ENG 215 History of the English Language

This course explores how modern English—or, more accurately, modern Englishes—developed from distant origins in Indo-European to the present. We will emphasize how modern vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and spelling can be better understood when we recognize the history hiding behind what we say and write. We’ll examine how we think about authority and power when it comes to language and what it means to be right and wrong. Special topics will include African American English; Kentucky, Appalachian, and southern dialects; language and technology; gender-neutral language; and the history of dictionaries and correctness.