ENGL 4301

Tim Morris

History and Development of the English Language

Spring 1998 11:00 AM -12:20 PM T/Th 211B Ransom Hall

office hours: MWF 10-11 AM (618 Carlisle)
TTh. 1-2 PM (618 Carlisle)


office phone: metro 817-272-2692

office mailbox 203 Carlisle Hall

mailing address Box 19035, UTA 76019

to the schedule of readings and assignments

Click here to explore linguistics resources on the Web

course prerequisites: ENGL 1301, 1302, and six hours of 2000-level English.

Required Textbooks: Charles Barber, The English Language: A Historical Introduction (Cambridge UP); Jean Aitchison, Language Change: Progress or Decay? (2nd edn, Cambridge UP)

course description: This course will provide background in basic concepts of linguistics, principles of language change and historical linguistic study, the development of the English language, and basic applied sociolinguistics. The course is not intended to substitute for study in any of those areas, but rather to introduce undergraduates, especially English majors, to concepts in those fields, so that they can do further academic work, study literature, and teach English with a basic general background in language study.

course objectives: Students who successfully complete this course will be able to transcribe modern English speech phonetically; will know the principles of etymology and semantic change, and how to use a historical dictionary; will understand general principles of historical reconstruction in linguistics; will be able to identify and explain general features of Old and Middle English; will be able to discuss, from an informed perspective, the social contexts and mechanisms of language change; and will have some general knowledge of problems in the origin and nature of language.

attendance is mandatory; roll will be taken. You may miss two meetings without penalty, further missed classes can lower your grade; see below.

drop policy: drop before final drop date (17 April) guarantees W for the course; drop after that is against university rules. UTA instructors may not drop students for any reason.

assignments: Ten homework assignments, due on the Tuesdays indicated in the schedule below.

grading: Your grade in this course will be determined by a cumulative point system. 10 points means an A for the course, 9 means a B, 8 means a C, and 7 means a D; less than 7 points means failure.

You earn points by making 1 grades on papers. Each of the homework assignments will earn a grade of either 1 or 0. No homework will ever be accepted late; late papers will receive a grade of 0. Specific standards for each assignment will accompany that particular assignment.

You lose points by missing class. Your first two absences are free; each subsequent absence costs a grade point. Except for religious holidays and absences officially excused by the University, no absence will be excused. If work, illness, or tragedy prevents you from coming to class and contributing, you've simply had the misfortune to have your semester affected negatively by bad things or personal commitments. The seminar nature of our discussion meetings means that the course "happens" not just in the readings and papers but also in active speaking and listening in class, hence these stringent attendance requirements. I also require attendance at all lecture meetings because the material delivered in lecture is an integral background for writing the seminar papers.

I consider this next point important enough to make on the syllabus: I think that a B is a good grade for an undergraduate course. It will be difficult to complete all the course components successfully; I think that the grade of A should indicate excellence rather than mere completion of the course.

academic dishonesty policy: It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University.

"Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." [Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter Vi, Section 3, Subsection 3.2, Subdivision 3.22]

NOTE FOR PURPOSES OF THIS COURSE ONLY: You may collaborate on homework assignments with other students in the class. You are on your honor to work though the material and understand it thoroughly. You may not simply copy material that another student, in this class or out of it, has prepared. You may work jointly on assignments, and share information and techniques. I will reserve the right to assign a 0 grade on any submitted papers that you do not fully understand when questioned about the work.

disability policy: The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 93112--The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of new federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act - (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens.

As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide "reasonable accommodation" to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty at the beginning of the semester and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels.

schedule of assignments and readings

Tues 20 Jan: syllabus, introductions

Thurs 22 Jan: lecture: the nature of language. [Barber ch. 1]

Tues 27 Jan: lecture: phonetics: a how-to. Bring Barber to class.

Thurs 29 Jan: lecture: language change: some basics. [Barber 2, Aitchison 1]

Tues 3 Feb: Homework #1 due: phonetic transcription. lecture: etymology

Thurs 5 Feb: review Homework #1

Tues 10 Feb: Homework #2 due: etymologies. lecture: semantic change [Aitchison 2,3]

Thurs 12 Feb: review Homework #2

Tues 17 Feb: Homework #3 due: semantic change. lecture: change mechanisms and examples [Aitchison 4,5,6,7]

Thurs 19 Feb: review homework #3

Tues 24 Feb: lecture: language families. [Barber 3, 4]

Thurs 26 Feb: lecture: Old English [Barber 5]

Tues 3 March: Homework #4 due: language families and reconstruction. lecture.

Thurs 5 March: review Homework #4

Tues 10 March: Homework #5 due: Old English. (Because the assignment uses special symbols, it cannot be reproduced on the website.) lecture [Barber 6,7]

Thurs 12 March: review Homework #5

Tues 24 March: Homework #6 due: Middle English. (Because the assignment uses special symbols, it cannot be reproduced on the website.) lecture: the development of the language [Barber 8,9,10]

Thurs 26 March: review Homework #6

Tues 31 March: no class meeting

Thurs 2 Apr: NO CLASS MEETING (as per printed syllabus)

Tues 7 Apr: Homework #7 due: comparative Bible passages. lecture. [Aitchison 8,9]

Thurs 9 Apr: review Homework #7

Tues 14 Apr: Homework #8 due: toponymy. lecture: North American dialect regions. [Aitchison 10,11]

Thurs 16 Apr: review Homework #8

Fri 17 Apr: last date to drop

Tues 21 Apr: Homework #9 due: plurals. lecture. [Aitchison 13]

Thurs 23 Apr: review Homework #9

Tues 28 Apr: Homework #10 due: origins of language. No lecture. Course evaluations.

Thurs 30 Apr: review Homework #10. LAST CLASS MEETING