English 454/554: History of English
Spring 2012

Dr. Lynn Gordon
Office: Avery 347
Phone: 5-2117 (office); 2-2591 (home)
E-mail: gordonl@wsu.edu
Office Hours: MW 2:10-3:00 and by appointment

The topic of this course is the development of English from the time Germanic tribes invade the British Isles to the present.  We will consider how the changes in English exemplify language change in general, how language and society interact, how the language is used in literature and how English developed as a literate language.

Baugh and Cable. 2001. A History of the English Language (5th edition) (available in electronic form as a Google eBook for $31.88)

 English 454 homework 15% quizzes 35% final exam 50%  
 English 554 homework 10%  quizzes 25%          final exam 45%  paper 20%

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (subject to revision)
Week 1-2

Class organization, syllabus

What is language?  Introduction to articulatory phonetics and the vocal tract; phonetic representation and description of consonants and vowels; 

practice transcription and identification of English sounds

Week 3                           Reading: HEL Chapter 1 and 2

About English; Language families;  Indo-European and Germanic

Week 4-6                 Reading: HEL Chapter 3 and 4

History of English speakers from their arrival in England through the Norman Invasion

Phonological structure of Old English: Vowels and Consonants

OE Orthography (and its relationship to phonology); Morphology and Syntax

External influences on English

Week 7-9                        Reading: HEL Chapter 5, 6, and 7
            Supremacy of French, reemergence of English

Changes from OE to ME: linguistic and literary;  Middle English dialects

Week 10-13                 Reading: HEL Chapter 8 and 9
History of English speakers into the 18th century (The spectacular growth of the English-speaking world)
Moving from ME to EME; Old English Vowel Shift and other linguistic changes; more morphological/syntactic restructuring

Week 13-14                   Reading: HEL Chapter 10 and 11
History of English speakers from 18th century to present day
Changes from Early Modern English to Present Day English

Week 15
Case Study: Development of some syntactic constructions from OE to PDE
        Conclusions and Review

There will be regular homework, graded credit/no credit. Feel free to talk about your homework (and anything else in the class) with each other (and me, of course); however, you must write up your homework separately. Your homework will be accepted only at the time due or before--even if you feel your attempt is unsatisfactory, turn it in. No homework will be accepted late (unless there is a major disaster which calls you out of school; colds, the press of other classes, or the general difficulties of life do not constitute major disasters). If you do not turn in an assignment on time, your grade for that assignment will be 0.  If you turn in the homework and it has major problems, you will be allowed to revise it for credit.  If you turn in the homework on time without major problems you will get full credit.

There are no midterm exams in this class. In place of a midterm exam, there will be short quizzes every two to three weeks. The quizzes will consist of analyses similar to those we discuss in class and those on the homework assignments. No individual quiz is worth much; however all together they will form roughly a quarter to a third of your course grade. There will be no make-up quizzes unless there is a major disaster.  

You must make your own decisions as an adult whether or not to come to class. However, you should realize that coming to class is part of your job as a student, as is completing the homework on time and passing the quizzes and the final exam. Just coming to class will make meeting your other responsibilities in this class easier. I do not take attendance in this class, but I do reserve the right to give an attendance quiz (worth 50% of a regular quiz) without warning if the attendance in class falls too low.  

The final exam is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. - 5:10 p.m. on Wednesday, 2 May.  The final exam will be cumulative.  You will be allowed to bring one standard letter-size page of notes into the exam. Please note that it is not possible to reschedule the final exam, so please do not arrange your departure from Pullman for a time that interferes with taking the exam.

Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC). All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC (Washington Building, Room 217). Please stop by or call 509-335-3417 to make an appointment with a disability specialist.

As an institution of higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty.

You are expected to know and adhere to the rules on academic honesty as outlined in the WSU student handbook. If you violate those rules, depending on the degree of seriousness of your breach of academic integrity, you may fail the quiz or exam or the class as a whole and you may be reported to the Office of Student Conduct for further discipline.

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