English 7160X: History of the English Language

Tanya Pollard

3113 Boylan

Tuesday 6:30-8:10

E-mail: Tpollard@brooklyn.cuny.edu

Web: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/tpollard

Office: 3108 Boylan

Phone: 718-951-5000 x 6216

Hours: T 5:30-6:30 & by appt

The English language, like the United States, and like Brooklyn in particular, is a crazy quilt of countless languages and cultures.  This course will explore the development of English from its earliest forms to the present day, with an emphasis on the cultural encounters that have kept it in a constant state of mobility and expansion.  We will examine the language’s Anglo-Saxon beginnings and its early evolution in response to encounters with French, Latin, and Greek; explore some of the far-flung shores where England’s colonial and imperial ventures brought the language, and see what they brought it in return.  We will consider the distinctive status of American English, the question of when and how neologisms and slang terms become official components of the language, and the status of English as a global phenomenon, alongside the phenomenon of mixed linguistic forms such as Spanglish, Franglais, Danglish, Singlish, Hinglish, Tanglish, and Globish.  Students’ experiences with, and perspectives on, alternate forms of English will be welcomed into discussions.

Wk

Date

Assignment

1

1-29

Introduction

2

2-5

Origins: Crystal 15-33, 57-85; Bryson, 46-53; Bragg, 6-7; http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/stella/readings/OE/OE.HTM

3

2-12

No class

4

2-19

Middle English: Crystal 105-107, 121-139, 145-162, 222-253; Bryson, 53-63 Bragg, 32-39; http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/stella/readings/Middle/MIDDLE.HTM

5

2-26

Renaissance: Crystal 254-333, 339-341; Bragg, 109-120; http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/stella/readings/EMod/EMODERN.HTM

6

3-5

Standardization: Crystal 365-414; Bryson 147-160; http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?page_id=8

7

3-12

Review

8

3-19

Exam

9

3-26

America and elsewhere: Crystal 419-452; Bryson 161-178; https://archive.org/details/americandictiona01websrich

10

4-2

English expands: Crystal 453-479; Bragg, 236-260; http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/hobsonjobson/frontmatter/frontmatter.html & http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hakluyt/voyages/v12/chapter11.html

11

4-9

Fusion Englishes, Future Englishes: Crystal 502-509, 514-534; Abley, 54-100; Bryson 179-195, 239-245; Globish For Beginners; Social media and English; Texting and English; paper proposal due

12

4-16

Exam

13

4-23

No class

14

4-30

Research presentations and outlining workshop

15

5-7

Research presentations and drafting workshop

16

5-14

Research paper due; peer-editing workshop

17

5-21

Revised research paper due

 

Course Requirements and Expectations:

Attendance

Because contributions to class discussion are a central part of the work for this course, attendance is crucial. Missing more than two classes will lower your overall grade; four absences will mean failing. Arriving after 6:30 will count as one-third of an absence.

Texts

All readings for this class will be available in Blackboard.

Participation

Learning is a collaborative process, which works best when each of you engages fully with the texts and with each other.  To this end, I will expect you to participate actively in class discussions; your contributions will determine a significant portion of the semester’s grade. In order to build a classroom atmosphere of courtesy and concentration, please avoid behavior that is disrespectful and interferes with others’ learning, including rudeness, talking, texting, or emailing, and ringing from cell-phones, pagers, watches, etc.

Writing

Over the course of the semester you will post 4 short reading-responses on Blackboard (2 by March 5th, and 2 more by April 9th), as well as a research proposal, a peer-critique, and a 12-15p research paper; there will also be 2 exams. Reading responses should be posted before the class at which the reading is discussed. Any use of others’ ideas must be fully acknowledged; speak to me if you are unsure about what this means. Plagiarism is a serious offense, and will result in failing the class and being reported to the Dean’s Office.

Coursework and grading:

Reading responses and participation

Midterm exam

Final exam

Final research project (5% proposal, 10% draft, 25% final)

 

20%

20%

20%

40%

Selected Recommended Readings`

*Mark Abley, The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English (Houghton Mifflin, 2008)

*Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English (Arcade, 2003)

*Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way (Harper Collins, 1990)

David Crystal ed., The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (Cambridge, 1995)

*David Crystal, The Stories of English (Overlook, 2004)

Philip Durkin, The Oxford Guide to Etymology (Oxford, 2009)

Dennis Freeborn, From Old English to Standard English: A Coursebook in Language Variation Across Time (Ottawa, 1998)

Henry Hitchings, The Language Wars: A History of Proper English (FSG, 2011)

Geoffrey Hughes, A History of English Words (Blackwell, 2000)

Seth Lerer, Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language (Columbia, 2007)

Tom McArthur, The Oxford Companion to the English Language (Oxford, 1992).

Robert McCrum, Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language (Norton, 2010)

Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil, The Story of English (Faber & Faber, 1986)

Celia Millward, A Biography of the English Language (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1996)

Haruko Momma and Michael Matto, eds, A Companion to the History of the English Language (Blackwell, 2008)

Lynda Mugglestone, The Oxford History of English (Oxford, 2012)