This course examines the history of English from its origins in the Germanic branch of the Indoeuropean language family, through its modern position as the most widely spoken language in the world. We will study both internal developments, such as sound changes and the ways sentences are structured, and external factors, such as the social and political forces that favoured such changes.
The main aims of the course are:
-to give students an outline of the origins and history of the English language at all the levels of linguistic analysis;
-to provide students with the basic tools for the linguistic analysis of Old, Middle and Early Modern English textual data. For this purpose, students will be trained in the use of a variety of materials available for the study of the history of the language: printed texts, audio files, dictionaries, corpora, on-line sources, etc.