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ENGL 7160X: History of the English Language: Home

An OER for Prof. Tanya Pollard

Course Description

English 7160X: History of the English Language

Tanya Pollard

The English language, like the United States, and like Brooklyn in particular, is a crazy quilt of countless languages and cultures.  This course will explore the development of English from its earliest forms to the present day, with an emphasis on the cultural encounters that have kept it in a constant state of mobility and expansion.  We will examine the language’s Anglo-Saxon beginnings and its early evolution in response to encounters with French, Latin, and Greek; explore some of the far-flung shores where England’s colonial and imperial ventures brought the language, and see what they brought it in return.  We will consider the distinctive status of American English, the question of when and how neologisms and slang terms become official components of the language, and the status of English as a global phenomenon, alongside the phenomenon of mixed linguistic forms such as Spanglish, Franglais, Danglish, Singlish, Hinglish, Tanglish, and Globish.  Students’ experiences with, and perspectives on, alternate forms of English will be welcomed into discussions. 

Gallery I

Bayeux tapestry detail

History on the net

Norman Vikings-tapestry, window?

Image of the Witan in the Hexateuch

Webster's Dictionary introduction

Webster's Dictionary

Gallery II

Portrait of Elizabeth I of England

Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds

link to Wikipedia on Columbus

Granger, Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), Italian navigator. Depicted in chains after his arrest in 1500. Engraving, 19th century.

Anglo Saxon History

Anglo Saxon England 800 AD