This course will take place online.
We will see how the huge vocabulary of English comes from sources as distant as the language of the Aztecs, Japan, West Africa, and Tartar. We will look at how people shoehorned foreign words to fit English sounds, how mistakes make new words, and how words convey more than just their definitions.
Who is this course for?
Anyone interested in finding out about the history of English words. 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.
The course was fantastic. Julian is a mine of information and I found the talk absolutely fascinating. I am going to tell everyone in my Literature class about him! I am particularly grateful that you are still providing online courses as I have mobility issues and could not travel into London. Thank you for providing a talk of such high calibre.
I am always keen to continue learning, and am particularly interested in language and its history. This course has broadened my mind and enhanced my understanding of the English language (and others along the way)!
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
- All about the main pathways by which words have come into the English language
- How people tried to stop new words being incorporated into the language
- How folk etymology creates nonsense words that come to be accepted.
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.
Need to Know
- 19:00 - 21:00
- £20/£15 concession
- Julian Walker
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code