English 396
History of the English Language
Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.
MWF: 9-9:50
Classroom: NC 204
Office:  MC 536
Phone: 796-3485
Required Text: A History of the English Language (fourth edition), by Albert C. Baugh and Thomas Cable, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1993.  The text is available at the college bookstore.

This semester we will study the history of the origins and development of the English language.  We will examine the nature and function of the language in our lives, how and why it gives us pleasure, purpose, and even discomfort, and how we shape the language today!  We will also examine relevant linguistic issues including Ebonics, spelling pedagogy, slang, sexism in language, composition pedagogy, and standard versus nonstandard English usage.

We will use a combination of lectures, class discussions, and individual presentations.  Because much of the material will probably be new to the students, I strongly encourage perfect attendance and engaged preparation through careful reading of the assignments.

There will be no exams for this class.  The students will keep a portfolio of personal essay responses to class reading assignments (chapters) and discussions, as well as a collection of published essays from professional journals.  The portfolio will count as 50 percent of the final grade.  Each student will be assigned to lead the discussion of one chapter in the book.  For this exercise the student will be asked to prepare handouts, questions, articles, notes, audio or video works appropriate for that chapter.  This exercise will count as 25 percent of the final grade.  The students will also prepare individual projects that focus on any element of the history of English, and they will present that project to the class the weeks of April 26 and May 3. The project proposal must be approved by the professor before the midterm, the project must be submitted to the professor in written form during finals week.  The project will count as 25 percent of the final grade.  Anyone who has more than three unexcused absences during the semester will be penalized by 1/2 letter grade.  Anyone who has more than six unexcused absences will be penalized an additional 1/2 letter grade.  Any student who accrues more than six absences during the semester will be asked to withdraw from the class.

Week One: January 15 Introduction to the History of English
Week Two: January 22 Chapter One, "English Present and Future"
Week Three: January 29 Chapter Two, "The Indo-European Family of Languages"
Week Four: February 5 Chapter Three, "Old English" -- Tiffany Ertman and Leah Wyland
Week Five: February 12 Chapter Four, "Foreign Influences on Old English" --  Melissa Bender, and Kelly Doering
Week Six: February 19 Chapter Five, "The Norman Conquest and the Subjection of English, 1066-1200" -- Julie Weimar, Eric Slette and Ryan Hamilton
Week Seven: February 26 Chapter Five, "The Norman Conquest and the Subjection of English, 1066-1200"
Week Eight: March 5 Spring Break
Week Nine: March 12 Chapter Six, "The Reestablishment of English, 1200-1500" Joshua Olsen
Week Ten: March 19 Chapter Seven, "Middle English" -- Karen DuCharme, Matt Metzger, and Emily Heser
Week Eleven: March 26  Chapter Seven, "Middle English" (continued)
Week Twelve: April 2 Chapter Eight, "The Renaissance, 1500-1650" -- Nick Kotek and Sarah Grennan
Week Thirteen: April 9 
Easter Vacation April 12-16 
Chapter Eight, "The Renaissance, 1500-1650" (continued)
Week Fourteen: April 18 Chapter Nine, "The Appeal to Authority" Joe Dawson
Individual presentations
Week Fifteen: April 23  Chapter Ten, "The Nineteenth Century and After" 
Individual Presentations
Week Sixteen: April 30 Chapter Eleven, "The English Language in America" -- Sasha Myhrom 
Individual Presentations
Week Seventeen: May 7 Final Exams and Individual Presentations

Important Web Sites:

Click here for Dr. Edwin Duncan's web page on The History of English Language
Click here for the History of English Language Home Page
Click here for the University of Toronto's Home Page on The History of English Language
Click here for the Oxford English Dictionary Home Page
Click here for a "Linguistics" home page
Click here for one of the best "help list" web sites I've seen
Click here for a good web site on Native American languages

Additional Fun Web Sites on English and Grammar