History of English language

A.Y. 2019/2020
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
L-LIN/12
Language
English
Learning objectives
The course aims to illustrate the evolution of the English language over time, as a possible way to explain the nature and functioning of today's English, through an approach that refers to the principles of historical sociolinguistics.
Such learning objective is consistent with the general learning objectives of the Study Programme as it helps graduates gain an excellent linguistic and metalinguistic competence.
In particular, the introductory lessons of the course aim to recall the fundamental concepts of historical linguistics (language change, the different types of variation, development of a standard language etc), and then broadly describe the features of language change - at the phonological, morphosyntactic and lexical levels - from Old to Late Modern English, the description of the various phenomena being substantiated by evidence of language usage in various periods. Finally, attention is focused on the monographic component of the course, dealing synchronically with a topic or problem that is relevant to the diachronic evolution of English.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: essential lines of the development of the history of the English language from its beginnings to the present time; main changes and developments in terms of spelling, phonology, morphosyntax, and lexis; nature of language change.

Applying knowledge and understanding: ability to read, understand and contextualize a variety of English language documents from the Old to the Late Modern times; ability to autonomously deal with 'new' language documents; improved language competence in and increased metalinguistic awareness of the nature and usage of the English language nowadays.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The course is entitled Standard language, variation and norms between early and late modern English and it is divided into the following three teaching units:

A: Early Modern English: searching for a standard language;
B: Norms and variation in Late Modern English;
C: The history of English: an overview.

After a short introduction to language variation and change and to a sociolinguistic approach to the history of languages, the course will focus on the early/late modern debates about the English language, and the contemporary attempts at codifying and standardising usage (Units A-B).
These teaching units will also consider a few representative samples of the language from the Old to the Late Modern English periods; these will be analysed as evidence of different stages of language evolution and the main changes at the phonological, morphosyntactic and lexical levels.
The course will include an outline of the history of the English language (Unit C).

The 6-credit exam consists of two compulsory teaching units (A and B); students interested in the 9-credit exam will add unit C.


Students taking the exam for 9 credits will also have to undertake a short research on a specific topic/text/author related to the course. The subject will have to be agreed on with Prof. Iamartino. The findings of the research (to be summarized in 3 or 4 A4 pages or a dozen powerpoint presentation slides) will be discussed during the exam.


The syllabus is valid until July 2021.
Prerequisites for admission
The course, which is taught in English, the texts read during the classes, and the bibliography for the exam all imply that students should be competent in English (QCER B2+/C1 level). Also, students are expected to be knowledgeable about the basics of English linguistics and, if possible, of Germanic philology.
Teaching methods
The following teaching methods will be used: lectures (with ample space for discussion and interaction); a short anthology of works from different periods of the history of the English language will be read aloud, translated into modern English, and commented on from a philological and linguistic point of view.
Teaching Resources
Teaching Units A-B
· Ingrid Tiecken-Boon van Ostade, An Introduction to Late Modern English, Edinburgh University
Press, Edinburgh 2009 (compulsory reading);
· one of the following handbooks: (a) Stephan Gramley, The story of English. An introduction,
Routledge, London and New York 2012; (b) Simon Horobin, Studying the history of early English,
Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2010; (c) David Graddol, Dick Leith & Joan Swann, English: history, diversity and change, Routledge, London and New York 1996;
· one's lesson notes;
· handouts and powerpoint presentations made used of during the classes and available on the ARIEL course website.

Teaching Unit C
· By using the bibliography for Units A and B, students are expected to acquire a wider and more in-depth knowledge of the history of the English language.

Notice for non-attending students
The syllabus is the same for attending and non-attending students.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an interview, which includes questions asked by the teacher, interactions between the teacher and the student, and the analysis of and comments on one or more language documents. The interview usually lasts between 15 or 20 minutes, depending on the teaching units chosen by the student, and it is carried out in either English or Italian at the student's choice.
The interview aims to verify the knowledge of the linguistic facts, phenomena and changes covered by the course; the student's ability to contextualize and comment on the linguistic documents, his/her precision in the use of terminology, and his/her ability to connect the historical perspective of language analysis with English usage nowadays.
The final mark is out of 30, and the student has the right to refuse it (in this case it will be recorded as "withdrawn").
International or Erasmus incoming students are invited to promptly contact the teacher. The examination procedures for students with disabilities and / or with DSA must be agreed with the teacher, in agreement with the proper Office.
Unita' didattica A
L-LIN/12 - LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION - ENGLISH - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-LIN/12 - LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION - ENGLISH - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-LIN/12 - LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION - ENGLISH - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor(s)