts, we will pay some attention to the interaction between the internal history of English and the social and political contexts that define its external history. The goal is a better understanding of change in English and the signs of this change that can be seen everywhere from spelling to legal procedure. No previous study of linguistics is required; a willingness to learn phonetic transcription early in the semester, however, is crucial. There will be weekly homework exercises to give practice in working with different aspects of analysis that have been developed for English, and I will collect and mark some of these to keep us on course.

Grading Policy

Graded exercises and attendance 20%
Two in-class exams (50 minutes each) 25% each
Comprehensive final exam 30%


Celia Millward, A Biography of the English Language, 2nd edition (1996)
Millward, Workbook to Accompany A Biography of the English Language (1990)


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