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History of the English Language

Class at Faculty of Arts |

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zimní semestr

Weeks 1-7: Old English (seen against the background of the Germanic)

Weeks 8-13: Middle English letní semestr week1: Early Modern English: an introduction

Week 2: The Story of English (Old, Middle and Early Modern English on video)

Week 3: Early Modern English: language in the community

Week 4: Early Modern English: borrowing and word-formation

Week 5: Early Modern English: morphology

Week 6: Early Modern English: syntactic structures

Week 7: Early Modern English: changes in pronunciation

Week 8: Sound change

Week 9: Morphological change

Week 10: Syntactic change

Week 11: Lexical and semantic change

Week 12: Language contact and linguistic change

Week 13: Explaining change in language



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).