This course will take place online, for a reduced rate of Full £95 / Conc. £71
This course progresses from the family of Indo-European languages, to the arrival and development of Old English, through the influence of French, Norse and Latin. It also looks at changes in pronunciation and the influence of printing, as Middle English became a form of the language we now know.
We will consider the adoption of words from many different languages, the sociolinguistics of grammar and pronunciation, attempts to control the language, the divergence of English into different forms globally, and how the language is changing now.
Who is this course for?
Anyone interested in finding out about the history of the English language; no previous knowledge of the subject is necessary.
Will I need any equipment or materials?
This course will be held via Zoom. You need a computer/laptop or mobile phone to access the Zoom website, and a reliable internet connection. For further information on how to join a Zoom meeting, you can watch the joining video here.
Will I be assessed?
There is no formal assessment for courses at Bishopsgate Institute. However, to monitor your learning and progress, tutors will assess your participation in classroom activities.
Image: Great Diary Project Archive
You will learn
By the end of this course, you will have learnt:
- Where the roots of English lie, and how it evolved from other languages
- How languages such as Old Norse, French, Latin, and other European and non-European languages fed into English
- How the language has changed over 1500 years, and is still evolving
- Attempts to control the development of English
- How Scottish and American English developed as identifiably different from so-called standard English
- Recent developments and the role of English globally.
Meet the Tutor
Julian Walker worked as an educator at the British Library for 16 years. He teaches book and printing history, and the history of English.
A practising printmaker, he is also the authority on the English language during the First World War, a subject of ongoing research in the Languages and the First World War project, which he directs.
A former honorary research associate at UCL, he has written several books on the history of English in fields such as cooking, sport and conflict.
- The path from Indo-European to Old English
- The relationship to Celtic
- The first writing in English
- The Scandinavian and Latin influence
- Dialects of OE
- Word-building and the loss of inflexions
- Sound changes
- How politics changes language
- The core events of 1066 and 1204 and the relationship with French
- The power-balance between French and Middle English
- Sound changes
- Changes in grammar
- 1500 to 1650
- The influence of printing
- Changes in pronunciation
- Lexis and phraseology
- The influence of the Renaissance
- Translating the Bible into English
- Sources for the growth of the vocabulary
- Latinate terms and arguments about English
- Scholarship of English
- Dictionaries and prescriptivism from 1540 to 2020
- Shakespeare’s pronunciation
- 1650 to 1850
- Grammars and prescriptivism
- The emergence of Standard English
- The origin of and changes in punctuation
- Dialect and difference
- The London voice
- Status, social class, and power in the use of English – swearing, slang and jargon
- The teaching of English
- Estuary English
- American English and Scots/Scottish English
- How English is changing now
- English as a foreign language
- Prescriptivism now or "managing the language"
Need to Know
- 19:00 – 21:00
- £95/£71 conc.
- Bishopsgate Institute
- Julian Walker
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code