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Course Detail

Course Name History of English Language
Course Code 18ELL211
Program BA (English Language and Literature)
Semester IV
Credits 4
Year Taught 2019
Degree Undergraduate (UG)
School School of Arts and Sciences
Campus Coimbatore


Course Outline

Unit I: 

Introduction-Nature and origin of language – Human languages and animal communicationtheories – History of language –Language Families- Indo-European-Germanic group- Grimm’s Law, Verner’s Law- Centum-Satam languages-Descent of English.

Unit II:

Periods of the English language – Anglo Saxon and Old English- Celtic, Latin and Scandinavian influences-The Norman Conquest: its impact on English-French Influence.

Unit III:

Middle English-Features- Foreign influence- ME Dialects- Chaucer, Spencer, Shakespeare, Milton-Impact of Bible translations-The rise of Standard English.

Unit IV:

Modern English-Printing Press-Changes in pronunciation and grammar-Spelling ReformEvolution of Dictionary-Dr. Johnson-Slang and Standard speech-English dialects.

Unit V:

Evolution of English as a global language-Word formation and growth of vocabulary-SemanticsChanges of Meaning-Processes-Varieties of English.


To familiarize students with different stages in the history of English Language, within the larger history of the origin of language; to familiarize them with the varieties of English.

Core Reading

  1. F T Wood: An Outline History of the English Language, Macmillan.
  2. C L Barber: The Story of Language, ELBS.
  3. George Yule. The Study of Language. CUP, 2016.
  4. Crystal, David. English as a Global Language. London: CUP, 1997.


  1. A C Baugh: A History of the English Language, Appleton-Century-Crafts.
  2. Mario Pei: The Story of Language, Mentor.
  3. Simon Potter. Our Language. Pelican.
  4. Otto Jespersen: Growth and Structure of the English Language, OUP.
  5. Mugglestone. Oxford History of English. OUP, 2009.
  6. Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of English Language. CUP, 2003.

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