Language labyrinth (HIS 21)

  • Day and time: Thursday 12:30 - 13:45
  • Length of course: 2 terms. Autumn (10 Weeks), Spring (10 Weeks)
  • Number of places: 12
  • Start date: 14 October 2021
  • Description:

    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.

  • Format: Lecture with discussion and activities

  • Leader: Jenny Knight
  • After working in publishing as a freelance editor for many years, I enjoy sharing with others what I have learned about the evolution of the English language.

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