History Through Language - Course Description

Thursday, August 1, 2013

English is a relatively young language, said to have been born in 449 AD with the Anglo Saxon invasions of the British Isles. However, the language of those early raiders cannot be understood by English speakers of today. English has been shaped by migrations, invasions, explorations, and commerce, as well as by song and story. This class traces the development of English from its prehistoric, Indo-European roots, through the measured cadences of Beowulf, Chaucer’s witty heroic couplets, Shakespeare’s sonnets, the sonorous poetry of the King James Bible, and the erudite definitions of Samuel Johnson’s and Noah Webster’s dictionaries. The class studies the evolving vocabulary and grammar of English as well as changing literary forms.