The winding route through English begins with language itself: its prehistory and theories about its origin. The first step after that is the ancestral languages identified in the eighteenth century, with a focus on our Indo-European group. The journey takes in all the significant languages once spoken in Britain: Celtic variants, forms of Latin, Germanic tribal dialects, Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and Norman French. Diversions include the development of punctuation, runes, regional dialects and foreign infiltrations into modern English. Evidence from place names, history and literature is examined. At the end of the journey we consider the international significance of English and the evolution of the language in our lifetimes. Class members will be set oral and written tasks and will be expected to take part in discussion and in reading scripts. General knowledge of English history and literature required. Not suitable for those whose English is limited.
Note: The Autumn term will be held via video-conference (Zoom).