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LIN2190 - History and Sociolinguistics of English

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Kate Burridge


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit will survey the history of English (origins, development, diversification, recent convergence, etc; including the origins and development of the key features which distinguish the main varieties of the language), and the relevant basic aspects of theoretical historical linguistics and philology. It will also deal with the main sociolinguistic facts and issues associated with the statuses and functions of the English language as it exists today and of the key varieties of English in the various societies in which they are used.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the major structural changes in the history of English.
  2. Identify the sociohistorical context for these changes.
  3. Discuss the effects of language contact on English.
  4. Analyse language data with respect to the evolution of sounds, vocabulary and grammar.
  5. Explain the major processes of language standardization, focusing on the development of Standard English.
  6. Illustrate the effects of globalization and e-communication on current-day English.


Two short theoretical essays, one sociolinguistic and one historical (1500 words each): 60%
Two short tests (750 words equivalent each): 30%
Class participation: 10%

Contact hours

2 hours (2 x 1 hour seminars) per week


A first-year sequence in Linguistics