ELCS6007 - Historical Linguistics: Language Birth, Change and Decay
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Geraldine Horan
Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2,000 words each.
The module will explore how language has evolved from its prehistoric beginnings to its contemporary diversity. The module will address theories of language change and will focus on particular case studies from European languages, such as the Great (Tudor) Vowel Shift in English, ‘La Questione della Lingua’ in Italian, the status of Catalan, Welsh and Irish language policies, Franglais and Denglisch.
topics we will discuss include: reconstructing languages and theories
of language families and language change; sound shifts, grammatical and
vocabulary change; language contact and borrowing; and newer approaches
to analysing historical language use, including language history ‘from
below’ (e.g. private letters, personal documents), and historical
pragmatics (looking at how language was used for interaction).
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- Aitchison, Jean. 2000, 'Language Change: Progress or Decay?' Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Crystal, David. 2002, 'Language Death'. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Fitzmaurice, Susan M. 2007, 'Methods in Historical Pragmatics'. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Fox, Anthony. 1995, 'Linguistic Reconstruction. An Introduction to Theory and Method'. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
- Milroy, James. 1992, 'Linguistic Variation and Change. On the Historical Sociolinguistics of English'. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Nevalainen, Terttu. 2006, 'Historical Sociolinguistics and Language Change'. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Schendl, Herbert. 2001, 'Historical Linguistic's. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
- Trask, Robert L. 1996, 'Historical Linguistics'. London: Arnold.