ENG 215 History of the English Language

A study of the history of the English language, from its most distant origins in Indo-European to the present. Emphasis both on changes to vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation over time and on how the language mirrors historical and cultural change. Each student completes an independent research project. Typical topics might include study of a regional dialect of American English (Appalachian and Kentucky dialects, Tidewater dialects, California English, Gullah, etc.), the English Only controversy, the history and structure of African American Vernacular English, the history of efforts to eliminate gender bias from the language, the history of English dictionaries, the use of English dialects by particular literary authors (Twain, Faulkner, Joyce, Zora Neale Hurston), language and the internet, the future of English as a world language, and the history of English obscenities. No prerequisites.