A History of English

The history of the English language is a long and tortured tale. From its beginnings as a transported mongrel Germanic potpourri of dialects, through to its domination of the world as the predominant language of the 21st century, it has survived against all odds and flourished beyond all expectations. In this course we will track these up and downs, giving reason and resolve to this unlikely historical trajectory.


  • Where does English begin?
  • How did English survive?
  • Why has English flourished?
  • Where to now?

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the beginnings of the English language
  2. Describe the influences on Old English
  3. Discuss the changes from Old English to Middle English
  4. Discuss the changes from Middle English to Modern English
  5. Discuss the changes from Early Modern English to Late Modern English

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