English 7160X: History of the English Language

Tanya Pollard

3153 Boylan

Tuesday 4:30-6:10

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 12:15-1 & 3:30-4:15, Th 10:30-11, and by appointment

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

8-30

Introduction

2

9-6

Origins: Crystal 15-33, 57-85; Bryson, 46-53; Bragg, 6-7 (Blackboard); texts at http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/stella/readings/OE/OE.HTM (1)

3

9-13

Middle English: Crystal 105-107, 121-139, 145-162, 222-253; Bryson, 53-63 Bragg, 32-39 (Blackboard); texts at http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/stella/readings/Middle/MIDDLE.HTM (2)

4

9-20

Renaissance: Crystal 254-333, 339-341; Bragg, 109-120 (Blackboard) texts at http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/stella/readings/EMod/EMODERN.HTM (3)

5

9-27

Standardization: Crystal 365-414; Bryson 147-160; http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?page_id=8 (4)

6

10-4

No class

7

10-11

No class

 

10-14

Friday class: Review

8

10-18

Exam

9

10-25

America and elsewhere: Crystal 419-452; Bryson 161-178; https://archive.org/details/americandictiona01websrich (1)

10

11-1

English expands: Crystal 453-479; Bragg, 236-260 (Blackboard); http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/hobsonjobson/frontmatter/frontmatter.html & http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hakluyt/voyages/v12/chapter11.html (2)

11

11-8

Fusion Englishes, Future Englishes: Crystal 502-509, 514-534; Abley, 54-100 (Blackboard); Bryson 179-195, 239-245; Chotiner, “Globish for Beginners,” http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/

2010/05/31/100531crbo_books_chotiner?currentPage=all; Learn English online; The Internet and language Change; How the internet is changing language; Oh Twitter, what will become of our language?; Experts divided over internet changes to language (3 & 4)

** proposal for final project, including bibliography

12

11-15

Exam

13

11-22

Research presentations and responses (1 & 2)

14

11-29

Research presentations and responses (3 & 4)

15

12-6

Research paper due; peer-editing workshop

16

12-13

Revised research paper due

Course Requirements and Expectations:

Attendance

Because your contributions to class discussion are a central part of your work for this course, attendance is crucial.  If you miss more than two classes, your overall grade will drop; at four absences, you will fail the class. Class will begin promptly at 4:30; arriving after that point will count as one-third of an absence.

Texts

I have ordered two texts for this course: David Crystal, The Stories of English, and Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue.  Both are available at the college bookstore.; you may purchase them elsewhere if you prefer, or borrow them from a library.  Excerpts from other texts will be provided electronically.  You are required to bring hard copies of texts with you to class; failure to do so will result in lowering of grade.

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, and you will be required to present ideas for class discussion on a rotating basis.  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 while others are speaking, and ringing from cell-phones, pagers, watches, etc.

Writing

Over the course of the semester you will write two short (2 pp) papers accompanying in-class presentations, as well as a research proposal (2 pp), a peer-edit critique (2 pp), and a research paper (12-15 pp); other assignments will include regular quizzes and two in-class exams. All written work should have a central claim that is well argued, clearly written, and directly supported by close readings of textual passages; the research paper will also incorporate, and respond to, at least five secondary sources.  All papers should be stapled, typed, double-spaced, in a 12-point font, with one-inch margins on all sides.  Written work is due at the start of class, and lateness will result in lowering of the grade by one-third of a grade per day.  Any use of others’ ideas must be fully acknowledged in footnotes; 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:

Brief weekly quizzes

Short (2 page) essays, 5% each

Presentations and participation

Midterm exam

Final exam

Final research project (5% proposal, 5% draft, 15% final)

 

15%

10%

20%

15%

15%

25%

Selected Recommended Additional Readings (some excerpts available on Blackboard):

 

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

 

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

 

David Crystal ed., The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (Cambridge, 1995); more at http://www.davidcrystal.com/David_Crystal/english.htm

 

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)

 

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, ed, A Companion to the History of the English Language (Blackwell, 2008)

 

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