Skip to main content

History of the English Language

History of the English Language

Course Overview

This course will introduce students to the linguistic and social development of the English language from its Indo-European roots to its various forms today. It will trace specific changes in the language-apparent in its sounds, grammar, meaning, and written forms-alongside an exploration of the social and historical forces that effect that change. We will look closely at all phases of the language by looking at original documents, in original and virtual forms. Students will learn specifically how and why the Englishes of Beowulf, Chaucer, the U.S. Constitution, rap music, and many points between and around theses differ. Students will discuss the historical, political, and social causes and effects of dialectical variety in English in London and around the world. We will talk about the effects of technologies such as the printing press and the internet on the language, as well. Students will leave the course with a deep knowledge of English yesterday, today, and even tomorrow.
Course visits (subject to change): the British Museum, the British Library, the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, the Tower of London, Chancery Lane and the Inns of Court, Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare's Globe Theater, Dr. Johnson's House, East India Docks. Plus, students will get to hear so many varieties of England in one of the most linguistically diverse English-speaking cities.
Contact Information:
Molly Martin
(337) 465 5319

About Dr. Molly Martin

Dr. Molly Martin
Molly Martin graduated from Purdue University with a Ph.D. in Middle English Language and Literature, and a secondary area in Old English Language and Literature. She has been at McNeese State University since 2007, and has taught medieval English literature, medieval Latin, composition, and grammar, in addition to the history of the English language. She has published one book, Vision and Gender in Malory's Morte Darthur, and articles and book chapters on Chaucer, Malory, and pedagogy. She is currently working on a book about castle space in Arthurian literature.