Course Instructor Days Times Room


The development of present English through the stages of Old English, Middle English, and early Modern English. Study of elementary phonetics, phonemics, sound change, and dialect variation

This course will introduce students to some basic concepts of language study and to the history and present status of the English language.  It will be intensive:  we have much ground to cover. We will examine texts to illustrate changes.   Sound recordings will be played in class to illustrate different varieties of English. At the end of the course, students will have gained perspective with which to evaluate common questions regarding language and linguistics in the modern world.

  1. Aug 14, 16, 18             M class intro; W EE 1;  F EE App 1.
  2. Aug 21, 23, 25             M EE App 1; W EE App 2; F BJ 1.
  3. Aug 28, 30, Sep 1       M EE 2; W EE 2; F BJ 2.
  4. Sep 4, 6, 8                  M no class; W BJ 3; F  Hourly 1.
  5. Sep 11, 13, 15               M EE 3; W EE 3; F BJ 4.
  6. Sep 18, 20, 22                         no class this week.
  7. Sep 25, 27, 29             M EE 4; W EE 4; F BJ 5. F Paper 1.
  8. Oct 2, 4, 6                   M EE 5; W EE 5; F BJ 6.
  9. Oct 9, 11, 13                 M EE 6; W EE6; F Hourly 2.
  10. Oct 16, 18, 20              M EE 7; W EE 7; F BJ 7.
  11. Oct 23, 25, 27             M EE 8; W  EE8, Paper 2; F no class.
  12. Oct 30, Nov 1, 3          M EE 9;  W EE 9; F BJ 8.
  13. Nov 6, 8, 10                M EE App 3; W EE App 3; F  BJ 9.
  14. Nov 13, 15, 17              M EE 10, L 6, L 8; W EE 10,; F  BJ 10, Prospectus due..
  15. Nov 20, 22, 24                        no class this week, Thanksgiving.   
  16. Nov 27, 29, Dec 1       M EE 11; W EE 12; F BJ 11.                         
  17. Dec 4, 5 (Fri sch)       M Review; T Hourly 3.
  18. Thursday, Dec. 7        Term paper due.


Lecture/discussion. Monday and Wednesday lecture/discussion of the textbook, and we will discuss the more complex readings in the course pack on Fridays. There will be three in-class tests ("hourly exams"). There will also be two short papers (5 pp. = one hourly exam in value), and a prospectus (3-5 pp. =  hourly exam in value) that proposes an idea for a major paper due at the end of the term (prepared according to standard practices for academic papers, and including appropriate use of the scholarly literature, c. 15 pp undergrad, c. 20 pp. grad = two hourly exams).  The term project will normally be an argumentative essay in which students select and analyze the language of a short selection of writing (but not standard Modern English) with attention to its significant linguistic features; students may select another topic relevant to the course, with my permission in advance.


Grades will be the average of the hourly exams, papers, and the term project (8 units).


Attendance is mandatory: you will be dropped from the course if you miss 4 classes before midterm.


BelJean course pack, consisting of a draft textbook (for Cambridge UP) by Kretzschmar called "The Emergence of English", plus the following articles/sections:

1: M. Tomasello, Origins of Language, Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition (Cambridge: Harvard UP), 8-42; 2: Complex Systems, in A. Burkette and W. Kretzschmar, Introduction to Language and Complex Systems (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, forthcoming);  3:Grammar and Complex Systems, in W. Kretzschmar, Language and Complex Systems (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015); 4: Languages in Paradise, in U. Eco, Serendipities (New York: Columbia UP, 1998), 23-52; 5: Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book 1:1-23 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); 6: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, entries from 870 to 1016, ed. Swanton (London: Routledge, 1998); 7: W. Kretzschmar and M. Stenroos, Evidence from Surveys and Atlases in the History of the English Language, in T. Nevalainen and E. Traugott, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the History of English (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 111-122; 8: J. Milroy, Historical Description and the Ideology of the Standard Language, in L. Wright, ed., The Development of Standard English 1300-1800 (Cambridge, 2000), 11-28; 9: C. S. Lewis, Studies in Words, 2nd ed., (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1967), Chs. 1, 5); 10: E. Schneider, The Dynamics of New Englishes: From Identity Construction to Dialect Birth, Language 79 (2006): 233-281; 11:R. Lippi-Green, English with an Accent, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2012), Ch. 7.

Makeup Policy

By prior arrangement with instructor.