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History of the English Language

Class at Faculty of Arts |




The course seeks to present the English language both as a dynamic organism with a structural history of its own and a mirror reflecting much of the past of its speakers. Individual topics trace the origin and development of forms and functions which eventually gave rise to Modern English.


The lecture will be combined with a seminar based on directed readings of selected texts. Lecture topics include: Aims and Methods of Historical Linguistics, Change in Language; The Germanic; Old English; Old English and Anglo-Saxon England; Norsemen and Normans; Middle English; Early Modern English.


Topic-related worksheets

Barber, Ch., The Story of Language, 1964

Barber, Ch., The English Language: A Historical Introduction, 1993

Baugh, A.C., Cable T., A History of the English Language, 1992

Berndt, R., A History of the English Language, 1984

Vachek, J., Historical Development of English, 1970


Written and oral examination; knowledge of the topics and problems discussed is geared to the requirements of the B.A.-Level Exam (postupová zkouška).



This seminar is geared to the lecture History of the English Language.


The seminar provides readings and discussions aimed to increase the students' understanding of the major historical forces shaping the development of English. The language in texts of various periods (one text per week) is probed for its forms and functions in relation to contemporary English.


Relevant texts and worksheets will be available at the beginning of the academic year/Semester.


Credit on the basis of attendance, course work and a concluding test.