This course will take place online.
We will also explore the influence of French, Norse and Latin, as Middle English became a form of the language recognisable to us now. We will consider the adoption of words from different languages and the sociolinguistics of grammar and pronunciation. We will also discover attempts to control the language, the divergence of English into different forms, the London voice, and how language continues to change.
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.
What can I expect?
Students are encouraged to bring along their own experiences of language for comparison, and to have a go at using historical accents. On-site courses include physical access to original materials such as historic dictionaries and documents; online courses use a large range of images of texts for illustration, as well as quotations and explanations. Handouts explaining the main points are issued after sessions.
Joining via Zoom
This course or event 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.
You will need a computer or other device to connect with Zoom and a notebook/paper and pen/pencil, or digital equivalent.
We provide a number of funded bursaries to people who find it hard to pay the full or concessionary rates. Find out more information on how to apply.
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You will learn
- How English 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
- Recent developments and attempts to manage the language.
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. Julian is 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. An associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London, 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; Shakespeare’s pronunciation.
1650 to 1850. Dictionaries, grammars and prescriptivism; the emergence of Standard English; the origin of and changes in punctuation; dialect and difference.
Dialects; 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
- £119/£89 concession
- Julian Walker
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code