This module looks at diachronic variation in the English language, i.e. at changes over time. It considers historical as well as associated sociolinguistic issues, with a specific focus on phonological variation. Syntactic, morphological, lexical, and semantic change are also considered.
The module will deal with the question of why linguistic variation exists in the first place. It will also look at major landmarks in the history of English. Thus, characteristics of Old English, Middle English and Modern English are discussed in conjunction with the pressures that led to changes taking place.
The module will offer insights into dialectal variation, in particular phonetic and phonological changes over time and across geographical locations. Traditional dialectology will be contrasted with sociolinguistic/variationist approaches. Students will be introduced to concepts such as dialect, accent, register and slang.
* To familiarise students with the concept of diachronic variation in the English language in its historical and sociolinguistic context
* To introduce students to the salient features of the major accents and dialects of English, including historical varieties of the language and the ways in which these varieties evolved
* To enable students to develop an informed view of the status of non-standard varieties of English
* To provide practice in linguistic analysis, phonetic transcription and elementary auditory training
By the end of the module, students will have:
1. An appreciation of why and how the English language changed over time.
2. An understanding of historical and sociolinguistic influences on language change.
3. Gained insight into aspects of phonological and morphological variation.
4. Gained an understanding of concepts such as dialect and accent.
5. Improved their transferable skills in the areas of team work as well as more specifically in auditory perception and phonetic transcription.
- Module Supervisor: Enam Al-Wer